Day 34 – Death Valley – a real low point


Jane, Bob & Sue search the pond at Furnace Creek golf course for migrants

At 190 feet below sea-level, Furnace Creek in Death Valley is the lowest settlement in the USA. It also holds a number of other records including the highest reliably recorded air temperature on Earth, at 134 °F (56.7 °C) on July 10, 1913, as well as the highest recorded natural ground surface temperature at 201 °F (93.9 °C) on July 15, 1972. Probably not the best place to go looking for birds but, surprisingly, we did find a few species around a tiny pond at the edge of the golf course, including Ring-necked Duck, Common Yellowthroat and, amazingly, two White Pelican! Further up the road, at Salt Creek, we had yet another encounter with critically endangered fish – this time the Death Valley Pupfish. Not much different to the Ash Meadows Pupfish to be honest but all these various Pupfish populations have evolved in tiny, isolated, spring / pond systems in the desert. Their vulnerability is self-evident. Tomorrow we cross Death Valley and head into  California, leaving the desert landscapes, which have been such a prominent feature of the first half of our journey, behind us.

Today was a minor ‘low point’ in another way – our first day without seeing a new bird. Let’s hope it was a one-off.

Prize for the most unexpected bird species of the day – two American White Pelican, which circled over-head for ten minutes before moving on


A Death Valley (Salt Creek) Pupfish – happily swimming around in less than an inch of water, it’s dorsal fin just breaking the surface 


This entry was posted in Birding.

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