Heerman's Gulls at La Jolla


San Diego to the Colorado River ABA Tour
Jan 8-12, 2003, Outstanding weather!
- narrated by Henry Detwiler

Bob and I took 16 fellow bird enthusiasts birding for 4 days to San Diego, the Laguna Mts., and the Colorado River.  
species total

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Day 1 - Wednesday Afternoon

Whimbrel & Harbor Seal

We began after everyone assembled at the Day's Inn of San Diego, and headed in our two vans to La Jolla.

Brown Pelican at La Jolla

It was warm and partly cloudy, with only the lightest of mist.  Birds were in abundance, and we soon had a nice list going.  Among the harbor seals was a Whimbrel and a Willet.  Overhead and in the park, Heerman's and Western Gulls wheeled about.  Brewer's Blackbirds and Anna's Hummingbirds made up the land contingent.

On the cliffs were all three species of cormorants, Wandering Tattlers, and both Black & Ruddy Turnstones.   Out in the calm waters of the Pacific, Linda spotted our first Black-vented Shearwaters.  Pacific Loons and Surf Scoters flew by, as did many skeins of Brown Pelicans.  All too soon the sun began to set, turning the sky to a beautiful purple.  A tasty Tai dinner finished off our day. 

ABA Birders at La Jolla

Wandering Tattler at La Jolla

La Jolla Cove Sunset

Day 2 - Thursday

Our morning began at San Elijo Lagoon, where we set out to find the California Gnatcatcher and other chaparral birds.  Before heading down the hillside though, we scoped the lagoon and picked up a fine number of wetlands birds: Royal Tern, shorebirds, waders, all the teal, and many other ducks.

Black-bellied Plover

We started down the hill trail to the accompaniment of Wrentit calls, sparrow chirps, and wren songs.  Two California Thrashers popped out for scope views and Anna's Hummingbirds defended their favorite perches.  As we got closer to the lagoon shoreline we examined Black-bellied Plovers, and Cinnamon and Green-winged Teal.  I heard a few gnatcatcher calls in the distance but we never found them; finally at the end of the trail Jim spotted a cooperative one, and we had them within two feet of the path!

Burrowing Owl
From San Elijo Lagoon we drove south to the San Diego flood control channel, where we watched saw some fine gulls: California, Mew, Ring-billed, and Bonaparte's.  And we also saw this fine-looking Burrowing Owl watching us from the channel levee.  Farther south below the bridge we found a Horned Grebe and Snowy Plovers!
After lunch we scoped out Mission Bay.  A hat trick of loons (Common, Pacific, and Red-throated) was very cool!  And in the harbor we found Red-breasted Merganser and lots of Brown Pelicans.

Brown Pelican at Mission Bay 
(sleeping, of course!)

Western Gull & San Diego Skyline

At Cabrillo National Monument, we got great looks at Spotted Towhee, but not much at Virginia's Drip.  At the close of the day we ventured over to Shelter Island, where we spotted three Long-tailed Ducks, more Surf Scoters, and lots of Buffleheads.  And then we ended the day with a fine meal at the Outback!
On to days 3, 4, and 5! Page 2
More pictures! Page 3

More pictures! Page 4

San Diego, Laguna Mts., Colorado River, 8-12 Jan 2003
# Species Location
1 Red-throated Loon CA
2 Pacific Loon CA
3 Common Loon CA
4 Pied-billed Grebe CA, AZ
5 Horned Grebe CA
6 Eared Grebe CA
7 Western Grebe CA
8 Clark's Grebe CA
9 Black-vented Shearwater CA
10 American White Pelican CA
11 Brown Pelican CA
12 Brandt's Cormorant CA
13 Double-crested Cormorant CA, AZ
14 Pelagic Cormorant CA
15 Great Blue Heron CA, AZ
16 Great Egret CA, AZ
17 Snowy Egret CA, AZ
18 Cattle Egret CA, AZ
19 Black-crowned Night Heron CA
20 White-faced Ibis CA
21 Greater White-fronted Goose AZ
22 Snow Goose AZ
23 Ross' Goose AZ
24 Canada Goose CA, AZ
25 Brant CA
26 Gadwall CA, AZ
27 American Wigeon CA, AZ
28 Blue-winged Teal CA
29 Mallard CA, AZ
30 Cinnamon Teal CA
31 Northern Shoveler CA, AZ
32 Northern Pintail CA, AZ
33 Green-winged Teal CA, AZ
34 Canvasback CA
35 Redhead CA, AZ
36 Ring-necked Duck CA, AZ
37 Lesser Scaup CA
38 Surf Scoter CA
39 Long-tailed Duck CA
40 Bufflehead CA
41 Common Goldeneye AZ
42 Hooded Merganser CA
43 Common Merganser CA
44 Red-breasted Merganser CA
45 Ruddy Duck CA, AZ
46 Osprey CA, AZ
47 White-tailed Kite CA
48 Northern Harrier CA, AZ
49 Sharp-shinned Hawk CA
50 Cooper's Hawk CA
51 Red-shouldered Hawk CA
52 Red-tailed Hawk CA, AZ
53 Golden Eagle CA, AZ
54 American Kestrel CA, AZ
55 Peregrine Falcon CA
56 Prairie Falcon CA
57 Wild Turkey CA
58 Gambel's Quail AZ
59 California Quail  CA
60 Clapper Rail AZ
61 Black Rail AZ
62 Virginia Rail AZ
63 Sora AZ
64 Common Moorhen CA
65 American Coot CA, AZ
66 Black-bellied Plover CA
67 Snowy Plover CA
68 Killdeer CA, AZ
69 Black-necked Stilt CA
70 American Avocet CA
71 Greater Yellowlegs CA
72 Willet CA
73 Wandering Tattler CA
74 Spotted Sandpiper CA
75 Whimbrel CA
76 Long-billed Curlew CA
77 Marbled Godwit CA
78 Ruddy Turnstone CA
79 Black Turnstone CA
80 Sanderling CA
81 Western Sandpiper CA
82 Least Sandpiper AZ
83 Dunlin CA
84 Short-billed Dowitcher CA
85 Turkey Vulture CA, AZ
86 Bonaparte's Gull CA
87 Heerman's Gull CA
88 Mew Gull CA
89 Ring-billed Gull CA, AZ
90 California Gull CA
91 Herring Gull CA
92 Western Gull CA
# Species Location
93 Glaucous-Winged Gull CA
94 Caspian Tern CA
95 Royal Tern CA
96 Forster's Tern CA
97 Rock Dove CA, AZ
98 Mourning Dove CA, AZ
99 Inca Dove AZ
100 Common Ground-Dove AZ
101 Greater Roadrunner CA, AZ
102 Great Horned Owl CA
103 Burrowing Owl CA
104 White-throated Swift CA
105 Anna's Hummingbird CA, AZ
106 Belted Kingfisher CA, AZ
107 Acorn Woodpecker CA
108 Gila Woodpecker AZ
109 Williamson's Sapsucker CA
110 Ladder-backed Woodpecker CA, AZ
111 Nuttal's Woodpecker CA
112 Downy Woodpecker CA
113 Hairy Woodpecker CA
114 White-headed Woodpecker CA
115 Northern Flicker CA
116 Black Phoebe CA, AZ
117 Say's Phoebe CA, AZ
118 Vermilion Flycatcher AZ
119 Loggerhead Shrike CA, AZ
120 Stellar's Jay CA
121 Western Scrub Jay CA
122 American Crow CA
123 Common Raven CA, AZ
124 Wrentit CA
125 Tree Swallow CA, AZ
126 Barn Swallow AZ
127 Mountain Chickadee CA
128 Oak Titmouse CA
129 Verdin CA, AZ
130 Bushtit CA
131 White-breasted Nuthatch CA
132 Pygmy Nuthatch CA
133 Cactus Wren AZ
134 Rock Wren CA
135 Bewick's Wren CA
136 House Wren CA
137 Marsh Wren CA, AZ
138 Ruby-crowned Kinglet CA, AZ
139 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher CA, AZ
140 California Gnatcatcher CA
141 Black-tailed Gnatcatcher AZ
142 Western Bluebird CA
143 Mountain Bluebird CA, AZ
144 Townsend's Solitaire AZ
145 Hermit Thrush CA
146 American Robin CA
147 Northern Mockingbird CA, AZ
148 California Thrasher CA
149 Crissal Thrasher CA, AZ
150 European Starling CA, AZ
151 American Pipit CA, AZ
152 Cedar Waxwing CA
153 Phainopepla CA, AZ
154 Yellow-rumped Warbler CA, AZ
155 Common Yellowthroat CA, AZ
156 Orange-crowned Warbler CA, AZ
157 Green-tailed Towhee CA, AZ
158 Spotted Towhee CA, AZ
159 California Towhee CA
160 Abert's Towhee CA, AZ
161 Chipping Sparrow AZ
162 Brewer's Sparrow AZ
163 Vesper Sparrow AZ
164 Lark Sparrow CA
165 Black-throated Sparrow AZ
166 Sage Sparrow AZ
167 Savannah Sparrow CA, AZ
168 Fox Sparrow CA
169 Song Sparrow CA, AZ
170 Lincoln's Sparrow AZ
171 White-crowned Sparrow CA, AZ
172 Golden-crowned Sparrow CA
173 Dark-eyed Junco CA, AZ
174 Red-winged Blackbird CA, AZ
175 Tricolored Blackbird CA
176 Western Meadowlark CA, AZ
177 Yellow-headed Blackbird CA, AZ
178 Brewer's Blackbird CA
179 Great-tailed Grackle CA, AZ
180 House Finch CA, AZ
181 Lesser Goldfinch CA
182 American Goldfinch CA
183 House Sparrow CA, AZ

Photos Henry D. Detwiler