by Henry Detwiler
A fine day of birding around San Diego in gorgeous weather with Jeff,
Amy & Bud.
thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.
Jeff and Amy are a husband-wife
team from Philalelphia, and they go birding with Bud, Amy's father from
Alabama. Our first stop was the sod farm on Dairy Mart
Road. Most of the birds were asleep when we arrived, so we rustled
'em out of bed. After an hour of fruitless searching for the elusive
Red-throated Pipit among all the Americans, we capitulated.
Fortunately we did get our first lifer, a very cooperative White-tailed
Jeff, Amy, & Bud
north of Tijuana River mouth
At Smuggler's Gulch we heard and saw two Ladder-
backed Woodpeckers, and looked for
California Thrashers and Wrentits. They were content to sing
from deep within the chaparral, so it was fortunate that we got them
on the way back from Borderfield State Park (which was still
At the south end of Seacoast Drive, we hiked along
the beach to the Tijuana River. An offshore trawler was
swarming with gulls and pelicans, but no pelagics. At the
mouth of the river we spotted a lone Pacific Golden Plover and many
other shorebirds. And then a little farther on were dozens of
Snowy Plovers, some with just their heads poking out from the
depressions in the sand. It was a long but rewarding hike.
Immature Western Gull
quick sandwich in Imperial Beach we headed north, but didn't get
far before piling out of the car for a few Vaux'
The next stop was the
San Diego NWR, at the south end of
the San Diego Bay. Black Skimmers, gulls, cormorants,
ducks, egrets, American White Pelicans,
and shorebirds were all there, but the best find was a small flock
of Elegant Terns.
American White Pelicans
At Cabrillo National
Monument, we enjoyed the many Fox Sparrows, a single
Golden-crowned Sparrow, a stunning Black-throated Gray Warbler,
and towhees at the "Drip".
|A short drive
down to the cliffs of Pt. Loma put us next to our first
rocky shoreline. We added a Wandering Tattler, a pair of
obliging Pelagic Cormorants, and many Brandt's Cormorants.
The Black Turnstones, however, remained elusive.
Great Blue Heron
Our final stop of the day was at San Elijo Lagoon, where we were
after the "sure-thing, not-to-worry" California
Gnatcatchers. Tons of waders, shorebirds, and ducks.
But we walked and walked and saw no gnatcatchers. All three
species of beautifully plumaged teal, but no gnatcatchers.
Finally, as we were heading back, after I had just about given up
hope, I caught a snippet of their "mewing" call.
So we headed down next to the shore and finally saw several in a
mixed gnatcatcher/bushtit flock! A fine ending to a great