Wandering Tattler


San Diego
Oct 20, 2002, 68 - 78 degrees
- narrated by Henry Detwiler

A fine day of birding around San Diego in gorgeous weather with Jeff, Amy & Bud.  

Click on 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 Kite.

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 closed).  

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.


White-tailed Kite

Immature Western Gull

After a quick sandwich in Imperial Beach we headed north, but didn't get far before piling out of the car  for a few Vaux' Swifts. 


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.  

Brown Pelican

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.


Western Gull 


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 day.  :-)

 San Diego
20 Oct 2002
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Brandt's Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Reddish Egret
White-faced Ibis
American Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ruddy Duck
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Pacific Golden Plover
Snowy Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Wandering Tattler
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher


Bonaparte's Gull
Heerman's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Western Gull
Elegant Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Vaux's Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Nuttal's Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Cassin's Kingbird
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
House Wren
California Gnatcatcher
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Photos Henry D. Detwiler