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820Tijuana Slough and South Bay (San Diego Co.)

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  • MiriamEagl@aol.com
    Feb 27, 2002
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      Hi, all!

      Birded the Tijuana Slough and the end of 7th Street in Imperial Beach this
      morning. Took the trail from the end of 5th Street first, where there were
      tons of meadowlarks and Savannah Sparrows duelling away! The interesting
      thing was that those that popped up seemed to be the migratory races, as none
      of them were terribly dark or had heavy streaking. A definite Large-billed
      popped up among them, though, and at one point I had five or six all sitting
      atop a bush when a meadowlark came crashing in and scattered the whole bunch!
      A Say's Phoebe joined the meadowlarks on the fence, and a guy taking his
      tiny dog for a walk encountered a group of semi-tame Mallards, who dwarfed
      the poor dog! Redwings and Yellowthroats were in the freshwater marshy area,
      and on the way out to the mouth had a single House Wren scolding. A
      Butterbutt flew out of nowhere, too, which was kinda funny considering the
      barren habitat! Not surprisingly picked up both American Pipit and Horned
      Lark in this area as well. At the mouth, I guess I shouldn't have been too
      surprised to see a group of White Pelicans; Browns were across the river
      along with lots of Western Gulls, and a big flock of Killdeer drifted in just
      before I left. Most of the birds were too far away to ID with certainty,
      besides being in the wrong light. A Hermit Thrush sitting on top of one of
      the bushes on the way back was interesting, and also picked up a pair of
      Harriers and a semi-cooperative Marsh Wren (in that it sat in the open for a
      nano-second before diving into the saltgrass). A pair of Shovelers had
      joined the Mallards in the little pond next to the fence, but they weren't as
      "tame" so they didn't stick around as long... The open water areas back at
      the trailhead were more active by the time I got back, with lots of American
      Wigeon hiding in the vegetation and a few Gadwall a being little more bold.

      Tide was way up, so it was nice to actually SEE the Clapper Rails along the
      McCoy Trail at the Visitor's Center! The usual shorebird suspects snoozed in
      numbers: Willets, Marbled Godwits, dowitchers, and even avocets. Two each of
      the curlews were hanging around as well, and several Buffleheads bobbed
      around in the ponds. A large group of Lesser Scaup was in the pond to the
      south. Ironically, on THIS trail, only Belding's Savannahs would show
      themselves, and they were being quite territorial! A couple of Tree Swallows
      zipped by at the bench, and heading back a group of six Whimbrels fed at the
      bridge; I don't recall ever seeing quite that many at one time!

      At the end of Seacoast Drive, a Little Blue Heron joined the Snowy Egrets,
      and found yet another Clapper Rail pair. In poor light found the only
      Pied-billed Grebes of the day, and as I turned to leave I saw what I thought
      was a ranger leaning on the railing, saying, "Did you see those two guys?"
      My response of "The Clapper Rails?" threw him off, and then I noticed he was
      a Border Patrol guy: evidently there were two Mexicans making their way up
      next to the dunes! He followed me over to the beach where I scanned for
      stuff (the waves were way too high for much of anything except a Heermann's
      Gull) and said that they like to try and make a run for it when the fog rolls
      in like it was doing this morning...

      Headed up to the end of 7th Street after that and walked along the bike path,
      where there were several globs of birds: one glob of Western Gulls, another
      of Californias, another of avocets and assorted smaller shorebirds, and
      another of Willets/Godwits, but in the pond south of the trail added Dunlin,
      Skimmers, and Western Sandpipers to the day list. More Belding's Sparrows
      were having it out on the concrete paying me absolutely no mind at all. A
      few Forster's Terns batted around, and off in the distance I heard the
      distinct gutteral call of a Royal. Way over on the dike were a few
      cormorants in with the gulls, and by one of the little "islands" was a nice
      addition: an adult Mew Gull! A first year Glaucous-winged flew overhead, and
      a couple of Clark's Grebes floated out in the open water. A Greater
      Yellowlegs fed alongside an avocet, and I caught a pair of Kestrels
      continuing the species. Sitting on the slab near the road I could pick out
      several more Bufflehead, but while I was watching them, in came an elegant
      line of eight more White Pelicans! They finally decided to land on the dike,
      scattering most of the cormorants that were previously there. No Reddish
      Egrets this time; I felt a pang of sadness remembering that the last time I
      was here was on 9/11.

      Called it a day after that with 68 species for the morning. Bird List:

      Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
      Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
      Clark's Grebe Aechmophorus clarkii
      American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
      Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
      Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
      Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
      Great Egret Ardea alba
      Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
      Snowy Egret Egretta thula
      American Wigeon Anas americana
      Gadwall Anas strepera
      Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
      Northern Pintail Anas acuta
      Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
      Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
      Bufflehead Bucephala albeola
      Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
      Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
      American Kestrel Falco sparverius
      Clapper Rail Rallus longirostris
      American Coot Fulica americana
      Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
      American Avocet Recurvirostra americana
      Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
      Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus
      Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa
      Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
      Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus
      Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
      Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
      Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri
      Dunlin Calidris alpina
      Heermann's Gull Larus heermanni
      Mew Gull Larus canus
      Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
      California Gull Larus californicus
      Glaucous-winged Gull Larus glaucescens
      Western Gull Larus occidentalis
      Royal Tern Sterna maxima
      Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri
      Black Skimmer Rynchops niger
      Rock Dove Columba livia
      Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
      Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
      Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii
      Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
      Say's Phoebe Sayornis saya
      Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris
      Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
      American Pipit Anthus rubescens
      House Wren Troglodytes aedon
      Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris
      Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
      Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus
      Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
      American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
      Common Raven Corvus corax
      European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
      House Sparrow Passer domesticus
      House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
      Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
      Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
      Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
      Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
      White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
      Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
      Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta

      68 SPECIES

      Mary Beth Stowe
      San Diego, CA

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