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Mule Hill to Sweetwater River (San Diego Co.)

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  • MiriamEagl@aol.com
    Hi, all! I noticed a new trail while I was hiking the San Deguito River trail up near Escondido the last time I was out, so I found my way there this morning
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7, 2003
      Hi, all!

      I noticed a "new" trail while I was hiking the San Deguito River trail up
      near Escondido the last time I was out, so I found my way there this morning
      to check it out. You have to park in the new Golf Center off Via Rancho
      Parkway and then walk over, which is fine because they also have a bathroom
      if you need it... There are actually two trails you can take: the first one
      you come to runs along the backside of the golf center and winds up at the
      trailhead that goes under I-15, but the one I took today starts a little
      further towards Beethoven and is officially called the Mule Hill Trail
      according to the sign, even though it's part of the whole San Deguito River
      Trail complex. I walked down to the first major group of interpretive signs,
      and once you got away from the traffic noise it was quite productive: a flock
      of Savannah Sparrows greeted me in the open area, and in the riparian stuff
      were Song Sparrows, Marsh, Bewick's and House Wrens, and Yellowthroats. A
      California Thrasher sang from the chaparral, and an American Goldfinch sang
      and "potato-chipped" over. A pair of Kestrels flew overhead on the way back,
      and back at the parking area a Say's Phoebe was feeding from the fence.

      The parking lot at the school at Kit Carson Park was crazy, so I skipped the
      Annex Trail and headed straight over to San Pasqual Battlefield. As I made
      the right on 78 from San Pasqual Road I noticed a bunch of stuff in the
      "lagoon" on the corner, so I decided at the last moment to add not only that
      to the "route list" but the little pond that's visible from 78 a little
      further down. I stopped at the latter first and added a mob of American
      Wigeon to the list, in addition to a couple of Pintail, Ruddies, a
      Ring-necked Duck, and a lone Canada Goose. Then I made a U-ie to check out
      the "swamp" and added Mallards, Gadwall, Shoveler, Coot, and a Snowy Egret.
      The day's only meadowlark sang in the background. In the future I think I'll
      try and find a spot to immediately pull off on the right; making those U-ies
      on that highway can be dangerous!

      Headed on to the battlefield monument after that where I just walked up to
      the stone wall and sat for five (I gave up hiking that trail the last time I
      was up it; one false step and you're in the cactus!). I was surprised not to
      even hear any Cactus Wrens, but did pick up the California Gnatcatchers as
      well as some White-crowned Sparrows. A low-flying TV came sailing by as

      Headed into Ramona to hike the Oscoro Trail in Pamo Valley, and while it was
      gorgeous as always, it was surprisingly quiet! Did pick up Acorn Woodpecker
      and Oak Titmouse for the day, however (the wind was starting to pick up down
      there, too, so I'm sure that had something to do with it).

      Headed out to Wildcat Canyon Road, where a pretty Ferruginous Hawk sat on a
      pole as I whizzed through the Indian reservation. At Oak Oasis picked up the
      usual chaparral stuff for the day, in addition to a very curious pair of
      Hutton's Vireos (too close for the bins). At the resting spot a couple of
      Spotted Towhees sang tentatively from the bushes along with a couple of
      Bewick's Wrens.

      Crawled through El Cajon on the way to the Steel Bridge, where I expanded my
      old route a little (doing that long hike with Floyd made me braver) and
      discovered that I could do a great little loop that takes you for a good
      length along the riparian habitat before switching back through the brushy
      stuff. It was understandably quiet this time of day (and year, for that
      matter), but I can't wait till spring! More Hutton's Vireos sang from the
      woods, and several people were hiking or biking, so I felt very safe there.
      The trail back takes you through the little offshoot of the river before
      paralleling 94 and swinging back to the Steel Bridge, but there wasn't much
      in there besides a Nuttall's Woodpecker.

      After that it was time for an ice cream, then headed home. Bird List:

      Snowy Egret Egretta thula
      Canada Goose Branta canadensis
      American Wigeon Anas americana
      Gadwall Anas strepera
      Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
      Northern Pintail Anas acuta
      Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
      Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
      Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
      Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
      Ferruginous Hawk Buteo regalis
      American Kestrel Falco sparverius
      American Coot Fulica americana
      Rock Dove Columba livia
      Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
      Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
      Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
      Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii
      Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
      Say's Phoebe Sayornis saya
      Cassin's Kingbird Tyrannus vociferans
      American Pipit Anthus rubescens
      Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
      House Wren Troglodytes aedon
      Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris
      Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
      California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum
      Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
      California Gnatcatcher Polioptila californica
      Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
      Oak Titmouse Baeolophus inornatus
      Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
      American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
      Common Raven Corvus corax
      Hutton's Vireo Vireo huttoni
      House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
      Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria
      American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis
      Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
      Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
      Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
      California Towhee Pipilo crissalis
      Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
      Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
      White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
      Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
      Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta

      47 SPECIES

      Mary Beth Stowe
      San Diego, CA

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