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Highland Valley to San Pasqual (San Diego Co.)

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  • MiriamEagl@aol.com
    Hi, all! Today started in Highland Valley, then headed over towards Lake Hodges, then up to Kit Carson Park and over to San Pasqual Battlefield. It was a
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2001
      Hi, all!

      Today started in Highland Valley, then headed over towards Lake Hodges, then
      up to Kit Carson Park and over to San Pasqual Battlefield. It was a
      wonderful day, and while this isn't the best time of year for Highland
      Valley, there were plenty of goodies with lots of Kestrels and meadowlarks,
      and along Rangeland Road, at the little riparian crossing there, had American
      Goldfinch, Yellowthroat, and Orange-crowned Warbler. Heard a Black-necked
      Stilt yipping from the hidden sewage ponds, and a flock of Tricolored
      Blackbirds flew over while checking out the creek. A Loggerhead Shrike
      perched on a rock way in the distance. Also had a flock of Barn Swallows
      whiz by at Highland Valley Court.

      Headed over the hill to the Hodges area towards the San Deguito Trail. On
      the way I had a start: I saw what looked like an infant in a white dress
      lying by the side of the road, so I turned around to double check, and it
      turned out to be an animal of some kind (probably a cat) in a white plastic
      bag! When I finally found a turnaround point to head back in my original
      direction, even the second time it STILL looked like an infant! Yeesh!

      Anyway, the San Deguito Trail was full of California Gnatcatchers which came
      very close. Hodges was dry, of course, so there were no waterbirds, but
      there WAS a pair of White-tailed Kites in the distance. A third bird hovered
      above the trail, when suddenly a cacophany of House Finches exploded into the
      air, and in the middle of it was a male Cooper's Hawk! He landed in a tree
      up the incline, at which time a cloud of hummingbirds (three species' worth)
      emerged and gave him heck! (A Black-chinned was especially aggressive...)
      The hawk just sat there and preened, paying them no mind. In the nice little
      oak woodland a Nuttall's Woodpecker and Oak Titmouse called, and I noticed
      that one of the big ol' oaks right next to the trail had an active beehive
      going right at eye level! They obviously weren't Africanized or else I
      wouldn't have made it anywhere else today...

      Headed over to the trailhead right next to I-15 after that, where despite the
      traffic noise was able to pick up Red-shouldered Hawk for the day (beautiful
      individual soaring overhead), and another California Gnatcatcher only yards
      from the trailhead! Selasphorus hummers fed in the tree tobacco just before
      the underpass, and at the bench on the other side had another gnatcatcher.
      On the way back a little pointy-headed flycatcher popped up briefly, sitting
      ram-rod straight with no tail wag to be seen; guess the pewees are starting
      to move out of the mountains already! I was amazed at how big the willows
      were in the basin; maybe Hodges HAS been dry longer than I thought!

      Went up to Kit Carson Park after that, where they were digging around my
      favorite pond trail, so I skipped that and went straight to "The Annex", a
      nice little woodland trail across from the school. Got the token Acorn
      Woodpeckers on the palms, where they were evidently still feeding one of the
      youngsters! Picked up a couple of things I had never recorded for this trail
      before, like White-breasted Nuthatch and Downy Woodpecker. A brilliant male
      Flicker came in and posed, along with a female Hooded Oriole that was making
      a noise not unlike the chuckling noises I've heard Western Bluebirds make.

      Last stop was San Pasqual Battlefield; the main park is closed during the
      week, so I usually take the killer trail up from the roadside marker, which I
      may not do any more: the trail's become terribly overgrown, and there are a
      couple of spots that, as I get older, make me more nervous as I try to
      maneuver down them without slipping! But it's good for gnatcatchers and
      Cactus Wrens (although I only heard one of the latter today), and with all
      the Turkey Vultures circling around there's always a slight chance that one
      of the local Zone-tailed Hawks might be in with them (have yet to see one,
      though). There was also a slight chance at spotting the freeloading Wood
      Stork over at the Wild Animal Park, but I haven't seen that in ages, either.
      I'll probably start saving this area for Saturdays when the other, much
      easier end of the trail is open!

      Battled the road construction on the way home... Bird list:

      Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
      Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
      White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
      Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
      Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
      Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
      American Kestrel Falco sparverius
      Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
      Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
      Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
      Black-chinned Hummingbird Archilochus alexandri
      Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
      Costa's Hummingbird Calypte costae
      Allen's Hummingbird Selasphorus sasin
      Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
      Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii
      Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
      Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
      Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus
      Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
      Cassin's Kingbird Tyrannus vociferans
      Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
      Cactus Wren Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus
      Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
      House Wren Troglodytes aedon
      Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
      California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum
      Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
      California Gnatcatcher Polioptila californica
      Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
      Oak Titmouse Baeolophus inornatus
      White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
      Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus
      Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
      American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
      Common Raven Corvus corax
      European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
      House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
      Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria
      American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis
      Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata
      Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
      Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
      California Towhee Pipilo crissalis
      Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
      Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
      Tricolored Blackbird Agelaius tricolor
      Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta
      Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus
      Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus

      50 SPECIES

      Mary Beth Stowe
      San Diego, CA
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