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Tijuana River Area (San Diego Co.)

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  • MiriamEagl@aol.com
    Hi, all! Seeing Cuyamaca State Park turned to charcoal on the news was rather depressing, so I headed to one of the few remaining birding areas in the county,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2003
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      Hi, all!

      Seeing Cuyamaca State Park turned to charcoal on the news was rather
      depressing, so I headed to one of the few remaining birding areas in the county, the
      Tijuana Slough. Actually, headed to Dairy Mart Ponds first, where there was a
      nice selection of fresh-water marsh birds, including Black-crowned Night
      Heron, a cackling Least Bittern, Sora, Moorhen, and several ducks including nice
      Cinnamon and Green-winged Teals. A feeding frenzy of Red-breasted Mergansers
      was on the far side, and a Pintail coming out of eclipse had me scratching my
      head for awhile!

      From there headed over the sod farms to see if any of the rarities were still
      hanging around. It was pretty dead around the Dairy Mart entrance except for
      a handful of American Pipits around a puddle, so I got up onto the gravel
      road and crawled around to the back side. Another small flock of pipits was
      hanging around one of the pipes, so I got the scope on them, and initially didn't
      see any striped backs, but I DID see one with a strongly streaked breast and
      paler legs, so thinking it might be the "japonicus" pipit that had been debated
      about awhile back, I decided to digiscope a few images. The birds then took
      off, and as I looked over the shots and zoomed in on some of the images, I was
      shocked to see one of them with a no-doubt-about-it striped back!! How'd
      that Red-throated sneak in there?! ;-) (I posted said images on the SDBirds

      A Border Patrol guy pulled up about then asking what was going on, and I was
      happy to tell him about the pipit (that was the best look I'VE ever gotten of
      one), so he was very nice, just admonished me to be careful, and moved on.
      The road looked like it made a left and dumped out onto the main drag, so I
      decided to go straight (scaring up a Roadrunner in the process), only I ended up
      in "No Man's Land" between the US and Mexican borders, passing several Border
      Patrol guys as I went! I asked one if going straight would eventually get me
      out of there, and he said yes, so I ended up coming back through San Ysidro and
      finally hooking up again with Dairy Mart Road; that was a LONG block! I
      guess some birders have had less than pleasant encounters with BP agents up there,
      but all the guys I ran into were very nice.

      From there headed down and around to Hollister, and up to the Tijuana River
      Valley RP, where there really wasn't much going on at all. From there went to
      the end of Sunset, where they were doing some environmental cleanup (one guy
      even had a machete), so that was a no-go. So headed over to the River Mouth
      Trail (aka 5th Street) where a guy on his bike with his dog said, "You're gonna
      have fun at the mouth today!" He wasn't kidding: although I couldn't find
      anything unusual (apparently the PG Plover is back), the place was stuffed with
      birds, including Brown Pelicans, lots of peeps (including a couple of Dunlin),
      cormorants, gulls, and various other shorebirds, including a lone Ruddy
      Turnstone that I thought was a Black at first, it was so dark! Up at the little
      pond had more ducks (including a few Shoveler), both Pied-billed and Eared
      Grebes, and Coots doing their funny "girl-fighting" with their feet. A Harrier was
      cruising the place as well, and a magnificent Osprey flew over. On the way
      back had both Belding's and nominate Savannah Sparrows, and lots of Killdeer out
      on the field, but no Goldies. Willets kept flying in to the marsh near the
      trailhead, flashing black and white next to the more sombre godwits, and of
      course the Clapper Rails reverberated in the distance.

      From there I wanted to check for the Magnificent Hummer at Kate Sessions,
      since lazy bones me had yet to even check it out (and according to the tape she
      was still hanging out), so up I went, crawled up some steps at the southeast
      corner as instructed, and poked along the fenceline area, which was pretty dead
      except for a Black Phoebe. About that time Guy McCaskie showed up (confirming
      that I was indeed in the right place), and he showed me all the places she
      had turned up in the past (but wasn't now, of course). He had just come from La
      Jolla Cove where there were evidently good numbers of Fulmars, jaegers, and a
      storm petrel of some kind (I nearly passed out but he delivered the news as
      though it happened every day)! We were yapping about other things when what
      looked like a large hummer showed up, that looked like she had a fat tail with
      white corners, and looked like she had a little spot behind the eye, but then
      suddenly shrunk when she emerged out the other side of the bush and morphed
      into an Anna's! Just another example of the "you see what you want to see"
      syndrome. On the way out we were talking with one of the neighbors who reported
      that the Mag was regularly coming to her feeder, so she promised to keep tabs on

      It was technically time to go home but since I was in the area I decided to
      see if I could find the Harlequin Duck at "Rose Creek Inlet", wherever that
      was! I had seen the bird in previous years from both the RV park and De Anza
      Cove; nothing at the cove, and the RV park was closed to outside traffic, so out
      of curiosity I drove to the end of North Mission Bay Dr. past the golf course,
      where the road dead-ended at a canal, which I assume is "Rose Creek Inlet"!
      It looked like a good hiding place for the duck, but he wasn't there (and I
      didn't stick around cuz I felt kinda creepy there).

      Headed home after that with 67 species for the morning and a nice prize for
      the year, even if it WASN'T the Mag! Bird list:

      Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
      Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
      Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
      Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
      Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
      Great Egret Ardea alba
      Snowy Egret Egretta thula
      Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
      Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis
      Gadwall Anas strepera
      Green-winged Teal Anas carolinensis
      Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
      Northern Pintail Anas acuta
      Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera
      Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
      Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
      Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
      Osprey Pandion haliaetus
      Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
      Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
      American Kestrel Falco sparverius
      Clapper Rail Rallus longirostris
      Sora Porzana carolina
      Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
      American Coot Fulica americana
      Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
      Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
      Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus
      Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa
      Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus
      Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
      Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
      Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
      Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri
      Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
      Dunlin Calidris alpina
      Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
      Western Gull Larus occidentalis
      Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri
      Rock Dove Columba livia
      Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
      Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus
      Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
      Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii
      Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
      Say's Phoebe Sayornis saya
      Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus
      American Pipit Anthus rubescens
      House Wren Troglodytes aedon
      Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris
      Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
      Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
      Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
      American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
      Common Raven Corvus corax
      European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
      House Sparrow Passer domesticus
      House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
      American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis
      Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
      Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
      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

      67 SPECIES

      Mary Beth Stowe
      San Diego, CA

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