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Exploring San Pasqual Valley (San Diego Co.)

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  • MiriamEagl@aol.com
    Hi, all! The weather was clear, so I finally was able to try out that leg of the San Pasqual Valley Trail where it crosses Yaqui Creek Road (so I m gonna call
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2004
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      Hi, all!

      The weather was clear, so I finally was able to try out that leg of the San
      Pasqual Valley Trail where it crosses Yaqui Creek Road (so I'm gonna call it
      the "Yaqui Creek Trail" for my records...). I tried both eastbound and
      westbound, and the former is definitely the better of the two: a 15 minute hike took
      me to the next cross street (where the trail continues onto the bridge) and you
      pass by some riparian habitat next to the agricultural area, so that coupled
      with the chaparral and spotty grassland made for a nice variety of birds. Had
      a goldfinch sweep on this trail (tons of Lessers bouncing about), and many
      sparrows, including at least three Lincoln's and a nominate Savannah. And I've
      never seen so many Hooded Orioles in one spot in my life: I probably had at
      least four pairs bopping around! (Unfortunately the cowbirds were also
      following them closely...) One pair was particularly funny: the male flew into a
      cottonwood (?) while his mate stayed in the palm across the street; they chattered
      at each other until finally the male flew to the wire next to the road, they
      chattered some more, and he finally joined her in the palm as if to say,
      "Well, all right--if you insist, we'll build the nest here!!" Also had some nice
      Bullock's as well, with one Phainopepla hanging around with them. Had other
      wetland-type stuff like Song Sparrows, Yellowthroats, House Wrens, and a single
      Yellow Warbler tuning up. I could have sworn I heard a Cactus Wren across the
      street, but I didn't see any cactus, so I wrote it off as a Mockingbird
      pulling my leg (although I did get a California Gnatcatcher going the westbound
      leg). At the resting spot near the aforementioned bridge had a kettle of Turkey
      Vultures over the ag field, plus three Cattle Egrets and two Black-necked
      Stilts heading east. A Great Egret flew overhead on the way back, and discovered
      a Red-tailed Hawk nest in one of the larger trees; the male was coming back
      with a rodent, made a swoop around, and evidently decided to wait till I was
      gone before landing on the nest. Except for the gnatcatcher and the beautiful
      view, the westbound trail wasn't very exciting, so I think I'll keep the
      eastbound as the "official" trail at this site.

      I don't know what got into me, but I also decided to try (again) the
      southbound Clevenger Trail, which you come to as you continue east on Highway 78. I
      had written it off years ago as being too strenuous, but I thought I'd try it
      again, and it IS what I would classify as a three-star trail (I only have three
      as opposed to Jerry Shad's five: one star is flat as a pancake, two stars has
      some slight inclines, and three stars is uphill enough to kick in the
      asthma), but I went real slow, had a beautiful view after ten minutes of uphill, and
      figured doing this once in awhile wouldn't kill me (just wait'll mid
      August...). Had the only California Thrasher of the day on this trail, plus the usual
      common chaparral fare.

      I had never dared try the northbound trail, mainly because I knew it went
      straight downhill, but I suffered momentary insanity and decided to try it after
      all. And it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought! Yes, it DOES go straight
      downhill at first, but it's a series of rock-stairs that makes it fairly easy to
      negotiate (and a cute little Rufous-crowned Sparrow met me on one of the
      boulders to boot)! And in ten minutes' time I was in a lovely riparain area at the
      bottom of the canyon! Orange-crowned Warblers were going through the mating
      motions down here as well as Song Sparrows and Yellowthroats, and also had a
      Costa's Hummingbird "singing", as well as an Ash-throated Flycatcher. Took it
      REAL slow going back up, and when I finally crawled into the parking lot met a
      group of hikers getting ready to do the whole banana, and they were all in
      their 60s! I was impressed!

      That was it for the hiking, so I decided to do Pamo Valley, and I must say
      that I never get tired of this place! A Lesser Goldfinch was having fun at the
      first pulloff at the top of the hill, utilizing Cassin's Kingbird, Flicker,
      White-breasted Nuthatch, and something else in his song that I forgot, but he
      was good enough to throw me off at a couple of points! Oak Titmice were all
      over, and down at the bottom picked up Pacific-slope Flycatcher and Blue-gray
      Gnatcatcher for the day, plus another Rufous-crowned Sparrow. There were tons of
      Acorn Woodpeckers around, doing their Woody Woodpecker calls, and at least
      three Lewis' were still around, one giving a particularly good show. Other
      dickeys included Say's Phoebe, Lark Sparrow, and Western Bluebird in the grassy
      areas, and from the chaparral hillsides a Black-chinned Sparrow and Canyon Wren
      wafted down! The Steller's Jay was still calling from the distance (maybe got
      driven down by the fire; one road was closed for that reason). Plenty of
      Cliff Swallows swooped overhead, and at the end of the road I was delighted to
      pick up a flock of Tricolored Blackbirds in the farmer's property (no, I didn't
      go in)!

      Headed home after that with 65 species for the day. Bird list:

      Great Egret Ardea alba
      Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
      Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
      Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
      Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
      California Quail Callipepla californica
      Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
      Rock Dove Columba livia
      Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
      Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
      Costa's Hummingbird Calypte costae
      Lewis' Woodpecker Melanerpes lewis
      Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
      Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii
      Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
      Pacific-slope Flycatcher Empidonax difficilis
      Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
      Say's Phoebe Sayornis saya
      Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens
      Cassin's Kingbird Tyrannus vociferans
      Western Kingbird Tyrannus verticalis
      Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
      Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
      Phainopepla Phainopepla nitens
      Canyon Wren Catherpes mexicanus
      Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
      House Wren Troglodytes aedon
      Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
      California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum
      Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana
      Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
      Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea
      California Gnatcatcher Polioptila californica
      Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
      Oak Titmouse Baeolophus inornatus
      Steller's Jay Cyanocitta stelleri
      Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
      American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
      Common Raven Corvus corax
      European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
      House Sparrow Passer domesticus
      House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
      Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria
      Lawrence's Goldfinch Carduelis lawrencei
      American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis
      Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata
      Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
      Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
      Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
      Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
      California Towhee Pipilo crissalis
      Rufous-crowned Sparrow Aimophila ruficeps
      Black-chinned Sparrow Spizella atrogularis
      Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus
      Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
      Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
      Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii
      White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
      Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
      Tricolored Blackbird Agelaius tricolor
      Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta
      Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus
      Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater
      Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus
      Bullock's Oriole Icterus bullockii

      65 SPECIES

      Mary Beth Stowe
      San Diego, CA

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