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Chollas Lake to Tijuana River Valley (San Diego Co.)

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  • MiriamEagl@aol.com
    Hi, all! Today did a route starting at Chollas Lake in southeast San Diego, then headed down to J Street Marina (aka Chula Vista Harbor), then further down to
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 25, 2002
      Hi, all!

      Today did a route starting at Chollas Lake in southeast San Diego, then
      headed down to J Street Marina (aka Chula Vista Harbor), then further down to
      the Tijuana River Valley. Chollas was stuffed with Coots, Ring-billed Gulls
      and Double-crested Cormorants, one which had his fuzzy white "eyebrows"!
      Just had the usual eucalyptus-related stuff, including a couple of
      Selasphorus hummers WAY up in the top of one flowering euc. Interestingly
      had the only Snowy Egret of the day here as well.

      Hit the jackpot at J Street Marina, with large numbers of several species:
      Surf Scoters, Western Grebes, Brant, and Lesser Scaup were out in the bay,
      with lesser numbers of Bufflehead, Brown Pelicans, and Eared Grebes. Was
      drooling over two very close Brant in perfect light and bemoaning the fact
      that I left my camera in the car when Tony Merceica walked up with his
      monster rig; turns out there were lots more Brant back by the "corner" which
      he was shooting! He, of course, was looking for the two female Black
      Scoters, but neither of us had seen them yet, so after a little chatter we
      went our own ways.

      I went down by the "corner", carefully stepping around all the gulls,
      pigeons, and blackbirds, and started scanning; picked out a couple of Greater
      Scaup among the Lessers, which was nice, but what should suddenly grace my
      view but both the female Black Scoters! Unfortunately Tony was nowhere to be
      seen, so that kinda took the fun out of the sighting. I headed down towards
      the little creek, adding Heermann's and Glaucous-winged Gull, and against the
      light added several ducks and shorebirds to the list. A Belted Kingfisher
      had a post staked out across the way, and a nice addition was a Horned Lark
      actually singing in the barren lot across the street! Heading back to the
      car I was thrilled to see Tony heading back to the "corner", and when I
      finally caught up with him I again found the Blacks so he was able to get a
      look through the scope (unfortunately not close enough for pics, even with
      that goliath lens). So I felt better after that!

      Headed on down to Dairy Mart Ponds, where I discovered you could no longer
      park in the big lot, so I parked along the road and peeked in at several
      locations: lots of Shovelers, plus both stilts and avocets, and a few
      Green-winged Teal. Several Marsh Wrens sang, and picked up Hutton's Vireo
      and Orange-crowned Warblers in the riparian area, as well as expected
      Yellowthroats and Song Sparrows. Heard Great-tailed Grackles across the way,
      too, and waved hello to all the Border Patrol vehicles rumbling past...(at
      least I felt safe!)

      Does anybody know the status of Border Field State Park??? There's an
      impassible dirt mound at the entrance now, so I'd say it's closed for
      awhile... Went up Hollister and decided to investigate Tijuana River Valley
      Regional Park (aka "Guy's Place") a little more thoroughly, and found a horse
      trail closer to the river that I hadn't seen before, where tons of Red-winged
      Blackbirds were hanging out and a couple of Spotted Towhees were singing.
      This emptied out into the staging area, which I never knew was there, either:
      a HUGE parking area with at least two trails meandering out through the
      reeds! I walked back to the ranger station, picking up a couple of
      Rough-winged Swallows on the way, and meant to drive back and check out one
      of the trails, but curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to see where
      the road went, and lo and behold I ended up on Saturn! (Okay, guys, don't
      roll your eyes at me--I don't wander around down there much!) But I DID
      stumble onto Sunset Road and decided to try that trailhead at the west end; I
      remember feeling just a little spooky there before, but I wanted to give it
      another shot.

      Was glad I did: it's right next to a big boarding stables, so I doubted that
      unscrupulous characters would be hanging around there. Plus, it's an
      absolutely gorgeous willow riparian area, with more American Goldfinches than
      I've ever seen in one spot (aside from back east, of course)! Song Sparrows
      were abundant as well, but also kicked up a few special goodies, such as both
      Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks, both Nuttall's and Downy Woodpeckers,
      and a Common Ground Dove to boot! Also interesting were a pair of singing
      Wrentits, and Hermit Thrush and California Thrasher were unique for the day.
      It's a little noisy cuz you're pretty close to the helo port, but I'd bet
      this place is hopping in the spring! (And I felt perfectly safe this time

      Headed home after that with 71 species. Bird List:

      Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
      Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
      Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis
      Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
      Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
      Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
      Great Egret Ardea alba
      Snowy Egret Egretta thula
      Brant Branta bernicla
      American Wigeon Anas americana
      Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
      Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
      Northern Pintail Anas acuta
      Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
      Greater Scaup Aythya marila
      Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
      Black Scoter Melanitta nigra
      Surf Scoter Melanitta perspicillata
      Bufflehead Bucephala albeola
      Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
      Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
      Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
      American Coot Fulica americana
      Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
      American Avocet Recurvirostra americana
      Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
      Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri
      Heermann's Gull Larus heermanni
      Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
      California Gull Larus californicus
      Glaucous-winged Gull Larus glaucescens
      Western Gull Larus occidentalis
      Rock Dove Columba livia
      Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
      Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina
      Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
      Selasphorus Hummingbird Selasphorus sp.
      Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon
      Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii
      Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
      Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
      Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris
      Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
      Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
      Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
      Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris
      Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
      California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum
      Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus
      Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
      Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea
      Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
      American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
      Common Raven Corvus corax
      European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
      House Sparrow Passer domesticus
      Hutton's Vireo Vireo huttoni
      House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
      Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria
      American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis
      Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata
      Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
      Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
      Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
      California Towhee Pipilo crissalis
      Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
      White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
      Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
      Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus
      Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
      Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater

      71 SPECIES

      Mary Beth Stowe
      San Diego, CA

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