portfolio: San Diego & Imperial Counties — April 2006
all photos & text by Don Roberson,
These are highlights of a trip to San Diego & Imperial counties between
10-14 Apr 2006; all photos taken during that trip:
all photos taken in California
||After a long morning's drive to San Diego County on 10 April, the trip
began nicely with the stake-out Thick-billed Kingbird at Del Dios
on Lake Hodges (left).
We then stopped at Santee Lakes. There were fewer ducks than
we had expected (then again, it was near mid-April), but I was pleased
with photos of a wary male Ring-necked Duck (below left) and one
of the re-introduced Wood Duck (below right). Rita ticked off several
other county birds for her.
spent the night as guests of our friends Bill (right) and Mary Rydell,
in their highrise condo on Coronado beach. We were surprised to spot, from
our 9th floor perch, 7
Surfbird with the flocks of willets and godwits.
We ventured down to the ocean front beach for better views (one of them
is above). Later, after a fine Mexican meal and several Margaritas, we
were treated to a gorgeous sunset over Pt. Loma (below).
next morning (11 Apr) we visited south San Diego Bay (above) and
the Tijuana River estuary, including a small grove of eucalpts adjacent
to the visitor center parking lot (left). Here it was high tide and we
saw a Clapper Rail, and then did very well with southern herons. The suburban
eucalpt grove had two Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at roost (both
adults are shown directly below). The bayshore of the Silver Strand had
a feeding Little Blue Heron (second row, below right, unfortunately
silhouetted against the light) and while watching it a Reddish Egret
flew in and flushed it after a brief interchange (second row, below left,
another unfortunate backlit digiscoped shot). All these herons are long-time
stakeouts and presumably ho-hum to locals, but for those of us from Monterey
County, all were treats. [MTY still lack any YCNH records, and both REEG
& LBHE are very rare].
||At mid-day we struck out on some Pt. Loma vagrants (e.g., Baltimore
Oriole) but netted additional new county birds for Rita (among them Pelagic
& Brandt's Cormorants at Sunset Cliffs). At San Elijo Lagoon
in the afternoon (below), highlights included a migrant Vaux's Swift, singing
Yellow-breasted Chat (apparently newly arrived), and California Gnatcatcher
(left). The latter, of course, does not get into northern California and
this was my first photo of the species.
next morning (12 Apr) we were at Kitchen Creek early, enjoying yet another
gorgeous day (it had been steadily raining in Monterey the last couple
of weeks). We wandered along the Pacific Coast trail until we had this
view down to Kitchen Creek (right). Migrants were scattered throughout
the chaparral: male Rufous Hummingbird, Warbling Vireo, Townsend's &
Orange-crowned & 'Audubon's' Warblers among them. Returning to our
vehicle, we suddenly had two singing Gray Vireo across the street,
singing and chasing each other about and acting as they'd just dropped
out of the sky. Here also was a male Scott's Oriole and later, at
the campground, we heard Mountain Quail (but Black-chinned Sparrows had
apparently not yet arrived).
We headed upslope and north to Cuyamaca State Park and found much of
the habitat burned from the 2003 fires (habitat at Stonewall Mine, below).
Yet there was a good smattering of montane species, and migrants such as
Townsend's Warbler and singing Lark Sparrows.
All photos © 2006 Don Roberson; all rights reserved.
Readers may use this material for their own private enjoyment,
study, or research but none of the photos or text herein may be used commercially
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Page created 17 Apr 2006