White-tailed Kite, Lake Cuyamaca
Enjoying a rodent snack

   
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San Diego & Laguna Mts.
Sep 28-29, 2002, 45 - 85 degrees
- narrated by Henry Detwiler

Two days of wonderful birding with Chuck & Diane Gooding in San Diego and the Laguna Mountains.  
125
species

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Chuck and I started out at 6:30 again and drove north to sunny San Elijo Lagoon.  We scanned in vain for Royal Terns, but did add Shoveler to our trip list.  From the trail we again heard Wrentits in the chaparral, and soon after the mewing of California Gnatcatchers.  They were uncooperative at first, but with persistence we got some very nice views of a family group.


California Thrasher at San Eligo Lagoon

A California Thrasher jumped up to see what all the fuss was, and we got some nice scope views.  On the north side of the lagoon we added Short-billed Dowitcher and Eared Grebe, but struck out on the Yellow-crowned Night Heron.  We left the warm coast behind us as we climbed into the Laguna Mountains.  Clouds shrouded the peaks and old man winter decided to come out for a stroll. 

Drizzle and fog continued to be our companions as we topped out at the Wooded Hill Trail (6000').  But Dark-eyed Juncos, Acorn Woodpeckers, Pygmy Nuthatches, and Stellar's Jays made the chilly walk pleasant.

At the Burnt Rancheria Campground we were accosted by hungry Pygmy Nuthatches. One brave bird landed first on Chuck's hand, and then on my fingertips! We went back for my camera and some cookies, but the nuthatches wanted nothing to do with our chocolate chips.  
Raining?  No, it's Chuck waiting for the Pygmy Nuthatch to return


Burned Chaparral east of Sunrise Hwy

At El Prado Campground we found our first W. Bluebirds.  Much of the forest and chaparral east of Sunrise Highway was burned in a forest fire last summer.  It was a stark and sobering sight--we drove past this area on the way to Lake Cuyamaca.

   


White-tailed Kite, Lake Cuyamaca

Along the north shore of Lake Cuyamaca we watched this White-tailed Kite ripping into a vole.  In the water was a small flock of Wood Duck, 3 Lesser Scaup, Canada Geese, American Wigeons, Pintails, and 100s of Mallards. We scoured a small blackbird flock for Tri-colored, but found only Red-wings
  .  

At the south boat dock a Red-shouldered Hawk screamed and landed on a near-by limb for a great view.  As we we scanned the lake, two birds landed in a close maple tree sapling-- Lawrence's Goldfinches!  Then, to add icing to the cake, the male flew over to the top of a boulder directly in front of us--what a Beauty!
   


Great Blue Heron at Lake Cuyamaca


Wood Duck at Lake Cuyamaca
We bypassed the crowded Paso Pichacho Campground and stopped at the south end of the park.  A male Lesser Goldfinch gave Chuck much nicer views than the ones in Smuggler Gulch.  A Hairy Woodpecker called from the trees, but always managed to stay on the far side of the trunk.

Our final stop on the way back to San Diego was Lake Jennings Park.  The park was closed (due to low water?), and we could spot nothing from outside the fence except for a Western Gull.  Back at the hotel we said our goodbyes, and with the wind at my back, I headed home to Yuma.


California Towhee

   
 San Diego area and Laguna Mountains
28-29 Sep 2002
 
# Species Qty
1 Pied-billed Grebe 8
2 Eared Grebe 6
3 Western Grebe 300+
4 American White Pelican 24+
5 Brown Pelican 60+
6 Brandt's Cormorant 50+
7 Double-crested Cormorant 8
8 Pelagic Cormorant 3
9 Great Blue Heron 12
10 Great Egret 14
11 Snowy Egret 22
12 Little Blue Heron 1
13 Cattle Egret 0
14 Black-crowned Night Heron 1
15 Greater White-fronted Goose 13
16 Canada Goose 6
17 Wood Duck 6
18 American Wigeon 14
19 Blue-winged Teal 4
20 Mallard 60
21 Cinnamon Teal 1
22 Northern Shoveler 4
23 Northern Pintail 6
24 Lesser Scaup 3
25 Ruddy Duck 26
26 Osprey 8
27 White-tailed Kite 4
28 Northern Harrier 6
29 Cooper's Hawk 8
30 Red-shouldered Hawk 2
31 Red-tailed Hawk 4
32 American Kestrel 8
33 California Quail 14
34 American Coot 34
35 Black-bellied Plover 200+
36 Pacific Golden Plover 1
37 Snowy Plover 80
38 Semipalmated Plover 60
39 Killdeer 22
40 Black-necked Stilt 16
41 American Avocet 28
42 Greater Yellowlegs 12
43 Lesser Yellowlegs 1
44 Willet 36
45 Wandering Tattler 2
46 Spotted Sandpiper 10
47 Whimbrel 8
48 Long-billed Curlew 1
49 Marbled Godwit 80+
50 Ruddy Turnstone 1
51 Black Turnstone 41
52 Red Knot 6
53 Sanderling 22
54 Western Sandpiper 20+
55 Least Sandpiper 26+
56 Baird's Sandpiper 1
57 Dunlin 8
58 Ruff 1
59 Short-billed Dowitcher 2+
60 Long-billed Dowitcher 112+
61 Turkey Vulture 2
62 Heerman's Gull 21
63 Ring-billed Gull 22

   

 
# Species Qty
64 Herring Gull 2
65 Western Gull 26
66 Caspian Tern 1
67 Elegant Tern 46
68 Forster's Tern 54
69 Black Skimmer 28
70 Rock Dove 8
71 Mourning Dove 24
72 Greater Roadrunner (glimpsed) 1
73 Vaux's Swift 12
74 Anna's Hummingbird 22
75 Belted Kingfisher 2
76 Acorn Woodpecker 32
77 Nuttall's Woodpecker 2
78 Hairy Woodpecker (heard only) 2
79 Western Wood Pewee 1
80 Hammond's Flycatcher 1
81 Black Phoebe 18
82 Say's Phoebe 3
83 Stellar's Jay 9
84 Western Scrub Jay 18
85 American Crow 28
86 Common Raven 11
87 Wrentit (heard only) 4
88 Horned Lark 4
89 Tree Swallow 28
90 Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2
91 Cliff Swallow 1
92 Barn Swallow 18
93 Mountain Chickadee 12
94 Oak Titmouse 12
95 Bushtit 23
96 White-breasted Nuthatch 9
97 Pygmy Nuthatch 24
98 Bewick's Wren 1
99 House Wren 4
100 Marsh Wren 2
101 California Gnatcatcher 6
102 Western Bluebird 11
103 American Robin 1
104 Northern Mockingbird 4
105 California Thrasher 4
106 European Starling 14
107 American Pipit 1
108 Phainopepla 2
109 Orange-crowned Warbler 10
110 Prairie Warbler 1
111 Common Yellowthroat (heard) 1
112 Green-tailed Towhee 1
113 Spotted Towhee 14
114 California Towhee 18
115 Song Sparrow 8
116 White-crowned Sparrow 16
117 Dark-eyed Junco 22
118 Black-headed Grosbeak 1
119 Red-winged Blackbird 21
120 Western Meadowlark 3
121 Brewer's Blackbird 28
122 Cassin's Finch 1
123 House Finch 19
124 Lesser Goldfinch 6
125 Lawrence's Goldfinch 2
126 House Sparrow 18

Photos Henry D. Detwiler