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Southern California Birding 2013-3

In late October, Liz and I did a 3-day birding loop through Southern California looking for rare birds. We started in San Diego, then drove east to the Salton Sea before looping home through Joshua Tree National Park. We never saw our target Yellow-green Vireo, but we did see Blue-footed Bobbies, a Bean Goose, a feral Flamingo, and a Yellow-footed Gull.

So Cal Birding 3-1

October 21, 2013. Birding Point Loma, San Diego

Several Mexican Yellow-green Vireos showed up in Southern California this fall, and after being skunked twice in Ventura, we decided to look for a bird that was being seen at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, Point Loma, San Diego. Liz has five family members buried there, so we had extra incentive to visit the cemetery. We left home early and went directly to look for the bird. We spent several hours without luck, and so decided to spend the middle of the day at Cabrillo National Monument, a mile or two farther south along Point Loma, and at the tide pools area. Eventually we returned to Fort Rosecrans to look for the vireo, but again it was not there. Fun birds were seen everywhere, and we got nice photos of a Clay-colored Sparrow and Wandering Tattler at the tide pools, but we never saw the vireo.

So Cal Birding 3-2

October 22, 2013. Birding San Diego

Up early, we returned to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery to look for that darned Yellow-green Vireo. Again no luck on that score, but we did see a Summer Tanager. From there we drove south to the Mexican Border and birded several sites around Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge. This was a refuge that we had wanted to visit for years, so it was nice to finally get there. We walked in the saltmarsh (endangered Belding's Savannah Sparrows, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and White-tailed Kite), the beach (lots of shorebirds and terns), and the riparian Tijuana River corridor (lots of ducks, herons, and California Towhee). Departing after sunset, we headed east towards the Salton Sea.

So Cal Birding 3-3

October 23, 2013. Birding the Salton Sea

Up early again, we were out by dawn looking for a mega-rarity at the south end of the Salton Sea. Shortly after sunrise, we spotted a Taiga Bean Goose associating with other geese while a flock of Sandhill Cranes hollered in the background. Moving on, we visited Obsidian Butte where about 8 juvenile Blue-footed Boobies waited for our arrival before heading out to feed. There were lots of other birds in the area including a juvenile Yellow-footed Gull. Moving on again, we visited the Refuge Headquarters area where we saw lots of Common Ground Doves and a Barn Owl. Walking out to the shoreline, we were surprised to see a feral Flamingo that, with two friends, apparently had been living free for about 30 years. Late in the afternoon, we pointed the car north and headed for home.

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 131226

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