January 24th – 28th, 2017
By Leader Je Anne Blackman
Our group included Leader Je Anne (former RRAS interim President, Vice President, Treasure, Education, Field Trip and Whittell Chair, developed and presented Basic Birding and Duck I D programs; OPPS (HBVP) member); Rita Schlageter (former RRAS Hospitality and Phone Chair, developed and presented several different school and scout programs); Huston Shoopman (former RRAS President, Treasurer, original member of the development of Henderson Bird View Preserve) and Charles Stegner (RRAS Treasurer). Fortunately for us, our other two in our group cancelled so we had enough room in our seven passenger van for all our stuff, we always take a lot of stuff.
We left early Tuesday morning stopping for breakfast in Baker. Our first stop was at the Santa Ann River where we met up with my birding friend John to see the female Tufted Duck. A life bird for Charles, we also got to see a Bald Eagle. Then to Bolsa Chica where we had great views of the Belding’s Sparrows, 3 species of Terns, lots of Snowy Plovers plus other shore birds. Then our drive to San Diego to check in.
Wednesday morning, off to the San Diego River to meet up with Randy and Babette. At the San Diego River Huston spotted a Ridgeway Rail, it was the first time in all the years I’ve been doing this trip that we had a rail here, Charles got some nice pictures of it. Had a couple of Little Blue Herons. We drove Fiesta Island and could not get over how few birds there was, very sad. We followed Randy and Babette up to San Diego Botanical Gardens, even fewer birds, but a nice place. Since California had so many bad storms one right after another that may explain the low numbers of birds. We made a brief stop at Murray Lake, before heading to a new location where after not too much searching we found a nice flock of Mitred and Red-masked Parakeets, life birds for some and ABA birds for others. At Santee Lake’s we had only two pairs of Wood Ducks, usually have at least 25 pairs.
Thursday morning, drive to Camp Pendleton to bird, here again low number of birds. Strong winds made it very hard to bird the beach area. Then made the drive along the Upper Newport Back Bay, I think almost all the Green-winged Teals were there. A brief stop at San Joaquin Audubon House, to see some land birds, then off to dinner.
Friday morning, we didn’t have to leave as early as high tide wasn’t until 8am. The Tijuana Slough was our place to see the Ridgeway Rails and see we did, the two swimming against the current was fun to watch, again Charles got some nice shots. Then it to the nearby apartments to find the Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, which we did along with Black-crowned Night-Herons. On the drive to the ocean we had a Tri-colored Heron, life bird for Charles. A short walk on Imperial Beach pier gave us Surf and Black (life bird for Charles and Huston) Scoters, we birded our way north along Coronado. Birded Sunset Cliffs for the three Cormorants, but didn’t see the Pelagic, a first for any trip.
Saturday morning was time to pack up and bird our way home. We did a brief stop at Lawrence Welk’s place, always good for Acorn Woodpeckers. Even thou our bird numbers were low we still ended our trip seeing 124 species. Charles ended the trip with six life birds and Huston had three life bird. Je Anne had one life bird and four new birds for my California list.