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Southern California Birding 2013-4

In early November, Liz and I did a 4-day birding trip to Southern California looking for rare birds. We visited Tecalote Canyon where we saw Nutmeg Mannikins and Wrentits. We spent a day at sea where we saw lots of fall seabird migrants, including Brown Booby, Flesh-footed Shearwater, and Cassin's Auklet, plus California Sea Lions and an Elephant Seal. We spent a morning birding in the hills east of town, and we spent the next day at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

So Cal Birding 4-1

November 08, 2013. Birding Tecalote Canyon, San Diego

We were heading to San Diego again for yet another pelagic birding trip that offered the last chance, end of migration season, to look for rare offshore species this year. We needed to be there early in the morning, so we needed to drive down a day early. Not wanting to waste a chance, we left early in the morning in order to spend the entire day birding. We drove south to Tecalote Nature Center to look for Nutmeg Mannikins. We walked a few minutes into Tecalote Canyon, and sure enough, there they were. We spent a few hours birding the canyon, then got a room near the boat docks, and went to Anthony's Seafood Restaurant (Liz's favorite with childhood memories). After an early dinner, we settled in at the nearby San Diego River for evening birding. We were tickled to see about 70 Black Brants (we didn't know they migrated this far south) and a rare Eurasian Wigeon.

So Cal Birding 4-2

November 09, 2013. Birding Offshore San Diego

At about 6:30 AM, we met the Buena Vista Audubon Society for a pelagic trip to 9-mile Banks, an offshore area about 9 miles out where underwater ridges force nutrient rich waters to the surface. Nutrients feed the algae, which feed the bugs, which feed the fish, which then feed flocks of pelagic birds and herds of marine mammals. With high hopes and calm seas, we headed out. We saw about 50 species of birds (including Brown Booby, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Pink-footed Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Black-vented Shearwater, Northern Fulmar, Red phalarope, Pomarine Jaeger, Parasitic Jaeger, and Cassin's Auklet) plus California Sea Lions, Elephant Seal, and lots of Common Dolphin. Back onshore, we returned to the San Diego River for an evening of birding and take-out dinner.

So Cal Birding 4-3

November 10, 2013. Birding Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary, San Diego

We slept in a bit, but we were out early enough to meet the San Diego Audubon Society for a bird walk at their Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary (about 30 minutes inland in oak-covered hills). As might be expected for an open-to-the-public bird walk, it wasn't too exciting, but it was fun to visit a new area and see a different variety of birds. Highlights included Nuttall's Woodpecker, California Quail, Spotted Towhee, and Oak Titmouse. A Cooper's Hawk came in and quieted the feeders for awhile, but overall it was a nice place to visit. After lunch at Liz's childhood Anthony's Seafood Restaurant, we drove back downtown to bird Fiesta Park in San Diego Bay. The place was crowed, but we had nice views of White-tailed Kite and American Kestrel. With the crowds, however, we returned to the San Diego River for another delightful evening of birding.

So Cal Birding 4-4

November 11, 2013. Balboa Park and the San Diego Natural History Museum

Our last day in San Diego was rather unusual for us. We went downtown early and birded Balboa Park for an hour or two before the San Diego Natural History Museum opened at 10 AM. We saw nothing special, but species included Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird, White-crowned Sparrow, and an Eastern Fox Squirrel. We spent most of the day in the Natural History Museum (until about 3:30 PM). We hadn't been there in decades, and Liz had fond childhood memories in the place. We eventually got lunch at an outdoor cafe (not high cuisine), then drove home.

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
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