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Break out the binoculars, pack a snack and head outside.
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Silverwood is open to the public on Sundays from 9 am to 4 pm, October through July. Guided nature walks are conducted at 10 am and 1:30 pm October through June. Arrange group tours by contacting Phil Lambert, the resident manager, at (619) 443-2998.
Thomas Guide: 1268: A5
The San Diego River Estuary is one of the most productive and rewarding birding sites in our region. The salt marsh mudflats, sand islands, and wetlands, always changing with the fluctuating tides, provide rest spots and foraging areas for a wealth of bird species. Some summer birds may yet remain (e.g. Elegant Terns), and the winter visitors will be arriving. We will look for Osprey, herons, gulls, ducks, shorebirds, possibly even Clapper Rails. Restrooms are available at the trailhead at Robb Field.
Thomas Guide 1349: F1
Beginning at the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center, we will follow the McCoy trail to look for Ridgway's (formerly Clapper) Rail, and foraging Long-billed Curlews, Whimbrels, and Belding’s Savannah Sparrows. The latter part of the walk will visit other areas of the South San Diego Bay, the sites dependent upon the status of the Fall migration, and where the birds can best be seen. Restrooms at the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center.
Thomas Guide: 1250: E6
This field trip visits the northwest side of Lake Murray where participants will be taken to native and park associated habitats, including sage scrub, eucalyptus trees, willows, and freshwater marsh along the lake. A mixture of bird species may be found, including early wintering ducks, Great Blue Heron, Egrets, Osprey, hawks, as well as resident land birds. Easy walking. Restrooms available.
Thomas Guide: 1228: E6
Marian Bear Park is a long and narrow open space area within San Clemente Canyon, bordered by State Route 52 on the north. Tall and mature oaks and sycamores grow high above a strip of willows along a seasonal creek. Adjacent slopes support coastal sage scrub, chaparral and grassland. Possible species include Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, Acorn and Nuttall’s Woodpeckers, Spotted and California Towhees, California Thrasher, and, possibly, early White-crowned Sparrows.
Thomas Guide: 1268:F2 Map
Tecolote Canyon is one of several protected urban canyons in the San Diego area that support native plant communities and associated bird life. Birds that are here for the entire year include hawks, Anna’s Hummingbird, California Thrasher, House Wren, Wrentit, and both California and Spotted Towhees. These resident birds are quite common. Some winter visitors may be arriving, such as White-crowned Sparrows. Easy walking. Restrooms may be found at the trailhead by the Visitor Center.
Thomas Guide: 1189: D-7
Los Penasquitos Canyon is another of San Diego County’s treasured open space “oasis amidst urban sprawl” preserves. Represented are riparian, chaparral, and grassland habitats. We will seek out resident raptors, woodpeckers, and wrens. We have not done this walk in several years, so surprises may appear. Please note that this walk will begin earlier than most in order to help avoid the heat that is likely at this time of year. 7:00 AM. Bring hats, sunscreen, and water. Restroom facilities are adjacent to the parking area at the trailhead.
The South Bay Salt Works has over 20 salt ponds used to extract salt from seawater by evaporation. This area is normally closed to the public, except for once-per-month guided walks led by San Diego Audubon docents during the bird non-breeding fall and winter months. We will learn about the history of the salt works and the process of obtaining salt from nature. We also look to see birds, including Peregrine Falcon, Belding’s Savannah Sparrow, as well as wintering shorebird and duck species. There is a choice of walks on flat terrain. One is 2.0 miles one-way and will retrace the route. The other is 5 miles and will walk the entire perimeter of the levees. No restrooms.
Thomas Guide 1228: C-5
Rose Canyon is another of those urban gems that has only been preserved because of the tireless efforts of local conservationists. It is another area that we have not visited in several years, but should have representative resident raptors, woodpeckers, wrens, jays, and, perhaps, a few surprises. The trail is flat and easy, but should stir your interest and thirstiness in some post-hike libations at the nearby Karl Strauss Brewery, if you are so interested. No restroom facilities at the trailhead or along the hike.
Thomas Guide: 1330: A-5
The South San Diego Bay and Silver Strand Bikeway is a newer location for this Birding and Biking adventure. We will meet just off of I-5 at the west end of Main Street in the South Bay just before Imperial Beach at the beginning of the Silver Strand Bikeway. We will view the Salt Works ponds from the pathway, the restored wetlands along the south end of the San Diego Bay, and some of the sandy edges of the Bay as the bikeway curves north. Wintering birds should be present in abundance at this time. Bring bikes, water, and prepare for the whims of weather. Porta-potties at the trailhead.