California Part 1

So I have a lot to write about. A LOT. I have fallen very behind on blog posts and have yet to write about two major trips which I have gone on recently. So to begin to catch up, I will write about the trip I took to Southern California (San Diego to be exact) back in January. It wasn’t a birding trip but I was able to do some birding while I was there.

We were staying in La Jolla so the first place we went to to bird was Torrey Pines State Reserve. This beautiful park is situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. We was first created to protect the Torrey Pine which is endemic to the area. It also has great birding. I was hoping to come across some of the more common California specialty birds as most of them would be life birds for me.

It was dawn when my dad and I pulled up to the park. I had just gotten my life Heermann’s gull on the beach alongside the park so I was quite excited to see what else I could find. We parked the car and began to walk up the road which leads into the park.

Things seemed pretty quiet at the beginning of the road but we quickly came across a California towhee!

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California Towhee

We also saw a small flock of “Gambel’s” white-crowned sparrows.

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White-crowned Sparrow

Continuing on, I realized that California towhees are a lot more common then I thought they were. We saw them everywhere on the rest of the way up, many of them were quite confiding and unafraid as well.

We quickly came up to the Guy Flemming Trail, named after the man who founded and preserved the park. This trail was apparently quite good for birds so we decided to walk it and see what we could find. As soon as we walked onto the trail proper, we immediately saw both a wrentit and a Bewick’s wren moving around in the shrubs along the trail. Two new life birds at the same time!

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Bewick’s Wren

Continuing along the trail, we came across the first western schrub-jay I have seen in a couple years which was awesome. However, what was even more exciting was the Nuttall’s woodpecker we found hammering into a tree just off the trail. This was a bird which I had been badly hoping to see and I was glad to be able to find one so quickly.

The trail quickly transitioned from thin pine woodland to desertlike shrub as we moved further along. We soon came across the first Anna’s hummingbird (another life bird) and say’s pheobes that we had seen.

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Anna’s Hummingbird

As great as the trail was, it wasn’t all that long before we reached the other end. The then continued to walk further up the main road until we reached the top. However, we didn’t get to spend all that much more time in the park as we had to head back to La Jolla. It was an amazing morning of birding and a good introduction to the wonders of Southern Californian birding.

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