Wednesday, March 25, 2009

San Diego, Part 6 (final) (San Elijo Lagoon)

An attractive but exotic species of mustard at San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

On our last full day in San Diego (March 13), my wife and I left my father's place in North County after breakfast and drove back to the city to stay with my brother-in-law. We were leaving on a very early flight the next morning, and my brother-in-law's place is a half-hour closer to the airport than my dad's. Although we got to my brother-in-law's place at 11 a.m., we really didn't have anything planned for the day, which put me in a bad mood; for me it's all about "structure." Eventually, we decided to walk the beach at Torrey Pines State Park near La Jolla, and off we went.

En route, we stopped at Los Penasquitos Estuary, just short of the beach, because I noticed large numbers of shorebirds and waterfowl. We birded the mudflats and pools for about an hour, and then my brother-in-law said, "I know a great birdwatching site just up the coast!" and off we drove to San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Solana Beach, where we birded for the rest of the day. We never made it to the beach.

San Elijo is mostly salt marsh habitat, but there are small sections of coastal scrub, freshwater marsh, and grassy uplands as well. The diversity of habitats was great for us because we were able to see 28 species in the space of a few hours, and we were able to add several species to our life lists:
  • Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)
  • American Wigeon (Anas americana)
  • Gadwall (Anas strepera)
  • American Avocet (Aythya americana)
  • Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae)
  • Savannah Sparrow (Belding's race) (Passerculus sandwichensis)
  • Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)
The western trailhead at San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. There's a hot air balloon in the background.

After we left San Elijo, we drove out to Poway (a northeastern suburb) for some mediocre live music and pub grub at a faux British bar called Phileas Fogg's.

Here endeth my account of my 2009 spring break in San Diego.

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