Sunday, October 12, 2014

Remembering my first birding trip to the Tijuana River Mouth in 2013

Back in April 2013, I did my first birding trip to the Tijuana River Mouth where I saw snowy plovers and other birds getting ready for migration.  I have been back since then, most recently when they huge shoals of anchovies arrived and thousands of birds took advantage of them.

In early April, 2013, I made my first trip to the mouth of the Tijuana River to do some birding. Though I have been birding for over three years in San Diego and Imperial Counties, I haven't been to this "hot spot" of local birding, yet, though I've heard a lot about it. Recently, a Wilson's plover was seen in the area. Wilson's plovers are rare in this area and most of the time; they stay south of the U.S. border, except for summer visits along the Gulf of Mexico, east coast, and the very south part of Florida.

The closest place to park was at the end of Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach. From there, you can see the Tijuana River flowing down towards the mouth. In this area, you can often see waterfowl and herons and, perhaps, a rare light-footed clapper rail. There is an observation deck situated over the marshy area. Where I had to be was about a 20-30 minute walk south which can be awkward if you're carrying tripods, scopes, cameras and the like. I walked along the edge of an area roped off for the least tern and snowy plovers to nest until I reached where it ended and set up my equipment.

In front of me was a flock of black-bellied plovers turning into their breeding plumage. 

There were several tiny western sandpipers; some of them were half-buried in the sand. sandpipers were running all about.They seemed to be the most bold of all the birds there, coming very close to me. 

A couple dozen snowy plovers were running around in the more sandy areas nearby.

Not far from me was a large flock of terns and gulls, screeching and flying all around. Pelicans, both brown and white, sat on a mud patch. One thing I enjoyed was the plentiful long-billed curlews flying and calling all around. They seem to like to fight with each other. A whimbrel tried to fly into their area and was chased off.

I tried to take pictures through my scope, but I just haven't gotten the hang of it, yet. I did manage to take several pictures with my normal camera lens. Just after I started to leave, a family came by and started flying a kite, causing all the birds to fly off and scatter all around. They were reacting to it like it was a falcon. Just a few minutes ago, they seemed calm, but were now agitated. Needless to say, the family got a good talking to by Fish and Game officials about that.

I didn't see the Wilson's plover.
Though I used most of my own personal experience in this article, here are some helpful links:

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