Birding at the Tijuana Estuary Wetlands Preserve, San Diego

When: April 2015                       Temp: 18-22C

Sony A55 70-400G      Leica M240/35 summilux

This was my 5th visit to San Diego for a conference and each previous time I had not ventured outside the city; this time I had a free day and so with my birding pal, we set off at 6am from SD to what we hoped would be a good day’s birding at the Tijuana River Valley and Estuary…the day didn’t start off very well….cos the GPS brought us to Border National Park which did not look very encouraging and on to a naval base which was also not a good idea with coast guard patrols chasing us away… finally we located the entrance to the Estuary Wetlands Preserve which is at the junction of Iris and 5th….having parked the car there, the wetland area was very flat and featureless, with nary a tree for cover..it was also right next to a military airbase with choppers constantly flying in and out….not the ideal place for birding…or so we thought. Not having much choice, we set off along the path that skirted the airbase…..

The path leading into the reserve, skirting the air base on the left...lots of birds perch on the wire!

7am early morning sun lighting the path leading into the reserve, skirting the air base on the left…lots of birds perch on the wire!

the first bird we saw was this yellow beauty, ID unknown....flitting actively in the bushes..

the first bird we saw was this yellow beauty, ID unknown….flitting actively in the bushes..

and then I saw this black bullet with orangey red wing flashes zip by...

and then I saw this black bullet with orangy red wing flashes zip by…

A local identified it for us as a bicoloured blackbird

A local identified it for us as a bicoloured blackbird

a pair

a pair

quite dramatic blackbird

quite dramatic blackbird

It was a pretty aggressive and territorial bird ..here harrassing a heron and we also saw it harrassing a raptor!

It was a pretty aggressive and territorial bird ..here harrassing a heron and we also saw it harrassing a raptor!

obligatory ass shot of the Easter bunny

obligatory ass shot of the Easter bunny…these hares were everywhere!

And then we saw this handsome bird..and couldn't figure out what it was...

And then we saw this handsome bird..and couldn’t figure out what it was…

till I noticed the orangy flash on his right wing leading edge...so maybe this is a juvenile bicoloured blackbird?

till I noticed the orangy flash on his right wing leading edge…so maybe this is a juvenile bicoloured blackbird?

a pair of mallards zipped by...

a pair of mallards zipped by…

as did a Harrier

as did a Harrier

the daisies were blooming

the daisies were blooming

and this unidentified beauty popped up

and this unidentified beauty popped up

and yet another unidentified but brilliantly blue bird appeared..

and yet another unidentified but brilliantly blue bird appeared..

 from the side

from the side

and off he goes...

and off he goes…

? Beldings Savannah Sparrow

? Beldings Savannah Sparrow

flight of the cormorants

flight of the cormorants

the terrain

the terrain

and then for me, the star bird of the morning...common in the USA but never seen in Asia....Anna's Hummingbird

and then for me, the star bird of the morning…common in the USA but never seen in Asia….Anna’s Hummingbird

incessantly active..

incessantly active..

it flitted and hovered...

it flitted and hovered…

from tree to tree, flashing its iridescent green

from tree to tree, flashing its iridescent green

one strange thing about this bird is that it looks green and grey...

one strange thing about this bird is that it looks green and grey…

until it turns its head to the sun and Bang! A red explosion around its head!

until it turns its head to the sun and Bang! A red explosion around its head!

One moment black throated...

One moment black throated…

the next gleaming red...

the next gleaming red…

and more...

and more…

I had thought that it was like the chromophores that change colour as in chameleons but apparently it’s just due to how the sunlight hits the neck….amazing.

a seagull winging by..

a seagull winging by..

anything you can do...

anything you can do…

I can do better!

I can do better!

Sanderlings on the sand..

Sanderlings on the sand..

birds of another kinds flew constantly

birds of another kinds flew constantly

All in, a great birding trip just half and hour out of San Diego…highly recommended.

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