When my daughter and her family moved to Southern California I was blessed to be able to enjoy this beautiful part of California and of course expand my birding opportunities when I visited. Some birds on the West Coast are different from ones that I live side by side with in Central Texas and on the Gulf Coast, so it was with great anticipation that I ventured out to explore different birding areas that I previously scoped out on the internet.
As one might imagine, the Southern California coastline is high dollar real estate and approximately 90% of it has been developed leading to the loss of natural wetlands that are imperative for the survival of many bird species. Fortunately there are pockets of these wetlands that have been protected to ensure that some of these areas remain for our bird friends. One in particular that I can’t wait to revisit is the Tijuana Estuary at Imperial Beach. It is part of approximately 2500 acres that is part of the Tijuana River watershed.
On my first visit there, California was experiencing what they call a “California King Tide” which basically meant that the salt marshes and estuaries were flush with water. That translates into great birding opportunities. The tides flow in, fill the shallow estuary basins, providing food and shelter for many species of plants, animals and invertebrates. The depth of these ponds and the types of soil can determine what species live there. It is a careful balancing act that many times unfortunately can be upset by man.
On this particular day, a few we were fortunate to spot were Whimbrels, Egrets, cormorants, common rails, house finch, California Towhee, American Kestrel and Western Grebes.
Walking beaches and trails in search of birds makes one hungry. And what better way to satisfy that craving than seeking some street tacos to assuage our hunger. Easily available in a town bordering Mexico.
If you are lucky enough to be visiting Southern California check out this wonderful protected natural resource if you just want to enjoy some beautiful scenery or experience the thrill of finding a new “lifer” bird species. Find more information at http://www.trnerr.org.
Happy bird searching!!!