Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Birding Site Guide: Bayshore Bikeway, Imperial Beach

Bayshore Bikeway, 13th Street access heading northeast toward the Salt Works, Imperial Beach, California.
Imperial Beach is at the south end of the San Diego Bay. The town is literally squished between the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge on the north and the Tijuana Slough NWR a few blocks south and the ocean on the west. This site guide is to the 7th Street and 13th Street access points to the Bayshore Bikeway.

I must say that this is not a birding "destination." This is just a place to stop and see if any good birds are obvious on your way to the Tijuana Slough NWR or the mouth of the Tijuana River at the end of Seacoast Drive. This site guide is based on parking your car at these two points and walking about a half mile down the bike paths at each area. Thirty minutes at each location is probably sufficient; up to an hour if you walk farther or see good birds. Dodging bikes is one problem. Birding while walking and looking through the chain link fence on 13th Street is almost nausea-inducing (see photo above). However, there are several unique species here and nearby. Good birds are also reported here regularly, but I think many are reported by biologists surveying on private property of the Salt Works. If I find out differently, I'll update here.

One species found here (and pretty much only here) that I have yet to encounter is Reddish Egret. Other birds pretty much restricted to this area are Gull-billed Tern (summer) and Common Goldeneye (winter).


Getting there: I-5 south 15 miles from I-8, take the Palm Ave exit and head west 2 miles to 7th or 13th Streets. Follow these north to the edge of the bay. Parking: Free street parking at both locations. There is a dirt parking area at 13th Street. Hours: Daylight hours. Map navigation: 301 7th St., Imperial Beach, CA 91932 and 440 13th St., Imperial Beach, CA 91932.

Where to bird: At 7th Street (A on the map below) walk 1/8 mile west on the Bikepath. At 13th Street (B on map) there is a small little park area along the Otay River. Otherwise, one may walk the bike path NW 1/2 mile to C.


A scope will bring more of the distant birds into view.

Willet
Willet. Imperial Beach, California. February 7, 2015. Greg Gillson.
Marbled Godwit
Marbled Godwit
Brant
Brant
Surf Scoter
Surf Scoter
Eared Grebe
Eared Grebe