|Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warbler. Cuyamaco Rancho State Park, California. March 22, 2015. Greg Gillson.|
Though regenerating nicely with bushes and saplings, it will take 80-150 years before the forest will be similar to what it was. That's if the climate returns to the the wetter conditions of 20 years ago or more. There are only a few spots in the park that escaped the conflagration. Two locations where some pine, fir, and cedar still stand are at Paso Picacho Campground and nearby Stonewall Mine.
There is a very good recent (August 2014) hiking guide to this spot on the Modern Hiker web site, including Lake Cuyamaca, that I didn't hike to. My hike was only 1/2 mile around the mine trail. There is another trail that connects to Fletcher Island on the lake. Combining both hikes is 2.75 miles round trip with 315 feet elevation change described as an "easy" hike.
The eBird Hotspot page for this site lists 147 species, which is excellent for the high forest and meadows. Judging from the list of birds, that 147 species includes birds seen at Lake Cuyamaca, too, even though there is a separate Hotspot for that lake. My visit of 1 hour and 20 minutes in late March had a more typical 23 species of primarily forest birds.
Another bird found here is Wild Turkey. I glimpsed one running across the road down by the lake as I drove by.
Oh, and Part 2 is up now.