Monday, April 25, 2016

Uncooperative birds on Stonebridge Trail

A Solitary Sandpiper spent 3 days, April 17-19, at a pond in the upper reaches of the San Elijo Lagoon. I went to look for it before work, early on the morning of the 19th. No joy. It was, however, seen an hour after I left by someone else. That's the way it works sometimes when searching for specific birds found by others. In fact, it works that way about 50% of the time for me.

But it was also an excuse to visit another location near where I go frequently, that I hadn't visited before.

It was not far "up river" from the excellent birding in the main lower San Elijo Lagoon of which I've written before ("Site Guide to San Elijo Lagoon"). I had also birded another access point quite nearby ("Some birds at San Elijo Lagoon (East)").

Getting there: I-5 to Solana Beach, exit on Loma Santa Fe Dr. If coming from the north go east under I-5 and take the first left; if coming from the south the exit ramp becomes Santa Helena after crossing Loma Santa Fe Dr. Santa Helena winds around and dead ends. There is free street parking here at the trailhead.

Here's what I saw when I arrived...

Stonebridge Trail
Stonebridge Trail trailhead
My birding would take me under the transmission lines to the bare little hill about 1/3 mile distant. Then follow the edge of the hill around to the left (west) and observe the ponds below.

I did find a couple of migrant Nashville Warblers right away. My photos just barely captured enough field marks to identify it, but it will win no prizes.

Nashville Warbler
Almost headless Nashville Warbler. Solana Beach, California. April 19, 2016. Greg Gillson.
Closer ponds...

Stonebridge Trail

White-faced Ibis
White-faced Ibis
You are up above the ponds on a ridge, so views are rather distant for photos... unless you want photo quiz-type photos...

Photo Quiz
Photo Quiz. Six birds. Can you find them all? Can you name the 4 species?
Farther ponds... See? You're up above the ponds here and can't search closely for shy and wary  species like Solitary Sandpiper hiding in the weeds...

Stonebridge Trail

I assume the target shorebird was in the shallows and mudflats of that farther pond with a group of dowitchers there. I spent about 20 minutes scanning, but the Solitary didn't come out of hiding in the pickleweed, I guess.

A rather distant photo of a Lesser Goldfinch is all I have to leave you with...

Lesser Goldfinch

I lied. I'm also leaving you with a link to my eBird checklist for the walk.