The parking lot is in the middle of a palm tree nursery. The riparian area is across the road, but the water--via irrigation--is in the nursery. Thus, many birds are along both sides of the road flying back-and-forth.
The trail from the parking lot leads northeast along the edge of the nursery, then crosses Highland Valley Road. The trail goes right and left (see sign, below). I first turn left (toward Mule Hill) and follow the trail across a low walkway and enter the riparian (the only place the trail really does so). Just check the birds in this section, and when you reach the dry grass with no birds, go back and take the trail to the right (toward Raptor Ridge) this time.
|From this sign I go left a few hundred feet, then I come back and walk about a mile to the right.|
First you start right in the parking lot and walk NE along the edge of the palm tree nursery. Birds in the nursery include summering Pacific-slope Flycatchers, Blue Grosbeaks, Hooded Orioles, and many more.
|Blue Grosbeak. Highland Valley Road, Escondido, California. May 30, 2016. Greg Gillson.|
Cross the road (carefully--you can activate a flashing light at the crossing to warn traffic, but that guarantees nothing, as you know). Then you enter a wide riparian area. This has perhaps the most birds of the route, just across the street from the palm tree nursery. Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Black-headed Grosbeaks, House Wrens, Bell's Vireos, and Yellow-breasted Chats are summer breeders. Year-long residents include Mourning Doves, Common Ground-Doves, Song Sparrows, Bewick's Wrens, Downy Woodpeckers, Nuttall's Woodpeckers, American Kestrels, Red-shouldered Hawks and more. It really helps to know your bird songs and calls, as the habitat is quite thick, and one is reminded to stay on the trails.
You still have wetland birds on the left (Yellow Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak), but chaparral birds on the right (California Towhee). As you cross under the high-tension power lines listen for Rock Wrens and Canyon Wrens on the cliffs above.
|A tiny little butterfly--a Lupine Blue.|