Saturday, October 13, 2018

Birding Site Guide: Buddy Todd Park, Oceanside: Neotropical Migrants

Buddy Todd is a 19-acre hilltop park about 3 miles inland from the beach in Oceanside. It has paved trails throughout the lush lawns, picnic areas, basketball court, children's play equipment, restrooms. The numerous trees, both deciduous and conifers attract many birds in migration.

For those in the North County, Buddy Todd is a poor-man's substitute for the fantastic migrant sites like Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, the Tijuana River Valley's Bird and Butterfly Garden, and Balboa Park south nearer San Diego. These areas are about a 45-70 minute drive south of Oceanside.

April-May and September-October are best for a chance for rare Neotropical migrants: warblers, vireos, tanagers, grosbeaks, flycatchers.

In winter you might look for Red-breasted or Red-naped Sapsuckers, Brown Creepers, American Robins.

Mountain Chickadees are rare residents. Western Bluebirds are very common residents.

Here is an eBird bar chart of bird frequency.

Getting there: Buddy Todd Park in Oceanside is 37 miles north from the I-5/I-8 interchange in San Diego. From I-5 in Oceanside take the Mission Avenue E exit 53. East 0.9 miles to Mesa Dr. Right on Mesa Dr. 1.0 miles to Buddy Todd Park on left. Parking: Free. Hours: 6 AM to 9 PM. Map Navigation: 2800 Mesa Drive, Oceanside, California 92054.

Where to bird: The park area near the basketball courts (red B on map below) often provides the best birding and fewest people, though rare birds can show up anywhere. This is flat easy paved (yellow trail on map below) birding.

The photos below give a feel to the park. Search each tree for birds. You'll want to start early and finish when the sun becomes warm and birding activity stops. As you can see by the photos below, though, a marine layer of overcast that lasts into late morning is typical much of the year. These conditions can extend bird activity as long as it persists. If it is a clear cool morning, the trees east of the basketball court will receive the first warm rays of light and birding may be most intense at dawn there as the bugs warm up and become active.

Buddy Todd Park, Oceanside
Buddy Todd Park, Oceanside
Buddy Todd Park, Oceanside
White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatches are uncommon this close to the ocean.
Western Bluebird
Western Bluebirds are common residents of Buddy Todd Park.
Mountain Chickadee
Lowland Mountain Chickadees may be found here, rare away from pine mountains.
Black Phoebe
Black Phoebes are common residents.
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Keep an eye out for Nuttall's Woodpeckers.
Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed (Oregon) Juncos are uncommon residents of parks with low bushes like Buddy Todd.

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