Birding Southern California: Day 1, San Jacinto

If I were a “big year” birder, this would be one heck of a way to start off the year; New Year’s Day flight to San Diego and then a drive to some of the best birding areas in southern California.  Our ultimate destination was Joshua Tree National Park but, we had planned for a day and a half of unrelenting birding.  We started at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. (A)  Normally, we’re not huge fans of birding by car but, this place was extraordinary.  A series of gravel roads elevated on dikes created wetland habitat that was loaded with birds.  Aly called the spot a “bird zoo.”  The birds were so tame in this area that at one point I was nervous that I would run over a Wilson’s Snipe.  Within the first half-hour, I had added 13 birds to my life list.  Among those I was most excited for were the shorebirds.  American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, and Long-billed Dowitcher were all observed with looks no further than 20-30 feet away (often closer!)  Other highlights were our first Greater Roadrunner, Cattle & Snowy Egrets, and Cinnamon Teal.  We stayed for about 3 hours and then we had to get moving to our hotel in Palm Desert.

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American Kestrel

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Long-billed Dowitcher

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American Avocet

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White-faced Ibis

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Wilson’s Snipe

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Black-necked Stilt

Go to Day 2

My eBird Checklists:

San Jacinto Wildlife Area


  1. hethersettbirding · October 6, 2015

    beautiful captures. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Birding Southern California: Day 2, Salton Sea | carlsphotoblog

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