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Bell’s Sparrows – Poway, Ramona

Bell’s Sparrows – Poway, Ramona

By {authorlink} – 12:01 pm

Every year before the bird Festival I try to locate some Bell’s Sparrows -a frequently requested species by out of  town visitors. These are the nominate, non-migratory subspecies of Bell’s Sparrows.  Below are two  recent checklists.


Sycamore Canyon Open Space – Hwy 67 access  about ½ mile south of Scripps Poway Parkway. You drive in about a mile to the parking area – well graded gravel road. Use caution turning off Hwy 67 – fast traffic – use signals and slow in advance! All of this habitat looks good for Bell’s, but today I had a very confiding individual about 1/10 of a mile from the parking lot on the trail that goes west. The bird was singing and running around out on the trail. Listen for the quiet ticking sound they make.


Black Canyon Rd – take Magnolia from Hwy 78 (just past Ramona Pond).  Magnolia becomes Black Canyon. My mileage notes (in the Ebird checklist) are measured from where the pavement ends and the road becomes dirt. With all of the rain we have had, the road is in fair condition, with lots of ripple board and a few rutted areas. I did not check the road beyond 2.25miles – from there it becomes very narrow, steep, with major drop offs to the side. I highly recommend turning around at that point (there is a single small oak tree there, with a sign noting the narrow steep road ahead). Make sure to pull over way to the side, and try to not park on blind curves.


For those of you who  are local – both of these spots will have Black-chinned Sparrows in a few weeks. The Black Canyon Rd spot does have a remote chance you will have Mountain Quail – I heard one on Sunday, photographed one there last year.


Nancy Christensen