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exploring/discovering little-known San Diego area urban parks

First off, on Sunday the 25th, an early-AM seawatch off the south end of Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach produced a northbound White-winged Scoter (quite possibly the same bird that then is also off Coronado/North Island), a getting-late southbound Elegant Tern, a Pomarine Jaeger, and just 2 Brown Boobies.

Needless to say, there are lots and lots of little parks and other green spaces in urban and suburban San Diego County that never get checked by birders, or only very rarely get visited and reports are not forthcoming (probably because nothing rare was found!). If one looks at a map, it is easy to spot them– parks where avian reports are nil, or almost so, from large chunks of eastern San Diego city, from La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, eastern Chula Vista, etc.–not to mention within a host of communities a little distance inland in the North County (e.g., Rancho Santa Fe, inland Encinitas, inland Carlsbad). But remember just last winter when some intrepid birders visited previously-ignored Hollywood Park (Clay-colored Sparrow), Montclair Park (Gray Flycatcher), and Hickman Field sports park (Gray Flycatcher). Anyway, to see what we are all possibly missing, plus to satisfy a bit of curiosity, I started checking some such locations today (Nov 26th), and will continue to do so over the next few weeks. Clearly, some of these parks have mostly ballfields, too few trees, etc., but some of them turn out to be quite attractive, with good numbers of blooming eucalyptus and bottlebrush, tipus, sycamores, pines, berry-laden peppers, etc., and a pretty good number and selection of birds, with multiple Townsend's Warblers and Chipping Sparrows at the better ones often being a "clue" that these places might well turn up 'better' stuff at some point. The more interesting parks I visited this morning–where upon entering I immediately thought to myself, "Gee, I wonder what interesting birds have been HERE over the past 10+ years (migration and winter) but probably nobody has ever checked"–were:

San Diego city:  Colina del Sol Community Park & Golf Course, between El Cajon Blvd X University Ave X 54th St.:  W. Tanager, munia heaven, … (looks quite good!)

Lemon Grove:  Berry Street Park (B-t Gray & Yellow Warblers), Lemon Grove Park, and Dan Kunkel Park (lots of tipus)

La Mesa:  Highwood Park ("PINK-SIDED" Junco), Jackson Park (B-t Gray Warbler), and perhaps Aztec Park

–Paul Lehman,  San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports