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Lake Hodges mudflats

Lake Hodges mudflats
By – 9:55 am

I visited much-lowered Lake Hodges again early this morning, Monday. Given that we have entered southbound shorebird season, and we have pitifully few good freshwater shorebird sites around the county (but add upper Sweetwater Reservoir and Ramona Pond to the list), it is worth noting that there are two sites at Lake Hodges worth checking. The area of mud easily scoped (but a fair distance away!) from along Lake Drive just south of Del Dios had remarkably few birds on it today, but still certainly shows potential. One can get closer to the water’s edge by hiking down there from a pullout along Lake Drive, or from the closed-to-vehicles but open-to-pedestrians road to the marina. A second area has even somewhat better mudflat habitat and is at the current eastern end of the lake, which is about a half-mile east-southeast of the marina. Unfortunately, it is not at all easy to access. I scoped it from FAAAR away looking northwest from the northwest corner of the Barnardo Bay Trail loop (about a mile hike in from W. Bernardo Drive), but it would likely be much better seen from the North Lake Hodges Trail to the east-southeast of the Marina–but that would require a long hike in from Lake Drive–probably a good two miles each way–and even farther if one came in from the opposite direction from W. Bernardo Drive near I-15.

Anyway, the highlight from that east-end mudflat, with my very distant scoping, was several Am. Avocets including one mid-sized fuzzy chick. This species is an irregular breeder inland. Also a few Western/Least Sandpipers.

–Paul Lehman, San Diego