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North County newbie birding tips?

North County newbie birding tips?
By {authorlink} – 10:50 am

Hello everyone! I live in the Seattle, Washington area and my family (me, husband, and 11-year-old son who is a very serious birder) is visiting Oceanside next week. I’ve been subscribed to this list for several weeks and I am enjoying getting to know the people and places. I am getting a general sense for some of the hotter spots, but I wonder if anyone would like to share with me their top five places to bird in the San Diego County area, with a preference for places on the Oceanside end?

I am sorry to ask, and I hope this is an acceptable place to do so — I do enjoy travel planning, and I’ve already done a lot of research. Of course I’ve scoured eBird, and I see a great brochure put out by the Buena Vista Audubon. I’ve also poured over San Diego Audubon’s Local Birding Resources Page. 

But there’s just SO MUCH. I have far too many hotspots and too few days, and we also want to do some non-birding things (although on our recent trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, we were unsuccessful in our efforts to “slow down” and “just stop birding and enjoy the beach.” 

Current plans/thoughts:

  • I have booked a falconry lesson at Sky Falconry in Alpine, and I see a cool park near there called Mission Trails Regional Park.
  • I also see a 7:30 AM guided birdwalk at El Corazon Garrison Creek. Early, but this is the only chance I see for a guided birdwalk while we’re down there — there’s nothing better than local knowledge!
  • We plan to visit the San Diego Safari Park at some point.
  • Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve looks so cool!
  • La Jolla Cove for potential pelagics, although that looks like it’s hit-or-miss.
  • One or more of the Lagoons.
  • Something near the San Diego airport for the first day — maybe Tijuana Estuary?

Thank you in advance! I’ve been so busy with work lately, and am feeling super overwhelmed by the need to plan this trip. Any help you could provide would be so appreciated!

Jamie Holland