Fall Birding in San Diego County
Fall—September to mid-December—is a season of movement for birds. Although mid-September thru mid-October are typically the best days of routine migration here, fall birding can offer treats and surprises on any specific day. The combined possibilities of eastern, pelagic, and even arctic or mexican migrants mean that any fall day may turn up unexpected species.
Fall migration typically edges out spring as the most exciting, frenetic time of year for local birders. Because sea birds and shorebirds have been on the move since July, consider a pelagic trip if you can manage it. Don’t wait too long to decide though, San Diego Pelagics only has two 2017 trips remaining, September 24th and October 22nd, and these fall trips can sell out fast!
Fall is also a season of post-breeding dispersal, when juvenile birds of any ilk can appear in unusual spots. To keep abreast of what might be new in the area consider subscribing to these two San Diego Yahoo groups: San Diego Region Birding (operated by the San Diego Field Ornithologists) and Birding San Diego.
These groups recently reported a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at Batiquitos Lagoon, in nearby Carlsbad—a first record of this species at Batiquitos. A couple of weeks later a Reddish Egret was also seen at the same location. A bit further south in Encinitas, San Elijo Lagoon hosted a juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper in late August and a possible sighting of the Great Crested Flycatcher, a staunchly eastern species, took place in Carlsbad just after Labor Day!
If you’re looking for specific birds, don’t forget about eBird. Make sure to click on the “Explore Data” tab to view what is currently being seen at our local hotspots, or to find where particular species have recently been seen.
About the Author
After birding for a quarter-century in Colorado, Tina and her family recently moved to Oceanside, where she’ll probably spend the next quarter-century trying to remember that the mountains now lie to the east. Tina is a guest blog contributor that will be sharing her insights and discoveries as she explores Southern California with her binoculars, scope, and field guide.
To learn more about regional birding opportunities, contact the Buena Vista Audubon Society and Nature Center.