Featured Photo Provided By: Lindsay Maphet, @sdadventuremom

Fall Birding in San Diego County

Fall—September to mid-December—finds birds on the move in San Diego County.  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, as well as unexpected hatch-year birds on post-breeding dispersal, mean that any fall day may turn up unexpected species.

Fall migration typically edges out spring as the most exciting, frenetic time of the 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. Join San Diego Region Birding (operated by the San Diego Field Ornithologists) or Birding San Diego to stay abreast of the latest sightings.  For example, a juvenile Tricolored Heron appeared at the mouth of the San Dieguito River in Del Mar in early September.  Also at the San Dieguito, as many as five juvenile Baird’s Sandpipers worked several of the impoundment areas seen from the Dust Devil Trail in late August.  At Batiquitos Lagoon in Carlsbad, along the bluff trail just east of the railroad tracks, an adult Reddish Egret used its unusual “canopy hunting” along the north shore around the same time.

And if you’re looking for specific birds, don’t forget about eBird.  Click on “Explore,” then on “Explore Hotspots” and type “San Diego, CA” as the location to identify birding hotspots in the county. Or clicking on “Species Maps” will help you find where a particular species has recently been seen.  Good birding!

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

Seasonal Birding


OCEANSIDE California

Published: October 7, 2020
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