The San Dieguito River system drains from the mountains east of Santa Ysabel through the San Pasqual Valley and out to sea at Del Mar. Forward thinking citizens fought for decades to establish a wildlife corridor along its basin. To make it a reality required much negotiating and legal wrangling, but today the concept of corridors is gaining momentum as a strategy for sustaining ecosystems. Were it not for the efforts of these citizens, pressure to develop the lands for profit would fragment the habitat into smaller and smaller pieces, until it could no longer support the plants and animals who depend on seasonal movement through these lands for survival. I for one, am grateful for these people’s efforts. It gives me some small hope for my species.
I drove on this Monday morning to Lake Hodges and rode my bike upstream where wide and well-maintained trails led me through the riparian habitat. I paused for a visit with an Ash-Throated Flycatcher where the trail narrowed and climbed up-slope, becoming unsafe for me and my gear to proceed further. I later reversed my direction and rode back to my vehicle.
My memories of this morning include the numerous Yellow-Breasted Chats I encountered. There must have been a dozen or more. It’s impossible to mistake their vocalizations (it’s hard for me to call them ‘songs’) for any other creature. I’ve often thought their calls and squawks would make a great car backup alarm sound.
Creatures I met this day were Yellow-Breasted Chat, Mourning Cloak, Ash-Throated Flycatcher, Least Bell’s Vireo, House Wren, Spotted Towhee.