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2013-08-23 J-Street & Border Field

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret catching breakfast at Chula Vista Bayfront Park, Chula Vista, California. San Diego County.

Two locations well worth visiting any time I’m in South San Diego Bay region are J-Street by Chula Vista’s Bayfront Park, and Border Field near the Mexican border. I spent several enjoyable hours at both these locations. I also made a stop at the Refuge Headquarters at the Tijuana Slough to visit my friend Brian who manages the refuge systems in this region and I stuck my nose into the sloughs at 7th Street, though I did not chase birds on this last leg of my South Bay visit.

The light is best in the early morning at J-Street when it first crosses the horizon. Later in the day, as the sun drifts west, the glare off the mudflats prevents the possibility of flattering images, no matter how lovely the bird. If the tide is low, there can be a wealth of bird activity on the exposed mudflats. On this morning I met Short-Billed Dowitchers, Western Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers, Willets, Black-Crowned Night-Herons, Mallards, and Snowy Egrets, all gathering their breakfasts from where the waters of the bay had retreated. Each species was feeding on organisms they’d evolved to pursue, and all were in a hurry to gather as much food as time permitted, knowing the tidal flow of the bay would soon reclaim ownership of their banquet table.

When I left 7th Street, I drove to Border Field to spend the remainder of the morning along the beaches. On my drive to the beach I met a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk and I could not resist the urge to stop and attempt an image capture. Once I reached the end of the road, I mounted my bike and continued to the seashore where I met a Peregrine Falcon up to no good, Sanderlings dancing with the waves and loafing on the shore, Whimbrels, Brown Pelicans plunge diving in the ocean, Heermann’s Gulls loafing by the border fence, Black-Bellied Plovers, Elegant Terns bringing in the groceries, and Marbled Godwits running with Willets as they love to do.

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