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2014 Early April In Tecolote Canyon

Swamp Sparrow

I’d been hearing reports of a Swamp Sparrow at Tecolote Canyon for over a week from the local birding hotline. I don’t consider myself a ‘chaser’ like some folks who seem driven to be first on the block to put an unusual bird on their “list”. But waiting the week and still seeing reports, I made the decision to visit the location. Being a place I’d never visited before gave me the added incentive to drive to Mission Bay and follow the road to its end, park and look around.

I found Tecolote Canyon interesting. Overlooking its opening from where I parked, is a steep hillside uncluttered with buildings until you got to the highest ridge. Considering it runs through a neighborhood that has been ‘developed’ for residential usage during most of the 20th century, it surprising to find such a natural place. Rapid housing expansion in the 1950s to accommodate all the post-war population boom that resulted both from the burgeoning aircraft industry and all the sailors and soldiers who fell in love with the area while stationed here in WWII, was a major factor leading to the development.

I visited this place two days in a row and met the Swamp Sparrow, Black-Headed Grosbeak, Western Scrub Jay (now called California Scrub Jay), Nutmeg Mannikin (now called Scaly Breasted Munia), California Thrasher, Hermit Thrush, and Western Kingbird.

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