San Diego Bird Festival

The birds in San Diego, California were having a wet time just as festival attendees, like myself! Rain, then more rain! Often I leave Arizona forgetting to pack a raincoat; this trip I had it but needed rain pants too. Rain was falling like some of the best home showers … and even sideways at times. Once hail was falling! Wow … such unusual weather for southern California!

Like our fine-feathered friends, I was in the wet weather at Camp Pendleton, Ramona Grasslands Preserve and near the festival’s meeting center at the local marina. My trip to Palomar Mountain was snowed out and my boat trip was cancelled due to high winds and rain.

It was my first time attending this bird festival and it was fun! Since I am often in the San Diego area, I did already have many birds on my life list; however, I did get a few new ones. The festival was well organized with interesting keynote speakers and other workshops, plus many vendors so we could try binoculars and scopes. 

Prior to the start of the festival, I was at the Bird and Butterfly Garden and saw a red-breasted sapsucker. Unfortunately I had misidentified it while I was speaking with others there so I hope they had a good photograph to identify it correctly.

Red-breasted sapsucker

While being a participant on the festival field trips, I added these new birds: surfbird, Cackling goose, red-throated loon and Pacific loon. On my own, which involved a couple of days and numerous times watching the water near Mariner’s Cove, I did finally observe a yellow-billed loon! So often I saw a common loon, but I was looking for the yellow bill held slightly upward to know this was a yellow-billed loon. What was funny, the waves would allow me to see the bird one moment and then it was gone … or the loon decided to dive and I had to wait and watch for it to come back to the surface and sometimes not even near where it dove! Ah yes, the joys of bird watching!

Yellow-billed loon
Yellow-billed loon … it helped me easily see it as it spread its wings!

I was disappointed the boat trip did not happen. For safety-sake it sure was the right decision to be made by the festival organizers. Plus, I will someday get to Palomar Mountain …. maybe next year’s festival! If you love shorebirds, check out next year’s bird festival and come join in on the fun!