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Tomorrow Ingrid and I leave the frozen wasteland of Maine (can you tell that I’m sick of winter) for a week of birding in sunny California.

The first few days will be in the eastern California near Yosemite and the later half of the week at the San Diego Birding Festival.

Our outings will include:

Birding the Border – This trip into the Tijuana River Valley along the Mexican Border will explore fabled birding hotspots like Dairy Mart Pond, Border Field State Park, the Bird and Butter y Garden, Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge and the J Street Marina.

San Diego 100: A Big Day – This popular trip is a whirlwind tour of San Diego County’s hottest birding spots with a goal to list over 100 species. Expect to bird in the foothills east of San Diego, inland wetlands, San Diego Bay, along the ocean and near the Mexican border.

Dancing with Grebes – With over 150 different bird species that either live at Lake Hodges permanently, or just pass through, the lake is a nature photographer’s and bird watcher’s dream. Especially lovely are the Western and Clark’s Grebes, and Eared Grebes. The Grebes breed on the lake in the winter months and courting (rushing) happens between November and early March. We hope to see a “show” or two. An easy walk (up to 3 miles) to the rushing area will also give us the opportunity to spot a few dozen other bird species. Thursday’s and Friday’s trips will concentrate on photography but are open to birders also. Saturday’s and Sunday’s trips will concentrate on birding, but photographers and artists can come, too. Cameras, sketchbooks and journals are welcome.

Parrot Party Bus – San Diego is home to thousands of parrots, with 13 parrot species that have been seen throughout Southern California, three of which are known to be endangered in their native habitats. On this trip, we’ll spend some time at a popular parrot roost, where we will see evening behaviors as the parrots wind down and prepare for bedtime. Here’s an opportunity to practice your digiscoping and observe social behaviors of parrots. SoCal Parrot will be on hand to point out birds and tell you more about them.

Check daily for photos and recaps.

Of course we’ll miss our Maine winter birds while we are gone.

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