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San Diego Bird Festival a success despite weather

The "Big Sit" where you record a list of birds from within a 17 foot circle.
The "Big Sit" where you record a list of birds from within a 17 foot circle.
Darlene Luckins

While last weekend’s stormy weather looked like it would threaten most of the trips at the San Diego Bird Festival, most activities went off with little or no problem. Nearly all of the special birding trips went ahead despite the weather, though some were modified for safety reasons. All but one of the pelagic trips and the two owling trips in the mountains were canceled. All of the indoor events happened as usual as well as the expo and booths.

The Big Sit at Marina Village
Darlene Luckins

The weather was mostly pleasant for the Family Fun Day on Sunday where there were a few birding trips as well as the “Big Sit” and some special lectures and events. It rained until about 10:30 a.m. on that day but, it didn’t stop people from viewing birds around Marina Village. The San Diego River was very high, but managed to lower enough for a roosting spot to form where many gulls and terns gathered. Several interesting birds were seen in the area including red-breasted mergansers, greater scaup, and an early elegant tern among others.

On some of the trips inland, interesting gulls and unusual visitors were seen. At Lake Murray, surf scoters, mew gulls, and a Bonaparte’s gulls were seen taking refuge from the weather at the coast. Visitors to the South Bay were able to see several species of shorebirds and waterfowl. Desert trips went on as planned as well.

Some of the indoor exhibits included an organization called SoCal Parrot who was educating people about our local wild parrot population and discouraging people keeping parrots as pets. Project Wildlife’s educational unit had Boo the male barn owl. L. Wren Walraven had a nice display of prints of her work. The official bird festival poster and shirts had her California gull design. There were books and optics to browse through as well.

Next year’s Bird Festival should take place at the end of February to the beginning of March. Check the San Diego Audubon’s website at www.sandiegoaudubon.org for exact dates and activities.