Whelan Lake Field Trip, March 25, 2023

WHELAN LAKE, what a special place! For those of you who have never been there, you are invited to call Greg, the caretaker, at 760/722-4887 to arrange a time for you to visit. There are signs suggesting no one is welcome, but those are for others, not those who have set up a time to spend some leisurely quiet hours wandering the grounds or simply sitting at the picnic tables, taking in the lake and the many species to be seen right there.

The fact that 32 birders showed up for this walk is evidence alone that it one of San Diego County’s treasures. Our group members had different ideas, goals and objectives during this morning. Some wanted to make it all around the lake. Some wanted to relax in a lounge chair near the picnic tables. Some wanted to find an owl, and they did. Some wanted to hike down to the lower ponds (and other did not, because it meant they had to hike back up). Those who went to the lower ponds were rewarded with many good pond birds (surprise) including a pair of black-crowned night herons, many marsh wrens and a sora. Some wanted to head SW to see the very visible pair of white-tailed kites that hang out there but are not always seen. I think everyone was satisfied with the route they took and the birds they were rewarded with.

The blue-sky day, with billowing white clouds, helped to round out the experience: not too hot; not too cold, but just right (said Goldilocks). We knew spring had arrived by sightings of the Bullocks and Hooded Orioles. It was exciting to see a few American Goldfinches.

Our complete list of sixty-nine species can be found with the following eBird link:  https://ebird.org/checklist/S131804908. Our special thanks to Steve Ellis for recording them and our almost pro photographers who captured their images.

Until next time, flyin’ high,

Doug Walkley

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