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 Nature Center

Birding Information

For the serious birder, the Chula Vista Nature Center/Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge offers many birding opportunities. Come and challenge yourself to find as many of the 224 identified species of the Sweetwater Marsh as you can!

2007 Checklist page 1
2007 Checklist page 2


Note: All sites are coordinated to Thomas Guide to San Diego County, 2000. Street names are subject to change. Streets are subject to closure.

North County
Central San Diego
Inland San Diego
East County
South County
S. neotropicals.
W -- fall/winter
S -- spring/summer
Y -- year round

North County

Guajome Regional Park, Vista (TG1087:B1) Take Highway 76 east to North Santa Fe Road and turn right. Continue about a mile, passing Mesa and turn into the entrance on the left. $1.00 parking fee. (W. waterfowl; S. neotropicals; Y. pheasants, kites, hawks.)

Batiquitos Lagoon, Carlsbad (TG1127:D7) Take I-5 north to Poinsettia Drive. Turn right and stay on this street. Turn right again at Batiquitos Drive. Turn right again at Gabbiano. Park at the small parking area on the right. (W. waterfowl, shorebirds; S. least terns; Y. hawks.)

San Elijo Lagoon West (TG1167:E6) Take I-5 north to Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach. Turn west. At Rios, turn right and go to the end to park. Guided walks 2nd Sat. at 9:00 am. Call (760) 436-3944. (W. waterfowl, shorebirds; S. neotropicals; Y. landbirds)

San Elijo Lagoon East (TG31167:H5) Take I-5 north to Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach. Turn east and then left at the first light (right at the exit.) This is Santa Helena. Continue to Santa Victoria and turn left. Continue to Santa Carina and turn left. Park at the end of the street. (W. S. waterfowl, shorebirds;Y. landbirds)

Lopez Canyon, Sorrento Valley near Del Mar. (TG1208:D4) From I-5 going North, take Sorrento Valley Blvd. exit. You will turn left on Roselle and then right onto Sorrento Valley Blvd. Go east, crossing the railroad tracks and Sorrento Valley Road. Go through the business park and start looking for the parking area on the right about 1/2 mile further. Park there.

From I-5 going south, take Carmel Valley Road and go east to El Camino Real. Turn right and then right on Carmel Mountain Road. Continue down to Sorrento Valley Road. Turn left and continue to Sorrento Valley Blvd. and turn left again. Go through business park and turn right into the parking area about 1/2 mile further. Call (619) 484-3219 for guided walks. (W. soaring hawks; S. nesting owls and hawks, neotropicals.)

La Jolla Coast (TG1227:E7) Going north on I-5, take Ardath Road west into La Jolla. It becomes Torrey Pines Road. At Prospect, turn right and keep bearing right to Coast Blvd. Head south on Coast Blvd. When Coast Blvd. becomes a one-way street, look for parking.

Going south on I-5, take La Jolla Village Drive to Torrey Pines Road. Turn left and continue down the hill. At Prospect turn right and keep bearing right to Coast Blvd. Head south on Coast Blvd. When Coast Blvd. becomes a one-way street, look for parking. (W. shorebirds, gulls and terns.)

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Central San Diego

San Diego River Project, Stadium Area (TG1269:B2) From SR-163 take Friars Road east. Turn right on Mission Center Road. Go south two blocks to Hazard Center Drive and turn left into a parking lot just north of the San Diego River. (Y. waterfowl, waders, swallows.)

Kendall Frost Marsh, Mission Bay (TG1248:B7) Take I-5 to Pacific Beach. Take the Grand/Garnet exit and go west to Lamont. Turn left and continue south until you can cross Crown Point Shores Drive. Park in the first parking lot. Walk along the sidewalk that goes up the hill. You will be above the marsh and come to an overlook. (Y. skimmers, clapper rails; W. Brant, waterfowl, shorebirds)

San Diego Flood Control Channel (TG1268:D4) From I-5 take Sea World Drive and go west. Pass the light at Friars Road, and turn left at the light at South Shores Drive/Mission Bay Parkway. Park along side of the Frontage Road. (W. waterfowl, waders, shorebirds, blue-winged teal.)

Dog Beach and Flood Control Channel, Ocean Beach (TG1167:J5) Take the Ocean Beach Freeway west to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Turn left and continue south to West Point Loma Blvd. Turn right. Go a few streets to Bacon, turn right and go to the end to park. (Y. waterfowl, waders, shorebirds up close.)

Famosa Slough (TG1268:B5) Take the Ocean Beach Freeway west to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Turn left and continue south to West Point Loma Blvd. Turn left. Go a few streets to Famosa. Park on the street. Guided walks 1:00 p.m. 3rd Saturday. Meet at kiosk on Famosa. (W. waterfowl, shorebirds, blue-winged teal.)

Point Loma (TG1287, 1288, 1308) Take I-5 to Rosecrans, turn west and continue to Cañon and turn right. Go up the hill to Catalina. Turn left. After several blocks turn right on Dupont to bird at Point Loma Nazarene College. Park on the street and check out the tall old trees. Continue on to Fort Rosecrans, parking along the road and then to the tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument and the picnic area of the Monument. There is a parking fee of $5.00 at the Monument. Guided walks 3rd. Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Call (619) 557-5450 . (Y. migrating vagrants.)

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Inland San Diego

Lake Hodges, Rancho Bernardo (TG1150:A6) From I-15, take the Pomerado/West Bernardo Drive exit and go west. Take West Bernardo Drive to the Joslyn Senior Center. Park near the tennis courts and follow the trails across the road to the lake. (Y. waterfowl, hawks, California gnatcatchers, Cactus wren)

Lake Hodges, Del Dios (TG1149E4) From I-15 take S-6 west to Rancho. Turn left and park in the dirt lot, where Rancho becomes Lake. (This is better during the week, when the dirt road is not open to vehicles and there is no sail boarding going on.) (Waterfowl, hawks, California gnatcatchers)

Blue Sky Ecological Preserve, Poway (TG 1170:G3) Take I-15 north to Bernardo Drive. Go east. It becomes Espola. Just after Espola makes a right turn, look for the entrance to Blue Sky on the left. If you come to the light at Lake Poway Drive you have gone too far. Call (619) 486-7238 for scheduled walks. (W. Hawks, Turkey vultures, warblers; S. neotropicals)

Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, Mira Mesa (TG1189:D7) Take I-805 north to Mira Mesa Blvd. Go east about 5 miles to Black Mountain Road. Turn left and continue about 2 miles to Mercy Road. Turn left into the parking area and park in the upper lot. $1.00 parking fee. (Y. hawks, woodpeckers; Y. bluebirds, woodpeckers; S. neotropicals,)

Marian Bear Park, San Clemente Canyon, University City (TG1228:C7) From I-805, take Highway 52 west to Clairmont Mesa Blvd. Turn left and then right into Marian Bear Park. There are parking areas on both sides of Clairmont Mesa; birding is good from either location. (Y. hawks, towhees, woodpeckers, warblers.)

Tecolote Canyon Natural Park, Bay Park (TG1268:F2) From I-5 take the Sea World exit and go east on Tecolote Road, past the Tecolote Canyon Park and Recreation to the Tecolote Nature Center. Call 581-9952 for guided walks. (Y. hawks, owls, neotropicals)

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East County

Old Mission Dam, Mission Trails Park (TG1230:F6) Take I-8 or Friars Road east to Mission Gorge Road. Go north on Mission Gorge, it will turn and head north east. Pass Jackson Drive and turn left onto Father Junipero Serra Trail. The gate is opened by rangers at 8:00 a.m. Drive about 1.5 miles to the parking area of Old Mission Dam. It will be on the left. For guided bird walks, call (619) 668-3275. Also try Kumeyaay Lake up the road off Bushy Hill Drive. (W. migrating warblers; S. least Bell's vireo and neotropicals.)

Santee Lakes, Santee (TG1231:A4) Take Highway 52 east to Mast Blvd. Turn left and continue to Fanita Parkway. Turn left and go to Lake Canyon Road and turn right to park along the street. Walk down to the gate and around the lakes. Do not go into the camping areas. (W. waterfowl, S. neotropicals, Y. wood ducks.)

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South County

Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, Chula Vista Nature Center. (TG1309:H6). Please click on links for information regarding directions, hours, fees, and guided tours.  (W. waterfowl, shorebirds, meadowlarks, shorteared owls; S. American pipits, horned larks.)

Tijuana Estuary, Fifth and Iris, Imperial Beach (TG1349:F2) Take I-5 south to Coronado Ave. in Imperial Beach. Go west to Fifth Street. Turn left and go to the end and park in the parking area or on the street. Guided walks 1st and 4th Saturdays at 8:00 a.m., every Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Call (619) 575-3613 for reservations.

(W. waterfowl, shorebirds, short-eared owls; S. neotropicals; Y. clapper rails, little blue herons)

7th Street, Imperial Beach (TG1329:G6) Take I-5 south to Palm Ave. (Highway 75) in Imperial Beach. Go west towards the beach. Just as Palm Ave. begins to turn north, look for 7th Street on the right. Go to the end and park. (W. Waterfowl, shorebirds, up close.)

South Bay Biological Study Area, Coronado (TG1329F4) Take I-5 to Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach (Highway 75). Turn west and follow Highway 75 through Imperial Beach as it turns north towards Coronado. Look for the parking area on the right. There is a blue sign with an egret on it. (W. waterfowl, shorebirds, waders.)

Tidelands Park, Coronado (TG1289.A6) From I-5 take the Coronado Bridge into Coronado. Turn right at the first opportunity onto Glorietta Blvd. Glorietta will take you to the entrance of the park. Park near the restrooms. (W. terns, gulls, waders, ducks, shorebirds.)

Rice Canyon, Rancho Del Rey (TG1311:A5) From I- 805, take East H Street to Buena Vista Way. Turn left. Go down the hill to Rancho Del Rey Parkway. Turn right and then immediately left into the small parking lot. (W. winter residents, S. neotropicals.)

San Diego Wildlife Refuge, Rancho San Diego (TG1271:J7) From the North, take I-805 south to Highway 94 east. Continue on 94 until you come to Millar Ranch Road. Turn right and park near the gate with the Refuge "Blue Goose" sign.

From the South, take Highway 54 east to Jamacha Blvd. Turn right and continue to Highway 94. Turn right and then right again staying on 94. (W. Hawks, resident songbirds.

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