San Elijo Lagoon
July 16, 2011

This morning I made an early visit to the San Elijo Lagoon in Encinitas, California. The reserve extends from the ocean inland past the interstate, and effectively encloses the entire wetland in the valley. I took a short walk around the perimeter of the nature center trail to get a feel for the park and its facilities. Everything appears new, with clean synthetic benches, lookout points garnished with informative signs and well defined sandy trails.

This time of year, there were fewer birds basking in the wetlands. In the time I spent walking on its fringe, I only saw one snowy egret and a duck fishing along the creek. On the other side of the trail, in the enclosed and heavily wooded marshland, there was much more activity. The calls of hummingbirds and common yellowthroats echoed and the dry thicket rustled with edgy sparrows.

Within the brackish moss-laden marsh hid a juvenile black-crowned night-heron. It played around in the water and the surrounding branches, but did not appear to be hungry, in attempt to prove me wrong that birds, in general, are always hungry. A while later it was replaced by a snowy egret, that was also strangely not inspired by food. Above, in a tree, quietly sat a green heron preening its feathers. I waited to see if it would come down to the marsh below or to a lower elevation to help cut down the angle and distance from me, but the tree was comfortable and it did not budge.

The marsh provided a nice change from the La Jolla scenery and ocean birds, but did not yield as many opportunities to view the birds as I had hoped. I should try again there sometime since I did only spend a few hours. It also turns out that next spring may be a better time to return when a greater and more diverse avian population arrives. For now, here is another picture from the gallery.