Waiting for Egrets

IMG_1945This idyllic little stretch of water just above the Old Mission Dam in San Diego is a perfect place for Snowy Egrets.  Kongo has seen many of them here and they rank way up there in the monkey’s list of favorite birds.  The only thing missing is the bird.  Kongo made a trip to this spot near his house in the late afternoon to catch the light and find an Egret.  Or a Great Heron which he’s also spotted here before.  Not today.  He waited until the parking lot gate was about to close and packed it in.  Cocktail hour was calling.  He did see other things and had pleasant time.  Read on to learn about it.

Bottoms up!  Three Mallard hens were chowing down in the shallow water.
Bottoms up! Three Mallard hens were chowing down in the shallow water.
A Common Gallinule.
A Common Gallinule.
Kongo is pretty sure this is a Costa’s Hummingbird but will leave it to real hummer aficionados to set him straight on this one.
A fish dog.
A fish dog.
More bottoms up.
More bottoms up.
A yellow-backed dog walker.  Note the iridescent colors.  Common on California hiking trails.
A yellow-backed dog walker. Note the iridescent colors. Common on California hiking trails.

So it was a pleasant few hours even without the Snow Egrets and Great Heron.  Kongo had a nice chat with a trio of serious birders from Houston.  I mean these were SERIOUS birders.  After initially saying hello they wandered off in search of game and came back after an hour and wondered if the flycatcher they saw was a whatchamacallit scissor tail or a brown throated whatchamacallit.  Kongo gave them his most polite clueless stare and  advised them that they were way, way over his head.

Kongo knows his sea birds.  After thirty years in the Navy with Seabirds at his bridge wing chair he has spotted exotic species all over the world.  He knows his Egrets and Herons.  He likes Puffins and Sandabs.  He can spot a coot a mile away.  But Fly Catchers and Wood Peckers are beyond is avian experience.

They told the monkey about birding in South Texas during flyover season and how they crammed over 100 species in one glorious bird watching marathon over 48 hours.  Just one indication of how serious this little group was became evident when they went off into the bush and played a certain woodpecker’s song on their iPhone ap.  Seriously.  They claimed they got the woodpecker although Kongo missed it.  Woodpeckers are evidently fast.

They asked Kongo where he usually birded in San Diego since it was such a great place.  Well, Kongo reminded them that he really just does sea and water birds and recommended the South Bay salt marshes but they had done that yesterday.  He suggested La Jolla Shores to watch Pelicans but they had done that too.  They were rapidly plumbing the depths of Kongo’s ornithology expertise.  Finally, the monkey sagely advised them that if they really wanted to see hundreds of bird species up close a trip to the San Diego Zoo should be part of their itinerary.  They gave him a “you’re not a serious birder are you?l” look.  I guess having a big lens doesn’t make you a birder.  Obviously.  In any event it was a pleasant way to pass the time waiting for Egrets and Herons.

Travel safe.  Have fun.  Happy birding.

A White Egret from a PREVIOUS visit to Old Mission Dam
A White Egret from a PREVIOUS visit to Old Mission Dam


6 thoughts on “Waiting for Egrets

  1. OK I’m one of those people with the birding apps too, and go birdwatching all over. But I don’t get too excited about differentiating between all those little brown sparrows. We visited south Texas once to see the special birds there. It was nice, but I prefer Florida. Kongo should visit one of our birding festivals here – they are lots of fun, and you don’t have to be an expert. And after a little birding you can just hang out on the beach, go kayaking, or enjoy the sunset. Close to us is the Space Coast Birding Festival, but there is also the First Coast Birding Festival, Nature Coast Birding Festival, Everglades Birding Festival, and so many more!

    1. That sounds like a perfect monkey party. Don’t get me wrong. I like and appreciate serious birders. I like birds a lot. I just tend to look at water birds more than others. I had a close encounter with a Blue Footed Booby east of Galapagos back in the late 80s that sucked me in for life. And nothing against the birding aps. I thought it was pretty cool…it was just a wake up call that some are way more in to it than the monkey. I like taking pictures of birds a lot. And the few times i’ve had exposure to them in Florida I loved it. I hope to be back there soon and I will be sure to seek your advice on where to go! Thanks!

      1. I know exactly what you mean. And I’m not a “serious” birder, I just enjoy them very much. How awesome you saw blue footed booby on the Galapagos! People keep telling us we need to go there.

      2. I’ve booked my next trip to Galapagos for next year. I’m going to Machu Pichu at the same time. It’s a long but funny story about the blue footed booby. Maybe I’ll do a post on it some time. Suffice it to say my sighting made it into a bird book!

      3. Now my curiosity is really peaked! Please do tell sometime! And what an amazing travel plan – that is totally awesome.

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