What is THAT? Spring Birding and Wildflower Viewing.
Spring, to me, is the most interesting time of year. Obviously flowers are in bloom, and San Diego County’s variety of terrain and ecological zones provides an amazing number of plant species to explore. In addition, birds are migrating through the county, and birders can see migratory species not normally spotted in San Diego. This will just be a quick guide on where to go to find local wildflowers and a variety of birds. Usually, both will be viewable in the same place.
Depending on where in the county you are, there are a number of excellent, enviable birding locations within a 30-minute drive. Some of my favorites are Tijuana Estuary, Cuyamaca State Park, and Hollenbeck Canyon, but I think it is better I leave it to those who know best. San Diego Audubon has produced an excellent list of prime birding locations in the county, no point in me trying to reproduce it.
Take some binoculars, a bird guide, and your patience, it’s far more productive to find a good spot, and let birds happen by, than it is to try to chase down birds.
- San Diego Audubon
- SD Audubon’s Birding Site
- Birding San Diego Facebook Group
- Birding San Diego Flickr Group
Obviously, wildflower blooms rely on weather, and times will vary throughout the county. A couple of those warm spells this winter had flowers blooming a little early. Though, some flowers do bloom in the winter as part of their normal lifecycle.
Anza Borrego is one of San Diego’s premiere wildflower-viewing areas, which can be a haul for some folks, but luckily, Desert USA provides a wildflower watch for different sites in the deserts. Their site for Anza Borrego is an excellent resource for those who want to know what is blossoming in the desert, and when.
A much closer option for many San Diegans for an incredible wildflower display is Torrey Pines State Park. The relatively small size of the park, and large number of species makes for a near overwhelming viewing experience. Bring a camera and pick up a flower guide in the gift shop, or take a walking tour.
There are so many places to see native wildflowers in San Diego, and so many ecological regions, almost any springtime hike will be great viewing.
My go-to key for identifying local wildflowers is Ken Bowles site. It can be hard to figure out at first, but it’s pretty accurate once you get the hang of it. Take a few photos, and dig into Ken Bowles’ site, and next time you’re on the trail, you can show off your new skills.
As I’ve said many times before, a hike can be a walk in dirt, or, if you are familiar with the flora and fauna, it can be a rich, rewarding experience. BTW, SanDiegoHiker.net has a Flickr with hiking pics and birds and wildflowers.
Do you seek out wildflowers in Spring? Are you a birder? Where do you like to seek out your favorite native San Diego wildlife?