Point Loma and Sunset Cliffs

Jim Rose - 16th November 2003

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View from Point Loma to San Diego.

Point Loma is a high peninsula of land (several miles long) just to the north of San Diego and overlooking the harbour, giving fantastic views. The area is rocky with plenty of scrub (Chaparral) and is apparently one of the best migrant traps in Southern California. It is also said to hold some species that are more typical of the mountainous areas, indeed a Scrub Jay put in a brief appearance. The coast around the peninsula holds several species of Cormorant and apparently Black Turnstones, Wandering Tattler, if you are lucky (I was not). Offshore there were thousands of Cormorants, divers, ducks, grebes, gulls, Brown Pelicans, and even a few Terns. If I had tried harder I might have picked up Black-vented Shearwater. The area immediately around the Information centre was particularly good for passerines with Hermit Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, California Quail, California Towhee, Fox Sparrow and Golden Crowned Sparrow.


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Sunset Cliffs

These rock cliffs are only two miles or so from Point Loma. The cliffs are the boundary to a residential area with a road running just behind the cliffs.  Several parking areas provide convenient viewpoints. All three Cormorants were perched on the rock pinnacles at reasonably close range. Offshore there were plenty of divers, ducks, grebes, Brown Pelicans and gulls.


Sunset Cliffs, San Diego


This was one of the favoured rock pinnacles where the three species of Cormorants could be seen.

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Double-crested Cormorant.  This species was very common all along the coast, with large numbers also being seen on the Salton Sea.

Pelagic Cormorant - This species was only seen at his site.

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Brandt's Cormorant.   Several more of this species were seen off nearby Point Loma.


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Point Loma, San Diego

Four of the following pictures were taken under the canopy of the surrounding trees and scrubs, at a site suggested by one of the few birders I met.   The attraction to the birds was dripping tap. 

This California Quail was oblivious to my presence at about 25 yards range and allowed me to take this photo in heavy shade.

This Orange-crowned Warbler showed no sign of an orange crown, which is apparently typical.  Maybe it should be called Green Warbler!

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I have to admit that I mis-identified this in the field and only identified this as a Fox Sparrow once a friend of mine saw the photo, after I had returned home! 

This was the only Wrentit of the trip and in heavy shade, the camera shutter was only 1/15th sec. 9936-Wrentit-350.JPG (25655 bytes)
9972-CaliforniaTowee-400.JPG (33399 bytes) There were plenty of California Towhees around the information centre at Point Loma, although I did not see them anywhere else.

This Hermit Thrush was one of only two seen during the trip.

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