When I registered at the San Diego Bird Festival I asked to exchange one of my pre-scheduled bird tours because I was desperate to see this Life Bird, the white-tailed kite.
The trip I wanted was full but David Kimball introduced me to local bird leader Susan Breisch who knows the county well.
Susan was so helpful! She asked to see both my target bird list and my tour schedule, told me the likelihood of seeing my target birds, and suggested places to find them during my unscheduled time.
As usual some species are a challenge, others are surprisingly easy. For instance...
I would love to see a mountain bluebird but they travel in flocks that move around a lot. Their reported location one day may be different the next. This behavior reminds me of the white-winged crossbills visiting Pittsburgh this winter whom I've been unable to find. Hmmmm!
The ferruginous hawk is on my wish list, too, but it only visits the grasslands in winter and even then it's not plentiful. Again, you have to be at the right place at the right time and you have to get lucky.
However, white-tailed kites are easy! They hang out in river valleys and can be found year-round in Rose Canyon where they nest. In fact, I might even see one on a walk from my hotel.
p.s. The San Diego Bird Festival is great! Excellent tours, helpful friendly people, unbeatable weather. I highly recommend it!
(photo by William Parker)