Sighting birds on Tijuana Slough’s McCoy Trail.

The short, easy McCoy Trail at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge is a fine place to sight birds. I found this out recently during my own quiet walk down the nature trail.

The McCoy Trail starts south of the Visitor Center on the north side of the Tijuana Slough, in Imperial Beach. I walked along the trail once before, back when I blogged about a guided nature walk that I enjoyed. But you don’t need a guide to appreciate the beauty of this protected wetland.

Spotting birds requires patience and searching eyes. There’s a lot of helicopter activity in the area from Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach, which might spook some birds.

If birds aren’t inside the lush green vegetation feeding or nesting, they’re out on the open water channels, usually as some distance from the trail. I found it best to sit on one of the McCoy Trail’s benches, relax, and let time and serendipity reveal the hidden life.

During this walk I saw several Snowy Egrets, a cormorant at a distance, and quick little birds flying shrub to shrub that I couldn’t identify. I also saw a brown pelican and great blue heron flying overhead.

Near the trail you’ll also observe prickly pear and cholla cacti, which might seem odd. The separation between wetland and very dry habitat can be sudden in our arid coastal region. It’s one reason for San Diego’s amazing biodiversity.

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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