Birds of the San Dieguito River Valley

Our Birds
Diving Birds Ducks Water Fowl Quail


Pelicans & Cormorants Gulls & Terns


Birds of Prey Hummingbirds Riparian Upland Birds

The River Valley is a popular spot for birders. All of these bird photographs were taken in the San Dieguito River Park by local photographers. We have grouped the birds by type, specie and/or preferred environment.

Most of the species are resident and regularly seen in the park, while some, such as the Summer Tanager, are rare visitors to Southern California. Others are seasonal tourists who stay for a while, or transient guests who use the valley and lagoon as a stopping-off point on their long migratory journeys. All are both a welcome and popular addition to the community.


Related links

FSDRV Lagoon Birds Brochure

Bird Counts from 2010 to 2015

Stalking the Spotted Sandpiper by Ed Mirsky, courtesy of the Del Mar Sandpiper, June 2010

San Diego Audubon Society

Local Birding Sites recommended by the Audubon Society

Buena Vista Audubon Society

Birding Hotspots with emphasis on areas north of the San Dieguito river valley

Steve Brad has a photograph collection of SDRV birds

Lagoon Restoration project:
A Chick is Born

posted 06/07/13

Note:  A follow-up visit of the nesting ground soon after the observation of the young chick was made, it had disappeared, probably killed by a hawk.

Click on picture to enlarge

Because of coastal urban development, the endangered California Least Tern and Western Snowy plover have lost most of their historic nesting grounds. A part of the San Dieguito Restoration project was to create nesting areas adjacent to coastal wetland ecosystems, yet inaccessible to terrestrial predators and people. The project created 4 nesting sites, two west of I-5 ( NS 11and12) and two east of I-5 (NS 13 and 14).

Dustin Fuller, the 22nd DAA Senior Environmental Planner, reports that after 4 years of efforts and the distribution of many decoys this year saw for the first time evidence of nesting on the sites.

Nesting Site 11 had two Least Tern eggs, both hatched (see picture) and were banded. There were three nests on NS 12. Two nests were abandoned and the third one was depredated by ravens.

The central part of the Restoration project.  Click on picture to enlarge.  The nesting areas are shown in white.


Featured Bird

Belding's Savannah Sparrow


This bird has been on the California Endangered Species list since 1974 because over 75% its wetland habitat has been lost to development.

If you see an individual sparrow in the pickleweed or on the beach, rather than in a flock, it's probabily a Belding's Savannah Sparrow. This subspecies of the Savannah Sparrow is a year-round resident in the  coastal salt marshes of southern California from Santa Barbara County to El Rosario in northern Baja California, Mexico