San Diego Metro KOA
Chula Vista, CA
January 18, 2022
Tijuana Slough NWR is a 1,072 acre wetland located where the Tijuana River meets the ocean.
|Tijuana, Mexico is on the left and Imperial Beach in San Diego is on the right|
The refuge was established in 1980 and is part of the 2,800 acre Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. There are only 28 of these reserves in the United States.
The slough's habitats include open water, tidal salt marsh, beach dune, riparian, vernal pool and coastal sage scrub habitats. Just as we turned a corner to walk the McCoy Trail we saw a huge wing span in the pine tree. This Black-crowned Night Heron, a new to us bird, was settling in for the day after an active night of foraging for food. There were two of them which is not uncommon.
The highlight for the morning was to see another new to us bird.
This beauty, a Yellow Crowned Night Heron, was so focused on breakfast that he didn't even notice us. It was a great opportunity to capture some photos.
What a smart and elegant looking bird. They are discribed as not as slender as most herons with smooth purple-gray colors and a sharp black and white face.
Unlike the Black-crowned Night Heron, they forage at all hours of the day and night stalking crustaceans in shallow wetlands.
Their diet mostly consists of crabs and crayfish which they catch with a lunge...
...and a shake.
We could hear the shell cracking for a few minutes. He even dropped the crab twice and caught it before he swallowed it whole.
What an absolute treat it was to spend a few minutes among the birds this morning. The Yellow Crowned Night Heron wasn't the only hungry bird we saw. These cute little Sparrows were hopping around all over the place.
We enjoyed a nice steady rain last night. I had forgotten how nice the sound of rain is in the MH. It was still cloudy and a wee bit chilly this morning when we headed out to the refuge. The flowers enjoyed the rain as much as we did.
Tijuana Slough NWR is definitely a beautiful place to spend a few hours.
Up next Sunset Cliffs. Until then,