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12/12/18 to 2/12/19 Santee Lakes Resort, San Diego (Part 1)


Birding at Santee Lakes

San Diego: Torrey Pines, Hotel De Coronado, Gaslamp District, Cabrillo National Monument, La Jolla, Ocean Beach Pier, Mission Beach / Cannonball Restaurant, San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park / Prado / Museum of Man / Museum of Photographic Art / Botanical Building / Japanese Friendship Garden, Waterfront / Seaport Village (shopping) / Fish Market / Joe's Crab Shack, Little Italy/Sorento, Old Town / Casa Guadalajara;

Temecula: Bought trailer, Wineries

Campground: Sites 140 and 146; W/$E/S; no cell coverage; good laundry room; pool and hot tub; pay for use of poor wi-fi! Pay for electric!

The campground is on the shores of and north of a series of small ponds within a recreation area. The ponds are stocked with trout and are home for abundant ducks, white pelicans, egrets, herons, cormorants, but mostly American coots. Paddle boats are available to rent and were a fun way to spend an hour feeding the waterfowl. The grounds are very pretty and the roads and walkways are a great place for a stroll or bike ride.

Our sites were a mixed bag. Site 140 was wide, had plenty of room, and was backed up to a small stream. Site 146 was short and turned into a lake during rain. We moved into the sight on a rainy day and had one spot to put the trailer or our door would be sitting over 5 inches of water.

You have to sign up for an account for bare bones free wi-fi. Extra bandwidth can be purchased for $10/week or $30/month. When working it was fast enough, but it would often kick us off and passwords would change weekly. You have to pay a $75 deposit for electricity and they credit or bill you for any balances after. All in all this is a very expensive campground especially considering that there is absolutely no cell coverage in the campground. We could drive to the south end of the park to get iffy cell coverage.

The campground is near a major shopping area with every store imaginable and some good dining options. The last stop in the green line trolly is in the Trolley Square Mall. This provides inexpensive service to San Diego, but it proved to be too long of a ride – at least an hour. We found better options by driving in to closer train stops (Old Town) or by driving in on weekends or driving between 9:30 and 4:00PM.

With all the places to see I am going to break this blog up into sections. Part 1 covers the birds at the park and Cabrillo National Monument.

Part 2 will cover Balboa Park, museums, and the waterfront.

This was my only sighting of this lone Cinnamon Teal - only found in the southwest

The Coots were very active and approach people looking for food. We were amazed by their large un webbed feet.

Mallards were pretty common - almost always in male/female pairs.

The wood ducks were moving so quickly, they were hard to capture.

I took 40 photos of this wood duck couple! Here are my favorites:

Cormorants fighting for a spot

White Pelicans fight for a spot!

Cabrillo National Monument was closed during the government shutdown. Shortly before we left, it reopened. The views of San Diego all the way to Tijuana were fantastic, but the cliffs along Point Loma were even better.

Cabrillo National Monument

Coronado Island and Navy Airbase in foreground and San Diego in Background

Point Loma in Cabrillo Nat. Mon.

Coronado Islands (Mexico) in the background

I love the shapes in the cliffs from erosion


4 fighter jets from the Navy base break the sound barrier together

Navy National Cemetery just before Cabrillo National Monument

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