San Diego, California is known as one of the most geographically diverse places on earth and a known biodiversity hotspot. Its subtropical Mediterranean climate makes it an exceptional hotspot for birders and nature photographers alike. San Diego is located along the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south flyway zone for migratory birds. Over 500 species of birds have been observed in San Diego along the Pacific Flyway.
Bird watching in San Diego County can be done from its many beaches, desserts, and mountaintops. One of the wildest stretches of land within the San Diego city limits is Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. It encompasses 1,750 acres and is located on the cliffs above Torrey Pines State Beach. Over 200 species of birds are protected under the reserve. The bluffs and shores of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve allow you to spot migratory waterfowl and resident shorebirds like Willets, Sanderlings, Longbilled Curlews, and Brown Pelicans. It is home to one of the last salt marshes and waterfowl refuges in Southern California. While inland within the reserve you can spot Anna’s Hummingbirds and California Quail. Near the lodge, you will find species like the Wrentit, Scrub Jay, and California Thrasher.
Another birding hotspot for bird and wildlife photographers is the San Diego River Mudflats. Over 274 bird species sightings have been noted here.
San Diego is a must-visit birding destination all year around. However, fall migration is favored by local birders.
Owen visited in March 2023 with his good friend and guide Nathan Goldberg.