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Observations from a Nature Lover.

Migrating bird species return to the backcountry, in spite of the 2007 fire.

The other day, while walking my dog up my neighbor's newly re-asphalted road, I was taken by how quickly nature takes over. I remember the day a half dozen workers poured hot tar into cracks and smoothed over the road. A couple of months later, there they are: small, tender green shoots. By summer, I expect tall grassy clumps will, once again, be splitting the road.

The same seems true for the bird sightings and migrations since the Cedar and Witch Creek fires. Now, a few years after the fires, we are beginning to see nature regenerate. Familiar local and migrating birds are returning to our feeders, trees, and bushes. As the land changes, it attracts new birds, while others move on to more suitable locations.

In San Diego county, we are fortunate to have more than 400 native birds and many seasonal migrating birds stopping over on their journey to winter habitats. Winter's bare trees offer the perfect backdrop to view the migration.

Among the birds sighted this month are: White Crown Sparrows, Juncos, Western Bluebirds, Black Phoebes and Tanagers, not to mention the dozen or so mating mallards I see each morning in my nearby pond.

If you'd like to learn more about native and migrating birds, search the San Diego Natural History Museum website, or join Ian Lyne from 8 to 11 a.m. Jan. 16 at Ramona Community Park. Lyne expects to site 30-35 various species. Native riparian woodland and rocky grassland run along the Santa Maria Creek. Expected birds include White-tailed Kite, Red-tailed and Ferruginous Hawks, Black and Say's Phoebes, Western and Mountain Bluebirds, warblers, sparrows and blackbirds.

Turn left at 7th Street, go a couple of blocks and turn right onto Aqua Lane. Meet in the paved parking lot to the right, at 434 Aqua Lane. There are portable toilets.

For more information, call (619) 384-2686. 

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