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Fret not, San Diego birdwatchers

Extreme low tides for morning people only

Egret at Felicita County Park in Escondido
Egret at Felicita County Park in Escondido

Birdwatchers need not despair now that the winter migrants are gone. Plenty of shore birds can be found on summer evenings in the natural coastal wetland areas of San Diego County. From south to north the publicly accessible coastal wetlands include the Tijuana River Estuary, south San Diego Bay (just north of Imperial Beach and along the bay shore at Chula Vista), the San Diego River channel (inland from Sea World), Los Peñasquitos Lagoon (adjacent to Torrey Pines State Reserve), the San Dieguito River estuary, San Elijo Lagoon, Batiquitos Lagoon, Agua Hedionda Lagoon, and Buena Vista Lagoon. In and around these areas look for California gulls, American avocets, brown pelicans, snowy egrets, killdeer, and redwing blackbirds.

La Jolla Shores on the way to Torrey Pines State Beach during low tide

Grunion may be active again early next week (Sunday and Monday nights, August 8 and 9), roughly during the hours of 9:45 p.m. and midnight, following the nocturnal high tide. The small, silvery grunion tend to spawn on wide, gently sloping beaches such as Silver Strand, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla Shores, and Del Mar. California law allows the taking of grunion in summer (except in those areas classified as ecological preserves) by those possessing a state fishing license. The grunion must be caught by the hands only, and should be eaten (not wasted).

Sunset challenge. I’ve said Regulus and Mars are disappearing for the season down to Venus’s lower left. Well, if you’d like a challenge, Regulus and Mars this evening are in conjunction, 0.6° apart. Get Venus in your lowest-power, widest-field eyepiece as soon after sunset as you can. Then shift to watch 8° to Venus’s lower right to see whether you can pick up Regulus and fainter Mars before they get too low and set in the fading twilight.

As summer progresses, Arcturus moves down the western side of the evening sky. Arcturus forms the bottom point of the Kite of Bootes. The Kite, rather narrow, extends upper right from Arcturus by 23°, about two fists at arm’s length. The lower right side of the kite is dented inward, as if some celestial intruder once banged into it.

The above comes from the Outdoors listings in the Reader compiled by Jerry Schad, author of Afoot & Afield in San Diego County. Schad died in 2011. Planet information from SkyandTelescope.org.

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Egret at Felicita County Park in Escondido
Egret at Felicita County Park in Escondido

Birdwatchers need not despair now that the winter migrants are gone. Plenty of shore birds can be found on summer evenings in the natural coastal wetland areas of San Diego County. From south to north the publicly accessible coastal wetlands include the Tijuana River Estuary, south San Diego Bay (just north of Imperial Beach and along the bay shore at Chula Vista), the San Diego River channel (inland from Sea World), Los Peñasquitos Lagoon (adjacent to Torrey Pines State Reserve), the San Dieguito River estuary, San Elijo Lagoon, Batiquitos Lagoon, Agua Hedionda Lagoon, and Buena Vista Lagoon. In and around these areas look for California gulls, American avocets, brown pelicans, snowy egrets, killdeer, and redwing blackbirds.

La Jolla Shores on the way to Torrey Pines State Beach during low tide

Grunion may be active again early next week (Sunday and Monday nights, August 8 and 9), roughly during the hours of 9:45 p.m. and midnight, following the nocturnal high tide. The small, silvery grunion tend to spawn on wide, gently sloping beaches such as Silver Strand, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla Shores, and Del Mar. California law allows the taking of grunion in summer (except in those areas classified as ecological preserves) by those possessing a state fishing license. The grunion must be caught by the hands only, and should be eaten (not wasted).

Sunset challenge. I’ve said Regulus and Mars are disappearing for the season down to Venus’s lower left. Well, if you’d like a challenge, Regulus and Mars this evening are in conjunction, 0.6° apart. Get Venus in your lowest-power, widest-field eyepiece as soon after sunset as you can. Then shift to watch 8° to Venus’s lower right to see whether you can pick up Regulus and fainter Mars before they get too low and set in the fading twilight.

As summer progresses, Arcturus moves down the western side of the evening sky. Arcturus forms the bottom point of the Kite of Bootes. The Kite, rather narrow, extends upper right from Arcturus by 23°, about two fists at arm’s length. The lower right side of the kite is dented inward, as if some celestial intruder once banged into it.

The above comes from the Outdoors listings in the Reader compiled by Jerry Schad, author of Afoot & Afield in San Diego County. Schad died in 2011. Planet information from SkyandTelescope.org.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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