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Boulder Oaks +

Facilities:  There are pit toilets in the Boulder Oaks Campground

Directions: Take I-8 east about 45 miles, past the turnoffs to Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains, and exit on Buckman Springs Road.  Turn right, and then left at the four-way stop, which is Old Highway 80.  Continue about a mile to the little bridge where Kitchen Creek crosses under the highway (it will be obvious, as it's the only large riparian woodland around). 

If you have a Forest Adventure or Golden Eagle/Age Pass, you can proceed to Boulder Oaks Campground on the right and park there, where the Pacific Crest Trail heads back out of the campground and along the fenceline, or you can park in the open lot right there on the highway and pick up the PCT where it crosses the road.  (If the idea of walking the trail under the freeway gives you the heebie-jeebies, you can easily bird the lush riparian area right from the road!)  You have to negotiate a little ditch here, hence the "plus" sign above; otherwise the trail is flat, at least for the short version, where the turnaround point is under the freeway overpass.  The more ambitious hiker can continue on up the grade, where the trail eventually crosses Kitchen Creek Road after a couple of miles.  The oaks are great for Acorn and Nuttall's Woodpeckers, Northern Flicker, Western Scrub Jays, Oak Titmice, Spotted Towhees, Western Bluebirds, White-breasted Nuthatch, and House Wren year round; Black-headed Grosbeak in summer, and Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet in winter.  Interestingly Steller's Jays are also found here at this lower elevation, as well as the occasional American Robin and Western Wood Pewee.  On the way to the riparian area look for sage/chaparral birds such as California Towhee, Anna's Hummingbird, Bushtit, California Thrasher (beware that Northern Mockingbirds have begun to show up here as well), Wrentit, and Bewick's Wren year-round, Ash-throated Flycatcher in summer, and White-crowned Sparrows in winter.  The riparian area is lush and can hold any number of migrants and breeders; expected species include Red-shouldered Hawk, Black Phoebe, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Lesser Goldfinch, several species of warblers, Lazuli Bunting, and Red-winged BlackbirdRed-breasted Sapsuckers may show up in winter, and totally unexpected species include surprises like a Yellow-green Vireo that showed up one fall, so it pays to be vigilant!  White-throated Swifts and Cliff Swallows nest under the freeway.

View of the northbound Pacific Crest Trail from the campground

Heading into the oaks across the highway

Riparian woodland along Kitchen Creek

Looking back towards Old Highway 80

Personal Checklist  ●=small numbers  █ = large numbers (10+) 

Please keep in mind that these lists are NOT comprehensive, and that some months may have had poor overall coverage.  Species in red are vagrants or irruptive species and are not to be expected.

  J F M A M J J A S O N D
Turkey Vulture                
Red-shouldered Hawk                  
Red-tailed Hawk                
American Kestrel                      
White-throated Swift          
Anna's Hummingbird                      
Northern Flicker            
Acorn Woodpecker          
Red-breasted Sapsucker                      
Nuttall's Woodpecker            
Ash-throated Flycatcher                
Black Phoebe                      
Pacific-slope Flycatcher                    
Western Wood Pewee                      
Warbling Vireo                      
Yellow-green Vireo                      
American Crow                
Common Raven            
Steller's Jay              
Western Scrub Jay        
Northern Rough-winged Swallow                
Cliff Swallow                
Oak Titmouse    
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch            
House Wren            
Bewick's Wren      
Wrentit            
Ruby-crowned Kinglet                
Western Bluebird          
American Robin                      
Northern Mockingbird                      
California Thrasher              
European Starling                  
Orange-crowned Warbler                    
Nashville Warbler                      
Yellow Warbler                  
Yellow-rumped Warbler              
Common Yellowthroat                    
Wilson's Warbler                      
Black-headed Grosbeak                      
Lazuli Bunting                    
Spotted Towhee        
California Towhee        
White-crowned Sparrow                    
Song Sparrow              
Dark-eyed Junco ("Oregon")                  
"Slate-colored" Junco                      
Red-winged Blackbird                      
Brewer's Blackbird                      
Lesser Goldfinch            
House Finch    
House Sparrow                      

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