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Felicita County Park 

 

Directions:  Take I-15 north to Escondido, and exit on Via Rancho Parkway (just over Lake Hodges).  Turn left, and follow Via Rancho a couple of miles to Felicita Road (there should be a sign for the park).  Turn right here; the park will be a little over a mile up on your left.  Keep in mind that the park opens at 9:30 (but sometimes the gate's open earlier...).

 

This county park has a delightful little nature loop trail that takes you through beautiful oak riparian woodland and boulders, and can be a great area for migrants as well as normal oak-related species such as Red-shouldered and Cooper's Hawks, Downy (rare), Nuttall's and Acorn Woodpeckers, Hutton's Vireos, White-breasted Nuthatch, Lesser Goldfinch, House Wren, Oak Titmice, Northern Flicker, Orange-crowned Warblers, and Western Bluebird year-round; Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Dark-eyed Junco, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet in winter; and Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Black-chinned Hummingbird in summer.  Occasionally you might even find Mallards in the creek!  The more brushy areas of the park could have Ash-throated Flycatcher in summer, as well as Bewick's Wren, Anna's and Costa's Hummingbird, Bushtit, and both California and Spotted Towhees year-round, plus Say's Phoebe and White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows in winter.  (I once had a Ring-necked Pheasant in here, but I think that was a fluke...)  There's a small clump of willows along an old maintenance road (accessible from the nature trail when it breaks out into a more open area; go straight where the main trail goes left) that can have Song Sparrows and Common Yellowthroat year round, and Blue Grosbeak and Lawrence's Goldfinch in summer.   The bluebirds have been nesting at the end of this road, close to the park entrance.

 

Continuing on the nature trail loop, you'll be dumped onto the main road, but the trail jogs up the road a bit and continues into one of the picnic areas.  Following this trail (which becomes paved) up the hill will take you into a small patch of sage scrub where you might find California Thrasher and Gnatcatchers, but Wrentit is the more likely suspect.  The trail then loops down into more oak woodland and eventually back to the picnic area.  Look for nesting Black Phoebes around the restrooms, and the more "suburban" feel of the picnic areas might attract Northern Mockingbirds year-round, Cedar Waxwings in winter, Hooded Orioles in summer, and Rufous and Allen's Hummingbirds when the flowers are blooming in spring.  Check the open skies here for raptors.  The wedding area up the hill from the ranger station might be worth checking for butterflies.  A weekday visit is recommended!

 

Scenes along the nature trail

 

 

 

The old road

Sage area along the trail

Outside of the park, heading north on Felicita Road a short distance will bring you to a small pond on the right (turn left on Park and park on the side); when there's water in it, it can be quite productive with Killdeer, grebes, and ducks, plus herons and wetland songbirds such as Belted Kingfisher (on the wires), Black Phoebe, Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow, and Common Yellowthroat.  Look for "suburban" birds such as Western Kingbird and Bullock's and Hooded Oriole in summer, and Cassin's Kingbird, Northern Mockingbird, and Western Scrub Jay year-round along here.  If you continue on Park, you come to a small stretch of unpaved road that has a small wetland on the left that might be worth stopping at for a minute.  If you arrive before the park opens, you'll notice that there's an access point along this road as well that takes you down to the playground.

"Felicita Pond"

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 denote irruptive, out-of-place, or vagrant species and should not be expected.

  J F* M A M J J A S O N D
Pied-billed Grebe                  
Double-crested Cormorant                      
Great Egret                    
Snowy Egret                
Green Heron                      
Black-crowned Night Heron                      
Mallard          
Gadwall                      
Cinnamon Teal                      
Northern Shoveler                      
Ring-necked Duck                  
Ruddy Duck                  
Turkey Vulture                    
Cooper's Hawk                    
Red-shouldered Hawk  
Red-tailed Hawk                
American Kestrel                    
Ring-necked Pheasant                      
American Coot                  
Killdeer                
Mourning Dove          
Anna's Hummingbird    
Costa's Hummingbird                      
Black-chinned Hummingbird                    
Allen's Hummingbird                      
Rufous Hummingbird                      
Belted Kingfisher                    
Northern Flicker                
Acorn Woodpecker      
Nuttall's Woodpecker  
Downy Woodpecker                    
Ash-throated Flycatcher                  
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe                    
Pacific-slope Flycatcher              
Cassin's Kingbird                  
Western Kingbird                      
Warbling Vireo                    
Hutton's Vireo          
American Crow
Common Raven              
Western Scrub Jay  
Cliff Swallow                
Mountain Chickadee                      
Oak Titmouse  
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch          
Bewick's Wren          
House Wren      
Wrentit        
Ruby-crowned Kinglet              
California Gnatcatcher                      
Western Bluebird            
American Robin                    
Hermit Thrush                
Northern Mockingbird        
California Thrasher                      
European Starling      
Cedar Waxwing                  
Orange-crowned Warbler    
Nashville Warbler                      
Yellow Warbler                      
Yellow-rumped Warbler          
Black-throated Gray Warbler                      
Townsend's Warbler                      
Hermit Warbler                      
Common Yellowthroat          
Wilson's Warbler                
Western Tanager                      
Black-headed Grosbeak                  
Blue Grosbeak                      
Lazuli Bunting                    
Spotted Towhee          
California Towhee      
Golden-crowned Sparrow                      
White-crowned Sparrow              
Song Sparrow  
Dark-eyed Junco ("Oregon")                    
"Gray-headed" Junco                      
Brown-headed Cowbird                    
Red-winged Blackbird            
Bullock's Oriole                    
Hooded Oriole              
Lawrence's Goldfinch                      
Lesser Goldfinch  
American Goldfinch                  
House Finch  

*Limited data during February

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