Wednesday, March 16, 2011

San Dieguito River Valley

Hawk hunting for food
The San Dieguito River Park is an effort to preserve the 346 square mile San Dieguito Watershed which stretches from Del Mar to Julian near the Volcan mountains. It is the 4th largest watershed in San Diego county. Trails are accessible to hikers, mountain bikes and equestrians.

Taking advantage of the daylight savings change I decided to stop at the Escondido trail head near Lake Hodges on the way home from work and see how the trail system is doing. It has been 4-5 years since I was last there, running in the Lake Hodges 50k trail race a few years in a row.

Within a mile of walking on the trails I saw a hawk circling above and around a small mountain area. I stopped to take a few pictures, it was obvious he was hunting for food in the field below. After 20 minutes or so I noticed he was not circling back around to my side on the mountain any longer. I figured he was off hunting somewhere else so I continued further down the trail and around the mountain. Turns out he had caught a rabbit and was in a tree eating his dinner.

After a few pictures of the hawk eating the rabbit (and fighting off the crows) it was time to turn back and head home. On the way back I saw another smaller hawk, a Turkey Vulture, a White-tailed Kite and so many different kinds of other birds I gave up keeping track of them. As the sun started to set I heard coyotes howling up in the foothills.

I spent a lot of time trying to research what types of birds and hawks I saw but was really unsure after looking at so many different variants of hawks that exist, If you know more about hawks and can identify which species they are please leave me a comment..thank you!

Hawk hunting for food

Hawk zeroing in to catch something

Hawk still searching for game in the field

A Turkey Vulture swoops into the field also

Many birds are in the San Dieguito River Valley

This seems to be a smaller hawk, maybe a different species or a juvenile

This hawk looks serious

Interpretive sign that indicates Golden Eagles live in the area

This hawk finally catches a rabbit in the field

Hawk showing off his catch to me as I watch from afar

This rabbit was large

The hawk easily holds the rabbit on the limb while he eats

The hawk knows I am watching, he stares at me every second

Cool moon in the sky

A White-tailed Kite was also hunting the fields for food

Man I'm fast..!

Funky bug on the Fiddleneck plants

These bugs were about the size of a grain of rice

These spiky weeds are growing everywhere right now

Spiky weeds..I think they look cool

Mandatory scat with bones picture


  1. wow, wish I had seen a hawk and rabbit! Very cool!

  2. Thanks Peter..I wish I had your 500mm f4 lens..!!

    BTW, you take some amazing wildlife pictures!!

  3. Sticky Weeds? Those are the fabulous Red Filaree ! One of CA finest pasture crops !
    A Weed is an ancient sentient being, far far smarter than we are ! ;-)