Ed’s Lagoon Link

We are surrounded by plants, birds, and other animals in our San Dieguito Lagoon and your key to understanding what’s what is this information-packed San Dieguito Lagoon website: sandieguitolagoon.org. Many contributed to the creation of the Lagoon Committee in the 1970s, starting with Nancy Weare, Alice Goodkind and others, who, appalled at the condition of the lagoon, decided to do something about it and did. (The ongoing mitigation restoration overseen by a consortium of agencies began in 2006.)


Many also contributed to the website’s development but Ed Mirsky’s perseverance has insured this valuable resource’s continuance. Now, with a two-year grant from the Del Mar Foundation, access is assured.


The backstory from Ed: “In 2016 Terry Kopanski, then Chair of the Del Mar Lagoon Committee, felt the history and accomplishments of the Committee should be preserved. He asked me to develop a bird guide for the website. Later, Terry gave me an article by Nancy Weare outlining the formation of the DM Lagoon Committee and an article by Jacqueline Winterer outlining the history of the Lagoon. I asked Larry Brooks of the Del Mar Historical Society, and John Weare, active in preserving Crest Canyon, to further help with the history. I then contacted fellow birders, Steve Brad, who posts on Sea To Sierra Birds; Tom Grey, a retired Law Professor at Stanford whose hobby is bird photography at Tom Grey’s Bird Pictures; and Ginni Kitchen, a San Dieguito Trail Patrol Volunteer if I could use their pictures and they all agreed.

Long-billed curlew. Photos by John Weare.
Cliff swallow.

“I researched how estuaries operate so I could better understand the restoration going on. To consolidate all this valuable local knowledge I recruited my nephew Hal Mirsky, a systems engineer, who in 2019 agreed to volunteer his time to build the website and programs to allow me to write the text and enter pictures of birds. I added plants, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Many pictures of mammals and reptiles are from photographers from iNaturalist willing to share.

Great egret.
Snowy egret.

During the COVID surge my wife Phyllis and I took walks at the San Dieguito Lagoon, the San Elijo Lagoon, the Los Penasquitos Lagoon, and Torrey Pines Reserve where I photographed the plants and flowers to add to the website. I use a “what’s here” approach for easy species identification. For the bird section I answer the questions What’s near shore? What’s in the lagoon? What’s in the river valley? What’s in the highland? What’s flying in the sky above? And a search for “what birds are seen during… choose a month” based on the San Dieguito Lagoon monthly bird count list. For the plant section I use What’s in the wetlands? What’s in Coastal Sage Scrub and Chaparral? What are these shrubs? What’s this tree? What’s this invasive nonnative? I put in a link to Calscape, the website of the California Native Plant Society, to provide additional information on drought-tolerant native gardens.”


For information about the Lagoon, the history of the Lagoon Committee and what it is in and around the lagoon that you are looking at or wondering about: sandieguitolagoon.org.