Terry, there is much to be said about thoroughly studying one's local patch and the denizens therein--all of it good.
That said, there is a lot of world out there and a very pleasant segment is close to you. You do not need to take cross-continent trips to study new species (although, as you got a taste of San Diego Co. birding, you can see how enticing that can be).
A day trip to Chesapeake Bay is within your reach. And what a venture that would be right now! Those ducks sit still and allow great viewing/learning.
...and the bird is on the wing