Posts Written By: SDFOadmin

Morning in the Lagunas

Keith and I hiked the trail from Mile 19 to Big Laguna Lake this
morning (Feb. 21). If anyone plans to go this weekend, be aware that
there is still snow, a little ice, and mud on parts of the trail – not
much of a problem, but good shoes and a hiking pole might help with the
slippery places. (We also had to stop several times on S-1 where road
work closed one lane, but that might not be an issue on the weekend.)

We saw the continuing Lewis's Woodpecker in a large dead tree (no
bark, no leaves) next to the trail, between the water trough and Los
Rasalies Lake. We didn't see Red Crossbills until we returned to the
road at noon, when we heard several calling from the group of tall pines
right at the road, just north of the trailhead. We saw six.

Sara Mayers
Point Loma (San Diego)
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Mountain Chickadee in Poway

At about 0915 today, 21 February, I walked out to the end of my driveway and heard some calls in my hedge to the left, so I pished a few times. All of a sudden, a “chickadee-dee-dee” call came from the oak tree on my right. I felt confident right away that it was a Mt. Chickadee but I couldn’t see it. The bird then flew to the left and into a cultivated pine tree then disappeared. I ran back into the house to get my bins (forgetting all about my camera!) and dashed back out. After a few more pishes, the individual reappeared in a different pine across the cup-de-sac and I was able to see the definitive superciliary stripe above the eye. It then flew northward and disappeared. I have had this species at my house only once before about 1988 so was excited to record it again.

Tim Burr
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Re: misc. NEW rarities during mid-Feb

Wednesday, we had several Costa’s Hummingbirds in the cactus garden at the Safari Park. At least one pair and possibly more.


Denise Riddle

Denise Riddle
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

misc. NEW rarities during mid-Feb

During the past couple weeks, here are some highlights of NEW rarities and other species of interest I've seen in coastal San Diego County–in no particular order:

Single new Orchard Orioles in both northeastern Balboa Park (imm male) and in Coronado (female), a young male Baltimore Oriole at the SD Zoo, a total of FIVE more Hooded Orioles presumed to be wintering locally (all were females or imm males) with flock of 3 in Nestor, 1 at Zoo, and 1 in residential ea. Pt. Loma–which brings the county winter total this season to a lofty ca. FIFTEEN individuals, which must be an all-time record. Also 6 more Bullock's Orioles (2 at Zoo, 2 at Liberty Station, and 2 at Nestor). A White-winged Scoter was north of Camp Surf and SIX Black Scoters (5 drakes, 1 female) were on San Diego Bay, plus a female Eurasian Wigeon and a male hybrid Eurasian X American Wigeon both in Coronado, and a Snow Goose on south San Diego Bay. A Wilson's Phalarope at the saltworks is casual in winter and is undoubtedly the same individual present there during much of November but not (?) seen in the interim. Also 6 Common Goldeneyes and up to 6 wintering Black Skimmers (not a usual wintering site) at the saltworks. Single Summer Tanagers in Nestor, Coronado, and residential Chula Vista. A Hermit Warbler is in the Stonecrest neighborhood of San Diego. A Red-naped Sapsucker and Plumbeous Vireo in UTC. Single Costa's Hummingbirds in Otay Mesa and La Jolla–a species now rare in winter away from the desert. And 6 more Bl.-thr. Gray and 2 more Yellow Warblers and 7 more Western Tanagers. The annual staging of late-winter Red-throated Loons has 60 birds today between Imperial Beach and n. Coronado. A major, widespread flight of northbound Tree Swallows also today (20 Feb).

–Paul Lehman, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Grasshopper Sparrows in Ramona

morning, Wed Feb. 19, Keith, Sara, Jan and I found 3 Grasshopper Sparrows in a field
just southwest of where Montecito Way connects with Sonora Way in Ramona.  We started at El Paso and Montecito Way
(Harris’s Hawk stakeout location) and birded north along Montecito Way.  Two Grasshopper Sparrows came up out of the
tall grass onto a small shrub, and then a 3rd one popped up on a
snag.  Approximate location (33.050932, -116.905214).
  They stayed up for quite a while, allowing us
nice long looks.

Link to
ebird report:
eBird Checklist – 19 Feb 2020 – stakeout Harris's Hawk, Ramona (2017-2020) – 20 species


Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Daytime saw-whet owl of 9/3/19 revisited

On 3 September 2019, Phil Pryde reported a possible Northern Saw-whet Owl at 9:30 AM near the so-called crossbill spot along Agua Dulce Creek (Escondido Ravine Road) in the Laguna Mountains. The owl was calling. Today, Hank Ingersoll and I heard what we believe to have been a saw-whet owl at around 10:30 AM further south and upstream, actually where the creek bed flows over the road about 0.5 mile downstream from the pump house.


At the time, we questioned the Pryde sighting as saw-whets are *almost* completely nocturnal and calling mammals such as Merriam’s Chipmunk can be mistaken for them. Several folks wrote to say that in many years of owl study they had heard daytime saw-whets only once, and that would apply for me also. I have had many nocturnal encounters with calling saw-whets.


We believe that the mellow “toot” calls we heard, 7-8 about 1.5–2.0 seconds apart, were clearly from this species and we believe Phil Pryde could have heard a saw-whet owl, possibly this individual as the distance separating the locations is minimal. I overlooked this also, Birds of North America Online says that short bursts of advertising song (whatever short means) are often emitted in midday in response to playback. There was no playback in either instance so other stimuli must exist.


Hank’s eBird report for the day will be up soon. We had frequent Haemorhous finches (Cassin’s / Purple) singing and frequent calling flyovers from Red Crossbill. Weather was great but there is still a fair amount of patchy snow all over. Creek flow was minimal considering snowmelt. The usually open gate at the south end of Wooded Hill Road was closed but the usually closed gate on Wooded Hill Road at Agua Dulce Trailhead was open, possibly for fire crews as we saw a lot of fire hose along the trail near the middle portion of the creek.  



Geoffrey Rogers

San Diego, CA


Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Bell's Sparrows – Ramona area

Each year before the bird festival I try to make a report about current locations to find Bell’s Sparrows. Today I birded along Black Canyon Road in Ramona (reached from Magnolia Ave, which becomes Black Canyon Road). The ceanothus is beginning to bloom and many birds are singing, including Bell’s and Rufous-crowned Sparrows. Bell’s always seem to sing pretty quietly, and I find it is often easier to listen for the soft chip note, which to me, sounds very much like a junco.


I always begin my checklists where the pavement ends and the dirt road begins (near the intersection with Black Canyon Place). From that point, there was a pair at 2.1 miles (33°6'32" N 116°49'27" W). A second pair at 2.7 miles (33°6'37" N 116°49'19" W). There were possibly two pairs at this spot as I heard singing from up on the slope across the road and out of my sight. A third spot at 2.47 miles (33°6'42" N 116°49'16" W) also had a singing male with attendant female nearby. There was a spot at about 1.9 miles that I could hear singing, but I was never able to locate the bird.


Black Canyon Road has a couple of spots with some potholes, and a few areas of pretty bad washboard, but is easily drivable in a passenger car. At approximately 3 miles, the road becomes very narrow, winding and steep without safe places to stop, so I always turn around at the 3 miles mark and come back the way I came. You can keep going and there are areas to bird further on, but not for Bell’s Sparrows.


Checklist from today –


Nancy Christensen



Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Scott's Oriole

I had a singing male Scott's Oriole in my yard this morning. Seems to me that species was regular here in the past, and absent in recent years.

Dave Povey

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Tortugas Trip in April

For anyone who was interested in my previous post about a trip to the Dry Tortugas, Wildside Nature Tours has just made the whole thing even more complicated.  First I was told I couldn’t get our money back because they had to pay the boat.  Then I was told we couldn’t get our money back at all, even if they fill the boat, but could get credit for a future trip if the boat trip fills up.  However, that credit is non-transferrable and has an expiration date of Dec 2021.  For someone facing 2 years of chemo that really doesn’t help at all.  I was told though that we could fill our spots on the trip.  So I started looking on our io group and with friends.  Now I am being told that the two bed cabin that we had requested has been given away to another couple.  And that they aren’t sure if we can just transfer our spots.  They want us to have the other couple pay for the spots and then I’d have to give that couple their money back and “maybe” get a credit.  Which defeats the purpose of us making some of our money back.  They are considering letting us do a swap, but now they can’t give us an answer on whether they can do it until the end of March when our tour guide returns from birding overseas.  That would only leave two weeks until the trip leaves.  So I am sorry for wasting anyones time.  This is the first, and last time we’ll ever take a tour.  Having been a travel agent I can say that this is not the way we did business.  And adding insult to injury the tour guide had the nerve to say to me that he hoped I “could appreciate how hard this is for everyone.”  While he is giving bird tours in India.  Nice.

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Ferruginous Hawk & Mountain Bluebirds

There were six Mountain Bluebirds at the corner of Rangeland Rd and Highland Valley Road (S.E. Corner)  Mostly males with two females.  A "light Juvenile" Ferruginous Hawk was on a telephone/power pole along Rangeland Road on the East Side.  eBird Report with photo to follow.

Mike Wittmer
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports