Monthly Archives: January 2019

La Jolla Sea Watch January 21

This morning starting around 7:00 I spent about three hours sea watching at La Jolla Cove. The wind brought large numbers of gulls (Western, California, Heerman’s, Ring-billed, Boneparte’s, and a single Glaucous-winged) a few Surf Scoters and loons. A light-phase Northern Fulmar flew by early, but the Black-vented Shearwaters didn’t come closer in until about 8:30, up to 500 were visible at one time. The wind is forecast to continue through the day, maybe the Skua or the Magnificent Frigate Bird seen north of us yesterday will show up this afternoon.

Dan Jehl
San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Nelson’s Sparrow at Kendal Frost Reserve

On Sunday, January 20, 2019, a Nelson’s Sparrow (perhaps two) was seen along the fence of the Kendal Frost reserve at the peak of high tide (just before 8:00 a.m. The orange on the face was clearly visible as the sparrow moved through the vegetation. I got a couple of poor photos, others present got much better. The sparrow was seen by Eric Kallen and Ross Christie before I arrived, Bruce Aird and Steve Sosensky were there as well. The tide tomorrow (Monday, January 21st) should be high enough for the Nelson’s to be visible again.

Dan Jehl
San Diego

Sent from my iPhone

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Grace's Warbler, Crest Drive, Encinitas, Jan. 20, 2019

There was a Grace’s Warbler in the tall pines near 1282 Crest Drive this morning, Jan. 20, 2019.  Likely a continuing bird, first found by RSF CBC scouting group led by Susan Smith on Dec. 7, 2018 & posted to eBird at that time, with photos.  In trees on private property in a residential neighborhood, but possibly can be viewed from the street.
Please see below for both eBird reports.
Gretchen Nell
Leucadia, CA

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Laguna Loop 1-19-19

Trent Stanley & I birded several spots along the Laguna Loop this morning.  Early, it was cold and windy.

We stopped at the water tanks near the Sunset Trailhead off of Sunrise Highway.  We had what appeared to be a fly-over of 5 Clark’s Nutcrackers.

At the Pioneer Mail Campground, where the Lewis’ Woodpeckers wintered last year, we found only Fox Sparrows and a Red-breasted Sapsucker. The gates to the park and the road across the highway were chained, so our investigation here was limited.

At Stonewall Mine the male Williamson’s Sapsucker was easily found from the parking lot.

in Descanso we saw 5 Tricolored Blackbirds in a flock containing Brewer’s Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds, near the intersection of Viejas Blvd. and Mitzpah Lane.

At the Viejas Reservation there was a bright Ferruginous Hawk soaring. 

Eric Kallen
San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Cassin's Vireo in Hillcrest

Dear friends,

I just had the most delightful surprise in the paloverde tree in my front yard at 1076 Hayes Ave.: a Cassin's Vireo. I got to watch it at distances as close as 6 feet for a full 10 minutes as it foraged in company with a female Townsend's Warbler. Then it flew off across the street. I don't recall hearing of any reported on any of the San Diego County Christmas bird counts this winter, and I don't see any recent reports via eBird for San Diego County in the past month.

Good birding,

Philip Unitt
San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Eastern Phoebe, Pala (Not-chasable)

Hi Birders,
This morning, January 18, 2019, I observed a Eastern Phoebe at a defunct dairy farm on private property, approximately 5 miles east of Interstate 15, along highway 76. It was an area I was working with construction crews, so my camera was in the car at the time, but got sufficient/great views through my binoculars. It then flew to an area I could not access when I had the opportunity to look for and attempt photos. I say “not-chasable” because you’d need to search from the 76 over a wide area and an extremely dangerous location. So not worth it. I only report this because I haven’t heard of one in SD County this fall/winter season that I recall. And always a good day when you get three phoebe species within 100’ feet of each other!
Good Birding,
Jimmy McMorran
Leucadia, CA

Good Birding,
Jimmy McMorran,
Leucadia, CA
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

[CALBIRDS] Red-Flanked Bluetail – special hours Monday 1/21

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Rebecca Marschall" <rebecca.fenning@…>
Date: January 18, 2019 at 9:34:24 AM PST

Subject: [CALBIRDS] Red-Flanked Bluetail – special hours Monday 1/21

My colleagues and I have received at least a hundred phone calls and emails in the last 3 days, inquiring if the Clark Library will be open this holiday weekend for birders to look for the Red-Flanked Bluetail. I'm happy to say that:

** I will be able to open the library grounds on Martin Luther King Day, Monday 1/21 from 9am until 1:30pm. **

We will NOT be open on Saturday or Sunday this weekend (1/19 and 1/20) or next weekend (1/26 and 1/27)! This Monday will be our only exception to our regular hours (M-F, 9a-4:45p except for national/state holidays) this month. I do not have any information
about potential weekend openings in February yet.

Since birders will be the only library users on Monday 1/21, please feel free to park inside the library grounds. There will be a security guard in the parking lot for directional help and to monitor cars.
*Use caution when walking off of maintained pathways, and also use caution when walking on u-shaped brick pathways behind the library – they can be quite slick for weeks after rainstorms!
*Please respect any caution tape or orange cones, as they are there for your safety
*Please don't stand on top of any statuary or benches – they have been sitting outside since 1926 and we can't vouch for their stability or structural integrity!
The Clark Library is located at 2520 Cimarron Street, Los Angeles 90018. We are a UCLA special collections library and more information about library collections, programs and tours are on our website (
The property is fully gated and the grounds are closed when the library itself is closed (again, M-F, 9a-4:45p). 
The bird is still being seen (at least as of yesterday 1/17) in the eastern half of the library property, especially in the southeast corner behind the historic library building. 
Thank you to all who have already come to see the RFBL and shown my non-birding colleagues how well-behaved birders can be! 
Rebecca Marschall
Clark Library/Valley Village

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

San Diego Audubon Bird Festival pelagics trips.

Subject: San Diego Audubon Bird Festival pelagics trips.


Hello all,

The San Diego Audubon 2019 Bird Festival is approaching quickly. The Festival  dates are Feb. 27, to Mar. 3, 2019.

Among the many field trips, expert speakers, vendors, fun activities, and sales items, are three days of local pelagic trips.

These trips are aboard the modern 85 ft. New Seaforth out of Mission Bay. The trips will explore local waters that

may include the Nine Mile Bank, Point Loma, and La Jolla. Trips are about to 7-7.5  hrs. The boat is relatively dry and excellent

for photography.

We've had fairly good success in finding expected winter seabirds, such as our local specialties Black-vented Shearwater,

Brown Booby and Scripps's Murrelets. Occasionally we get rarities such as the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel (2-25-18) seen on

one of our trips last year. Other winter visitors vary year to year, such as Northern Fulmar, Pink-footed Shearwater, Red

Phalaropes, Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers, Common Murre,  Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklets. Bonaparte's, Glaucous-winged,

Herring, Mew, and other gulls, Black-legged Kittiwake, Royal and Elegant Terns.

Early March is also a good time to see Gray Whales, and several other species marine mammals.


The New Seaforth's captains are knowledgeable of local waters, and safe boat operations. Each trip will have several leaders to help get

you on the birds. Food and drinks are available for purchase onboard.


These trips are filling  quickly, and I suggest you contact San Diego Audubon soon if you wish to coming along with us.

The trips are Friday March 1st ( only one spot left )., Saturday the 2nd. , and Sunday the 3rd.

See details at, , no bookings are handled by the Seaforth Landing.


See you at the Festival,

Dave Povey





Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Laguna Mountains – very rare sapsucker hybrid?, Jan 11, 2019

Been doing a bit of armchair birding what with the rain and everything.  I noticed an interesting sapsucker report submitted to eBird by Ryan Pottinger from the Laguna Mountains (Noble Canyon Trail) on Jan 11, 2019.  The report has some distant photographs which show what superficially appears to be a male Williamson's Sapsucker.  But, as noted by Ryan in his description, the photos show red coloration in the front of the crown.  This red coloration seems to indicate the bird could be a hybrid with Red-naped Sapsucker, as Ryan also suggests.  Williamson's Sapsucker is sympatric with both Red-naped and Red-breasted Sapsuckers but there does not appear to be red coloration evident elsewhere about the head on this bird which might exclude Red-breasted involved as a parent.
Looking about in the literature, and online for photographs, it seems there are very few documented reports of such a hybrid.  I have not spent a huge time looking but I cannot seem to find a photo or report.  The only place I found mention of this hybrid is in a publication by Short & Morony (1970) describing in detail a male example discovered in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History.  That specimen collected on January 1, 1891 in northern Chihuahua, Mexico.  Their description matches the photographs by Ryan Pottinger.  In the publication the authors also note one other known specimen of a female collected in the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona on October 25, 1929.  Could this Laguna Mountains bird be a third example of this little known hybrid?
A very interesting looking sapsucker.  If anyone obtains closer more detailed photographs please let us know!
Ryan Pottinger's photos in his eBird checklist here
Short & Morony (1970) publication with description of male and female specimens here

Gary Nunn,
Pacific Beach

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports