Monthly Archives: January 2019

Archie Moore Rd Ramona

I headed up to Archie Moore Rd in Ramona this afternoon around 3PM to see what was there.  There were a few Red-Tailed Hawks in the area, a Ferruginous Hawk, Say's Phoebes, American Crows, a Kestrel, not much else.  Went by the Pomegranite farm area, but only birds I saw were Phoebes and Yellow-Rumped Warblers.

As the sun started to get low I headed  up to Rangeland rd and got out of my car near where the Bald Eagles have a nest, and on the West side of Rangeland Rd opposite of the Nest area was a Juvenile Bald eagle, maybe 25 ft from my car.  I did not see it until it took off and only managed a blurry photo as it flew away.  At the time I thought it was a Golden Eagle but looking at the photo it's not, it's pretty clearly a Juvenile Bald eagle.
Some locals said there has been a Juvenile Bald Eagle hanging around the power poles and flying low in the fields, so there might be a photo op here.
I saw no Mountain Bluebirds, and no blackbirds to speak of, except maybe a few red-winged or brewers far in the distance, I couldn't be sure what they were.
ebird lists here – 
-Roger Uzun
Poway CA

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Sagebrush Sparrow & White-winged Doves – Ramona

As part of the Escondido CBC on Saturday January 5th Courtny Achenbach and I observed a SAGEBRUSH SPARROW on mitigation land to the west of the northern terminus of Pine Street in Ramona. This location is unusually far west for this species, which more regularly winters in the desert. It was observed foraging on the ground with 8 Bell's and several White-crowned Sparrows at the weedy edge of an extensive area of sage scrub. The Sagebrush Sparrow was immediately discernible, even from a distance, due to its very pale coloration relative to the coastal Bell's Sparrows. Closer observation allowed us to observe the fine streaking on the back that is characteristic of this species.

This area is accessible by heading north on Pine St. to where it bends to the west and parking on Katherines View Way. On the south side of the road, walk along the marked hiker/horse trail to the west, going through (or around) the first gully. Then head south along the edge of the sage looking for the flock on the ground. 
Additionally a conservative count of 14 WHITE-WINGED DOVE were noted along Black Canyon Road at the north end of the Oak Tree Ranch mobile home park, representing a substantial increase of this desert-dwelling species for the area. Four were noted at this same location on the count last year.
Good Birding!
Jay Desgrosellier
San Diego, CA

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Re: 5MR Circle thoughts

Can this be adapted to be used with the old San Diego Bird Atlas squares? And if so, how? It would be nice to have something to compare with and perhaps be useful for future research. 


Greg Gillson
Escondido, California
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Bald Eagle with wing tag #19

Ed Henry and I spotted a Bald Eagle with Wing tag #19 sitting on a rock outcropping off Highway 78, at approximately 3:30 pm, west of Santa Ysabel. It then flew off in NE direction perching on a telephone pole, displacing a Ferruginous Hawk that was perched on that pole.

Can someone educate me on how to Track/ID or learn more about such tagged bald eagles? … as in details on where/when this bird was tagged?

Sunil Bhavsar.
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Mountain Bluebirds in Mission Bay area

This morning (Saturday, January 5th) there was a pair of Mountain Bluebirds at Hospitality Point in Mission Bay. The birds were flying between the Lifeguard Headquarters building and the native plant area. A pair of Western Bluebirds were frequently chasing them around.

Dan Jehl.
San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

San Diego Christmas Bird Count – land bird shortage?



Now that I have received and compiled
all of the data for the 66th San Diego Christmas Bird Count, the
final count stands at 216. Having already presented the highlights (,
I wanted to dig into the data a bit and see if it reflected the general feeling
that land bird numbers were down this year. In short, this answer is not really, most
numbers of migratory land birds were in fact stable. A few were notably down, however. I’ve not gone into any
intensive analyses or even corrected for observer effort, but simply compared 2018 numbers for
select species to the 10-year average from 2008 to 2017. (My, how things have
changed from the 1950s and 60s…) Below is a list of notable counts – high or
low, or for select species, average. Take this all with a large shaker of salt…


Greater White-fronted Goose – A new
high count this year with 27.

Ross’s Goose – A new high count this
year with 3. (Note this species was reported initially as Snow Goose.)

Canvasback – Fourteen is a good count
for recent years.

Ring-necked Duck – Just one reported
in each of the last 3 years, with average of 14.

Nearly all waterfowl numbers were
below 10-year averages, with Lesser Scaup and Northern Pintail at about
one-third average.

California Quail – Just three, and
while barely hanging on inside count circle, this species is a far cry from
when it reached triple digits as late as the early 1990s.

Pacific Loon – News from up north
suggests this species is perhaps in decline, and we registered just 59, with a
10-yr average of 320.

Black-vented Shearwater – Averaging
72, we only saw 4, although this species can simply move en masse offshore and
outside the circle.

Double-crested Cormorant – About half normal.

American White Pelican – A new high
count this year with 97.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron – A new
high count of 11.

White-tailed Kite – Although historically
down, our count of 11 this year was equal to recent average.

American Avocet – Just 33, a near low,
with average 105.

Snowy Plover – Some good news, 232 was
well above average of 194.

Ruddy Turnstone – Apparently in
decline, we had 18 (half normal) while Black Turnstone remains stable.

Dunlin – About one-third recent
average, with 103 on count day.

Short-billed Dowitcher – We counted 166,
about 25% average.

Red Phalarope – Missed some years, we
saw 45, average is 184.

Cassin’s Auklet – I guess I didn’t
realize how big of a deal this was at the compilation: our 6 on count day was
the first observation since 1990!

Heermann’s Gull – Recent multi-year
breeding failure may have cause our recent steady decline since 2015. We
observed 178 this year, with 10-year average of 545.

Eurasian Collared-Dove – Thankfully
stable at 124.

Great Horned Owl – The first miss for
this species since 2002, but hopefully due to lack of effort.

Allen’s Hummingbird – Assuming the
majority of Selasphorus hummingbirds
reported were Allen’s, 232 would be a new high count for this species in San

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher- For two
years in a row (new in 2017) we’ve recorded two individuals – having a known
roost helps!

Loggerhead Shrike – This species is
just hanging on with 3 (a far cry from the long-term average of 41, recent
years’ average just 4.3), but generally in decline nationally.

White-breasted Nuthatch – An invasion
year, with 15 being a very good count. Average is 2.8, and the high is 20.

Cactus Wren – Happy to report above
average numbers with 13 inside the circle.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – A large count
from the east edge of the circle along the Otay River pushed our total to 113,
a new high count. Average is 37.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Above average numbers:
218 vs 166.

American Robin, American Pipit, and
Cedar Waxwing all above average.

Orange-crowned Warbler – At average: 272
vs 277.

Nashville Warbler – Three was a new
high count!

Yellow Warbler – Above average: 12 vs

Palm Warbler – None known in days
prior to count, and not found on the count, one made count week when found on
December 16th in Manzanita Canyon. A shocking miss on count day,
given what seemed to be the best fall on record for this species along the
coast in southern California.

Yellow-rumped Warbler – This species
was essentially at average: 3380 vs 3468.

Black-throated Gray – With 14 on count
day, we set a new high count. Average is 7.

Townsend’s Warbler – With 77, we were
at about 75% average.

Wilson’s Warbler – Average year, with 6
compared to 6.6.

Chipping Sparrow – Average year, with 34
compared to 33.6.

Lark Sparrow – Average year, with 7
compared to 8.8.

Dark-eyed Junco – Juncos were above
average with 49 observed, compared to 34.

White-crowned Sparrows – Plentiful as
always, apparently, with 1599 seen compared to recent years 1756.

Golden-crowned Sparrow – An average
year is 8.9, we had 13.

Savannah, Song Sparrow, California
Towhee – all about 75% average.

Summer Tanager – Essentially average,
with 6 vs 6.5.

Western Tanager – A notable uptick,
with 32 (a new high!), compared to average of 14 and past high of 25 (in 2014).

Brewer’s Blackbirds – Seemingly down,
and actually down, 103 was half average.

Brown-headed Cowbird – An average
year: 103 vs 104.

Bullock’s Orioles – Nearly a high
(20), we saw 17, which was above average (9.9).

And last but not least…

Scaly-breasted Munia – Continuing to
grow, we set a new high count with 89 this year. In 2017: 62. In 2016: 33.


And notable counts of non-countable exotics:

Red-masked Parakeet – While common in
parts of the county, 7 in the count circle was a new high.

Black-throated Magpie-Jay – While some
historically argued (surely no one still is?) that this species should be added
to the State List, with a 2018 count of 8 and a historic high of 17, not doing
so was the right decision.

Pin-tailed Whydah – Perhaps one to
watch? New for the count, with just 3, but this species is popping up at a
small number of parks in San Diego, and is already seemingly established in
some parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties. This species presumably
parasitizes munias, so its expansion with Scaly-breasted Munia makes sense.


Thanks again to all of the
participants who make this long-term dataset more valuable each year.


Happy New Year,

Justyn Stahl

San Clemente Island

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

TRV 1-5-18

Trent Stanley & I birded several spots in the TRV this morning, 1-5-18.

At the air field we found a flock of about 12 Black-bellied Plovers. There were two distinctively different plovers in the group. We suspect that they are Pacific Golden-plovers.  Not a great photo opportunity, but Trent got some pics that will probably tell the tale.

We visited the Mall in San Ysidro to check out the large doves, where might be lurking the spotted variety that was seen in the area in October.  We were surprised to find two new Vermilion Flys, an adult male and a female-type on the border fence behind the Ross clothing store.  We then drove over to the ballfields to check on that  flycatcher, and Nestor Park.  The two well-known birds were in their usual spots.

Photos included with my ebird report.  

Eric Kallen
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

5MR Circle thoughts

I have been doing the 5 Mile Radius thing since the 1st of the year and it's a lot of fun.  It got me thinking where is the best address to get the most species in the county within a 5 mile Radius?

In my opinion it would be either in Chula Vista West of 805 like near 3rd ave and Oxford, or maybe in Mission Valley slightly west of 163 and near I-8.
With Chula Vista you would get Seacoast Dr, Nestor, Hollister, ,Poggi greenbelt, but you would be too far west for Otay Lakes.
With Mission Valley you would get Robb Field, Famosa Slough, Balboa Park etc.  
I also got to thinking about really prized birding areas like Portal AZ, Madera Canyon AZ etc. and realized I don't think you can get to really high bird counts without a coastline with sea birds.  I wonder if the SE AZ bird counts wouldn't be lower than the ones near the Pacific coastline here in the county.
If anyone more familiar with the County Bird population could give their opinion I'm sure a lot of us would find it interesting.
-Roger Uzun
Poway CA (Near Iron Mtn, 67 species in 5MR so far.)

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports