Monthly Archives: March 2019

Our old friend the lesser black-backed

The Lesser Black-backed Gull is still present at the jetty in front of the Hotel del Coronado as of Thursday afternoon at low tide. The bird is now in fairly high breeding condition, with a clean white head and bright yellow legs and a nice red orbital ring. Presumably it will depart soon.

Paul Lehman, San Diego

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Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

La Jolla Cove, March 21: 14 [or 19] brown boobies and other usual stuff

Have spent every morning and most afternoons at the Cove this past week. I have a new Swarovski scope, paid for with the newfound oodles of liquid capital I now have from the Trump tax refunds, and it has taken my ability to identify, or mis-identify according to members of the EIC, seabirds at great distances.
So I’ve been watching the day by day, hour by hour, and even minute by minute changes to Cove bird densities all week, since the dissipation of the vast congregations of shearwaters, gulls and pelicans that lasted for several weeks.
So a few notes:
Numbers of black-vented shearwaters in the Cove and offshore in the canyon have been between 500-1500. Hard to count because they are circling in and out of the Cove all day. Best times are first thing in the morning, and late afternoon. I’ve seen 2 of the leucistic individuals that were noted on the Bird Festival pelagic trips.
Gull numbers have plummeted from 5–8 thousand to just several hundred. Adult Heermann’s gulls have all but disappeared, and in fact there are few subadult Heermann’s gulls present as well. California gull numbers are in low triple-digits. The cliffs, carpeted by 400-500 brown pelicans last week, and hundreds of gulls, are nearly unpopulated except by Brandt’s cormorants.
Duck and loon migration is starting up. The loons are getting restless [title of a book on American politics?], flying into and out of the Cove, and then heading north. Small numbers of scoters are flying north as well.
Elegant terns are moving north in moderate numbers at a steady pace.
Today in addition to the black-vented shearwaters and one dark adult pomarine jaeger, I had an influx of brown boobies, all apparently adult females [some possibly subadult males?]. At 7:42 am, a group of 5 was just outside the kelp bed, and another group of 3 was slightly further offshore. These were followed 10 minutes later by 2 individuals and then a group of 4. All were headed north.
Then at 8:20, a group of 5 were heading south at the horizon; could have been the same group of 5 I had seen 40 minutes earlier.
Will be back there later, watching for frigatebirds blown north on the storm fronts….
Stan Walens, San Diego
March 21, 2019; 9:30 am

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Palm Warbler–Oops!

OOPS.  In earlier e-mail meant to say SHELTER Island, not Fiesta Island, for the continuing Palm Warbler…

–Paul Lehman,  San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

a few continuing rarities

On Tuesday the 19th, the wintering PALM WARBLER continued at the extreme southwest end of Fiesta Island, near the bathrooms, with a small group of Yellow-rumpeds. On Thursday the 21st, the continuing, returning male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK was in its favorite early-morning (7:00-7:15AM) tree in West Shepherd Canyon in Tierrasanta.  Also back on the 19th, the long-staying sub-adult REDDISH EGRET continued at the San Diego River mouth and was joined, side-by-side by a SECOND individual, which looks identical in plumage and darkish bill color except that one of the birds has gray wings (concolorous with rest of body plumage) whereas the other has noticeably warmer brownish wings. And then separately that day, John Bruin photo'd THREE Reddish Egrets all together, and all looking basically the same, so not sure how one can specifically ID Bird #3 as distinct from the other two.

–Paul Lehman,  San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Yellow shafted Northern Flicker Harry Griffen Park La Mesa/El Cajon

A cooperative and well seen yellow-shafted Northern Flicker was a nice blustery afternoon bird at Harry Griffen Park La Mesa/El Cajon today. Adult male. Black malar stripes and brown face and throat appeared to be the ssp. rather than an intergrade. Grey crown, back of head down to nape broken with small red nape patch. Yellow under parts distinct in flight. In junipers in open grass/chaparral hawking insects with CAKI nearby. Also in east side eucalyptus. Silent. Observed while frequently perched in open top of 20’ juniper from trail roughly 10m away.

CK Staurovsky
El Cajon 

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Famous Slough 3-20-19

I visited  the extreme south end of Famosa Slough this afternoon from ~1:15 to 2.

Warbling Vireo
Townsend’s Warbler
Downy Woodpecker male
RC Kinglet 2

also… this morning I birded Upas @ Florida
Hooded Oriole male
Western Tanager
Hermit Thrush 2
RC Kinglet 2

Eric Kallen
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Mission Bay Vermilion flycatcher(s)

This morning (3/20/19) from 10 until 11:30AM, the previously reported (Carl, 3/18) male VERMILION FLYCATCHER was joined by a female.

This is the same location, the Mission Bay Golf Course, southwest corner.


                                    Jim Roberts

                                        University City

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Least Bittern at Santee Lakes

Tuesday morning, March 19, at about 0745, I got a brief look at a Least Bittern flying between patches of reeds on the east side of Santee Lake #5.  Also in the area were two singing Bullock's Orioles.

Jeremiah Stock
Santee, CA
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Garden Rd Lawrence's

Headed over to Garden Rd in Poway to look for Lawrence's Goldfinches.  There were several in the circular corral area on the east side of Sycamore canyon rd, right near the corner with Garden Rd.  I didn't see anything else that was rare or unusual for the area.

More or less here on google maps –

Ebird list here w/ photos –
-Roger Uzun
Poway CA

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Hawks in Borrego Springs

Today 118 Swainson's Hawks migrated from Borrego Springs. Tonight a large kettle of over 100 birds descended into the Elis farm on Borrego Valley Rd. Tomorrow with light winds we expect the hawks to first go out to feed before kettling up between 8 and 9:30am. A large number of caterpillars are now in several locations throughout the valley. We do not know where the hawks will feed. I suggest you go to the day count site 2.6 miles north of Palm Canyon Rd on DiGiorgio Rd to find the best location to view the hawks in the air. 

Hal Cohen
Borrego Springs

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports