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Monthly Archives: May 2019

La Jolla Cove, May 25: 1500+ black storm-petrels

After watching the number of storm-petrels dwindle to almost none yesterday evening, I was surprised to see that this morning the black-storm petrels had returned to the Cove.
Widely scattered with many, many over the rough water of the canyon to the north.
But about 1500 or so between shore and the canyon.

Sooty shearwaters only far out. A few black-vented shearwaters.
No boobies.

Stan Walens, San Diego
May 25, 2019; 10:00 am3
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

American Redstart – PLNU

There was a female-type AMERICAN REDSTART at Point Loma Nazarene University this morning around 8 am. The bird was along the eastern edge of the campus, about 200 feet south of the Garden Street gate (near the south end of the concrete culvert).

Alex Abela
San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

La Jolla Cove, May 24: black storm-petrels down to only 2 dozen

It’s been a wonderful week at the Cove, with a once-in-a-lifetime show of sooty shearwaters and black storm-petrels.
I’ve spent nearly the entire day every day there staring through my scope. My eyes no longer focus anywhere except on the horizon…
But I’m posting to let people know that the spectacle is over.

Paul L. and other have posted maximum numbers.
I differ on only one of those: my count of sooty shearwaters on Friday May 17 was greater than the 20,000 several others have reported, but even 20K is by far the largest number ever seen in a day in San Diego County.

Numbers of black storm-petrels grew rapidly from the time they were first reported 10 days or so ago. They were very difficult to count most days because they were moving so constantly and were spread out across the ocean as far as one could see. I could count only those within maybe 1 or 1.5 miles, but still see swarms of them feeding over the depths of the canyon, 2 or more miles away.
Numbers built up to a peak of probably somewhere just shy of 2000 on May 22.

Whatever they were feeding on—and I think it was pelagic red crab eggs—attracted numerous other birds, including for several days between 75-90+ least terns.

However, yesterday, when I spent only a measly 6 hours seawatching beginning at 10:30 [so I missed the crucial first 4 hours of daylight], I began seeing the storm-petrels leaving the Cove and moving south in large numbers.
Over the 6 hours, with a lunch break in the middle, I counted around 1400 doing that. Maybe 250 or so were left in the Cove when I gave up at 6:00 pm.
I saw no least terns, and very few other birds feeding inshore.
Whatever food they were eating must be gone.

Today I got to the Cove mid-afternoon.
I counted about 30–40 black-storm petrels. As the afternoon progressed, they began moving south.
I wouldn’t be surprised to find none or only a handful in the Cove Saturday morning.

Sooty shearwaters are still moving past in small numbers, about 100/hour, but mostly far offshore except for the first hour or so after dawn.
A handful of black-vented shearwaters are still around.

Stan Walens, San Diego
May 24, 2019; 11:00 pm
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

HY Vermilion Flycatcher at Morley Field

This morning (5/24) I found a hatch year Vermilion Flycatcher outside the north-west corner of the baseball fields at the Morely Field Sports Complex in Balboa Park. Exact coordinates are 32.738047, -117.140418. I wonder if it could be a dispersing juvenile from the nest in Mission Bay that Paul Lehman noted had recently fledged on April 15th, or from a nearby undocumented nest.


Nicole Desnoyers
North Park

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Jacumba: Baltimore Oriole, Acorn Wood., and misc migrants

A very early morning drive on Friday over to Jacumba was first highlighted by my 5AM passing of the Kitchen Creek Road exit, where my car thermometer read 32 degrees on May 24th. Jacumba was 42 degrees at dawn. The best bird there was an adult male Baltimore Oriole. A slightly wayward Acorn Woodpecker was seen, as was a perhaps slightly late Northern Flicker, continuing good numbers (14+) of Lawrence's Goldfinches, but only a very few remaining (4) Tricolored Blackbirds. Other migrants and miscellaneous species for late spring included:

White-winged Dove: 2

Lesser Nighthawk: 1

Nuttall's Woodpecker: 4 (active nest)

Oak Titmouse: 1

W. Wood-Pewee: 5

Willow Flycatcher: 2

Pacific-slope Flycatcher: 2

Warbling Vireo: 2

Swainson's Thrush: 11

Cedar Waxwing: 12

Scott's Oriole: 1 (singing male)

Yellow Warbler: 12

Wilson's Warbler: 2

Western Tanager: 18

Black-headed Grosbeak: 5

–Paul Lehman, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

PLNU lively with migrants, young birds, etc this morning

Keith and I birded with Eric Kallen at Point Loma Nazarene University (the path along the east edge of the campus) this morning (May 24, roughly 7:40-9:40AM).  We saw Warbling Vireos (5-6 in one tree; Eric saw a larger flock go by), Western Wood-Pewees (3, I think), Townsend's Warblers (2 males), Yellow Warblers (3), a Swainson's Thrush, an Olive-sided Flycatcher, and a Pacific-slope Flycatcher.  There were several juvenile juncos, bushtits, and Black Phoebes.  (No parula.)

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

Northern Parula at Point Loma Nazarene

On Thursday morning there is a Northern Parula along the east edge of Point Loma Nazarene University on Point Loma. It was frequenting a very dark green broad-leafed tree on the west side of the path about 100 to 150 ft south of the south end of the parking structure. Unfortunately, the bird was being somewhat harassed by a family group of orange-crowneds, so unknown if it will be able to stay in that tree, which has some small little flower structures growing on it and which seemed attractive to the warblers. The Parula was the one and only migrant landbird I saw in my walk around campus…

Paul Lehman, San Diego

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Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

La Jolla seawatch: 1800 storm-petrels, and miscellanea

It can be said that we all said that we'd never seen anything like it from shore. Early on Weds morning at La Jolla, an assemblage of Black Storm-Petrels feeding VERY, VERY close to shore in a concentrated mass on what must have been a temperature-break or current-break for the entire time we were there, and a scene which looked like the very large assemblages of tight-flying storm-petrels one sees the first second one flushes a large roosting flock off the water when on a fall pelagic trip well offshore. Anyway, our best one-scan total was 1800+ birds. Also seen during the morning were 4 Brown Boobies, a good total of 5000 Sooty Shearwaters, 2 Black-vented Shearwaters, 2 alternate-plumaged Red Phalaropes, and 7 Pacific and 2 Common Loons–of which the Pacifics were in their expected basic plumage on this late date, but one of the north-bound Common Loons was, surprisingly for the date, in full alternate plumage. Otherwise, ca. 18 Red-necked Phalaropes, a Surf Scoter, and a dozen one-year-old Heermann's Gulls (which is actually a "large" count recently).

–P. Lehman, D. Povey, J. Desgrosellier, P. Ginsburg, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports