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South Bay Dunlin

Yesterday, July 18, I stopped by the ponds along the Salt Works in south San Diego to find large numbers (totaling about 1,000) of shorebirds in pond 22, unfortunately I only had my binoculars to look through the fence. Today (July 19) I brought my scope to find that the pond had been filled and most of the birds had moved on. Most interesting was the Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalaropes mixed with the Willets along the Western edge of the pond.
The next pond west has a small sandbar just over the dike, there were about 45 Willets, three Western Sandpipers and a Dunlin in winter plumage. The Dunlin was about 20% larger than the Westerns, slightly darker gray-brown and had a thicker droopy bill. I watched it for about three minutes before it and the Western Sandpipers flew off. This appears to be extremely early for a migrant, I wonder if it summered locally.

Dan Jehl
San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports