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Vesper Sparrows

Today I spent several hours at Barnett Ranch Preserve
(located in Ramona off San Vicente Road) attempting to count the largest flock
of Vesper Sparrows I’ve ever seen! They are mixed in with large flocks of
Savannah and Lark Sparrows.  They are
easy to pick out but hard to photograph in groups because of the vegetation
they creep in and out of.  I spotted a
group of three on my right and another group of three on my left at the same
time so I saw six at one time but I’m sure the count is higher than that. I can
usually count birds from taking photographs in succession but this was not
possible due to the habitat. I did not make an eBird report because it’s a
record number at that location for this time of year and I want the count to be
verified and accurate.  So I’m putting
this shout out to the group. 

After parking your car in the parking lot at Barnett Ranch, walk
up Deviney Lane (the paved road) 0.2 miles to where it insects the Valley View
Trail, a very wide dirt trail.  Do not
hike any further!  At that intersection
there is a closed pasture gate and a large rock pile in the pasture. The
pasture is not part of the preserve. The sparrows forage along Deviney Lane and
often land on the barbed wire fencing, the fence posts or on the rock pile
where they are easy to photograph.  I got
great photos. Counting them is another matter entirely.

Later I walked the entire loop (the Rattlesnake trail)
looking for the male and female Harrier that hunt in the meadows there and
found both of them.  A few days ago I
came upon a small group of California Quail drinking at the pond.

Iris Kilpatrick
Ramona, CA

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports