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Lake Henshaw – breeding Spotted Sandpiper, SW Willow Fly July 26, 2019

Dan Jehl and I took a dawn patrol hike to the back of Lake Henshaw today July 26, 2019, 5:15 AM–10:15 AM.  Humidity was up, temperatures in the 65–85F range.  Bit of a slog walking back to the highway after 9 AM.
Last week I had encountered an adult Spotted Sandpiper acting as if it had a nest or nestlings hidden nearby, circling low over grass and short herbs, landing on small trees and then a post calling, as I walked by.  Then leading me away calling on the ground.  I had made a cursory look around but no signs of nesting.  Today we encountered the same adult and after a short search out popped a small and still flightless youngster! Beautifully marked brown and black barring on the back, black loral and eye stripe and dark crown stripe extending to the nape and with two black dots on the back if its head.
We listened for the Yellow-billed Cuckoo I had seen and heard on July 20 but did not detect it.
Shorebirds were very scant – half a dozen Western Sandpiper, 3 Least Sandpiper and a Greater Yellowlegs were all we could find in the south end shallow margins.  There was a large "midge" hatch on and plenty of insect life around.  Just not many migrant birds out there.  One California Gull eating the flies.
We made a note of "Southwestern" Willow Flycatchers detecting at least four singing individuals and possibly as many as six.  These were in the same separated discrete areas I had detected them on July 20.  In one spot possibly two birds singing next to each other.  There were other individuals "whitting" around also so the total number may be higher.

Gary Nunn
Pacific Beach

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