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Monthly Archives: May 2018

Dead hawks

I sadly report that three red-shouldered hawks were found dead this week in East Switzer Canyon. The last one was seen by a children’s playgroup, and sat in a tree all day above where they were. The next day it was dead under the tree. The children found the others as well. It appears as if they all died from rat poison. One was definitely a juvenile, one an adult, the other unsure as mostly feathers were left, though there seemed to be a lot of very downy feathers, so maybe also a juvenile. The last few years I’ve birded this canyon and watched probably this very red-shoulder family raise a healthy brood each year – last year they had 3 strong young ones. There is a neighbor in the canyon who has a rat box outside there house that contains poison and the pre-school leaders are hoping to talk sense into this person and get it removed. They seem to feel that the dose isn’t enough to kill anything other than the rats. And it’s so stupid, the hawks do more to keep the rat population down than they are aware of, and without them they’ll have even more.

Any ideas on any action that could be taken to ban rat poison from being used in San Diego?

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

MIA chimney swift

Friday morning there was far less cloud cover, especially of the low drippy variety, compared to what the weather forecast called for, and as a result there were far fewer swallows and swifts in the TRV. We had three Vaux's still present, and distant looks at a soaring chateura, but certainly nothing overly intriguing, and the numbers are way down. Given that the forecast calls for increasing sunshine and warmer temperatures over the next few days, that will certainly not help at all in any swift searches until the weather becomes gloomy gray again.

At the bird and butterfly garden, the female hermit warbler continues as do four Townsend's warblers, one of which has an injured wing and is likely incapable of long-distance flight, so it will be interesting to see how long it continues there in the silk oaks. Two female Lawrence's Goldfinches continue as well.

Paul Lehman, San Diego

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Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Peregrine falcons, Torrey Pines

There are four babies this year. They started to fledge early this week. Only one of the four young birds is still in the nest/cave as of yesterday afternoon. I took photographs with Larry Moskovitz yesterday, including a juvenile which you can see here.
On the negative side, many of the last Torrey Pines near the cliff that were seemingly healthy last year have now died due to the borer beetle infestation.
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Chimney Swift update.

The Chimney Swift found by Paul Lehman was present in the Tijuana River Valley again this morning.

First seen briefly, and solo on west of Dairy Mart Road between the south and middle ponds. Then 15-20 mins.

later it gave longer, more satisfying looks on both sides of the  Dairy Mart Rd bridge over the river, for a number of observers.

The Chimney Swift there with a half dozen or so Vaux Swifts, and many swallows.  Very slightly larger, differing flight

style, and missing, damaged or molting some flight feathers, assisted in picking out this bird.


Other spots in the valley had a few late migrants. A female Western Tanager was in the Silk Oak at the park headquarters.

A female Hermit Warbler was in the Bird and Butterfly garden, as was Swanson's Thrush, several Townsend's Warblers

Yellow Warblers, and the like.  A male and female Lawrence's Goldfinches are still present. The female appeared to be

collecting nesting material.

Dave Povey


Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Rose-br Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Reddish Egret, miscellanea

Thursday morning, the 24th, a so-so number of migrants in residential Point Loma included a male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, on the move northward, near Silver Gate and Warner, and a singing SUMMER TANAGER on the PLNU campus. The "best" western migrant was a rather late male Black-throated Gray Warbler, which ties the late spring migrant date published in the SD Atlas. To give an idea of what's on the move now in late May, here are the other migrant totals:  W. Wood-Pewee: 3, Pac-slope Flycatcher: 1, Warbling Vireo: 4, Yellow Warbler: 10, Townsend's Warbler: 5, Wilson's Warbler: 5, Western Tanager: 5, Lazuli Bunting: 2 (getting a bit late).  Also today, there's a young REDDISH EGRET in the San Diego River channel adjacent to Sea World.

Brown Boobies continue to be seen in the early morning scoping offshore from the south end of Seacoast Dr. in Imperial Beach, where there were also a couple lingering Parasitic Jaegers a few days ago. At least 2, maybe 3, pairs of Yellow-crowned Night-Herons nesting in the I.B. Sports Park. A total of 70 W. Sandpipers yesterday at the saltworks pond at the end of 13th St. is a good total for this late in the month. Several Redheads at San Dieguito Lagoon in Del Mar are at the site where nesting has taken place several of the past years, but lower water levels this year due to inadequate rainfall may mean poor success. And speaking of "lingering" waterfowl…there aren't many! Some late stuff at scattered coastal sites the past week includes a single "Black" Brant, 1 Northern Shoveler, and several American Wigeon. There may still be a Bufflehead at Robb Field.  But not a good lingering duckie showing this season.

–Paul Lehman,  San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Chestnut-sided Warbler in Anza-Borrego Desert May 23, 2018

At 9:10AM this morning there was an adult male Chestnut-sided Warbler bathing at a water feature in our backyard in Vallecito (south end of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park). 4 Photos and checklist at

Other sightings today included female Tricolored Blackbird, female Blue Grosbeak, Willow Flycatcher, Ash-throated Flycatcher, along with 6 or 7 Yellow Warblers, a couple of Wilson's, Orange-crowneds, Warbling Vireos, male and female Townsend's, Bullock's Orioles, Western Tanagers and a pair of nesting Hooded Orioles. (This is not a complete list).

On May 21st, in the morning, we had a visit from an adult male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. He stayed through the day, until dusk, but did not return the next day:

And, on May 2nd, we had our first ever Hermit Warbler at this location. 1 photo adult male :

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings … :)

Britta Lee Shain
Vallecito (South end of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park)
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

White-winged Scoter and Lawrence's Goldfinches on Wednesday, 23 May

Other birds of note this morning, 23 May:  After seeing two Bank Swallows and the Chimney Swift with 8+ Vaux's Swifts, four of us continued to the Bird and Butterfly Garden. One getting-late migrant  female Hermit Warbler was seen there along with three Lawrence's Goldfinches. Small numbers of Townsend's Warblers and Western Tanagers continue widespread.
Nancy Christensen and I continued to the coast to look for the female White-winged Scoter that Paul Lehman reported last week. We found it in the dwindling flock of Surf Scoter ( today's count was ~75, down from 150 last week) approximately 1/2 mile north of Camp Surf. Camp Surf is accessed at the very northern end of Seacoast Drive and Carnation Avenue.
Good birding,
Barbara Carlson

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Black Swifts at Mt Soledad

John Sterling and I just had a group of 5 Black Swifts fly low past us at Mt Soledad. We were on the south side the cross and the birds flew through the saddle on the west side.

Brennan Mulrooney
Santee, CA

Brennan Mulrooney
Santee, CA
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

More on Chimney Swift

At 8 a.m. the apparent ChimneySwift headed north from the bridge where a number of vauxs Swifts continue, and was last seen foraging over the general area of the middle Dairy Mart Pond and the main, large pond,  but swallows and swifts are working this whole area so it may well stay somewhere locally. Clearly one wants low overcast and cool conditions to keep the birds down low and in the area, as once the sun comes out and it warms up the birds should disperse. Anyone who wants to try for this bird it also would be recommended to do so only very early and late in the day as your chances are better at that time than during midday. One other character to look for is the bird tends to soar more than the vauxs swifts, as well as having somewhat  slower flaps. There may be even more than eight Vaux's Swifts around, which is a large number to still be present on the 23rd.

Paul Lehman, San Diego

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Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports