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Monthly Archives: December 2018

Re: reddish egret at batiquitos

Also one yesterday morning between Robb Field and Dog Beach. Very high tide in the San Diego River Channel, and the reddish egret was perched on a skinny branch beside a great egret perched on an equally skinny branch, barely above the water surface. Striking couple!
Sally M. Gall
La Jolla

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Owl at Borrego Settling Ponds

Was there an owl reported at the Settling Ponds on the Borrego CBC? I was there today and flushed an owl, which if I had to guess was a short eared owl. The look was brief, I was as startled as the owl when it flew out of the mesquite right in front of me. Lately, I have had issues with finding posts but I swear that I recall seeing something about an owl in Borrego.

Paula Theobald
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Juvenile Yellow-rumped Warbler in late December?


I spotted a strange all-brown warbler at Kit Carson Park in Escondido on December 23. It was very hard to view and photograph against the bright sky, but believe I have enough documentation photos (read: “very bad”) to determine this is a juvenile Yellow-rumped Warbler. Has this plumage been held for 4-6 months or did it hatch in November? Anyone heard of such a thing? Any other alternatives?


Photos under: “warbler (sp.)” in the eBird checklist.


These are my general notes. Additional notes with each photo:

“Size and shape of Yellow-rumped Warbler. Thin pointed bill. More "twitchy" than typical Yellow-rumped so fairly easy to pick out and track against bright foggy sky in mid tree level (20-25 up in eucalyptus). Couldn't get decent views but tried to photograph. Generally, dark gray-brownish above, dusky gray below with faint hint of wide darker streaks on sides, flanks. Dark chin, throat (perhaps stained?), gradually paling to dusky gray breast and mottled gray and white belly and undertail coverts. Heavy feather wear in tail. Most of tail tip worn away but one feather with part of a white outer tail spot. Long tail, short under tail coverts, short wings. Two thin white wing bars.”


Greg Gillson



Greg Gillson
Escondido, California
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

low landbird numbers, Rose-breast, Acorns

Having done a lot of coastal and a bit of desert landbirding in the county over the past month, I think I can say that I have never seen such LOW winter numbers of most landbirds in the 10+ years I've lived here. Almost across the board, and no matter the habitat checked. OK… maybe House Finches are doing fine, but not too much else. There seemed to be good numbers of White-crowneds and somewhat Yellow-rumpeds back in October, but a lot of those birds seem to have evaporated in the interim.  Now, of course there are some small pockets scattered here and there that do support reasonable numbers and variety of species, but the the overall picture seems quite poor this year. Many of the CBCs in the state which have reported in so far this year report an average or even slightly above average total number of species (e.g., the San Diego County CBCs), but low, sometimes exceptionally low, overall numbers.

On Monday the 24th, the male Rose-breasted Grosbeak in Tierrasanta continues in its favorite tree at its favorite early time in the morning (today it arrived at 7:20AM). See previous posts.

Over the past week I've had Acorn Woodpeckers in a few spots west of their 'normal' range, including 3 birds at El Camino Cemetery in Sorrento Valley, and at least 1 bird along La Orilla Dr. at the border of RSF/Encinitas/Solana Beach.

–Paul Lehman,  San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Nelson's Sparrow at Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve

Birding at high tide this morning with Janis Cadwallader and joined by Max Leibowitz, Char Glacy, and a few others. Best birds were Nelson's Sparrow, spotted by Max after about an hour and half, along with a Northern Waterthrush, and Marsh Wren. Another birder (Judy from L.A.) reported seeing (and had photos) of a sage thrush south of the platform, near Crown Point Park.

After seeing at least 20 Savannah Sparrows hopping about in the scrub and along the fence, Max spotted the Nelson's at 10:45 a.m., and we observed the bird until 11:08 a.m., when a Cooper's Hawk flew in and the sparrow dove deep into the scrub. We saw the bird north of the observation platform, near the storm drain outlet. It perched in the tall dry brush east of the fence, gradually moving higher until it came out in full view. That's when the hawk arrived, but not soon enough to grab Mr. Nelson. Photos on eBird:

Larry Edwards
San Diego, CA
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Some Rancho Santa Fe CBC rarities in Encinitas, Dec 22, 2018

Yesterday, our intrepid RSF CBC subgroup (myself, Gretchen Nell, Rita Campbell and Manolo Turner) covered the San Diego Botanic Garden and adjacent areas, Crest Drive neighborhood, and Seeman Dr, in Bird Breeding squares K7 and L7.  Unusual finds included up to 5 Western Tanagers (perhaps more), 1 wintering Pacific Slope Flycatcher, 1 Wilson's Warbler, and 1 Bullocks Oriole in the San Diego Botanic Garden,  an adult male Hermit Warbler in a pine at the corner of Crest Drive and Torrey Drive, a first winter male Orchard Oriole on a private drive across from the Botanic Garden, and a Painted Redstart along Seeman Ave, refound by Manolo in late afternoon.   We tried for many hours to relocate the continuing Grace's Warbler along Crest Ave, but were unsuccessful, although we did get it for the Count Period.  Extensive construction and activity by earth-moving trucks in the area that it was found previously, may have caused this bird to move elsewhere.   Sue Smith, Del Mar

Susan Smith
Seiurus Biological Consulting
Del Mar, CA
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

preliminary results of Rancho Santa Fe Christmas Bird Count Sat 22 Dec 2018

Thanks to all who participated in today's Rancho Santa Fe area Christmas Bird Count.  Preliminary results indicate 187 species recorded (plus 3 subspecies, a hybrid, & 2 additional species seen count week but not on the day of the count), below our previous maximum count of 202 species but above our average of 174.
I'll leave it to those who found rarities to post descriptions or corrections (post-compilation continuation of birding added to the list & several have already been posted to eBird), but notable species reported (pending review) included cackling geese in Fairbanks Ranch pastures & San Dieguito Resevoir, a wood duck in Poway, male Eurasian wigeon at San Elijo Lagoon to the SE of Ocean Cove & Manchester Ave, a hybrid American-Eurasian wigeon at San Dieguito Lagoon, canvasback & hooded mergansers at multiple locations, common goldeneye in Poway & Lake Miramar, a horned grebe in San Dieguito Lagoon, a brown booby off Cardiff, a Buller's shearwater off Torrey Pines, least bittern at San Dieguito Resevoir & Lake Miramar, an adult reddish egret & adult yellow-crowned night-heron near the Del Mar Public Works facility at San Dieguito Lagoon, a juvenile reddish egret at San Elijo Lagoon just east of the remnant dunes on the east side of Highway 101, a zone-tailed hawk over Felicita Park, red phalarope off Torrey Pines, first cycle glaucous-winged gull at Lake Miramar, Caspian tern & Cassin's auklet off Torrey Pines, pomarine & parasitic jaegers off Torrey Pines & Cardiff, red-naped sapsucker in Harmony Grove, a Pacific-slope flycatcher at SD Botanical Gardens, barn swallows at Torrey Pines & San Dieguito Lagoon, mountain chickadees in Harmony Grove & Encinitas, red-breasted nuthatch at Harmony Grove, yellow warblers in Encinitas & Felicita Park, myrtle yellow-rumped warblers in Encinitas & Penasquitos Canyon, palm warbler & northern waterthrush in San Dieguito river valley, hermit warbler at SD Botanical Garden, American redstart at Lake Hodges Bernardo Bay trail, painted redstart in Encinitas, Wilson's warblers at SD Botanical Gardens & Olivenhain, western tanagers in Encinitas, SD Botanical Gardens, & Penasquitos Canyon, green-tailed towhee in a private yard in Cardiff, brief glimpses of a Nelson's sparrow at San Elijo Lagoon at the NW end of the little peninsula NW of Rios Ave (area posted as closed due to construction & group had permission to access but noted with no construction on weekend that multiple other walkers/joggers were in area), large-billed savannah sparrow along utility access road NW of Rios Ave (currently closed to public), Harris' sparrow at private yard in Saber Springs, white-throated sparrow in Olivenhain, orchard oriole at SD Botanical Gardens, Bullock's orioles at SD Botanical Gardens & in Sun Valley area of Solana Beach/Rancho, purple finches at Hilltop Park in Rancho Penasquitos, escapee pin-tailed whydah in Penasquitos Canyon.  (I apologize for any mistakes or omissions). 
Thanks again to all who participated & congratulations on a successful count.
Happy holidays & happy birding!
Robert Patton
San Diego, CA
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports