Monthly Archives: April 2019

Little stint still present

The breeding plumaged Little Stint, undoubtedly one of the two birds present in November and December last year, continues today in the drying up saltworks pond a third of a mile east of 13th Street. The birds are far away so one needs a very high-quality scope to find it, but because of the overcast the lighting is good still. Once the sun comes out it will be totally hopeless. The bird is in the flock of hundreds of Western sandpipers. There was a first of season Wilson's phalarope here early this morning but it has disappeared.

Paul Lehman, San Diego

Sent from AOL Mobile Mail
Get the new AOL app:

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Mountain plover has flown at least temporarily

Just before 7 a.m. the saltworks Mountain Plover flew south over the bike trail and may have landed in the extensive saline flats and short vegetation that runs between the bike trail all the way down to Palm Avenue, but it is difficult to check there.

Paul Lehman, San Diego

Sent from AOL Mobile Mail
Get the new AOL app:

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Little Stint update (negative)

Soon after posting the news on the Little Stint this morning, I lost track of the bird, as all of the peep close in scattered all around the pond and joined and mixed up with another large group in this same drying impoundment. The grand total of Westerns there is between 1200-1500 birds. Two-thirds remained always too distant to be able to sort through them, given both the distance and the worsening heat distortion. Periodic smaller subsets of up to a few hundred birds would come back close enough to ID and then quickly scatter again, but I never saw the Little Stint or the hyper-rufous Western Sandpiper again. The section where the Little Stint frequented originally was the southwest corner of the pond. As mentioned in my earlier post, this pond probably only has one more day left before it is largely too dry, and even now clearly a lot of the birds remain too far out. Also, anytime in the next week or so should be the major departure of many of the wintering Westerns northbound.  Best bet would be to try late today or early tomorrow morning, to avoid all the heat haze, although the tide will be low in the early AM on the bay, so not all the peep may be on the impoundment then. When I saw the bird today the tide was still somewhat low but fairly quickly incoming.

Again, this bird is almost undoubtedly one of the two individuals that were a couple ponds farther to the west in the saltworks back in (Oct) Nov-Dec.

–Paul Lehman,  San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Breeding-plumaged Little Stint at salt works

Just a few minutes ago on Tuesday I found a full breeding plumage Little Stint at the salt works pond that is drawn down that is a third of a mile east of the end of 13th Street in imperial Beach, the pond that often produces rare shorebirds when they lower it. Be aware that the pond is already half dried up so probably only has another day before it is too dry and the birds are too far. Now that the sun has come out, the heat distortion is becoming a problem. The bird has a bright rufous orange head and wash on the sides of the breast which contrasts with a very whitish throat and it also shows a distinct split supercilium within the orangey rufous of the head, and the bill is typically short and straight. Be aware that there is also a hyper bright rufous Western Sandpiper in the flock, which has about 500 Birds all together, but the Western is otherwise a typical Western with a typical Western bill and not the contrasty white-throat and no split supercilium, but it is really super Rufous above.

Certainly, this must be one of the two individuals that was present nearby in November and December but not seen since.

On other news, Barbara C. had an olive-sided flycatcher this morning between the bird and butterfly garden in the community garden, which I think is the first of the season for the county. Yesterday I found a new, small colony of 10 active nests of double-crested cormorants In Santee at the Carlton Oaks golf course. There are only two or three other colonies known in the county, I believe.

Paul Lehman,. San Diego

Sent from AOL Mobile Mail
Get the new AOL app:

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Nocturnal migration – Swainson's Thrush, April 22, 2019

I have been doing a bit of nocturnal migrant audio recording lately, to get a gauge on what is going overhead at night here in Pacific Beach.  Yesterday April 22, 2019 late evening I heard the first Swainson's Thrushes moving overhead emitting their characteristic "spring peeper frog" like calls.  Quite a number on the overnight recording track.  Breezy mixed up airflow nights are the best conditions for listening for nocturnal migrants, last night was quite good with a haul of different species.  One persistent problem for audio is the continuous singing of Northern Mockingbird at all hours of the night!  Their favorite mimicry seems to be car alarms and electronic car locking beeps in my neighborhood but they have everything in their repertoire.
Looking in eBird this appears to be the first report of Swainson's Thrush this spring, but only by a gnat's whisker as Matt Sadowski recorded one calling overhead after midnight.
Looking back on a few earlier years in spring 2017 my first detection of this species was April 25, and in 2016 was April 29.

Gary Nunn
Pacific Beach

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Possible Plumbeous Vireo at West Canyon Neighborhood Park

Hi, All,

Let me first note that this is a slightly stale report.  I photographed this vireo on 4/15.  I had not seen it on my two prior visits, 3/24 and 4/4.  Incidentally, for a park next to a freeway (sw corner of Adams and I-15), it has some potential.  Some pines, some unhappy tipus, some eucalyptus, a few sycamores, and a brushy area.

The vireo looks grey-backed, grey-sided, and strong-billed for a Cassin's, and the primary and secondary edging don't look very yellow.  I initially reported this on eBird as a dull Cassin's, but feedback from several people came in leaning Plumbeous.  Keeping Paul Lehman's recent missive wrt to caution regarding new reports of this species   .   .   .

"Several of these birds are known wintering stakeouts 
that are still present; and indeed, this species regularly remains into 
mid-April, with the latest known wintering birds during the past 15 
years staying until ca. 21 April (fide GMcC). So, even "new" birds found 
during the first half of April are likely wintering birds that weren't 
discovered previously and may have wintered within just a mile or two, 
but moved with changing feeding conditions. In contrast to these April 
documented records of such spring vagrant Plumbeous in his database for 
the past 15 years anywhere in San Diego County. Not even any from Anza 
Borrego. Most of the very few valid records of spring vagrants over the 
years in southern CA are from May, including a photographed bird in 
Imperial County in mid-May some 10 years ago. The problem with a slug of 
spring reports of this species is confusion with DULL Cassin's Vireos, 
which are not unusual. Recent eBird reports in the county of Plumbeous 
include at least one photo'd bird that's a Cassin's, and two tape 
recorded singing birds, of which one sounds good for Plumbeous (but 
which wintered locally) but the other sounds like a Cassin's. The San 
Diego Atlas appears to paint too rosey a picture of the spring status of 
Plumbeous, in our opinion, and it is uncertain which of the "dozen" 
spring records cited during the atlas period were well documented. Some 
of those records were undoubtedly from the first two-thirds of April, 
when wintering birds were likely involved. Anyway, the status of this 
species as a true spring migrant (vagrant) needs to be carefully 
re-assessed, and all such reports should be carefully documented with an 
extensive series of photos and/or tape recorded."

   .   .   .  I've got good photos with differing lighting.  The bird did not vocalize.  Regarding this passage from Paul's missive: "So, even "new" birds found 
during the first half of April are likely wintering birds that weren't 
discovered previously and may have wintered within just a mile or two, 
but moved with changing feeding conditions."

A a look at the past year's reports of this species on eBird shows only sightings four miles away or more.  No eBird reviewer has flagged the observation, but I know they are swamped.  Perhaps if I had called it a Plumbeous   .   .   .   Anyway, checklist with pictures attached.  Looking forward to opinions.

West Canyon Neighborhood Park Checklist

Tuck Russell

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Calliope Hummers – Flintkote Ave

Sunday, April 21st, 2019

Today, along the Flintkote Avenue trail in Torrey Pines State Reserve I found 2 CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRDS, 1 male and 1 female. They were both found about 75 yards past the gate near the residence, just before the orange post/marker. Both birds were perched in the small trees along the trail and I lost them when they flew up the hill, so I did not see if they had a preference for any particular flower. According to e-bird, this is roughly the same spot where this species was found each of the last two years, with a pair present in 2017.
Good Birding!
Jay Desgrosellier
San Diego, CA

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Re: Western screech owls at San Elijo Lagoon

Hi Steve,

Interesting, and very intriguing report of WESO at San Elijo Lagoon. I am not discounting your report of this species, but was curious if you ruled out Lesser Nighthawk? Speaking for myself and others who have spent numerous hours over the years in the East Basin hiking this area during pre-dawn hours, we have not detected this species. But I did have LENI trilling on the hillsides last week. 
Again, not discounting your observation. But I’d love to have WESO on my lagoon list! 
On a side note of minimal interest, there is a vocal American Bittern that can be heard while hiking pre/shortly after dawn from where Steve has been hiking. Props to Steve getting out there early a.m. 
Good Birding
Jimmy McMorran
Leucadia, CA

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports