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Monthly Archives: May 2019

Mystery bird -help appreciated

      I birded the trail around Kumeyaay Lake this morning, and there were a few Vaux’s Swifts mixed in with the bug-snarfing swallow flock.  Only warblers were Yellow, Wilson’s, OC, and a gazillion calling Yellowthroats. 

      However, I had a very quick look at an interesting water bird that flew crossed the path (just north of the partially submerged footbridge) about 20 feet in front of me.  For “very quick", read “1/2 second at best”.  However, the two things that I could clearly see as it zoomed past was a mostly darkish back and two very long, orange legs extending well beyond the tail. The quick look made it hard to estimate size, but I’d call it “medium small” to “medium” in size, meaning somewhere in the 9-12 inch range (not counting the protruding legs). 
      Based on the quick look, I guessed maybe either Least Bittern or a rail.  I went through the main field guides, and the depiction on page 152 in Sibley (2nd ed.) of a Virginia Rail in flight, with very orange legs extending well behind it, looked exactly like what I saw. I also checked rails and LEBI in both Nat. Geog. and Kaufmam, but neither showed a VIRA in flight.  Nat. Geog. showed a LEBI in flight, but the legs are shown as yellow, not orange, and don’t extend nearly as far back as on the subject bird.  Kaufman, on the other hand, shows very orange legs on a LEBI, but doesn’t show it in flight. Sky was overcast, so no sun effect on the bird’s color. 
      Another source of uncertainty is the Bird Atlas, which indicates that during the 5-year data gathering period, no VIRA’s were found in the Kumeyaay Lake area in any month. 
      So, can anyone comment on:  
            Are a Least Bittern’s legs orange-ish, or yellow?  Or does the color change seasonally? 
            Any other bird that might meet my description, with very orange legs (which subject bird definitely had)?  
            Have any VIRA’s been reported from Kumeyaay Lake, or other nearby inland water bodies, since 2004? 
      Thanks for any help you can provide to ID this bird. 

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

2019 iNaturalist update

Greetings all!
The website shows we have 237 species entered for birds! Nice work! However, I have fewer on the list below because some of the photos were not of a quality where viewers could confirm. Nice try however. 
If you have one of the "not-on-the-list" birds, please follow up ASAP.
Here goes:

2019 Birds of San Diego
(Got ‘em list)



Ducks, Geese & Waterfowl

Greater White-fronted Goose

Snow Goose


Canada Goose

Wood Duck


American Wigeon


Blue-winged Teal

Cinnamon Teal

Northern Shoveler


Ring-necked Duck

Lesser Scaup

Surf Scoter


Hooded Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

Ruddy Duck


New World Quail

California Quail


Pheasants, Grouse & Allies

Wild Turkey



Pied-billed Grebe

Eared Grebe

Western Grebe

Clark’s Grebe


Pigeons & Doves

Rock Pigeon

Band-tailed Pigeon

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Common Ground-Dove

White-winged Dove

Mourning Dove


Greater Roadrunner

Nightjars & Allies



Vaux’s Swift

White-throated Swift



Black-chinned Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

Costa’s Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Allen’s Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird


Rails, Gallinules & Coots

Virginia Rail


Common Gallinule

American Coot




Stilts & Avocets

Black-necked Stilt

American Avocet



Black Oystercatcher


Plovers & Lapwings

Black-bellied Plover

Snowy Plover

Semipalmated Plover



Sandpipers & Allies


Long-billed Curlew

Marbled Godwit

Red Knot



Least Sandpiper

Western Sandpiper

Short-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher

Spotted Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Wandering Tattler

Greater Yellowlegs



Skuas & Jaegers


Auks, Murres & Puffins

Common Murre

Scripps’s Murrelet/Cassin’s
Auklet – – no consensus


Gulls, Terns & Skimmers

Bonaparte’s Gull

Little Gull* A

Heermann’s Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Western Gull

California Gull

Least Tern

Gull-billed Tern

Caspian Tern

Forster’s Tern

Royal Tern

Elegant Tern

Black Skimmer





Red-throated Loon/ Pacific
Loon – – no consensus

Common Loon




Petrels & Shearwaters

No photos of any










Cormorants & Shags

Brandt’s Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

Pelagic Cormorant





American White Pelican

Brown Pelican


Herons, Egrets & Bitterns

Least Bittern

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Little Blue Heron

Reddish Egret

Cattle Egret

Green Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  


Ibises & Spoonbills

White-faced Ibis


New World Vultures

Turkey Vulture





Hawks Eagles & Kites

White-tailed Kite

Bald Eagle

Northern Harrier

Cooper’s Hawk

Harris’s Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk


Barn Owls

Barn Owl



Great Horned Owl

Burrowing Owl



Belted Kingfisher



Lewis’s Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker

Nuttall’s Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker


Falcons & Caracaras

American Kestrel

Peregrine Falcon


New World & African Parrots

Red-crowned Parrot


Tyrant Flycatchers

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Western Wood-Pewee

Hammond’s Flycatcher

Dusky Flycatcher

Pacific-slope Flycatcher

Black Phoebe

Say’s Phoebe

Vermilion Flycatcher

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Cassin’s Kingbird

Western Kingbird



Loggerhead Shrike


Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, Erpornis

Bell’s Vireo

Gray Vireo

Cassin’s Vireo

Hutton’s Vireo

Warbling Vireo


Crows, Jays & Magpies

Steller’s Jay

California Scrub-Jay

American Crow

Common Raven



Horned Lark



Tree Swallow

Violet-green Swallow           

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Barn Swallow


Tits, Chickadees & Titmice

Mountain Chickadee

Oak Titmouse





Long-tailed Tits




White-breasted Nuthatch

Pygmy Nuthatch





Rock Wren

House Wren

Bewick’s Wren

Cactus Wren



Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

California Gnatcatcher

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher






Parrotbills, Wrentit & Allies



Thrushes & Allies

Western Bluebird

Hermit Thrush

American Robin


Mockingbirds & Thrashers

California Thrasher

Crissal Thrasher

Northern Mockingbird



European Starling


Wagtails & Pipits



Cedar Waxwing





Longspurs & Snow Buntings


New Wood Warblers

Orange-crowned Warbler

Nashville Warbler

MacGillivray’s Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Northern Parula – – RIP

Yellow Warbler

Palm Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Townsend’s Warbler

Hermit Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler


New World Buntings & Sparrows

Spotted Towhee

Rufous-crowned Sparrow

California Towhee

Chipping Sparrow

Black-chinned Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow

Bell’s Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow

Song Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Harris’s Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco


Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chat


Cardinals & Allies

Western Tanager

Black-headed Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Lazuli Bunting

Indigo Bunting


Troupials & Allies

Red-winged Blackbird

Tricolored Blackbird

Western Meadowlark

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Brewer’s Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Hooded Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Scott’s Oriole


Finches, Euphonias & Allies

House Finch

Purple Finch

Lesser Goldfinch

Lawrence’s Goldfinch

American Goldfinch


Old World Sparrows

House Sparrow


Waxbills and Allies

Scaly-breasted Munia


Exotics in No Particular Order

Greylag Goose

Greylag x Swan Goose

Swan Goose

Muscovy Duck

Helmeted Guineafowl

White-headed Lapwing

Military Macaw

Scarlet Macaw

Red-masked Parakeet

Blue-crowned Parakeet

Green-cheeked Parakeet

Many thanks,

Barbara Carlson

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports


For those looking for the Calliope, I camped out at the spot and only saw him in flybys for over an hour before he finally landed nearby.  However, I also ventured past the orange cone, through the overgrown trail (watch for ticks!) and found him perched again, so don't be afraid to wander a little further if you haven't seen him in the usual spot for a bit. He was being pretty heavily harassed by an Anna's too.

The third photo on my list is from further up the trail. Happy birding!
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

New Lewis's Woodpecker along Mesa Grande Road, Santa Ysabel, May 2

If you are gimpy like me and can't walk far, I recommend car birding with stops along Mesa Grande Rd in Santa Ysabel–and even if you're NOT gimpy!!). I had over 40 species and nice looks at a new Lewis's Woodpecker that may have been overlooked this past winter (or I guess could be migrating through too).  It was at around mile 3.5 where the little bridge and riparian is–the coordinates are given on the checklist.  This spot also held close-in Lazuli Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks and others,  tho these were also in various places along Mesa Grande.  A pair of photographable (even for me) Tri-colored Blackbirds were about a half a mile beyond.  These birds are nesting in a large pond south of Mesa Grande between the 3.5 to 4 milepost areas. (Unfortunately it looks like the Ramona Grasslands breeding colony has aborted their nesting on Water District property along Rangeland Rd :::sigh:: That pond was pumped and bulrushes cut last summer or thereabouts). 

     Checklist with pics and Lazuli Bunting song file are at
Susan Smith 

Seiurus Biological  Consulting 
Del Mar, CA 

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

Calliope Hummer and ticks

The pair of Calliope hummers continued on Flintkote this afternoon.
Everyone who was there should be aware that ticks were plentiful there today…. I have found 7 so far and my sister has several as well!
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

County bird photos

My wife and I spent last weekend in San Diego and saw some great birds that included LEWIS’S WOODPECKER, LAWRENCE’S GOLDFINCH, HERMIT WARBLER, TRICOLORED BLACKBIRD, and BLACK-CHINNED SPARROW.  
Photos of the aforementioned birds as well as others can be found here:
 All photos are geotagged so the exact location where the photo was taken can be determined.  
Looking forward to at least one pelagic out of SD later this summer.
Isaac Sanchez
Austin, TX

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Callope pair at Flintkote Ave.

I headed over to Flintkote Ave this afternoon and saw the male and female Callope Hummingbirds.  The male was constantly courting the female with dive bomb displays.

Went over to Agua Caliente County park where there were a lot of Phainopeplas, Verdin, Warbling Vireos, Wilson's and Yellow warblers, Costa's Hummingbirds, and several orioles including one Scott's and several Western Tanagers.
-Roger Uzun
Poway CA

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Lake Miramar

I led a birding and wildflower walk at Lake Miramar this morning (5/1/19) for group called the Scripps Ranch Wild Bird Enthusiasts.  The only unusual sightings for that location were a juvenile Common Loon, a Clark's Grebe and a single Bonaparte's Gull.  The loon and grebe were at various locations in the middle of the lake and easy to find.  The gull was on the white boom near the dam.

Gary Grantham
Scripps Ranch
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports