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Monthly Archives: May 2019

Short pelagic trip report for Sunday, May 12th

The first Buena Vista Audubon pelagic birding trip of 2019 departed Sunday on the Grande under cloudy skies, with a relatively light swell and a nice northwesterly breeze – near ideal conditions, particularly for finding alcids, and we found plenty. The highlight for many participants was the excellent views of Scripps’s Murrelets throughout the day, including a pair with two chicks. Although the timing of nesting varies from year to year, probably relating in part to resource availability, this is a fairly early date for fledglings. We also had frequent, though often a bit distant, views of Cassin’s Auklets, so most participants were able to get comfortable with their identification in flight compared to Scripps’s Murrelets. Probably the biggest surprise of the day was a Pigeon Guillemot that flew across the bow as we were approaching the Thirty-mile Bank. It’s a bit earlier than expected for a guillemot, and most observations in the County are from sea-watches at Point La Jolla, not from boats that far offshore.


We had all three expected species of shearwaters, with Sooty Shearwaters being the most abundant by far, followed by a dozen or so cooperative Pink-footed Shearwaters, and a few late Black-vented Shearwaters. Black Storm-Petrels were also seen frequently throughout the day, with moderate numbers of Ashy, and a few dark-rumped Leach’s (subspecies chapmani).


The whales and dolphins did not disappoint either. We had excellent views of Fin and Blue whales, and the Common Dolphins periodically put on an acrobatic show as they approached the boat for some bow-riding. Unofficial total bird counts for the day are at the end of this post.


Our next trip will be on Sunday, June 9th. Trip details are on our website, We hope to see you on the boat!


Bruce Rideout and Dave Povey

San Diego Pelagics and Buena Vista Audubon


Species Totals:


Common Loon                       2

Pacific Loon                            30

Double-crested Cormorant  1

Brandt's Cormorant              25

Brown Pelican                       55

Brown Booby                         2

Red-necked Phalarope         54

Bonaparte's Gull                    1

Western Gull                          209

California Gull                        5

Heerman's Gull                      1

Common Tern                       3

Caspian Tern                         4

Royal Tern                             10

Elegant Tern                          93

Forster's Tern                        1

Least Tern                              36

Black-vented Shearwater     6

Pink-footed Shearwater       11

Sooty Shearwater                  166

Black Storm-Petrel                121

Leach's Storm-Petrel             8

Ashy Storm-Petrel                 48

Scripps's Murrelet                90

Cassin's Auklet                      117

Pigeon Guillemot                   1

Barn Swallow                         3

Snowy Egret                           5

Great Blue Heron                  2

Wilson's Warbler                  2

Townsend's Warbler           1


Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Green-tailed Towhee at Mt. Soledad

An otherwise slow morning at Mt. Soledad today (13 May) turned up a Green-tailed Towhee. It was seen intermittently from the bench adjacent to the road on the south side of the monument.

Nicole Desnoyers
North Park

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Slow-ish day May 12 at Fort Rosecrans, but some migrants passing through

Slow day but a nice day out. There was a Hammond's Flycatcher on the east side, just  south of the  Eucalyptus Grove (probably continuing), a Cassin's Vireo in pines on the west side in a pine near the north fence line, and at least 6 Hermit Warblers, 4-6 Wilson's Warblers, 3 Townsend, 4 Yellows and other expected warblers coming through, and many Western Tanagers, and a superabundance of Pacific Slope Flycatchers and Western wood Pewees and grosbeaks.  I thought I saw one Willow Flycatcher. The population of Juncos seems to be producing many young here, more so than the Chipping Sparrows, which also had some fledglings about.  The towhees are everywhere and Lesser Goldfinches are more numerous than I have seen in the past. 

Susan Smith 

Seiurus Biological  Consulting 
Del Mar, CA 

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

La Jolla Cove, May 12. 2019

The pelagic trip out of San Diego today has placid seas. I am not on it. I am sure they have a good chance of seeing some terrific birds.
I am scoping from just north of children’s Pool. On a single scan I counted just under 500 storm petrels working offshore. More are working in the canyon to the north, too far away for me to count from here. Some of the storm-petrels have come quite close to shore. Most are 1 mile offshore. I have seen one Least storm-petrel and one probable Leach’s storm-petrel. Also 1 very close-in pink-footed shearwater.
If you are on today’s boat and haven’t seen enough storm-petrels, you might consider hitting La Jolla on your way back in to dock.

Stan Walens, San Diego
May 12, 2019; 10:30 am
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Paso Picacho / Stonewall Mine – Indigo and Bald Eagle

Hey everybody,

I went camping at Paso Picacho Friday through this afternoon and am happy to report I found the Indigo Bunting exactly where Nancy reported it, on the slope past the bathroom of the group campsite. It was singing VERY loudly (drowning out the other birds really) and changing bushes often. That was Friday afternoon, on Saturday morning I could hear it again but it was much further up the hill out of view from the trail and I was unable to find it.  I also had the happy surprise of seeing Lake Cuyamaca's Bald Eagle while hiking the Stonewall Mine trail. He was sitting in a very good spot where the trail comes close to the lake itself.
If anyone would like to see photos they are on my checklists below: – Indigo Bunting – Bald Eagle
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Gray Catbird at FRNC 5/11

Along east fenceline south of Euc Grove about here: 32.6857181, -117.2427474 this morning around 8 am. In shrubs behind fence, perching on fence, and also in adjacent ficus trees.
Also a female Purple Martin overhead at Cabrillo NM this AM.
Jim Pawlicki
La Mesa

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Re: Tundra or Trumpeter Swan at Batiquitos Lagoon Again

To me, and a few others, this bird appears to be a TRUMPETER Swan. Unfortunately, given the presence of a pair of pet Trumpeter Swans at Lake San Marcos (just 5 miles east of Batiquitos, where there are also Black Swans, etc. on display), and an apparently successful breeding attempt by that pair in 2016 that produced 5 young, one could (should?) surmise that this one, and the one seen a few months ago are of that ilk and not of truly natural origin. This of course muddies the situation for any future reports of Trumpeter Swan anywhere in the county, and also increases the need for good photographs of Tundra Swans that do occur occasionally in the county in *winter* (12 November – 18 March, per the atlas). 
Justyn Stahl
San Clemente Island, where no swans, black or white, have been reported

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports