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Monthly Archives: April 2020

Re: [birdingSanDiego] SDFO notice regarding upcoming meetings and The Skimmer

Thank you Barbara. Nice idea to have a video conference meeting.

If anyone needs help getting the Zoom client installed and getting
connected to Zoom meetings, let me know. I've helped multiple people
with this application over the last month, including people who have
a really tough time with technology, and people with Windows PCs and
laptops, Apple IPads, Android Tablets, and various smartphones.

Lisa Ruby

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

SDFO notice regarding upcoming meetings and The Skimmer

Greetings all:
Here's an update regarding SDFO and our meetings. Our meetings to date (2020) have been scheduled in San Diego Public Libraries. Unfortunately, these were some of the first buildings to be shut down by the virus. We strongly doubt that we will be able to hold an in-person May meeting there.
The Board has been looking into options, and we have decided to have a "Zoom" teleconferencing meeting in May. Zoom is a conferencing app that allows groups to interact and to see presentations. 

Each SDFO member will receive an invitation by email to "attend" this electronic meeting. At the appointed time, you will simply click on the link in the email and the app will open in your browser. Only SDFO members will receive the link, hence protecting our meeting and our privacy.

Using this program is new to many of us, and it might require some instruction to bring everyone up to speed. We may have a mini-meeting as a practice session just to learn its operation.

In the meanwhile, have you received your SFDO Skimmer for the month of April? If you haven't, but have paid your 2020 dues, please contact me offline. If you'd like to pay now so you'll be able to join our Zoom meeting, please see the following link:

Stay well,

Barbara Carlson
SDFO Membership

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Re: spring morning flight

I also ended up doing a "morning flight" watch the last couple mornings from a hillside spot I found a short walk from my home, beginning a little after dawn.  While Paul's spot is close to the coast mine is a bit further inland, a little north of Lake Hodges, near the edge of the Del Dios Highlands Preserve.  
Like Paul, I saw a big jump in Black-throated Gray Warblers this morning with 34.  While my numbers for Wilson's and Nashville Warblers were a bit lower than Paul's totals, I had many more Townsend's (17) and a decent number of Hermit Warblers (6) on the move at my site.   I didn't start visiting this spot until this spring, so I don't have have a great sense of what expectations should be for high or low counts yet.

The lists include a portion of my walk to the location, and I didn't attempt to separate active migrants from local breeders, but the vast majority of the warblers were seen actively moving up and over the hillside, similar to what Paul described:

My list for April 14:
and April 15:

Alex Abela
Escondido, CA

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Marston Canyon Update

First of all, Marston Canyon is still OPEN for anyone wanting to walk or bird. One can find parking in the neighborhood near either the Vermont Street entrance or the stairway entrance off Richmond just north of Cypress (stair is quite steep). Park away from the entrances by a block or so and then walk in to avoid attracting too much attention from police who ARE patrolling the area for homeless vagrants. Be respectful and keep social distance from joggers and dog-walkers.

The canyon is quite birdy already, with lots of food and water, and migrants increasing daily. Highlights include two separate bright male Bullock's Orioles (one at each end of the canyon), Hooded Orioles, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Cassin's and Western Kingbirds, Black-throated Gray, Townsend's, and the other usual warblers, Bluebird, and about a million hummingbirds. LOTS of nesting behavior, including flight displays by Anna's hummingbirds, food gathering by Cassin's Kingbirds (one pair with a known nest in a palm tree off of Brooks), distraction displays by Song Sparrows, Bewick's wrens, and Black Phoebes, and female hooded orioles scouting known nesting palms from previous years. No lazuli buntings, Yellow- WIlson's- or Hermit warblers yet, but soon. The area is Club Med for flycatchers–they just need to arrive. Best spot of the day was a lovely, very healthy-looking coyote walking along the creek bed.  See today's full checklist at

FYI: For anyone who doesn't want to climb down into the canyon, one of the Bullock's Orioles plus some other birds are very cooperative in the pink-flowering Euc just off the sidewalk on Richmond at the end of Cypress (East side). There is another good viewing area further south on Richmond just south of Brooks where the old stair trailhead has been temporarily closed pending rebuilding.

Stay well,

Caron Andregg
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Mixed flycatching warblers, Point Loma

On our morning walk today, we found a group of Black-throated Grays, Townsend's, Nashville,

Orange-crowneds, and Yellow-rumped Warblers flycatching along with a Black Phoebe in the

driveway of a house on Dupont.  We watched for about 10 minutes as the warblers darted quickly

in all directions grabbing bugs and occasionally stopping briefly in a few trees around the driveway.

The bugs had light/white wings, large for the size of the bodies.  They looked a little like termites,

but I don't know bugs well, and termites don't normally swarm now (I think).

     Other highlights for us: two Rufous Hummers, three male Western Tanagers, and two of the

continuing Red-breasted Nuthatches.

Sara Mayers
Point Loma (San Diego)
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Male Calliope hummingbird in Hillcrest

Hi,  All,

Just had a Male Calliope foraging on orchid tree blossoms in my front yard (I have good photos, and I'll add those to my completed eBird list later).  It got chased after a few minutes.  If any birders are interested in joining the chase, reply with contact info and I'll see if we can arrange a socially distant visit.

Tuck Russell
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

spring morning flight

It's that time once again, April through mid-May, to find a good site for a post-dawn "morning flight" of passerines. Obviously more difficult to do this year than usual…. But usually the best spots are in foothill and montane canyons, and up on hill-, ridge-, and mountain- tops, and when there's been an overnight breeze/wind from somewhere between the N and ESE (for here in San Diego–would be a slightly different preferred direction, including NW, at a place like Santa Barbara and Ventura where the coast and mountains are oriented differently). The first 90+ minutes after dawn are typically best, sometimes with a bit of a delay of the start time to be maybe 30 minutes after dawn. And just so it's clear, a majority of these birds are fly-by's only, and the remainder perch often only very briefly before continuing on. So, it's easy to "miss" lots of birds and to not be able to identify a good number of them!

These past two days have had favorable night-time breeze directions, but it looks rather less favorable for perhaps the next 5 days. As a result, there has clearly been a push of migrants these past two days here in San Diego and Orange Counties, and presumably elsewhere. Here are my totals from a site I visit, as an example. I would term these numbers "pleasing," but not "high."

April 14 and 15:

Calliope Hummingbird: 1, 0

Vaux's Swift: 2, 0

Olive-sided Flycatcher: 0,1 (arrival)

Western Wood-Pewee: 1, 0 (arrival)

Hammond's Flycatcher: 4, 5 (a good spring for this species region-wide)

Gray Flycatcher: 1, 0 (rare) (yes, it perched!)

Pacific-slope Flycatcher: 8, 3

empid sp.: 4, 5

W. Kingbird: 4, 8

Cassin's Kingbird: 0, 2 (difficult to tell migrants from common residents, but these two birds were high overhead heading N)

Ash-throated Flycatcher: 4, 2

Cassin's Vireo: 1, 0

Warbling Vireo: 6, 8

Nashville Warbler: 8, 18

Orange-crowned Warbler: 10, 12

Townsend's Warbler: 1, 0 (just starting)

Hermit Warbler: 0, 2 (just starting)

Black-thr. Gray Warbler: 3, 43 (today's total one of the all-time highest for the county)

Yellow-rumped Warbler: 4, 8 (just starting)

Wilson's Warbler: 15, 14

Hooded Oriole: 8+ (like the CAKI, typically difficult to tell migrants from local breeders, but these birds were in two higher-flying groups and were all females/young males)

Western Tanager: 2, 2 (just starting)

Lazuli Bunting: 0, 15 (just starting)

migrant passerine sp.: 20, 50

Golden-crowned Sparrow: 5, 7 (staying put; still molting)

In other news, on 14 April the wintering male Eurasian Wigeon was still with the small group of remaining American Wigeons at the San Diego River mouth–somewhat later than usual.

–Paul Lehman, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Re: Possible Dusky Flycatcher? 4/14/2020

Dear Bruce,


It looks much more like a Gray Flycatcher to me: very pale, very distinct white edge on outer rectrix, mandible largely if not entirely orange.


Best wishes,


Philip Unitt

San DIego


Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports