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Monthly Archives: May 2020

Black legged Kittiwake North County 5/7/2020

Continuing bird reported yesterday 6th May by Joan Comito. Id confirmed by Pete Ginsburg.

On beach just south of Bayshore drive off Tamarack 
33.141866,-117.319772
Will be flushed by tide
Happy birding 
Annie Stockley
University city 

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Warblers B&B TJRV 05/07/2020

This morning, very foggy, however there are a lot of warblers at the Bird and Butterfly Garden. Most were working the pines and horse trail westbound. The majority were Townsends.

05/07/2020 @0739
Anthony “TooFly” Fife
La Mesa, Ca
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Mexican Whippoorwill continues 06 May 2020

This evening, 05/06/2020, the Mexican Whippoorwill continued on the Noble Canyon Trail south of Pine Creek Rd in the Laguna Mountains. At 8:05 pm Chris Staurovski heard it singing in the oaks 0.6 miles down the trail, which is the location of the first switchback. Tonight eight of us were able to mask up and socially distance while recording the vocalizations, no playbacks were used or needed. While the Whippoorwill moved around often it was only seen briefly in flight

As has been mentioned previously there is little to no cell service while on the Noble Canyon Trail, it is rough and steep in the dark. Don’t go alone.

P.s. Lots of toads on the road on the way out tonight, please drive considerately.

Dan Jehl
San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Ideal moon-watching time

It’s that time of year: a late April/early May full moon could provide a nice backdrop for the silhouettes of nocturnal migrants the next couple nights. 
See below for details from Kimball Garrett.
Justyn Stahl
North Park

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Kimball Garrett <kgarrett@…>
Date: Tue, May 5, 2020 at 8:14 PM
Subject: [LACoBirds] Ideal moon-watching time
To: LACoBirds@groups.io <lacobirds@groups.io>
Birders,

The next three nights, but especially tomorrow (Wednesday) night, should be ideal for moon-watching for nocturnal migrants.  The full moon (a "supermoon" this month) is early Thursday morning, so Wednesday evening should be perfect. It's better to watch a bit before the full moon than after, since the moon will be higher in the sky around 9:00 pm (when nocturnal migrants should be aloft).  Peak spring migration in our area is roughly from 20 April to 10 May, so a full moon the last week of April or first week of May is fortuitous.
Just put your spotting scope on the moon (I usually zoom up to about 40X) and watch for birds flying across the face of the moon. They're surprisingly easy to detect.  You might be able to distinguish "biggish passerines" (e.g, thrushes, grosbeaks, tanagers) from "smallish passerines" (e.g., warblers, buntings, vireos), but it's hopeless to try to identify anything further.  Just counting and getting a sense of the magnitude of movement is fascinating enough.
I suggest that between 9:00 to 10:00 on Wednesday evening (6 May) you give it a try for one or two 10 or 15 minute periods.  Wear sunglasses or use some kind of filter to darken the bright moon or you'll run the risk of at least temporary damage to your eyes. Keep a tally, and make a note of direction of travel.  This is best done by using the moon as a clock face and noting direction by indicating (for example) "6:00 to 12:00" or "4:00 to 9:00."  Using a compass or known orientation, you can later translate that into direction of travel (e.g. "to NW," which seems to be the dominant direction of travel at many local sites). 
If you want, you can report results on this list serve (# of birds per unit time, main direction of travel, your locality, and the time of evening you watched). 
Though you won't be able to identify the birds crossing the face of the moon, you might be able to get a sense of what is moving by listening for nocturnal flight calls.  Some calls (like the "queee?" of Swainson's Thrush) are quite distinctive.  Better yet, make recordings if you can.  There isn't a one to one correspondence between what you hear and what you see flying across the moon (probably not even close), but listening for calls might give you a rough idea of some of the dominant species in the sky.
Kimball

Kimball L. Garrett

Ornithology Collections Manager
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
213-763-3368
_._,_._,_

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Semipalmated Sandpiper, mountain miscellanea

On Weds the 6th, there was a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER (alternate adult, of course) on South San Diego Bay, slightly surprisingly only the second spring record ever for the county. In other recent coastal news, 3 Cattle Egrets remained in the Tijuana River Valley through 5 May, and there was a Gray Flycatcher hanging around on Mount Soledad on 2-3 May. Still a few Red-breasted Nuthatches hanging around, mostly on Point Loma. The dominant passerine migrants the past few days have been Yellow and Wilson's Warblers, Warbling Vireos, and Western Tanagers, with also fair numbers of Townsend's Warblers.

For those venturing up the mountains for Whip-looking, or other reasons, there were still a few scattered Red Crossbills seen or heard yesterday (5th) at several sites along Sunshine Highway, including Mile 19, the top end of kitchen Creek Road, and the wooded Hill area. The breeding site for Purple Martins north of Mount Laguna had 8 birds (5 males, 3 females) yesterday. It is just a half mile north of the turnoff for Pine Creek Road (the Whip spot), on the west side of Sunshine Hwy is a wooded platform with currently blank information signs. The birds come and go, off an on, during the day, overhead and anywhere in the sky, and there appears to be at least one pair investigating a cavity in a large dead pine well to the west.

–Paul Lehman, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Northern Parula in Hillcrest

Early Wednesday morning I had a surprise Northern Parula–blue head, white eye ring, and bright yellow throat over a very white body– near Brookes and Herbert in residential Hillcrest. The bird was moving around near the top of a large leafed tree on the Brookes side of the corner lot. Normally, I'd say take care if you want to chase and don't bother the residents; however, this home seems to be for rent and vacant, so use your own judgment. The area is just to the east of Marston Canyon, so the bird could be moving between the canyon and the neighborhood. I never have pictures, but a longer, more detailed description is in my eBird report: https://ebird.org/checklist/S68506825.

Caron Andregg
Hillcrest
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Mexican Whip-poor-will, 5 May 2020

(If you plan on trying tonight, let me know, as other folks are looking to go in a small group for safety reasons. Poor cell signal, rough trail, etc.)
A group of ~20 socially distant birders with faces covered had some success last night (May 5) listening for the Mexican Whip-poor-will near the Noble Canyon Trail on Pine Creek Road. As on 4 May, the bird apparently began singing at 9pm, although given the distance from which we were able to barely hear it, its possible it was singing earlier and we just couldn't hear it (distance, creek and frog noise). It was not loud or nearby as it was the previous night. By the end of the night it was below 50 degrees, so dress appropriately.

We started out along the long driveway with permission from the homeowner (again, do not go up the steep driveway towards the house), just before the steep left hand turn. From there the bird was barely audible, singing its "pur-purrr WHIP!" distantly to the south – note a few folks were unable to hear it, unfortunately. A small group walked back to the main road then down the Noble Canyon Trail about a half mile, where they were able to hear it better but not see it, and noted that the trail is "not for the faint of heart," featuring some loose rock and a few switchbacks all in the dark (solo travel not advised). A report from early yesterday (04:20 am) indicated the bird was audible from Pine Creek Road near the trail head. So it seems to move around some and may be difficult to pinpoint. 
Cell signal is very poor – some folks had no signal, I could occasionally get one bar. 
My email from yesterday is repeated below:
***If you intend to go look/listen for this bird, please adhere to the following directions***
1. First and foremost, please wear a facial covering and maintain 6 feet of distance from one another. 
2. Adventure Pass necessary for parking. Do not park on the side of the paved road or block the driveway (parking directions below). 
3. Do not approach the house beyond directions below. 
4. The bird sings without the need for playback. Consider, like photographers, some folks may be recordists, so be mindful of chit-chat and foot shuffling.
5. Realize that a) this bird may be gone, and b) if audible may not be visible or possible to photograph! 
As many of you may have received an alert from eBird (or a word-of-mouth message), a MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL was heard and recorded singing its distinctive "purple-whip" song last night on private property in the Laguna Mountains near the Noble Canyon trail, about 1.9 miles southwest of Sunrise Highway on Pine Creek Road. I spoke with the observer today to get access permission and details. The observer heard it from his house and believes it was sitting in his driveway within private property. Access to the house from Pine Creek Road is via an unpaved forest service that runs south off the paved road and becomes a driveway and private property. A locked gate is at the Pine Creek Road end of this driveway. Pedestrian traffic is permissible on this service road but DO NOT APPROACH THE HOUSE beyond the property line, where the address is marked on a tree at a sharp left (east) turn up a steep hill, about 0.25 mi up the driveway from the paved road. This is roughly where the bird was believed to be last night but it could be anywhere. If you reach a water tank you've walked too far.
Parking: do not park on the side of Pine Creek Road or block his gate/driveway, which is at 1.9 miles (32.898575, -116.480281) from Sunrise Highway.
 There are two parking pullouts for multiple cars on Pine Creek Road west of his driveway/gate:

the closest is at 32.896, -116.483, 0.2 mi west of the forest service road gate 

another is at 32.897, -116.485,  an additional 0.1 mi west of the first parking spot  
In short, it may require about a 1 mile roundtrip walk much of which is a moderately steep hill.
Sunset is at 730pm and the bird seems to begin singing at 9pm, although it may begin earlier and just be out of earshot.
Again, please act safely and consider others! Absolutely do not go beyond the sharp (90degree) left turn in the driveway that approaches the house, and if you go down the trail, I would absolutely make sure you're with someone else.
Cheers,
Justyn Stahl
North Park

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Mexican Whip-poor-will, 4 May 2020, and instructions for searching

***If you intend to go look/listen for the bird tonight or in the future, you must absolutely adhere to the following directions***
1. First and foremost, please wear a facial covering and maintain 6 feet of distance from one another. 
2. Adventure Pass necessary for parking. Do not park on the side of the paved road or block the driveway (parking directions below).
3. Do not approach the house beyond directions below or tomorrow until additional permission is granted. 
4. Do not go rogue and use playback, this will be discussed on-site. Also consider, like photographers, some folks may be recordists, so be mindful of chit-chat and foot shuffling.
5. Realize that a) this bird may be gone, and b) if audible may not be visible or possible to photograph! 
As many of you may have received an alert from eBird (or a word-of-mouth message), a MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL was heard and recorded singing its distinctive "purple-whip" song last night on private property in the Laguna Mountains near the Noble Canyon trail, about 1.9 miles southwest of Sunrise Highway on Pine Creek Road. I spoke with the observer today to get access permission and details. The observer heard it from his house and believes it was sitting in his driveway within private property. Access to the house from Pine Creek Road is via an unpaved forest service that runs south off the paved road and becomes a driveway and private property. A locked gate is at the Pine Creek Road end of this driveway. Pedestrian traffic is permissible on this service road but DO NOT APPROACH THE HOUSE beyond the property line, where the address is marked on a tree at a sharp left (east) turn up a steep hill, about 0.25 mi up the driveway from the paved road. This is roughly where the bird was believed to be last night but it could be anywhere. If you reach a water tank you've walked too far.
Parking: do not park on the side of Pine Creek Road or block his gate/driveway, which is at 1.9 miles (32.898575, -116.480281) from Sunrise Highway.
 There are two parking pullouts for multiple cars on Pine Creek Road west of his driveway/gate:

the closest is at 32.896, -116.483, 0.2 mi west of the forest service road gate 

another is at 32.897, -116.485,  an additional 0.1 mi west of the first parking spot  
In short, it may require about a 1 mile roundtrip walk.
Sunset is at 730pm and the bird may begin calling at 745pm or 8pm or…?, the observer first noticed it at 9pm in his driveway. Tape-playing will be discussed on site, after a period of quiet listening. We will assemble, faces covered, socially distanced, at 730pm, on Pine Creek Road at the gate marking the service road/driveway and first listen from there. We may then go up the driveway, judicially use playback to lure the bird in for a look, and try to spotlight it. This will be played by ear as the evening develops. 
Following tonight's concerted attempt, an update will be posted on success and future and/or modified logistical/access issues. If the driveway is no longer available (understandably), Noble Canyon Trail also allows close approach to where the bird was. 
Again, please act safely and consider others! Absolutely do not go beyond the sharp (90degree) left turn in the driveway that approaches the house.
Out of curiosity as to a possible head count, if you wouldn't mind, shoot me a note if you plan on coming tonight. Ditto if any of the above is unclear.
Cheers,

Justyn Stahl
North Park

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Re: Openings and closures

Nancy
Thank you for that phenomenal report!  I received a warning ticket last week for parking alongside the road when red tail roost was closed. Good to know it’s open again…
William Terry Hunefeld
Borrego Springs California. 

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Openings and closures

Russ and I did a drive this weekend. I was HOPING Agua Caliente County Park would be open. Alas, it is NOT. The entire access road is blocked off.  

**Anza-Borrego State Park is still essentially closed – all trailheads and parking areas are blocked off.

 

In the Lagunas – a few spots are beginning to open up.

**Gate to Desert View Rd (where the Dusky Flycatchers have been found) is now open – road may need a 4WD. The nearby parking are, RedTail Roost, is OPEN for parking so you can walk in.

**Wooded Hills Rd is CLOSED (Agua Dulce Trailhead). Nearby parking at Morris Ranch RD is OPEN. However, on the weekend there were many many mountain bikers who came up and used that parking. Go early if you plan to visit.

** Mile 19 was marked CLOSED, but many people were parking there anyway. Be warned, tickets were being issued.

**Desert View Picnic area CLOSED.

**Visitor Center CLOSED. A group of motorcycles broke down the barrier to go in, however, I believe the bathrooms were locked.

**Pioneer Mail Picnic area – CLOSED.

**Filaree Flats Rd (Pine Creek Rd) – gate is OPEN. I went in and birded a bit. There were large dump trucks coming and going, so I assume road work is happening somewhere.

**Fire Pullout – has never been closed. A few Purple Martins were flying around.

**Some other trail heads are open, some are closed. Seemed pretty random to me.

 

 

 

Nancy Christensen

Ramona

 

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports