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Monthly Archives: September 2020

Plumbeous Vireo at Solano Highlands Park, Del Mar area, 25 Sep

Nothing big deal, but I think this PLUMBEOUS VIREO was a recently arrived migrant. Found in the row of the Tipu trees adjacent to the school and basketball area at the south edge of the grassy sports field.  It took off soon after I located it about 07:50 am, at which time students and their parents started arriving, so I left.  The rest of the park that I covered was pretty devoid of any migrants except maybe a Western Wood-pewee and a single Yellow-rumped Warbler.   List at

Susan Smith 

Seiurus Biological  Consulting 
Del Mar, CA 

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

Blackburnian Warbler @ Harry Griffen (Sep 25, 2020)

Justyn sent me a photo taken by Alison Davies of the rear end of a warbler that looked like it had potential for a first fall BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER.

I was able to refind the bird around 9:45am at the top of the amphitheater right near the entrance (just W of the playground). (Minor humble brag: I was on a Zoom meeting for work while I found the bird and even unmuted myself to answer a few questions while I was stalking it)

There is a large active mixed flock of warblers working the trees, making it a challenge to pick out among the Townsend’s, and it’s foraging very actively so doesn’t sit still much. What caught my eye was the paler, more lemon yellow tone to the yellow throat and more faded auricular patch, then when I got a good look I could see the bill was longer and slightly pale based (unlike the stubby all-black bill of TOWA) and the back is grayish and streaked vs plain olive (although the back is a challenge to see!).

Chris Adler was able to get photos so we could confirm, then I flagged down the Lucy's stakeout crowd behind the porta potties and several others were able to see and photo. Still showing as of 10:25am.

Eitan Altman
San Carlos
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Buena Vista Audubon pelagic trip Sunday Oct. 4th.

Hello all,

This notice is for the upcoming Buena Vista Audubon Pelagic Trip, on Oct. 4, 2020. This is the last regular scheduled pelagic out of San Diego for 2020.
The passenger load load on this trip is exceedingly light with only 11 reservations. We plan to go.
We have not had great quantities of birds this fall, but quality has been quite good.  
Such as ;
A Buller's Shearwater off Sunset Cliffs Sept. 19th.
Least Storm-Petrels, 1 on 8-16, and  6 on 9-19. 
Townsend's Storm-Petrel on 8-31.
Nazca Booby  9-7, 
Red-footed Booby  9-19
Long-tailed Jaeger   1 on 8-2, 1 on 8-16, 1 on 9-19.
Craveri's Murrelets    4 on 8-16  with 4 more murrelet sp. that day
Sabine' Gull  8-16, 8-31, 9-7, 9-19
Arctic Tern  2 on 8-16
We have also seen expected Pink-footed, Sooty, and Black-vented Shearwaters, Black, Ashy and Leach's Storm-Petrels, Brown Booby, Pomarine, and Parasitic Jaegers, Red and Red-necked Phalaropes
We also hope for Flesh-footed Shearwater, Red-billed Tropicbird, Guadalupe Murrelet. These are tough to get San Diego rarities but possible this time of year. So what surprise bird will we see? Land migrants can be possible offshore this time of year.
Also large whale species such as Blue, Fin, and Humpback Whales have been noted moving south offshore.
This trip is aboard the 80 ft. Legacy. The legacy has ample seating for social spacing.  We depart at 7 a.m. sharp.  Please be at the landing 45 mins. prior to sailing.  Return will be by or before 5 p.m.
This trip out of Seaforth Sportfishing Landing in Mission Bay.
Make your reservation at  go to the "Book Now" scroll down to the "3/4 day Birding Trip" Oct. 4th.. box, or call Seaforth Landing at 619 224-3383.
Price is $130 until Wednesday Sept. 30th. when the price goes up to $140 for "Late sign up" .
I hope we will see you onboard,
Dave Povey

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Zone-tailed Hawk in La Mesa

Dear friends,


Earlier today I got a message from Brenda Neill of La Mesa, asking me to confirm the identification of a Zone-tailed Hawk that came to her backyard fountain along Eastridge Drive on 7 September. She sent me two video clips that showed the bird was an immature (and so different from the adult seen around Iron Mountain, Mussey Grade, and San Vicente Reservoir in the past month). She said she had seen the bird on one additional day a few days earlier.


The frequency of this species in San Diego County seems to be creeping up gradually, no?


Good birding,


Philip Unitt

San Diego

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Re: Gray Headed Orange-Crowned Warbler at Harry Griffen Park

Dear friends,


The issue with the subspecies of the Orange-crowned Warbler is that it’s critical to know the bird’s sex, which can’t be ascertained externally. If the bird has a gray head, an only weakly olive back, and the pale yellow on the underparts reduced to irregular blotches, that’s very likely to be a female of the eastern/boreal forest subspecies, nominate celata. If the bird has a gray head and the underparts a uniformly pale dull yellow (except for the diffuse streaks), that could be a male of nominate celata or a female of orestera. A bird with no gray on the head and moderately bright yellow underparts could be a male of orestera or a female of lutescens. A very bright yellow Orange-crowned Warbler is probably a male of lutescens. And if the bird is all yellow but the yellow has an extra dose of melanin pigment, darkening the upperparts, flanks, and streaks on the breast and undertail coverts to varying degrees it is probably sordida. Though we have prepared nearly 300 specimens of the Orange-crowned Warbler over the past 35+ years, we still do every one we receive at the San Diego Natural History Museum, and are still learning from them. So any dead Orange-crowned Warblers you may find are welcome here.


Among our blessings in San Diego is that we see here the full range of variation in this remarkable bird, with all 4 subspecies. And its numbers are still on a long-term upward trend, especially now that it has become such an urban adapter. The pair that lives around my house in Hillcrest in central San Diego raised three broods this year! In the past 3 or 4 years we have received several specimens of sordida, so that subspecies that originally bred just on the Channel Islands and Point Loma seems to be an important contributor to the urban adaptation. Paralleling another Channel Islands subspecies, the sedentary Allen’s Hummingbird!


Very nice pictures of the Lucy’s Warbler, and interesting to see that it is in the process of molting its wing feathers. So (like the White-eyed Vireo at El Camino Cemetery) it’s likely to stick around until that molt is done.


Good birding,


Philip Unitt

San Diego


Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Gray Headed Orange-Crowned Warbler at Harry Griffen Park

My best guess is that it's an orestera.  Reviewers may shoot that down, and that's ok, but it's at least a "Gray-Headed."  Seen at the drainage culvert with the Lucy's Warbler and Willow Flycatcher.  My one photo and rationale for orestera can be found in this checklist, along with photos of the LUWA (slam dunk ID) and WIFL (pretty solid, if not a slam dunk):

Tuck Russell
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Jacumba migrants, Pine Valley hummers, corrigendum

First off, a minor corrigendum: the Black Oystercatcher on 19 Sep was at the Mission Bay jetties, not Zuniga Jetty. Also, a Cliff Swallow yesterday, the 23rd, at Dairy Mart was close to the usual typical "last date" for the season.

Today, the 24th, a morning visit to Jacumba and Pine Valley produced still 4 Black-chinned and 1 young male Costa's Hummingbirds at Pine Valley, where departure dates for those species at that elevation are perhaps somewhat unclear (far fewer hummers overall at the feeders there since my previous visit over a week earlier, and there is now somewhat of a "bee problem" as well). Given that Jacumba is now rarely birded, following Eric K.'s departure a while back, here are today's misc. numbers of some potential interest, mostly involving migrants:

White-winged Dove: 3 (now resident)

Black-chinned Hummingbird: 11 (good total for so late in month)

Costa's Hummingbird: 2 (fall status?)

Rufous/Allen's Hummingbird: 3 (getting late for there?)

W. Wood-Pewee: 1

Willow Flycatcher: 2

Cassin's Kingbird: 2 (one or two pairs nest there occasionally, at very east edge of range, but fall departure dates uncertain)

Warbling Vireo: 3

Barn Swallow: 1

Cedar Waxwing: 1

Phainopepla: 1

Lawrence's Goldfinch: 1

Orange-crowned Warbler: 1

Yellow Warbler: 6

Wilson's Warbler: 9

Brewer's Sparrow: 15

White-crowned Sparrow: 6 (all Gambel's)

Savannah Sparrow: 5 (low)

Lincoln's Sparrow: 4

Hooded Oriole: 1 (getting late)

Bullock's Oriole: 2 (perhaps borderline late)

Western Tanager: 9

Black-headed Grosbeak: 1

Lazuli Bunting: 3

–Paul Lehman, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Eastern Kingbird Coronado

I was forwarded photos of an Eastern Kingbird photographed Tuesday morning from the bike path on Coronado island between the defunct toll booth and golf course here:
The bird was found by Sandrine Biziaux-Scherson from Irvine, CA.
Tom Ford-Hutchinson 
San Diego, CA

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Little Lucy (Lucy Warbler) was spotted today at the southeast part of Henry Griffin park behind Porto potties. 09/24/2020

Hi all,
Saw at around 12:20 this afternoon. Came on for a drink for a couple of minutes at the drainage ditch. I am very sure it was the warbler. I saw the rusty rump. So it’s still around!
Big thanks to Eitan Altman for reporting this great area and warbler!
Photos to be added to eBird report.

Terry Hurst
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports