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Monthly Archives: December 2020

TRV continuing rarities

This morning (12/31/20) the PACIFIC-GOLDEN PLOVER continued at the Tijuana River mouth.  On the south McCoy Trail, a SHORT-EARED OWL flushed for a short flight and the EURASIAN WIGEON continued.
                                   Jim Roberts
                                  University City

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Re: San Diego County Big Year 2020

Well said, Mel!  CONGRATULATIONS, Nancy!  Well deserved!  I always knew I would find the bird if Nancy, the Queen, was at the stakeout when I got there.

Barbara Wise

San Diego

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

San Diego County Big Year 2020

On behalf of my fellow San Diego birders,  I want to congratulate Nancy Christensen on her S.D. County Big Year. Nancy had an incredible 393 “clean, countable”  species for the year and if you throw in a few of our common “non-countable’s” such as Red-masked Parakeet, Lilac-crowned Parrot , Black-throated Magpie-Jay etc. she had 399. This broke the longstanding record of 388 held by Barbara Carlson for many years.


This is an amazing number when you consider 2020  was the year of Covid-19 and lockdowns. Furthermore, Nancy was President of San Diego Field Ornithologist and put in hours of time. Along the way she was dealing with a bad back and her Father’s failing health. Despite her quest, she was always the first person to get someone on a bird who had just arrived,  was struggling to get on the bird  or giving precise directions on how to find a specific bird through the list serv or via her phone. She is far too humble to admit any of this.


I can attest, as her birding pal, that Nancy did not set out to do a Big Year. Not in this crazy 2020. It was not until October when her husband Russ and myself independently told her that her numbers were on a record-breaking pace.  She finally took notice. Then through hard work, perseverance and San Diego County being blessed with many good birds she was able to accomplish this remarkable achievement. I know I speak for several birders in San Diego and Southern California – well done Nancy!


Mel Senac

San Diego



Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Kit Carson Park Sand Lake 12/30/20 Eastern Warbler rarities

Hi all, 

This afternoon, my mom and I went to Kit Carson Park in Escondido to walk the dog around Kit Carson Park at Sand Lake and to look for the adult male American Redstart first found by Ryan Andrews on 12/12/20. Around 4:20 PM I noticed a sudden increase in activity of a mixed flock of YRWA’s, and RCKI’s between the 2 bridges at the east side of the lake over a small hill nearby (33.0788754, -117.0611732) that gives you a view of many more trees. Amongst that mixed flock of various species, the adult male American Redstart put on quite a show for many minutes as it was moving around very quickly and spotted a Black-and-White Warbler that appears to be a male further back in the row of trees as well as much closer to the lake at one point. Both of them appeared to be moving around in this same mixed flock. The Black and White was foraging like a nuthatch which is typical of this species. Both of these birds would be quite nice for the upcoming Escondido CBC on January 2nd. I will be adding my eBird list later tonight with photos of both of those birds but thought of getting the word out especially of the Black and White sooner than later if anyone is interested in looking for it for the New Year.


Max Leibowitz 

San Diego/Tucson
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Orchard O., Little Stint, "Yellow" Palm, Ash-throat, Clay-colored record glut

Today, the 30th, I finally saw for the first time this winter–despite numerous visits–the returning (for third year) female Orchard Oriole at Nestor Park. It was at 7:30AM in the second to last pink-flowered eucalyptus in the row, and the bird was 2/3 of the way up the tree, being quite sneaky, and in view well for only about 10 seconds. as in previous years, the yellows on this bird are at the 'dull end' for Orchard, but it is quite small, the bill is shortish and straight, and the small head is round and "cute." At dawn, between 6:50-7:00AM, the Ash-throated Flycatcher continued in the carrotwood trees in Rose Teeple Park in Imperial Beach. At around 8:45AM the "Yellow" Palm Warbler continued in the TRV community gardens. And at 9:15 AM the Little Stint was on its favorite, east side of the island off 10th Street at the salt works. A "new," male Vermilion Flycatcher was at Larsen Field in San Ysidro (where a female present earlier in month), and continuing Vermilions were at Montgomery Waller Park in Otay Mesa and near 22nd St. in National City.

Yesterday, the 29th, there was a new Clay-colored Sparrow, on private property in Tierrasanta, where also a group of 3 Western Tanagers. This brings the December 2020 total of Clay-coloreds in the county to a rather staggering 11 individuals!! The previous winter record was 8 birds during the entire winter season 2011-2012.

–Paul Lehman, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

misc north county rarities 12-29-20

Was surprised not to encounter other birders post-storm at Pt. La Jolla this morning: just after 7am, there were 1000+ Bonaparte's gulls & good numbers of shearwaters way out on the horizon.  Had a few shift by a bit closer and was able to pick out at least 1 pink-footed and at least 3 dark shearwaters that I suspect were sooty but too distant for me to separate short-tailed; 1 pale fulmar swung by at moderate distance, 1 brown booby, at least  2 parasitic & 1 pomarine jaeger.  South of the Children's Pool 2 black oystercatchers were tolerating the gawkers tempting fate out on the rocks with the high tide & impressive surf.

Paul's Lucy's warbler continues at upper San Dieguito Park, around 8:40 being in the southmost Tipu tree on the west side of the parking lot straight south of the entrance gate.  The continuing male black-throated gray and other more common species also in the area.

A vesper sparrow was among a sizeable flock of savannah sparrows on the NW central portion of the eastern mesa (Stonebridge) at San Elijo around 10:15 (needle to haystack as vesper to savannahs in oat stubble…).
R. Patton
San Diego, CA
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

Ferruginous Hawks and Mountain Bluebirds Dec. 29, 2020

There were two Ferruginous Hawks on the ground at Otay Lakes Rd. and Hwy 94 this morning.

This is grazing pasture between Hollenbeck and Dulzura creeks., on Rancho Jamul, and near the west end of Honey Springs rd.

One was a pale adult ( male ?) which I believe is a multi year returnee ( at least 6 yrs. if my notes are correct ), and today a larger brown  juvenile was in the same field. ( perhaps female ).
Also in that pasture, were at least a dozen Mountain Bluebirds.  This area has been good for Mountain Bluebird historically whenever that species reaches the lowlands. 
These guys can be hard to pick out as the non-males are about the same color as a dry cow pie.
Dave Povey

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports

updating preliminary results of Rancho Sta Fe CBC 12-27-20

Thanks to all who helped make this CBC happen & so successful!

Most groups have reported in but I haven’t received results from several yet.  Despite that, it is looking like this year may have the second highest number of species recorded on this CBC (199 sp + 3 subsp).  (Phil aptly observed that the trickling in of results yesterday were reminiscent of election results…)


Notable species included greater white-fronted goose and snow goose in San Dieguito River Valley, brant off Torrey Pines, wood duck in Poway and Harmony Grove, male Eurasian wigeon at San Elijo, greater scaup off Torrey Pines, hooded merganser in Poway & San Dieguito RV, common goldeneye at Miramar Lake, horned grebe in San Dieguito wetlands, reddish egret at San Elijo, least bittern at San Dieguito reservoir, yellow-crowned night-heron at Del Mar Public Works, zone-tailed hawk north of Lake Hodges, black oystercatcher at Cardiff State Beach, glaucous-winged gull at Torrey Pines and Cardiff, Caspian tern, wandering tattler, and red phalarope off Torrey Pines, possible Wilson’s phalarope at San Elijo, burrowing owl at San Elijo, Costa’s hummingbird at Torrey Pines and Rancho Bernardo, red-breasted sapsucker at Stagecoach Park, vermilion flycatcher at San Dieguito RV and Escondido Cr, loggerhead shrike at Harmony Grove, San Dieguito wetlands, and Torrey Pines, mountain chickadee in Harmony Grove, red-breasted nuthatch multiple locations, canyon wren at Del Dios Highlands, yellow warbler in San Dieguito RV, black-throated gray warbler at San Dieguito Park and Encinitas, black-and-white warbler in Encinitas, Lucy’s warbler at San Dieguito Park, Grace’s warbler in Del Mar and Encinitas, Wilson’s warbler at San Dieguito wetlands, 4S Ranch, and Escondido Cr, grasshopper sparrow in Poway, clay-colored sparrow and lark bunting in Mira Mesa, slate-colored junco in Carmel Valley, green-tailed towhee at Miramar Lake, western tanager in Rancho Sta Fe, San Dieguito Reservoir, and Encinitas, hepatic tanager in Del Mar, tricolored blackbird and yellow-headed blackbird in San Dieguito RV, Bullock’s and Baltimore orioles in Solana Beach, purple finch at San Elijo and Carmel Valley, pine siskin at multiple locations, Swinhoe’s white-eye in Encinitas.


Species reported:  greater white-fronted goose, snow goose, brant, Canada goose, wood duck, gadwall, Eurasian wigeon, American wigeon, mallard, blue-winged teal, cinnamon teal, northern shoveler, northern pintail, green-winged teal, canvasback, redhead, ring-necked duck, greater scaup, lesser scaup, surf scoter, common goldeneye, bufflehead, hooded merganser, red-breasted merganser, ruddy duck, California quail, red-throated loon, Pacific loon, common loon, pied-billed grebe, horned grebe, eared grebe, western grebe, Clark’s grebe, black-vented shearwater, Brandt’s cormorant, double-crested cormorant, pelagic cormorant, American white pelican, brown pelican, least bittern, great blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, reddish egret, green heron, black-crowned night-heron, yellow-crowned night-heron, white-faced ibis, turkey vulture, osprey, white-tailed kite, northern harrier, sharp-shinned Cooper’s hawk, red-shouldered hawk, zone-tailed hawk, red-tailed hawk, Ridgway’s rail, Virginia rail, sora, common gallinule, American coot, black oystercatcher, black-necked stilt, American avocet, black-bellied plover, snowy plover, semipalmated plover, killdeer, spotted sandpiper, wandering tattler, greater yellowlegs, willet, whimbrel, long-billed curlew, marbled godwit, ruddy turnstone, black turnstone, sanderling, dunlin, least sandpiper, western sandpiper, long-billed dowitcher, Wilson’s snipe, red phalarope, phalarope sp., parasitic jaeger, pomarine jaeger, Bonaparte’s gull, Heermann’s gull, ring-billed gull, western gull, California gull, herring gull, glaucous-winged gull, Caspian tern, Forster’s tern, royal tern, rock pigeon, Eurasian collared-dove, mourning dove, red-lored parrot, greater roadrunner, barn owl, western screech owl, great horned owl, burrowing owl, white-throated swift, Anna’s hummingbird, Costa’s hummingbird, Allen’s hummingbird, belted kingfisher, acorn woodpecker, red-breasted sapsucker, Nuttall’s woodpecker, downy woodpecker, northern (red-shafted) flicker, American kestrel, merlin, peregrine falcon, black phoebe, Say’s phoebe, vermilion flycatcher, Cassin’s kingbird, loggerhead shrike, Hutton’s vireo, California scrub-jay, American crow, common raven, horned lark, tree swallow, mountain chickadee, oak titmouse, bushtit, red-breasted nuthatch, white-breasted nuthatch, rock wren, canyon wren, house wren, Bewick’s wren, blue-gray gnatcatcher, California gnatcatcher, ruby-crowned kinglet, wrentit, Swinhoe’s white-eye, western bluebird, hermit thrush, American robin, California thrasher, northern mockingbird, European starling, American pipit, cedar waxwing, phainopepla, orange-crowned warbler, Lucy’s warbler, common yellowthroat, yellow warbler, yellow-rumped (myrtle) warbler, yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) warbler, black-throated gray, Townsend’s warbler, Grace’s warbler, black-and-white warbler, Wilson’s warbler, grasshopper sparrow, chipping sparrow, clay-colored sparrow, lark sparrow, lark bunting, fox sparrow, dark-eyed (Oregon) junco, dark-eyed (slate-colored) junco, white-crowned sparrow, golden-crowned sparrow, Belding’s savannah sparrow, savannah sparrow (western migrant), song sparrow, Lincoln’s sparrow, California towhee, green-tailed towhee, rufous-crowned sparrow, spotted towhee, hepatic tanager, western tanager, red-winged blackbird, tricolored blackbird, western meadowlark, yellow-headed blackbird, Brewer’s blackbird, great-tailed grackle, brown-headed cowbird, Bullock’s oriole, Baltimore oriole, house finch, purple finch, pine siskin, lesser goldfinch, American goldfinch, house sparrow, scaly-breasted munia.

Of course details will be revised as more results are received and rarity reports reviewed.  I apologize to those who haven't submitted results yet or if I've overlooked reports, but I wanted to get an update out to the group.  Thanks again for all your efforts!
Robert Patton
San Diego, CA

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports