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Monthly Archives: August 2022

Lindo Lake East: Now Open

Lindo Lake East: Now Open
By – 12:34 pm
The recently remodeled eastern lake at Lindo is now open for our enjoyment so I walked the full length of it today (certainly not a great idea in 100 degree weather).As expected the mudflat habitat is completely gone, replaced with rocks the entirety of the lakeshore. There is no vegetation in the lake itself, not even reeds. Most of the trees around the lake edge survived the remodel and they completely dug out all the grass and invasives and replanted all natives, including many young trees. There are five observation decks, two with bird blinds, and a small floating dock. Off-trail areas are, for the most part, decoratively fenced off. The lake is populated with fish of some sort and at least one turtle has found it’s way over there already.As for birds…a whopping six Killdeer were literally the only ones utilizing the new lake. Andrew NewmarkChula Vista, CA

Out of Place Grackles

Out of Place Grackles
By – 11:09 am
We had two juvenile Great-tailed Grackles in our yard this morning.  These are the first grackles I have seen in our south of Pomerado Rd., Scripps Ranch neighborhood which is next to miles of MCAS Miramar chaparral.  To my knowledge these are the first grackles seen in Bird Atlas square O-11 which I was responsible for.  Yard bird #116.Gary GranthamSouth Scripps Ranch

Re: Hillcrest Painted Bunting continues

Re: Hillcrest Painted Bunting continues
By – 10:46 am
Refound this morning by Carl, who was among the three patient birders who visited in hopes it would show.  Birders were all there by 7; bird there by 9:30, as per yesterday.  It never came down for a drink this time, but perched in unobstructed view – if poor light – for a few minutes before flying off, oddly, right towards an operating garbage truck.Checklist with photos that won’t surpass Michael Evans’ from yesterday here:Hillcrest Painted Bunting ChecklistUp to four birders at a time are welcome to visit with notice.  Probably best from 8:30am or 5pm. Contact me directly to make arrangements if you’re interested.  Who knows how long it might stay. Mike has some experience with this in the Tijuana River Valley, and offered two weeks as a likely maximum.Tuck RussellHillcrest

Hillcrest Painted Bunting continues

Hillcrest Painted Bunting continues
By – 6:28 pm
The first year male Painted Bunting reported and photographed this morning by Michael Evans at his deck railing bird bath reappeared there this evening at 5:30.  Mike alerted me and I was able to get a quick glimpse.  We think it’s reappearance this evening bodes well for an appearance tomorrow morning.  Folks interested in chasing this bird are welcome to do so from my deck, which offers vantage points about 30 feet away.   Mike notes the bird didn’t appear this morning until about 9:30.  This is likely a wild bird as opposed to an escapee, if that matters. Contact me off list for arrangements and directions. Tuck RussellHillcrest 

San Diego pelagic–Guadalupe Murrelet, Least & Townsend’s SP, Nazca & RF Booby, BF Albatrosses, 28 August 2022

San Diego pelagic–Guadalupe Murrelet, Least & Townsend’s SP, Nazca & RF Booby, BF Albatrosses, 28 August 2022

By – 7:39 pm
Six of us went offshore yesterday 28 August 2022 in search of pelagic birds in San Diego County waters.  We made the usual plan and headed due west from Point Loma to The Corner where we put out a chum slick and drifted for two hours.  We then moved back east stopping at the Thirty Mile Bank where we ran another chum slick and waited. Sea conditions were “disorganized” so the trip west was quite time consuming at slower speed.  We came back almost on a beeline east to Point Loma skirting a few miles above the international line at sea. 76 NM traveled at sea.Bird numbers were thin until we reached the San Diego Trough and, while headed west looking through a few phalaropes, Nathan French picked out our best find of the day a GUADALUPE MURRELET!  We barely saw a handful of alcids all day, the sea surface a mess, so this was wonderful to find.From the Trough westward we saw plenty of Townsend’s Storm-Petrel candidates.  Many of these are included under Leach’s/Townsend’s Storm-Petrel in our eBird checklists because of difficulties separating the closely similar Chapman’s Storm-Petrel, the local form of Leach’s Storm-Petrel.  We will sort through photos in the checklists.At The Corner we had two BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS visit our slick, but this was bested by three more of this species seen later at the Thirty Mile Bank.  The later three all different by extent of face and undertail paler feathering.  So five Black-footed Albatross in total for the day.  While waiting at The Corner we had two NAZCA BOOBY suddenly appear from the north flying wingtip-to-wingtip!  One adult and one near adult.  Making close circles around us almost too close for photos.Other good sightings for the day included several LEAST STORM-PETREL at the slicks, a RED-FOOTED BOOBY that almost sneaked by us in the trough, small numbers of ARCTIC TERN, and a CRAVERI’S MURRELET a few miles from Point Loma.– Gary NunnPacific Beach

Neotropic Cormorant, Sweetwater Reservoir shorebirds

Neotropic Cormorant, Sweetwater Reservoir shorebirds
By – 2:23 pm

On Saturday the 27th, I had an adult Neotropic Cormorant in the Tijuana River Valley at what is known as the “waterfowl pond” which is a three-minute hike on a path to the south off of the final, dirt section of Saturn Blvd. Unfortunately, I obliviously arrived at the observation area overlooking the pond just in time to flush the NECO off the pond and watch it fly well to the east, toward Tijuana.

Also this morning, at Sweetwater Reservoir there were large numbers of juvenile shorebirds and a couple other species of interest–mostly at the upper end of the lake. Highlights included 2 Baird’s Sandpipers, 5 Lesser Yellowlegs, and a by-far record “inland” total of 262 Short-billed Dowitchers. Also good inland totals of 45 Red-necked Phalaropes and 475 Western Sandpipers, as well as a continuing near-adult Bald Eagle, continuing Bank Swallow, my first fall-arrival Northern Shovelers, and 15 White Pelicans. WARNING: Many of these birds are a long way’s off, so a goodly number of observers would be frustrated or generally quite unhappy with the views. BUT, two or three of us will likely return there first thing tomorrow (Sunday) morning as well, so if you would like company, then be ready to enter the fishing access gate before the official 7AM opening time (Fri-Mon)–by around 6:40AM, when it was already open today. Go to the parking area, pay your $3 parking fee (exact change required), scan the lake from there, and then go back out 200 yards and park at the gated dirt road heading toward the upper end of the lake, to the obvious grove of eucalyptus trees, about 3/4 of a mile away. One needs to be at the gate at opening time because any shorebirds near the parking area are fairly quickly flushed by the arriving fishermen, and then if you scope the upper end even from the eucalyptus grove, you need there to be no heat distortion. I plan to arrive tomorrow at 6:40 at the gate, and then whenever it opens I will start walking up the gated road 15 minutes later, after scoping from the parking lot and paying the parking fee.

–Paul Lehman, San Diego

Northern Waterthrush, UTC 08/25

Northern Waterthrush, UTC 08/25
By – 8:11 am
There was a Northern Waterthrush in the concrete ditch at the Westfield UTC Montrose Park at 7:45 this morning, August 25th. Bird is MIA currently but had been near (32.8679396, -117.2088157). Bridget SpencerUniversity City

Black Tern and Solitary Sandpipers continue

Black Tern and Solitary Sandpipers continue
By – 2:17 pm
A Black Tern flew over the main pond at Dairy Mart all morning.  Four, possibly five Solitary Sandpipers continued in the pond along Camino De La Plaza heading east from the main parking at Dairy Mart.  If you walk in the bike lane east you will eventually see a trail on your left at a light post.  The trail goes up over a berm and down to the pond.  The light post has a sign on the other side of it that says “Turn Only” for the cars headed west.  The Solitary Sandpipers can bee seen once you get to the bottom of the trail and were on the far side of the pond to our left approximately here: 32.554634, -117.061472 on rocks and branches.  No sign of anything much at B&B later except a nice small flock of about 7 Common Ground Doves.Alison HiersCarlsbad, CA

Re: flamingos, parakeets, and eBird exotics changes

Re: flamingos, parakeets, and eBird exotics changes
By – 1:50 pm
Thanks, Paul.The official eBird Help Center article on exotic species treatment can be found here:https://support.ebird.org/en/support/solutions/articles/48001218430-exotic-and-introduced-species-in-ebirdFrom that article, regarding life list/Top 100 changes: “Later this year, Escapees (birds that have escaped or been intentionally released from captivity) will no longer be counted in your eBird Life List or Top 100 totals. Escapee species are clearly indicated with a white asterisk in a dark orange circle. Escapee reports are now more easily seen in eBird (e.g., on maps and Escapee sections of regional pages), can always be found in your personal sightings lists for a region, and will always have the Escapee icon when applicable.”Before changes are made to life lists and Top 100, sacred ground for many users, eBird HQ wanted to ensure that the coding (the colored asterisks and the lovely maps showing where species are native and non-native) was working appropriately. A few kinks had to be worked out immediately after the release, but to my knowledge, it all appears to be working as intended. If nothing else, this will show just how many species have escaped or been released here in Southern California, or just over the border to our south. As one friend said, “I’d want to know if there was a toucan in my neighborhood!” However, the next stage will be to remove escapees from life lists, Needs Alerts, Rare Bird Alerts, and I believe they will be binned in the regional Targets, much in the same way they are broken out in the regional displays that show the three categories of birds. Currently Targets includes all species, regardless of exotics status. The Top 100 will then have a level playing ground where only native/established and provisional species (a set, determined list) will count. As for the official state list, the California Bird Records Committee occasionally votes on the establishment of non-natives (e.g., Red-masked Parakeet the most recent example) based on the following criteria (available at https://californiabirds.org/CBRCbylaws.html):”The Committee will also review records of breeding populations of introduced species not on the state list, but only if evidence is submitted that attempts to prove (a) the correct identification of the species and (b) the viability of the population. To be judged viable, a population must: (i) have bred in the state for fifteen (15) consecutive years, (ii) in general, be increasing or stabilized after an initial period of increase, (iii) be judged to have occupied a significant portion of geographically contiguous suitable habitat to such a degree as to sustain the population and be thought unlikely to significantly diminish, and (iv) occupy an environment judged similar enough in ecological factors (e.g., climate, vegetation, food, shelter, competitors, predators) to the species’ natural habitat, or to other successful introductions, that permanent establishment seems likely.”Swinhoe’s White-eyes is certainly on a trajectory for inclusion on the official state list, pending some genetic work, while Burrowing Parakeet has a long way to go.Cheers from Vermont (where there is a Ruddy Shelduck not quite getting the rockstar treatment of the flamingos),Justyn Stahl