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Monthly Archives: February 2023

Invitation to SDFO Zoom Meeting Tuesday February 21 at 6 PM

Invitation to SDFO Zoom Meeting Tuesday February 21 at 6 PM
By {authorlink} – 12:29 pm

The San Diego Field Ornithologists is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Mark Hainen will present “Boreal Birding at SAX-Zim Bog, Minnesota
Time: Feb 21, 2023 06:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 844 9500 7554
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Char Glacy

San Diego, California


tijuana river valley & south SD bay rarities 2-19-23

tijuana river valley & south SD bay rarities 2-19-23

By {authorlink} – 4:22 pm

John Dumlao, Rick Grove, Dan Jehl, Martha Wild, and I scouted various spots in the Tijuana River Valley and South San Diego Bay today in preparation for the Birding the Border field trips planned this coming week for the San Diego Bird Festival.  Highlights included a male Eurasian wigeon in the Otay River channel just ESE of the South Bay Bikeway bridge just NE off 13th St in IB this afternoon.  Farther east from there, viewable from the bikepath just east of the second bridge east from 13th St (near a granola wrapper tied to the chainlink fence, and graffiti on the bikepath pavement) and looking to the NNE, the head of the burrowing owl was visible poking up from within a low spot in the SSE central portion of the expanse of dirt salt in S pond 20 of the saltworks.  It was approx 10 ft north of the saltworks maintenance road near the first strip of white salt among the more brownish/grayish saltcrust.  (Note that it does not have a consistently used burrow in the area, and yesterday had been seen both in the center of the expanse of dirtsalt and in a cave-like divet along the west-facing bank of the dirtsalt mesa).  A merlin was perched in a scraggly mulefat to the south in pond 20A, to the SW of all of the construction activity.
The female vermilion flycatcher continues at the TRV Community Gardens, seen hawking insects from the top of a sycamore and perching on wooden ballards and fenceposts SSW of the intersection of Hollister and Sunset.  A rough-winged swallow was foraging over the river at the Hollister St bridge between the Bird & Butterfly Garden and the Community Gardens.  A pair of black-throated magpie jays were seen working west to east through the trees along the north edge of the gardens, and earlier a pair with presumably a young of last year (based on tail length and behavior) were along the riparian stretch along the north side of the B&B, including foraging on sapote at the B&B park building.
At the main drip in the Bird & Butterfly Garden, John briefly had the black-and-white warbler and a male Wilson’s warbler.  A pair of common ground-dove shifted around near and to the north of the drip (be aware that one of them appears very rosy, but was too scaly and lacking head color to be made into a ruddy).
Earlier this morning at the main Dairy Mart pond, we had 75 white pelicans pass over and a flock of about 40 white-fronted geese go by to the east.  A least bittern was vocal in the SE corner of the pond.  An immature glaucous-winged gull was among the western gulls on the pond.  A rough-winged swallow was among tree swallows over the pond.  The northern waterthrush was heard briefly a couple of times on each side of the boardwalk near the second curve north of the main pond, and seen briefly as it flew across the boardwalk & skulked along a low willow branch before disappearing.
The old quarry site SE of the TRV park headquarters yielded rock wren, Calif gnatcatcher, and rufous-crowned sparrow.  A Calif gnatcatcher was along the fenceline and just to the south of it, just NE of the pump station on the south side of the road near the west end of Monument Rd and the Border Field SP parking lot and gate.  A rufous-crowned sparrow was singing to the SSE of there on the western slopes of Spooner Mesa/east edge of Goat Canyon, SE of the old quarry notch through the ridgeline, near the golden-spined snake cactus stands.
(I had IT issues and my phone died, but ebird lists will be submitted shortly).
Robert Patton
San Diego, CA

Salt Works, Pacific Seabird Group field trip, 18 February

Salt Works, Pacific Seabird Group field trip, 18 February
By {authorlink} – 11:55 am

Yesterday morning, 18 February, Robert Patton, Lea Squires, and I led a field trip to the Salt Works (part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge) for the Pacific Seabird Group.

Highlights included many of the continuing birds first noted on or before the Christmas Bird Count back in mid-December:
Common Goldeneye – 7
Pacific Golden-Plover
Stilt Sandpiper
Lesser Yellowlegs
Glaucous-winged Gull
Burrowing Owl
Only the gull, owl, and golden-plover are likely visible from the north end of 10th St. The other birds were in the interior ponds or on the mudflats along the north edge of the Salt Works.
Justyn Stahl
North Park

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Mountain Bluebirds, etc.

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Mountain Bluebirds, etc.
By {authorlink} – 11:31 am

Early Sunday morning I went to the very east end of Main Street in Chula Vista (east of the 805), turned left on Heritage Road, and went up the hill into a brand new development that borders the Chula Vista landfill. Parked near the Chevron and self-storage facility and was lucky to have the 300+ gulls at the landfill sitting all along the southeast flank of the landfill so in good view (with a scope!). One adult Lesser Black-backed, plus first-winter “Thayer’s” and Glaucous-winged. For a few years now they have been actively discouraging gulls at the landfill, using explosion sounds and flying falcons. thus, often there are NO gulls there. But Sunday the dump is closed, so maybe the birds try to find some food there early in the day. Not sure if they also try right after dawn or not on the dump days, to beat the discouragement techniques–if that is even possible. I was actually in that area because I also turned right (south) on Heritage to check the large number of mature tipus that ring the South Coast Credit Union Amphitheater and which can be easily checked from the outside sidewalk. First time I checked it was in Dec on the CBC and had a Yellow Warbler there. Bird numbers are now reduced, but worth future checks between Oct-Jan.
Also today, I stopped by the fairly new TRV campground located at the west end of Monument Road near the entrance to Border Field State Park, to check on the flock of up to 30 Mountain Bluebirds that have been there all winter. Saw about 10, but didn’t stay long. These birds are very photogenic. But a possible complicating factor is that 3/4 of the campground is signed “Campers Only Beyond This Point.” Don’t know how serious they are about this or not, but probably best to ask permission from a ranger first, if one is present.
Also an imm. Glaucous-winged Gull and 8 Bonaparte’s at the end of 10th St. at the salt works–which I mention only because Glaucous-wingeds have been very scarce this winter.
Lastly, a couple days ago I had a Merlin perched on a utility line at Point Loma, only about the fifth time in my life that I have seen a Merlin perched on a wire.
Paul Lehman, San Diego

Saturday San Diego pelagic: Tufted Puffin, Masked Booby

Saturday San Diego pelagic: Tufted Puffin, Masked Booby
By {authorlink} – 5:21 am

A pelagic trip aboard “Legacy” on Saturday, 18 Feb, was organized by the Pacific Seabird Group, associated with their annual meeting being held in San Diego. The trip went out of Mission Bay to the outer edge of the Nine-Mile Bank, from the international border north to off La Jolla. A beautiful day, with extremely light seas and only a light breeze. The highlight was certainly the very cooperative adult Tufted Puffin swimming near the boat 7.1 miles off La Jolla, and by the near-adult Masked Booby that flew by the boat some 11.9 miles west of the tip of Point Loma. A total of 8 Pink-footed Shearwaters west of La Jolla was a very good total for winter. Five Brown Boobies. Given the light sea conditions, alcid and phalarope totals were good (e.g., 60 Scripps’s Murrelets, 175 Rhino Auklets). We also saw the continuing Yellow-billed Loon as we departed the dock. OFFSHORE totals for the day were:
Surf Scoter  1
Eared Grebe  2  (some 10 miles offshore; not unusual)
Red Phalarope  40
Pomarine Jaeger  10
Parasitic Jaeger  3
Scripps’s Murrelet  60
Cassin’s Auklet  35
Rhinoceros Auklet  175
TUFTED PUFFIN  1  (32.83, 117.40)
Bonaparte’s Gull  40
Heermann’s Gull  8
Western Gull  200
California Gull  120
Royal Tern  1
Northern Fulmar  1
Pink-footed Shearwater  8
Sooty Shearwater  2
Black-vented Shearwater  800
Brown Booby  5
MASKED BOOBY  1  (32.64, 117.45)
Brandt’s Cormorant  45
Brown Pelican  120
–Paul Lehman, Dave Povey, Bruce Rideout, Matt Sadowski, et al., San Diego

PSG San Diego pelagic trip: Tufted Puffin, Masked Booby

PSG San Diego pelagic trip: Tufted Puffin, Masked Booby
By {authorlink} – 4:30 pm

A Saturday, 18 Feb, pelagic trip sponsored by the Pacific Seabird Group meeting held in San Diego found a very, very cooperative Tufted Puffin some 7.1 miles west of La Jolla, and an almost-adult Masked Booby 11.9 miles west of the tip of Point Loma. Also a good winter count of 8 Pink-footed Shearwaters well off La Jolla. A complete list and numbers will be posted tomorrow morning.
–Paul Lehman et al., San Diego

miscellanea (including dead Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel)

miscellanea (including dead Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel)
By {authorlink} – 2:14 pm

A freshly dead Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel was found at La Jolla Shores today (17 Feb) by visitor Joachim Bertrands. He’ll get the specimen to me for depositing at SDNHM. The American or American X Black Oystercatcher continued today at the Cabrillo National Monument tidepools (northern parking lot) at mid-tide. The usual ca. 5 Common Goldeneyes continue at Miramar Lake. A few days ago along the west edge of Balboa Park there were single continuing White-breasted Nuthatch (rare visitor to the park), Bullock’s Oriole, and Western Tanager, as well as a Nashville Warbler along the north edge.
Shelter Island (south half) on San Diego Bay is a good spot for Lilac-crowned Parrots, perhaps as well as Red-crowned; and today there were at least a couple disturbingly intermediate birds there as well. As there are at a fair number of sites. In Balboa Park a few days ago I saw what looked like a closely mated pair comprising one of each species.
–Paul Lehman, San Diego

Pelagic trip Saturday Feb. 18, 2023

Pelagic trip Saturday Feb. 18, 2023
By {authorlink} – 4:32 pm

There is one spot available as someone can not make it for the Saturday trip on the Legacy out of Seaforth Landing sponsored  by “Pacific SeaBird Group”. If you are interested in going contact me off list. If you check the Legacy for this Saturday you will see it is full but that one spot is available if you call but first contact me. The details are on their website i believe it is 7am to 4pm but check the details.

Dean Budd