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Monthly Archives: February 2023

Bell’s Sparrows – Poway, Ramona

Bell’s Sparrows – Poway, Ramona

By {authorlink} – 12:01 pm

Every year before the bird Festival I try to locate some Bell’s Sparrows -a frequently requested species by out of  town visitors. These are the nominate, non-migratory subspecies of Bell’s Sparrows.  Below are two  recent checklists.


Sycamore Canyon Open Space – Hwy 67 access  about ½ mile south of Scripps Poway Parkway. You drive in about a mile to the parking area – well graded gravel road. Use caution turning off Hwy 67 – fast traffic – use signals and slow in advance! All of this habitat looks good for Bell’s, but today I had a very confiding individual about 1/10 of a mile from the parking lot on the trail that goes west. The bird was singing and running around out on the trail. Listen for the quiet ticking sound they make.


Black Canyon Rd – take Magnolia from Hwy 78 (just past Ramona Pond).  Magnolia becomes Black Canyon. My mileage notes (in the Ebird checklist) are measured from where the pavement ends and the road becomes dirt. With all of the rain we have had, the road is in fair condition, with lots of ripple board and a few rutted areas. I did not check the road beyond 2.25miles – from there it becomes very narrow, steep, with major drop offs to the side. I highly recommend turning around at that point (there is a single small oak tree there, with a sign noting the narrow steep road ahead). Make sure to pull over way to the side, and try to not park on blind curves.


For those of you who  are local – both of these spots will have Black-chinned Sparrows in a few weeks. The Black Canyon Rd spot does have a remote chance you will have Mountain Quail – I heard one on Sunday, photographed one there last year.


Nancy Christensen



Wandering Tattler Goldfish Point

Wandering Tattler Goldfish Point
By {authorlink} – 8:59 am

Not a real rarity, but since I know a lot of people ask about the La Jolla Wandering Tattler, it’s out in the open on a big flat rock on the north side of Goldfish Point at 9am here: (32.8498366, -117.2698511)

No Kittiwakes sitting on the rocks this morning after last night’s winds.

Nick Thorpe
University Heights

SDFO February Zoom Meeting and Skimmer

SDFO February Zoom Meeting and Skimmer
By {authorlink} – 11:47 am

We hope you can join us for the San Diego Field
Ornithologist meeting on Tuesday, February 21, at 6:00 p.m. 
This will be a Zoom
meeting – the link for the meeting will be sent out on Monday, February 20.

Program: Mark Hainen will present “Boreal Birding at Sax-Zim Bog, Minnesota.” 
is an avid birder and wildlife photographer who divides his time
between northwest Ohio (summer) and central Florida (winter). Each fall
he volunteers for 2 months as an observer at the Detroit River Hawk
Watch. For the last 8 years he has visited the Sax-Zim Bog in northern
Minnesota to find and photograph boreal bird species. The
Skimmer is attached to this post and has additional
information regarding our speaker and the presentation. It also
contains the San Diego Bird Observations for January 2023 compiled by
Paul E. Lehman.
If you would like to continue to receive the Skimmer and invitations to our monthly meetings, please join SDFO by sending $25 to:

San Diego Field Ornithologists
c/o Eve Martin
1155 Camino del Mar, Suite 102
Del Mar, CA 92014

Happy Birding,

Char Glacy
San Diego

La Jolla Red-footed booby, kittiwake, etc

La Jolla Red-footed booby, kittiwake, etc
By {authorlink} – 9:37 am

Tuesday morning seawatching in the increasing wind has been largely ho-hum so far except for several nice birds including a distant Red-footed Booby heading south and then single passes very close of a young Black legged Kittiwake and Thayer’s Iceland Gull and Glaucous winged Gull. Also a good count of 16 Pelagic cormorants.

Paul Lehman et al., San Diego

San Diego Trip May 2024

San Diego Trip May 2024
By {authorlink} – 8:19 am

I’m planning a San Diego trip in May 2024 (from London, England), to visit zoos (& my aunt) and do some birding.

It’s a long time away but I was wondering if there was anyone who might be willing to help with logistics. I won’t have a car. 


Golden Plover at 10th Street IB

Golden Plover at 10th Street IB
By {authorlink} – 12:21 pm

As of noon 2/13, there’s a golden plover in with a large flock of Black-bellied Plovers visible way out in the middle of the saltworks pond containing stint island. The one at the end of 10th street. My assumption is that it’s a Pacific based on location, but of course it’s hard to tell fine details at this distance and with strong heat haze. The bird is obviously golden-brown and a little smaller than the other plovers.

Nick Thorpe
University Heights

Plumbeous Vireo Heritage Park

Plumbeous Vireo Heritage Park
By {authorlink} – 9:03 am

The bird reported by Paul Lehman yesterday is currently in the pines adjacent to the parking lot and and community center building at this park

Mike Wittmer

Hybrid Oystercatcher, La Jolla Cove/Children’s Pool

Hybrid Oystercatcher, La Jolla Cove/Children’s Pool

By {authorlink} – 3:40 pm

I received some superb photos of today’s American-type oystercatcher from Olivia Arizmendi and Peter Thomas.
When we saw the bird flying in the field, the tail looked half black and extensively white at the base.
Olivia’s photos show that this was an illusion created by some of the uppertail coverts having extensive white in them.
The tail is no more than 1/4 white, but possibly less.

Keying everything out—and so much in the scale involves subjective judgments—I get between 29-32 on the Jehl scale. Too iffy to more definitively label as an American.
This coincides with an individual that has been intermittently present in the area for several months and that is also right on the cusp of about 30 on the Jehl scale.

Stan Walens, San Diego
February 12, 2023; 3:25 pm