Minor news the past couple days includes a getting-late MIGRANT Lazuli Bunting flying past Mount Soledad on 30 May; a small uptick in migrant Willow Flycatchers along the coast; and on May 31st a slightly inland Elegant Tern at the Dairy Mart Ponds and a continuing territorial American Robin south of usual at the Bird & Butterfly Garden area.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned the continuing issue of over-reported and mis-identified Ring-billed Gulls and Rufous Hummingbirds. I was reminded that one of the perennial favorites in this category is AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, especially between April-September. This species is MUCH SCARCER AND MORE LOCALIZED in distribution than many folks realize. They are regularly over-reported in eBird not only by visiting birders who do not know their true status and distribution, but also by plenty of local birders as well. During the breeding season, this species is pretty much restricted to riparian habitats or areas bordering riparian.They are NOT typically found in drier scrubby areas, chaparral, most residential areas, etc., where Lesser Goldfinches are common but where are sometimes lacking from checklists which then include Americans. Observers are encouraged to be extra careful in reporting this species, even in fall and winter when they tend to be much more localized than are Lessers. Currently the South County hot-spot for this species, as always, is the community gardens on Hollister in the Tijuana River Valley, where today I saw a high concentration of 20 birds for the date.
–Paul Lehman, San Diego