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Monthly Archives: August 2023

Acorn Woodpeckers – Encinitas

8:29 am

Yesterday morning I had a pair of Acorn Woodpeckers in my yard in Olivenhain which backs up on Escondido Creek. They eventually flew south toward San Elijo Lagoon. These were a yard bird for me, although one was reported from San Elijo Lagoon in April this year.


Re: offshore San Diego Weds.

4:02 pm

A temporary WhatsApp group has been made for the trip out today on the Legacy, to share any interesting or confusing finds people make as they look through their photos. Not sharing the link publicly so it doesn’t get potentially bombed.

If you would were on the Legacy today and would like to join the group, DM me.

Nick Thorpe
University Heights

offshore San Diego Weds.

3:24 pm

A number of folks went offshore today on two different boats from Mission Bay, hoping for a repeat performance of the huge numbers of shearwaters present this past Saturday. Such was not the case. Although there was a respectable number of birds still in the area (no farther offshore than about 7 or 8 miles), the numbers were way down, and there was no single especially large concentration of birds. Water temps are now back to normal, following the inshore cool down last week and were mostly between 70-73 degrees. Our 5-hour “private” trip was also handicapped by two hours of dense fog that made birding at that time almost impossible. Highlights of this quick trip were a juvenile Long-tailed Jaeger only 2 miles off La Jolla and an adult Arctic Tern. Otherwise, some totals included 3 Pomarine & 1 Parasitic Jaegers, 7 Sabine’s Gulls, 15 Common Terns, 15 Black Storm-Petrels, 35 Sooty Shearwaters, 250 Pink-footed Shearwaters, and 1300 Black-vented Shearwaters.
Paul Lehman et al., San Diego

Request for Wedge-rumped Strom-Petrel documentation

9:49 am

Good morning birders,
Tropical Storm Hilary brought a number of rare and exciting birds to southern California just over a week ago, and I hope you were able to get out and see at least a few of them. Among the species pushed north and inland by the winds was Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel
with at least 32 occurrences of 70 or more individuals from August 20-23. This is a California Bird Records Committee (CBRC) review species for which there are only 15 prior endorsed records for the state. If you were lucky enough to see any Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrels,
the CBRC would appreciate it if you took the time to submit documentation for your sightings. In fact, the CBRC would like documentation for any white-rumped storm-petrels encountered, as Wedge-rumped appears to be the only species of white-rumped storm-petrel
to have been pushed inland by the storm. (This is not meant to imply that the CBRC will endorse all white-rumped storm-petrels as Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrels, only that we want to review them.) The best ways to submit documentation are by using the web form
( or by emailing photos and written descriptions to the secretary at secretary@….
You can see a basic summary (dates, locations, number of individuals) of Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel reports from Tropical Storm Hilary here:
Thanks to those of you who have already submitted documentation.
Thomas A. Benson
Secretary, California Bird Records Committee

Re: miscellanea, inland Red-billed Tropicbirds!

10:19 pm

Dear friends,


Thanks to Linda King’s resourcefulness in sleuthing, I was able to get in touch with the wife of the finder of the “Anza-Borrego” Red-billed Tropicbird. Her husband found it while he was plowing a field. The bird was not in the Anza-Borrego Desert in San Diego County but in Terwilliger Valley, 5.1 miles southeast of the community of Anza in Riverside County—and thus represents a first record for that county, if I am not mistaken. Linda kindly sent a link to pictures of the two tropicbirds in rehabilitation at Sea World: Enjoy!


Good birding,


Philip Unitt

San Diego


American Redstart – Solana Highlands Park

8:56 am

This morning, a little before 8 am there was a bright female-type AMERICAN REDSTART at Solana Highlands Park.  The bird was working the Torrey Pines and tipus about midway down the path that runs along the back (north) edge of the adjacent school yard.
Alex Abela
Escondido, CA

Re: #406 A very exciting day on the Hornblower: 2 wedge-tailed shearwaters, black-footed albatross, flesh-footed shearwater, 1100 pink-footed

6:53 pm

The Legacy went mostly SW for 7 miles.  The opposite direction of the Hornblower.  There were no large concentrations (>25) of any type bird. There were a handful of Sooty, Pink-Footed and Black-venteds. One Brown and one Masked Booby.  We didn’t even see any whales except for a two second glimpse of a Minke. After the trip the captain mentioned he was getting reports of all the birds about 5 miles North of where we went. 

Debbie Porter

#406 A very exciting day on the Hornblower: 2 wedge-tailed shearwaters, black-footed albatross, flesh-footed shearwater, 1100 pink-footed

4:55 pm

Things were so different than previously. Today I had 30 black-venteds, a parasitic jaeger and a juvenile brown booby within a mile of the tip of Pt. Loma.
Today the boat immediately turned NW instead of heading south. Water was a bit roiling, surface was pretty choppy. Bad for seeing alcids, phalaropes, etc.
There were scattered numbers of black-venteds, pink-footed and sooties off and on for the next 6 miles.
Bird distribution was spotty; for 15 minutes we might see nothing, then suddenly more than we could count going past.
Then from 7 until 9 miles, we were came across a river of pink-footed shearwaters, with a few other species mixed in, including 2 wedge-tailed shearwaters! [both light morph] very close to the boat.
From then on, at almost no time during our 3 hours on the ocean, was there no pink-footed in sight.
Came across a flock of close to 700 pink-foots sitting on the water; the boat scared them into the air, along with a juvenile black-footed albatross.
We then sat for an hour watching a pair of humpback whales successfully doing their best to do nothing interesting.
Pink-foots kept streaming by during that hour, as well as a single pomarine jaeger.
Interestingly, almost every bird today was going towards the north, except for phalaropes [7 red; 19 red-necked; surprisingly few considering how many passed Pt. La Jolla on Saturday morning].
Then we turned and headed west out to the inner edge of the 9-Mile Bank, which was not very birdy.
BUT, before we got to the Bank, between 11-13 miles, we came upon a large congregation of storm-petrels. 150+ Black, at least 3 Ashy, 10-12 Least, and  a single, large white-rumped bird that was likely a Leach’s.
At the 9-Mile Bank we encountered a very active pod of 600 common dolphins. Zero oceanic birds with them.
There were a bunch of Commic terns, but I was concentrating on identifying storm-petrels, and didn’t bother trying to identify the terns.
We turned back east and with a mile of coming off the Bank, a flesh-footed shearwater crossed the bow.
Black storm-petrels and the 3 usual species of shearwater were constant companions until we were maybe 2 miles from the coast.
I think my total numbers are low, since I could scan only part of the ocean. But I’d say 1100-1300 pink-footed, 125 black-venteds, 40 sooties.
I know that people were out today on the Legacy and Privateer, but I haven’t seen their reports yet.
Birds are obviously moving around quite a bit.
A reminder: a bunch of people are going out on the Legacy this Wednesday August 30. 10:00 am trip.
Anyone who wants to join us is welcome to come.
Stan Walens, San Diego
August 28, 2023; 4:50 pm

Legacy whale/bird watching today- few birds

1:52 pm

Following recent posts, Debby Porter and I went out on AM Legacy whale watch today. Skipper Rob Downing (same skipper as Sat, Sun) took us to “first fathom incline”, about 5 miles west, where we cruised N-S fir a mile or two. Furthest west we got was about 7 miles. In contrast to Saturday, we saw only a modest few hundred black-vented shearwaters, about 50 phalaropes, one brown booby, one Nazca/masked booby. We are both inexperienced pelagic birders, so may have missed some or many species, but we, and skipper Rob, are confident that there was a marked contrast between total bird numbers of all species at the same near-shore location.  Another whale watching boat saw plentiful birds off La Jolla coast today.   On the plus side, calm and sunny offshore today, light breeze, minimal swell.  Lee Wagner

on the

miscellanea, inland Red-billed Tropicbirds!

12:14 pm

This morning, Monday, I had a green Painted Bunting in an inaccessible part of the Tijuana River Valley. Also, finally, my FOS (but late arriving) Northern Pintail and migrant-type Savannah Sparrow. Visiting birder Sam Marsh reports that the adult male Summer Tanager continues from yesterday in the Sorrento Valley area (see previous posts/eBird reports). But the really big news are the reports just coming in now of single Red-billed Tropicbirds deposited far inland by Tropical Storm “Hilary”: on 20 Aug in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and on 21 Aug some 5.7 miles east of Valley Center, with both birds taken to rehab at Sea World (fide Phil Unitt). Based on the photos from Sea World, the couple is doing fine!
–Paul Lehman, San Diego