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Monthly Archives: March 2024

Re: eBirding near the political boundaries

1:46 pm

Justyn, does that mean two checklists can overlap each other in a single time frame? If I was doing that – I would have one person keep one list, a second person keep the other list. But I am not sure why one list cannot be complete, and one incomplete. 

Thanks for the info!

eBirding near the political boundaries

1:40 pm

A refresher here, especially for those heading out to look for Abert’s Towhee:

In short, if you’re not counting birds because they were over the county line, your list should be marked incomplete. 

Tips for county listers

For some birders, keeping precise state and local lists is important. If reporting all birds on a single complete checklist is not something you wish to do, it is possible (though not preferred) to keep two incomplete birding lists – one for each side of the border. 

When keeping separate checklists for different sides of a border, please follow these rules:

  • For BOTH checklists, the answer to “Is this a complete checklist of the birds you were able to identify?” must be “No”, because each list intentionally omits birds in the other geopolitical area.
Justyn Stahl
North Park 

Abert’s Towhees in Travertine Palms Wash aka “the far corner”

9:38 am

A few years ago while waiting for seabirds on a pelagic at “the corner” Matt Sadowski and Gary Nunn were discussing the probability that Abert’s Towhees would cross into San Diego County given their immediate adjacency in Imperial and Riverside counties at the far corner of the county. I then figured that the birds would likely disperse into the county to forage if there was a sufficiently strong wildflower bloom. I filed this information away and I figured I would try for them myself at a later date. Well, that time came yesterday when Mark Stratton and I found a family of Abert’s Towhees right along the corner of the county at this exact location. This included a singing male, a mate, and a juvenile plumaged bird. The birds were actively foraging (primarily inside San Diego County) and would constantly stay in contact via a loud chink call. 

Location within Anza Borrego State Park:
33.4260015, -116.0860719

Directions from the  Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association website :
Getting to Travertine Palms Wash. From Borrego Springs, drive east on County Road S-22 to Highway 86 in Salton City and turn north. Make a left turn at Avenue 86 at the Riverside County line, just past Travertine Rock. Avenue 86 is an unpaved dirt road. After about a quarter of a mile, there is a gate which can be locked. Be sure to park outside.

This area is also the best place in the county to find Gambel’s Quail, since you are 1) outside of the hybrid zone within Borrego Springs and 2) the Quail are currently quite abundant in this general area.

If you make the long drive out there be sure to check out the wildflowers in Borrego Springs on your return trip. There are currently good blooms at Henderson Canyon Road Wildflower Area, the Anza-Borrego Wildflower spring blooming fields, Coyote Canyon Wildflower Viewing Area, and likely at Glorietta Canyon. Lots of butterflies at Plum Canyon too. Spring migrants are also starting to filter through Tamarisk Grove Campground, Scissor’s Crossing, and Shelter Valley.

All the best,

Tom Ford-Hutchinson
San Diego, CA

Trip #423 juvenile red-footed booby

9:28 am

Have done another half-dozen trips on the Hornblower this past month.
There have been no seabirds offshore; on each trip we made it out to the 9-Mile Bank, but even there all we saw were pelicans and gulls, and a surprising number of elegant terns.
On 3 trips, I had not a single seabird [alcid, booby, tubenose, jaeger etc.]: a total of 68 miles of transit.

Yesterday I was fortuitously joined by Lesley Handa.
She saw a single black-vented shearwater about 4 miles offshore. I missed it.
Then we headed to the Bank where we came upon 2 gray whales.
As we idled along with the whales, a juvenile red-footed booby came up to the boat and flew just 10 feet over our heads.
One of the tourists near us was able to snap a cellphone photo of it as it flew away; identifiable as to species.

Total distance traveled 21 miles: 2 seabirds. The 1 seabird per 10 miles distance is pretty much the average right now.

Stan Walens, San Diego
March 30, 2024; 8:20 am

continuing Grace’s & Baltimore

9:30 am

Friday morning, the wintering Grace’s Warbler in Las Palmas Park in National City continues and was singing almost constantly, suggesting it will depart very soon. The male Baltimore Oriole continues in Rohr Park in Bonita, and today it was in a pink flowered eucalyptus along the edge of the golf course rather than in its beloved bottle brush trees at the basketball courts. The bottlebrush did have a male Rufous Hummingbird, which is finally the first one I’ve seen this spring.

Yesterday, a female-type Yellow-headed Blackbird that has been present sporadically all winter continued at the horse and goat paddocks along Sunset Road in the TRV.

Paul Lehman, San Diego

Carmel Valley Recreation Center on Townsgate

4:05 pm

I’m not sure if anyone has shouted this out before but we were surprised to find this morning that the upper field at the Carmel Valley Rec Center is fenced off and the field is completely torn up. You can bird everything else below, and we were able to scooch around the outside of the fencing and do some birding up top along the edges. Sadly they are replacing all that grass with astroturf. It will not be the hot spot for grass loving birds, and likely birds in general, that it has been. Evidently this project will not be complete until 2025. We did see a Plumbeous Vireo around the edges of the amphitheater (both sides west and east) and Lisa Ruby got photos.

Alison Hiers

some continuing TRV birds

9:34 am

On Thursday morning, the long-MIA Laughing Gull was back in the Tijuana River channel and sod farm flooded area, along with one continuing first-cycle Short billed Gull, and about 9 Bonaparte’s. The flooded area on the sod has about 350 Shovelers. Although known to have arrived during the past week at other sites in the TRV where expected, a Bells Vireo in the tipu trees at the outlet mall parking lot seemed somewhat out of place. And at the Community Gardens, and also not reported in quite a long time, the wintering Gray Flycatcher continues along the north edge.

Paul Lehman, San Diego 

Gray Flycatcher, Big Rock Park and Trails Santee 03/26/2024

5:31 am

Good morning all,

I was waiting for confirmation on Carolyn’s great photos yesterday she took of the Flycatcher I spotted near the ranger’s house at these coordinates: 32.826314,-117.017066. It was clearly visible on a small dead bush but took off west to the hills. I was still able to hear it. I had to leave but Carolyn was able to find the bird again and photograph after I left at the gate which is on the road the goes up to the rangers house near the creek.

Terry Hurst

Ridgway’s Rail Survey – 26 March – volunteers needed

11:50 am

Forwarding the invitation below to help with a ~2 hour survey of the San Diego River for Ridgway’s Rails tomorrow evening. A handful of folks are needed, especially those familiar with rail vocalizations. 
Reach out to Karina (ornelas@…) for details.
Justyn Stahl
North Park

Hi all,
Ridgway’s Rail nesting season is upon us and Richard Zembal has scheduled a date for a population survey at the San Diego River Mouth, March 26 at 5:00 PM. We’d like to help Richard organize an amazing group to help with his annual efforts at this
location to ensure we get the best data possible. 
And apologies for the short notice, these surveys are very weather dependent and are difficult to schedule out in advance. RSVP with me if you can make it! More details to follow.
*Also if you have a bike and feel like doing the survey on bike please bring it over. He needs about 12 people on bikes too.
Thank you,

Karina Ornelas, she/her/ella

Conservation Outreach Coordinator 
Office: 858-273-7800

4010 Morena Blvd., St. 100, San Diego, CA 92117  


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