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Monthly Archives: May 2024

May 18th San Diego pelagic trip

4:47 am

The San Diego pelagic trip on 18 May sponsored by Buena Vista Audubon Society aboard “Legacy” out of Mission Bay went out to the 9-Mile Bank, San Diego Trough, 30-Mile Bank, and “The Corner.” Ocean conditions were excellent, with light seas and a high marine overcast all morning. Large numbers of several species were noted in the waters from about 4 miles offshore out to the 9-Mile, with smaller numbers farther out. Especially impressive totals included the 20 Blue Whales, 115 Scripps’s Murrelets, 3000 Sooty Shearwaters (including one bird with a fully white head and neck), and 6 Brown Boobies. The two Common Murres were scarce and getting latte. Offshore totals for the day (once a couple miles offshore) were:
Surf Scoter  4
Eared Grebe  1
Red-necked Phalarope  35
jaeger sp.  1
Common Murre  2  (off Mission Bay)
Scripps’s Murrelet  115  (high count)
Cassin’s Auklet  65
Rhinoceros Auklet  1
Bonaparte’s Gull  2
Heermann’s Gull  2
Western Gull  175
California Gull  50
Least Tern  3
Elegant Tern  1300
Common Loon  4
Pacific Loon  12
Ashy Storm-Petrel  2
Black Storm-Petrel  160
Pink-footed Shearwater  80
Sooty Shearwater  3000
Black-vented Shearwater  4
Brown Booby  6
Brown Pelican  70
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Brandt’s Cormorant  3
hummingbird sp.  1
warbler sp.  1
Blue Whale  20  (very high count)
Fin Whale  5
Black Oystercatcher 2, hybrid American X Black Oystercatcher 1 (Mission Bay jetties)
The next scheduled pelagic trip is on Saturday, 8 June. See for further information.
–Paul Lehman, Dave Povey, Bruce Rideout, Dan King, Jimmy McMorran, San Diego

Miscellanea, and Red-billed Tropicbird

9:02 am

Nothing too exciting going on where I’ve been onshore the past couple days. The dominant western landbird migrants are what one expects in mid-May and include Western Kingbird and Western Flycatcher and pewee and Swainson’s Thrush and Yellow and Wilson’s and Townsend’s Warblers and Warbling Vireo and Western Tanager, within small trickles of several other species. The least common migrants I’ve seen were an Olive-sided Flycatcher yesterday and a Hammond’s Flycatcher today, the 17th, which is starting to get borderline a little bit late. Still small numbers of Bonapartes and Ring billed Gulls and Red-breasted Nuthatches and waxwings floating around.

Much more interesting was somebody posted online yesterday a couple nice photos of a Red-billed Tropicbird they photographed yesterday, the 16th, just 3 mi off Oceanside. 
Paul Lehman, San Diego 

Adult & Fledgling Mountain Chickadees in Encinitas

10:48 pm

On Tuesday in my yard in Encinitas on Crest Drive near the corner of Melba Road, I observed two Mountain Chickadees in a Coast Live Oak.  One was a fledgling, fluttering its wings (begging), and the other was an adult foraging in the tree and delivering food to the fledgling.  Both were vocalizing softly, but the fledgling was vocalizing more so than the adult.  I was thrilled as I just happened to be out getting the mail.  I didn’t even have binoculars, but the adult came within 10 feet of me once.  I have been hearing and seeing them more often this year than in years past, but usually just individuals.   

My yard is quite near the Wotan/Melba alley where Susan Smith reported a pair of Mountain Chickadees on May 7th. 


eBird Checklist – 14 May 2024 – 1050 Crest Drive, Encinitas, CA – 1 species


Steve Cameron

Pelagic Birding San Diego. Saturday May 18th. 2024

8:10 am

Hello Birders,

Just a quick reminder that this Saturday is the first of several Buena Vista Audubon sponsored pelagic birding trips out of Seaforth Landing in San Diego’s Mission Bay.
Those of you signed on to that trip need to be at the landing between 6 and 6:15 a.m. Please check in with the office then gather on the patio.
Parking is free, but can be tight. Fishing is quite good now and I expect all the landing’s boats will be out or departing that morning.
Most importantly, the landing’s parking lot is directly in front of the building, or you can use the on street parking. Parking lots to the east and west of the landing are permit only, and they may tow your vehicle! You might plan to be dropped off or carpool. Anyway, be prepared. Street parking is usually available early, barring some special event.
Looks like we have a nice weather and sea’s forecast for the weekend.
Remember even if we have overcast, do sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses. Stay hydrated. If you do motion meds, take them beforehand. Layered clothing is always wise, as it can be quite cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon.
We do have a small number of spaces available. They can be booked at or see trip details at Lastly if you wake up early Saturday and have a sudden urge to go. Show up by 6:15 and see me.
I also, might I remind you that the June 8th. trip is coming on quickly. You may wish to get your spot for that trip.
I hope to see you out there.
Good Birding,
Dave Povey

new Tennessee warbler, lovey-dovey White-winged Doves

9:42 am

Tuesday morning, there is a new Tennessee Warbler present, the 3rd this month already, this one moving around the Bird and Butterfly Garden and first spotted by the Beeves. Last seen leaving the garden, but hopefully it will return. Immediately to the north, in the willow trees between the B&B and the Community Gardens (and viewed only from the latter), the fairly long-staying, calling White-winged Dove has now had a second bird join it. We will see if love is in the air and if any nesting is attempted, which would be the first nesting record for coastal San Diego County, although as many of you know, they are spreading slowly but steadily westward and now are found regularly in the Ramona area and San Pasqual Valley, and there’s even one or two residents at El Monte County Park near Lakeside.

Also still present today is the Laughing Gull west of Ponyland in the TRV. And a flock of Bonapartes Gulls at the J Street mudflats continues to grow in size and today was up to 29 birds. Dominant landbird migrants today appeared to be Western Flycatcher and Western Kingbird and Western Tanager, with scattered other species in very small numbers as well. 
Paul Lehman, San Diego 

Tennessee Warbler at PLNU

11:06 am


There’s a Tennessee Warbler working the rarity-magnet tree at Point Loma Nazarene, here:
(32.7166801, -117.2494069)

I should probably actually figure out what kind of tree it is… Almost always something odd in it!

Saw the bird very briefly, then it disappeared for 30 mins, and now it’s back and gave a satisfying enough view to ID. So it may be doing a circuit to other trees in the neighborhood.

Nick Thorpe
University Heights

Heard-only grosbeaks

7:36 am

There have been a number of reports the last 2 or 3 days of the known male Rose-breasted Grosbeak at the Bird and Butterfly Garden but some of which are of heard only. There are, of course allso multiple Black-headed grosbeaks singing there, and Merlin does a poor job of differentiating the two, sometimes identifying a singing Black-headed as the Rose-breasted and sometimes going back and forth on the same song calling it Black-headed one time and Rose breasted the next. So please for all reports of this bird, please get a visual as well. 

Paul Lehman, San Diego 

TRV Laughing Gull and White-winged Dove

10:36 am

Thursday morning, a White-winged Dove was perched along the southern edge of the Community Gardens in the TRV. The first-cycle Laughing Gull first found on Monday continues today in the sewage and garbage overflow area west of Ponyland, west of Hollister. Also, there are a continuing 22 immature Ring billed Gulls there, which is a very high count for the second week in May. Earlier in the morning at J Street there were 600 California and one Ring-billed Gull, which is a more typical ratio at this time of year! 

There has been an okay number of landbird migrants around the last several days, through today, including a fair number of Swainsons thrushes, still a Cassins Vireo, and reasonable numbers of tanagers and grosbeaks and Wilson’s Warblers and Western Flycatchers and W. Kingbirds. The weak link in these numbers seems to be a number of warblers which are definitely in unexceptional numbers.
Yesterday at Jacumba, in addition to the continuing pair of Harris’s Hawks, there was a migrant Green tailed towhee and several getting-late Brewer’s Sparrows. The usual Lesser nighthawk and pair of Scots Orioles and numbers of Lawrence’s goldfinches. But the small number of Tricolored Blackbirds are finishing nesting and are feeding the last of the fledglings and will likely disappear soon.
Paul Lehman, San Diego