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Bell's Sparrows – Ramona area

Each year before the bird festival I try to make a report about current locations to find Bell’s Sparrows. Today I birded along Black Canyon Road in Ramona (reached from Magnolia Ave, which becomes Black Canyon Road). The ceanothus is beginning to bloom and many birds are singing, including Bell’s and Rufous-crowned Sparrows. Bell’s always seem to sing pretty quietly, and I find it is often easier to listen for the soft chip note, which to me, sounds very much like a junco.


I always begin my checklists where the pavement ends and the dirt road begins (near the intersection with Black Canyon Place). From that point, there was a pair at 2.1 miles (33°6'32" N 116°49'27" W). A second pair at 2.7 miles (33°6'37" N 116°49'19" W). There were possibly two pairs at this spot as I heard singing from up on the slope across the road and out of my sight. A third spot at 2.47 miles (33°6'42" N 116°49'16" W) also had a singing male with attendant female nearby. There was a spot at about 1.9 miles that I could hear singing, but I was never able to locate the bird.


Black Canyon Road has a couple of spots with some potholes, and a few areas of pretty bad washboard, but is easily drivable in a passenger car. At approximately 3 miles, the road becomes very narrow, winding and steep without safe places to stop, so I always turn around at the 3 miles mark and come back the way I came. You can keep going and there are areas to bird further on, but not for Bell’s Sparrows.


Checklist from today –


Nancy Christensen



Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports