Join/Renew (2022 Dues)
News from https://groups.io/g/SanDiegoRegionBirding

Big morning migrant fallout on Mt Helix (Apr 22, 2022)

Big morning migrant fallout on Mt Helix (Apr 22, 2022)
By – 5:04 pm
With the overnight rain, morning overcast and W winds, I decided to check Mt Helix this morning and was rewarded with a major push of migrants. I check Mt Helix somewhat regularly in spring and fall, and this was by far the best day so far, and the best since a similar fallout I reported almost exactly two years ago (Apr 18, 2020). Most of the action in my experience is concentrated in the saddle E of the summit (basically between the summit and the San Miguel Fire Station to the NE).This morning there were two major concentrations around a couple of well-placed, extremely lerp-infested eucs surrounded by dense (mostly) native shrubs. One is within Mt Helix park itself, just E of the summit and amphitheater, in front of the park office. The other is about 100yds downslope to the E, approximately across from 4820 Mt Helix Dr (note that there is no parking between the fire station and the park at the summit, so this location is walking-only access). Both locations were a sight to behold, with 50-100+ passerines and a cloud of hummers.The lower euc, which I reached first (walking up from the fire station), and surrounding trees/shrubs were carpeted in Western Tanagers, which have arrived in numbers the past couple days (there were probably 40-50+ in Harry Griffen Park yesterday). Easily 30-40 WETA in that spot, along with 30-40+ warblers (mostly Wilson’s, with plenty of Townsend’s and Orange-crowned and a few others), 5+ Black-headed Grosbeaks, and numerous Hooded Orioles. Counts were difficult not only due to the dense foliage, but also I suspect that new birds were arriving from the S coming up the slope behind me as others left.There was less activity between that spot and the summit, with the highlights being a blooming silk oak covered in Cedar Waxwings plus a few more WETA, warblers and finches, as well as a couple of MacGillivray’s Warblers and Lazuli Buntings in the native sage scrub below the park on the S side of the summit. However, things kicked up another notch when I reached the summit and noticed the activity in the euc in front of the park office. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many warblers in a single tree in San Diego, with the vast majority being Wilson’s and Townsend’s, with Orange-crowned slightly behind and plenty of Hermit and Nashville joining the party. Again, difficult to estimate numbers but there were probably 100+ warblers in the area, with at least 50 in the single lerpy euc at a time. Barbara Wise said she checked that euc later in the morning and it was still dripping with warblers.My (minimum) estimated warbler totals this morning were 50+ Townsend’s Warblers, 50+ Wilson’s Warblers, 30+ Orange-crowned Warblers, 15+ Hermit Warblers, 5+ Nashville Warblers, plus at least 2 MacGillivray’s in the scrub (which I didn’t work very hard). Checking my list from two years ago, Nashville Warblers were the dominant bird that day (50+) as they were just streaming through non-stop; I also estimated 30+ Orange-crowned that day, and had good counts (15-20) of Townsend’s and Wilson’s. I only saw a handful of Nashville this morning, and curiously I noticed that I didn’t see a single Black-throated Gray Warbler on either major fallout day!Eitan AltmanSan Carlos