continuing rarities, rarities at new spots rarely birded, correction on Brown-crested Fly coastal records
First off, a couple additional continuing rarities seen today (Tuesday): the Magnolia Warbler at Bayside Park in Chula Vista (same m. o. as before) and the long-staying Reddish Egret at nearby J St/Marina Pkwy mudflats.
My earlier post about today's TRV Brown-crested Flycatcher I made from the field, and I low-balled the number of previous COASTAL records in southern CA. The first such record was up in Santa Barbara County (Goleta) from 21-24 Oct 1984 (note similar dates), the only county record there, followed by a report from Palos Verdes LA in Aug 1985, two records of over-wintering birds from Orange County (Mission Viejo 1993-1994, Huntington Central Park 2001-2002), and two previous coastal reports from here in San Diego County–both from Point Loma, 9 Jun 1991 and 13 Oct 2001. (Thanks to Justyn S. and Doug W. for assisting with the correct SD and OR data.)
Here's three gold stars to Jay D. for finding today's Prairie Warbler in a seldom-visited (by birders) park, presumably a result of his "5-mile-radius" exploration. Note that this park is an HOA park and is signed as such (for local resident use), but I have visited there several times before in winter (best birds were an adult male Baltimore Oriole, a couple each Bullock's and W. Tanagers, and a Nashville) and have not had any problem, and the joggers and dog walkers all seem nice there. There are a fair number of HOA parks scattered around the county, quite a few of them providing good birding habitat, depending on the season, and some seem quite open to occasional public visitation, but some are NOT, and a few of us have been asked to leave a couple HOA parks in the North County over the years. Anyway, Jay has also found things at entirely "new" birding sites this year such as a wintering Orchard Oriole and a June Red-eyed Vireo. Other 5-Milers, if I remember correctly, who are "going where few birders have gone before" and turning up some fine birds include Tito G. and Nathan F. And my apologies to those others who I am forgetting! But of course it doesn't require such a five-mile-list to find new places and to visit the spots less trodden. But no matter the reason, by doing so, birders not only FIND a rarity or two or three, but also they presumably help document overall populations and bird distribution at sites previously under-birded. This is the sort of thing that makes some of the best contributions to our knowledge. But many of these folks may or may not have an especially large county list or large year list. The large list is something that has been semi-glorified ever since the beginning of widespread recreational birding in the 1960s, first with the annual published ABA listing stats (to which I happily contributed for many years, but then stopped), and now much more recently with the eBird Top 100 whatever. So, perhaps try not to be merely a "sheeple," but rather a hybrid approach of checking under-birded sites and additional exploration coupled with a medium-tad of rarity chasing (almost all of us love seeing rare birds, but chasing stakeouts doesn't really "contribute" much) is a nice way to go. Let's see what 2020 brings!
–Paul Lehman, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports