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early/rare Semipalmated Sandpiper in TRV

11:21 am

A couple hours ago I found a breeding Plumaged semipalmated Sandpiper in the Tijuana River Valley at the spot Andrew Newmark posted about yesterday. An overflow sewage area west of Hollister Avenue and north of Monument. The easiest way to get there is to turn West off Hollister along the south edge of the Ponyland horse stable area that’s there on the west side of Hollister, just a little north of monument, and go west on the dirt road and park right by the sign that says the trail straight ahead of you is closed due to flooding, which it isn’t. And you walk due West on that wide County parks path and you end up at the northeast corner of that partly flooded disgusting area full of trash. Problem is you’re a good ways from the bird. So you need a good scope and you need to know how to identify an alternate Semi amongst a bunch of Westerns and Leasts had a pretty good distance. There are about 50 peep and some semi plovers and a few Bonapartes gulls and a few other miscellaneous waterbirds there. Best way to pick the bird out is it shows no rufous on the back or wing coverts, but is just a gray brown with some blacker feather centers, and then there is a blush of warm color on the crown, but best of all is the shorter bill with a slightly thicker base that’s straight, and especially the darker and more extensively Dark auriculars are a very good character to look for.

There are only a couple previous County records of spring Semi Sandpipers, and this is the earliest, and it is certainly one of the earliest spring dates in California.
Right as I was leaving several people showed up including Andrew Newmark and Matt Sadowski who were taking photos of the bird when I left. So there will be photos to look at in eBird reports later today. 
Paul Lehman, San Diego