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flying Western Grebes, inland Brant, scaup ratios

flying Western Grebes, inland Brant, scaup ratios
By {authorlink} – 11:48 am

Friday morning there was a single inland Brant on Sweetwater Reservoir, presumably a bird heading to the coast from an overland route out of the Gulf of California via the Salton Sea/Borrego etc. Also the continuing pair of Bald Eagles, but which failed this year in their first nesting attempt there. A single breeding-plumaged Wilson’s Phalarope off the end of 13th Street at the Salt Works could well be the single bird that wintered there rather than the FOS migrant arrival.
I tallied 470 scaup still present on South San Diego Bay today, 14 April, and my best attempt at sussing out their ratio was about 270 Greater and 200 Lesser, which actually makes sense given that Greaters linger in proportionately higher numbers well into April than do Lessers (and large numbers of Greaters winter every year in this area).
Quick, how many times per year do you see Western/Clark’s Grebes in sustained flight?? Once? Twice? Today I watched the large flocks of Westerns stretched out along the coast between Imperial Beach and up the Silver Strand and saw many of them in sustained flight, getting up and flying a hundred yards or so and then landing. Presumably what is happening is that many birds are exercising their atrophied flight muscles, in immediate preparation for northward migration–given that many Western/Clark’s Grebes don’t ever fly, or very rarely fly, for the full 6 months or so that they are present here through the winter.
–Paul Lehman, San Diego