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Kitchen Creek Rd./Jacumba; late Vesper Sparrow (real and imagined)

On Friday the 19th, a visit to Kitchen Creek Road in the early morning produced–and as reported by others over the past couple weeks–Gray Vireo just barely past mile marker 2 (a usual spot) and multiple Gray Vireos between about a quarter and half a mile east out the Pacific Coast Trail (another usual spot). Black-chinned Sparrows are scattered in good numbers, and there were a couple Mountain Quail just past MM2. No sign of any through-migrant landbirds, however.

At Jacumba, we had only a smallish-to-so-so number of migrants, just 1 White-winged Dove, many Lawrence's Goldfinch pairs are scattered all around town and easy to see, and the Tricolored Blackbirds are nesting at the pond/marsh near the west end of town, with a total of ca. 60+ birds coming and going with food (so, given that there are already young in the nest, fledging could easily happen within a week or ten days, or less). The least expected find of the visit was a getting-late Vesper Sparrow at the east edge of town. In looking up recent reports of this species unusually late in spring (latter April and May) via the eBird species maps, we found a number of pin-drop reports from May of singles and even small groups of birds from forested and semi-forested habitats on Mount Palomar! Clearly, these reports involved juvenile Dark-eyed Juncos–and indeed, the eBird reviewers have gotten them removed from those lists. But the records STILL appear as individual pin-drops with the basic data of date, location, and checklist number if you scroll your mouse over the pin without opening the full checklists up one by one. Very unfortunate, as it will certainly lead the casual data miner to get a very misleading impression of status for any species with number of invalidated records. (There were also a couple good May VESP records, such as from the Ramona Grasslands area one or two years ago.)

–Paul Lehman & Barbara Carlson,  San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports