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Lake Cuyamaca: Common Merganser, two Common Loons, Prairie Falcon

11:13 am

Saturday morning right after dawn, so as to avoid the heat and heat shimmer, I birded along the edge of Lake Cuyamaca and the extensive upper (north) shallow area that formed this winter due to all the rain. Now drying up at a moderate pace. A female- type Common Merganser that was first reported a couple days ago by Riverside birder Dave Goodward continues, and it establishes the second-ever summer record for the county. The bird has an injured left wing and seems incapable of flight. Likes to sit on rocks at the edge of the lake, such as up near the pullout with the emergency call box and pile of gravel. Also, in that same section of lake are two basic-plumaged Common Loons, also first seen by Dave G. a couple days ago, and which are very rare inland in summer. A Prairie Falcon on the shore might seem unexpected for July, but that species already is on the move this month and can occur well away from breeding areas already by mid-month. A couple of the locally nesting bald eagles. One summering eared grebe. And at least 20 Purple Martins over the south end of the lake. Was hoping for a reasonable shorebird show, but it was very slow for those with only a trickle of three species…..

Paul Lehman, San Diego