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lingering waterbirds

10:48 am

As the spring season approaches its end and a check on presumed non-breeding waterbirds that may summer in San Diego County commences, it seems that such numbers appear fairly low. At least at all the coastal sites I am birding at the past couple weeks or more. The only likely non-breeding waterfowl I’ve seen lately are a female Lesser Scaup on South San Diego Bay, a male Lesser Scaup at the Salt Works, and a measly four scattered Surf Scoters south of La Jolla. No lingering dabbling ducks of note. Lingering Western Grebes in the ocean seem in lowish numbers, although still about 90+ Eared Grebes at the Salt Works. Lingering shorebird diversity seems below average. There are the usual plenty of Willets and Marbled Godwits; the usual much smaller numbers of Semi Plovers, Whimbrels, Long-billed Curlews, and Greater Yellowlegs; and ca. 92 Short-billed Dowitchers on South San Diego Bay. But a number of other species that typically summer in small-to-moderate numbers seem to be currently AWOL. As for the infamous late/summering Ring-billed Gulls, during the past 2-3 weeks I’ve seen exactly ONE in South County: on the beach in Coronado. The only Glaucous-winged Gull has been reported by others at the Tijuana River mouth. (I gather there have also been several lingering Ring-billeds and one Lesser Scaup at Lake Murray. Plus a few additional misc. individuals in North County.) Still a couple Reddish Egrets on South San Diego Bay.
–Paul Lehman, San Diego