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May White-cr. Sparrow reports, silk-oak bird counts, Tricolored

Firstly, it turns out today's alternate-plumaged adult Tricolored Heron at Emory Cove is the SAME individual that was still present there back in April, March, etc.  Photos of the bird taken by others the past couple months and included in their eBird reports all match up well with today's bird.

Second, there have been a reasonable number of eBird reports of "late" White-crowned Sparrows in San Diego County during May, BUT the status of such individuals is substantially different depending on which SUBspecies they are. But very few of these May reports have included information on SUBspecies. Blackish-lored "oriantha" winters in Mexico and is a REGULAR May migrant through the deserts, but it is quite rare on the coastal slope. So, if that subspecies is involved at, say, Borrego, it is typical to see them there this month; but if they are seen west of the mountains then they are rare / very rare visitors. But if such May birds are the typical locally over-wintering pale-lored "gambelii" then they are indeed late, wherever they are seen in the county. Thus, observers are encouraged to carefully study such May birds and report them to SUBspecies, and review any photos taken.

Lastly, counting the total number of migrant warblers, vireos, and tanagers visiting silk oak trees can be difficult. A standard foraging strategy for a bird is to feed in the tree for a minute or two, then fly to other nearby vegetation and disappear for up to 10+ minutes, and then return to feed again in the same silk oak–and to repeat this process over and over again. As a result, it is quite possible to double- or triple- count the same individuals; so caution is warranted.

–Paul Lehman,  San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports