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On birding the road less traveled

12:18 pm

This morning I tried a change of pace by visiting some rarely birded sites farther inland including both nice and somewhat sketchy parks on the east side of town between Colina del Sol and Lemon Grove and Spring Valley. Highlights were a Plumbeous Vireo at Colina del Sol Park and a couple east-of-usual Swinhoe’s White-eyes in an apartment complex in s. La Mesa. Also a couple B-t Gray Warblers. While birding in that area it got me thinking about birding along the road less traveled, which reminded me……
I’d like to give a shout out to Steven Lima for definitely birding along the road less traveled in 2023. Steve spends a lot of his time in parts of the county that are well east of where most of us go birding (mountains and desert excepted). Steve also does a lot of walking. Because he is much farther inland a lot of the time, often in areas that have barely any “concentrating effect” that many of our more coastal (or desert) sites have, it is more difficult to turn up rarities. But he seems to manage. Granted, I won’t see any rare-bird listserv posts or rarity-alert eBird reports from Steve for many days on end–and I know that he is out birding. But by doing this exploration in 2023, all he’s done is find a spring Hudsonian Godwit at upper Lake Hodges that everyone got to see, found a summer Yellow-billed Cuckoo in a non-exceptional drainage in Poway that almost everyone got to see, found a late-fall Louisiana Waterthrush at a mountain site that nobody ever checks and which a bunch of folks got to see later that day, and saw a fly-by Sandhill Crane near Lakeside that thank goodness had the good manners to then set up shop in the Tijuana River Valley soon thereafter so everyone could see it. (He also had a Chestnut-sided Warbler farther inland than usual at 4S Ranch.)
And so what have all the rest of us FOUND in 2023??? Something to think about for 2024.
–Paul Lehman, San Diego