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returning Painted Redstart (and playback use), 3 more Clay-colored Sparrows

A Painted Redstart is back for its second winter in Tierrasanta. In the oaks and other thick, broad-leaved trees behind the green fence at the closed-off driveway to the electrical substation along Tierrasanta Blvd., about 1-1/2 miles east of I-15, and just 70-100 yards east of Tambor Lane. It is often in the oaks and overhanging broad-leaved trees just to the right of the gate. Closest legal parking is on Tambor. The bird is NOT visible a lot of the time, given that one cannot cross the fence, and it likely forages in many other areas. Listen for the typical siskin-like descending call. Speaking of calls, this is a good time to bring up the subject of using playback on our wintering stakeouts. I can only imagine how many times people play recordings at the wintering Painted Redstarts, Grace's Warblers, Hepatic Tanager, or whatever, over the several months those birds are present–often just to shorten the time needed to see it, or to get yet closer and closer photos. After a while, it usually stops working. I am NOT against the playing of recordings at birds to obtain better views, but typically that's for individual birds that are not bombarded with such for multiple months over multiple years. So, please consider NOT using them freely in such situations.

In other news, I've seen yet 3 more new Clay-colored Sparrows over the past three days, one in the Tijuana River Valley and 2 together (a veritable flock!) near Montgomery Field. A "Slate-colored" Junco was at Montgomery Waller Park.

–Paul Lehman, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports