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returning & summering shorebirds, 4 Brant, R-t Loon, Vermilions

On Saturday, June 22, the southbound fall shorebird migration is already in "full swing" with easily half the good numbers of Willets on south San Diego Bay being alternate-plumaged birds–which is typical for the date–but slightly more surprising were the 45 Western Sandpipers, 37 of which were in alternate plumage, at Emory Cove–which is perhaps almost a week early for the first mini-wave of returning Westerns. Some of the morning's 10 Greater Yellowlegs could well be returning arrivals. Clearly summering, however, are the 25 Red Knots and 40 Short-billed Dowitchers, whereas just a single Semipalmated Plover is a very poor June total. The single summering Brant formerly at J St. is now near Gunpowder Point (Chula Vista Nature Center) and an additional group of 3 summering Brant are farther up the Bay at Delta Beach. A single Surf Scoter on south San Diego Bay, and none off Imperial Beach to Coronado, is a very poor summer total. Loons are also in very short supply this summer, at least they are south of La Jolla, as the only ones I've seen are a single basic-plumaged Red-throated Loon today off Coronado/North Island, and the one Common Loon I had a week ago on Sweetwater Reservoir. One Reddish Egret continues today at J St.

In the landbird department, the adult male and an immature Vermilion Flycatcher continued at the nw. corner of the Mission Bay golf course on June 16th. Whether the young bird is one of the fledglings from mid-April or is the result of a second brood, I don't know–but it is an immature rather than a true juvenile. And on June 17th, there were 2 singing Swainson's Thrushes along the San Diego River near the SD Mission, a somewhat regular breeding site for this species near the limit of its range.

–Paul Lehman, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports