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Sweetwater & Lower Otay Reservoirs

Sweetwater & Lower Otay Reservoirs

By – 11:30 am

A Friday morning check of Sweetwater Reservoir and Lower Otay Lake. Sweetwater has plenty of shorebirds, although most are a long way’s off. There were some, including a juv Lesser Yellowlegs, right next to the main parking lot right after opening time at 7AM–but were flushed not long thereafter by arriving fishermen. There was also a Bank Swallow flying around there briefly, with lots of Cliffs and a few Rough-wingeds. At the upper end of the lake (a one-mile walk) was a rare-in-fall-inland Whimbrel (with a few curlews, godwits, and Willets), a record-high-inland-count of 34 juvenile Short-billed Dowitchers, and a couple fall-arrival alternate Eared Grebes. There is certainly plenty of shorebird habitat, but many of the peep are too far away to identify to species.

Both of the past two times I’ve been at Sweetwater (open Fri-Mon), the staff have checked on my paying the $3 parking fee, even if I only scan from the parking lot. So please follow the rules and pay the nominal fee.

In contrast, the upper (northeast) end of Lower Otay Lake continues disappointing for shorebirds this month, with most days producing only a small number of Least Sandpipers. The summering Ring-necked Duck continues, as do the parading-in-the-open Soras and Virginia Rails.

Landbird migrant numbers continue low. A check yesterday morning of “outer” Point Loma produced only 2 Red-shouldered Hawks (scarce but somewhat regular there in fall), 1 W. Kingbird, 1 juv cowbird, and 3 Bullock’s Orioles.

–Paul Lehman, San Diego