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tanager glut & some new all-time record totals for scarce winter passerines

11:47 am

Continuing the tanager theme this morning, 27 Jan, I ended up with FOUR different Summer Tanagers in s. La Jolla, with the splotchy male at Via del Norte Park, an adult male just a hundred or so feet south of Starkey Mini Park in the grove of pink-flowered eucalyptus along the wide, paved walking/biking path, and two separate female types in the Muirlands neighborhood. Also a flock of 3 Western Tanagers in Muirlands.
The winter-season (Dec-Jan) totals for the county of a bunch of scarce passerines is running high this year, BUT they probably do not at all reflect population
increases or improved habitat, but rather simply better observer coverage of
preferred wintering areas
. A few non-record totals include 5 Tropical Kingbirds, 4 Cassin’s and 12 Plumbeous Vireos, 24 Green-tailed Towhees, 13 Nashville Warblers, and 29 Summer Tanagers. New all-time record totals have already been set for the 12 Western Flycatchers (previous season record 10), 37 Yellow Warblers (previous record 34), 48 Black-throated Gray Warblers (previous record 44), and 82 Western Tanagers (previous record 73). And there is still a full month remaining of the winter season to add to these totals, although typically February produces only a small trickle of new individuals. Also, as is often the case, a fair percent of these birds are never seen again after the first half of December.
–Paul Lehman, San Diego