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Weds Mount Soledad flight: 1500 migrants

Given the building high pressure and wind shift to the northeast overnight and early this morning, light at first (5-10 mph), then slightly stronger (still under 15 mph) and N as the morning went on, we figured there was the potential for an excellent morning flight. Mount Soledad in La Jolla seemed to be the right place to be, as we totaled ca. 1500 migrants passing by between 6:10-9:10 AM (and smaller numbers were still passing by at 9:15 when I departed). My previous morning high there of passerine migrants was in the 300s! I was ably assisted this morning by Jay Desgrosellier, and the two of us stood about 150+ feet apart so we could view two largely different sections of the broad front of passing birds. Unfortunately, two other sites in the county that were checked this morning–Eitan A. at Mount Helix and Alex A. on the west side of Escondido–produced pleasing, but not exceptional, numbers of birds. Perhaps the easterly breeze/wind stacked birds up right along the coast, where we were, rather than farther inland where Eitan and Alex were? Here are Jay's and my totals at Soledad:

75 Vaux's Swift

1 Sharp-shinned Hawk (a typical departure date in spring)

14 Ash-throated Flycatcher

15 Western Kingbird

14 Hammond's Flycatcher


28 Pacific-slope Flycatchers

11 Cassin's Vireos (presumably a county migrant record)

260 Warbling Vireo (must be by far a county record high)

8 Barn Swallow (clearly through-migrants)

20 Cliff Swallows (clearly behaving like through migrants rather than some nearby breeders)

2 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

3 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

2 Swainson's Thrush

20 Cedar Waxwing


7 Lawrence's Goldfinch

17 Chipping Sparrow

12 White-crowned Sparrow (some in actual active migration!)

3 Golden-crowned Sparrow

20 Hooded Oriole (still moderate numbers of actual migrants streaming north–all females and imm males)

25 Bullock's Oriole

40 Orange-crowned Warbler

55 Nashville Warbler

4 MacGillivray's Warbler (including in active, in-the-air, through-flight)


6 Yellow Warbler (this species almost NEVER makes up large numbers in morning flights)

25 Yellow-rumped Warbler

150 Black-throated Gray Warbler (by far a record county total; a large majority were females)

225 Townsend's Warbler (new county high)

90 Hermit Warbler (new county high)

220 Wilson's Warbler (maybe a new record, but close)

50 Western Tanager

14 Black-headed Grosbeak

2 Blue Grosbeak

190 Lazuli Bunting (new county record)

Approximately similar weather forecast for another three days. Will be interesting to see if additional excellent flights materialize on at least some of these next mornings, although there is presumably only so many times one can "go to the well" over a short time period.

In other news, there were 2 Calliope Hummingbirds and another Sharp-shinned Hawk later this morning in residential Point Loma. And back on Monday there was a Bank Swallow in the Tijuana River Valley.

–Paul Lehman, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports