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YC Night Herons, Alternate Common Loon, etc. southwestern San Dieguito Lagoon and mouth, July 7, 2019

       Today, for the San Dieguito Lagoon July Monthly Bird Count,  Joni Ciarletta and I covered the SW  section of lagoon, from the lagoon mouth east to the east end of the boardwalk (the area west of I-5 but not including the Crest Canyon area). 

      First,  an update on the pair of YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS who last month had been last seen tending a nest in a eucalyptus tree  at the southeast corner of the fairgrounds along Jimmy Durante Blvd.  At that time, one bird looked to be in definitive alternate plumage, while the other bird still appeared to be in immature plumage, with some adult color patterning developing on the head.   We checked that nest first and found it to be unoccupied. Then,  as we walked westward toward the ocean along the slough,  we saw the full adult-plumaged bird perched on the railing of the Railroad bridge.  An approaching railroad train then flushed it,  at which time the second YCNH (the one with more immature-plumage) appeared from below the bridge,  and they both flew east together a short distance, not toward their nest on the north shore of the slough on the fairgrounds, but rather to a row of pines along the south side of the slough, by the nature trail and Del Mar Public Works. (this is a spot where BCNHs typically have perched in the past). So it appears that these birds may have abandoned their nesting effort this year, but we hope they will try again next year.

   Walking back from the ocean we saw an adult alternate-plumaged COMMON LOON in the slough heading west, and along the boardwalk that leads out into the  tideland reclamation area east of Jimmy Durante Blvd, we saw some adult shorebirds recently returned from the breeding grounds, including Least Sandpipers.   
eBird Checklist and some photos are at:

Susan Smith 

Seiurus Biological  Consulting 
Del Mar, CA 

Susan Smith
Seiurus Biological Consulting
Del Mar, CA
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports