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Yellow-billed Magpie report; Nestor area rarities

Yellow-billed Magpie report; Nestor area rarities
By {authorlink} – 6:22 am

On Thursday the 2nd, the Thick-billed Kingbird arrived in the Nestor Park sycamore trees at exactly 3:30PM and then stayed for a long period of time. It moved around a number of the southern-most trees, sometimes chasing crows, and often staying motionless for appreciable periods of time amongst the branches–so could easily escape detection for lengthy periods of time. Called only a very few times, when in flight. Be aware that there is one photo’d sighting of this bird in the morning around the corner in front of the Nestor School and Nestor Language Academy Charter School buildings along Hollister Avenue. At 3:10PM we had the casual-in-winter continuing Western Kingbird at that site along Hollister, with a number of Cassin’s. Given these are active schools, checking them out probably is best done on weekends for multiple reasons! Also in the Nestor area, the long-staying (since mid-Dec) Townsend’s Solitaire continues, off Saturn south of Palm, at the intersection of Cerrissa Street and Cerrissa Court, typically immediately over the little bridge in the fruit-bearing trees on Cerrissa Court. The female Vermilion Flycatcher continues bordering the TRV Community Gardens.
As a number of you have undoubtedly seen, there was an eBird report yesterday of a Yellow-billed Magpie in the Valley Center area. As dug up by Matt S., this is now at least the third report (no photos, but reasonable written details) of Yellow-billed Magpie from either Valley Center or Lake Wohlford, with the first way back in 2014. (Some other “magpie” reports in the county likely refer to magpie-jay sightings by beginners.) That 2014 Valley Center report had the bird perched over a parking lot of a vet office. This resident species is essentially unknown more than just a handful of miles outside its normal (and somewhat contracting) range, with the very few records from farther afield being met with origin questions. Magpies make good pets, although most such birds are Black-billeds. The fact that the Valley Center bird being at a vet’s office could be coincidence, or it could be the bird was found possibly injured inside its normal range by a San Diego County motorist and brought here. Or…..? But the bottom line is that almost all such reports well outside the species’ resident range are highly origin suspect. The same would be true of any Black-billed Magpie in the county.
–Paul Lehman, San Diego