Like clockwork, gull-billed terns returned to South San Diego Bay yesterday (3-22-20), with the first spotted shortly after dawn over Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve heading toward J St Marina/Telegraph Canyon Cr, then up to 4 at a time seen over South San Diego Bay NWR saltworks (with concurrent sightings indicating at least 8 likely in the area) by Lea Squires, Matt Sadowski, and me, then heading along the Bayshore Bikeway east of 13th St, around 8th & 7th St, and toward the Marine Biological Study Area, where Mel Senac & Nancy Christensen also saw them. Later in the day, at least 2 were near the mouth of the Sweetwater River.
Along the coast from now to August the species can be common but extremely localized from the Sweetwater River south to Tijuana Estuary and Las Playas Tijuana, and north along the Silver Strand to the mouth of San Diego Bay, and at times along the San Diego River near Robb Field and Seaworld. On the coastal slope inland from the bay or north of the San Diego River please report any sightings (and critically discern them from other species).
Also of note, elegant tern numbers increased dramatically over the past week, with at least 3000 now staging and courting at South San Diego Bay, and with numbers expected to continue increasing in coming weeks. Caspian tern numbers remain very low.
And in North County, around 2 pm on the 22nd, Doug Gibson and others photographed a juvenile bald eagle east of I-5 at San Elijo Lagoon, then heading to the west side of I-5.
San Diego, CA