Birdathon results

phil Pryde

     The always adventuresome and somewhat masochistic Wandering Totalers birdathon team (Barb Kus, Janet and Steve Shields and myself) did its annual SDAS fundraising trek over the weekend (2:45 Sat. to 2:45 Sunday), with the following adrenaline-raising observations:   a Bell's Vireo calling in a heavily vegetated hillside canyon, and a MacGillivray's Warbler in the wash that runs through the main campground at Agua Caliente;   a very late and lonely Redhead at Lindo Lake (probably wanted to take in the rodeo);   two Snowy Plovers and one each Least Tern and Gull-billed Tern at Silver Strand State Beach (see following paragraph);    a striking Vermillion Flycatcher at Butterfield Ranch (back pasture);    two (probably migrating) Purple Martins mixed in with V-G Swallows along the highway on the north side of Lake Cuyamaca (near the N end of the dike);    a Yellow-headed Blackbird perched up in a tree at the same location (N end of dike);   and, always nice, the Oriole trifecta (plus Siskin bonus) at Eric's feeders in Jacumba, as well as goodly numbers of Trikes at the Jacumba pond.   Seasonal ducks (excepting the Redhead) were virtually non-existant. 
     The grand finale was at the always rewarding inlet on the Bay side of Silver Strand State Beach (just north of Lowe's resort) where we encountered an eclectic outgoing-tide feeding flock made up of (remember it was April 24):   about six Killdeer,  3-4 Semipalmated Plovers, the two above-mentioned Snowy's,  2-3 Sanderlings,  2-3 Western Sandpipers,  and the Least Tern.  Most (except the WESAs) were in full breeding plumage.  When momentarily spooked they would take off and soon land together as a good feeding flock should do a little ways further up or down the beach.  The GBTE was a fly-over.  There was a L-B Curlew nearby. There was also a small flock (5-6 individuals) of Horned Larks in the sandy upland area, now covered with beautifully flowering endemics that have been planted there.   A great way to end the outing.   
     Phil Pryde, San Diego  

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