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The 2018 San Diego Christmas Bird Count was today, 15 December. Approximately 150 participants “braved” a partly cloudy morning and an overnight low of 52 degrees, clearing to blue skies with a daytime high of 68 degrees. This year’s tentative total is 216, with several notable highlights including two firsts for the count: Little Stint (2) and Buller’s Shearwater*. Other good birds included continuing Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-throated Green Warbler, Thick-billed Kingbird, and 2 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. Discovered on the count was a dull Pine Warbler in Coronado.
Two continuing Little Stints (1 adult, 1 juvenile) were relocated inside the Salt Works. Providing the 2nd and 3rd records for San Diego County, these birds were the 1st for the San Diego CBC, likely a 1st for a U.S. CBC, and certainly a high count for any U.S. CBC.
*The Buller’s Shearwater was found from Dave Povey’s boat, west of Silver Strand State Beach and provides a first living record for the San Diego CBC. The previous record was one found dead. Rare in San Diego, particularly from shore, this one was actually visible from the north parking lot at Silver Strand SB.
Snow Goose - 3 (Sweetwater Reservoir)
Greater White-fronted Goose - 25 (Sweetwater Reservoir)
Cackling Goose - 2 (golf course south of Rohr Park)
Eurasian Wigeon - 1 (Sweetwater River)
Canvasback - 14 (Sweetwater Reservoir)
White-winged Scoter - 1 (Povey boat)
Black Scoter - 1 (seawatch from Seacoast Dr.)
Hooded Merganser - 2 (Sweetwater Reservoir)
LITTLE STINT - 2 (Salt Works)
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL - 1 (Hotel Del Coronado, 2nd SD CBC record)
BULLER’S SHEARWATER - 1 (Povey boat)
Brown Booby - 5 (seawatch from Seacoast Drive, Povey boat)
Reddish Egret - 1 (South San Diego Bay)
Bald Eagle - 1 (Sweetwater Reservoir)
Gray Flycatcher - 1 (Rohr Park)
Tropical Kingbird - 2 (Balboa Park—west side, Dairy Mart main pond)
Thick-billed Kingbird -1 (Poggi Creek greenbelt)
Western Kingbird - 1-2 (Sunset Ave. ball fields, Dairy Mart sod farm)
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - 2 (Nestor Park and Sunset Ave ball fields, Poggi Creek greenbelt)
Plumbeous Vireo - 1 (Hilltop Park)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 3 (Sweetwater Reservoir)
Vesper Sparrow - 1 (Sunset Ave ball fields)
Orchard Oriole - 2 (Tesoro Grove/Nestor Park, Kimball Park)
Hooded Oriole - 2 (Sunnyslope Park, Marston Canyon)
Baltimore Oriole - 2 (Rohr Park, Tesoro Grove/Nestor Park)
Black-and-white Warbler - 1 (Balboa Park—28th St. Park)
Nashville Warbler - 3 (Sweetwater River, Spruce Canyon, Kimball Park)
American Redstart - 1 (Tesoro Grove/Nestor Park)
Pine Warbler - 1 (Coronado - Margarita @ 6th)
Black-throated Green Warbler - 1 (Greenwood Cemetery)
(Several Summer and Western Tanagers, many Bullock’s Oriole, and several Black-throated Gray Warblers were reported - totals to follow upon data compilation.)
Notable non-countable exotics:
American Flamingo - 1 (South San Diego Bay)
Black-throated Magpie-Jay - 4 (west of Hollister, declining?)
Northern Cardinal - 1 (Tijuana River Valley)
Pin-tailed Whydah - 3 (Rohr Park, on the rise?)
Despite the overall good total of species, numbers of birds were low. No Palm Warblers were found in the count circle, despite the glut of this species along the coast this fall.
We missed Great Horned Owl, and only a single Ridgway’s Rail was reported.
Special thanks to San Diego Audubon for a wonderful lunch each year.
Justyn Stahl, compiler
currently in Borrego Springs