Three Orchard Orioles at the San Diego Botanic and nearby neighborhood

Susan Smith
 

Over the past month, birders at the San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG) have suspected that in addition to the wintering first winter ORCHARD ORIOLE  (OROR) spotted by Manolo Turner December 20, 2018 along residential Mays Hollow Road across from the Botanic Garden, there may be additional Orchard Orioles at the Garden.  On the Botanic Garden bird walk on March 4,  two different-plumaged Orchard Orioles were briefly seen drinking nectar in the large blooming Coral Tree between the Seeds of Wonder Garden and the admin building, but we were unable to get photos.  Manolo Turner continued during the month to monitor these orioles (which were also now sometimes associated with arriving and overwintering Bullock's and Hooded orioles).  On March 21, Patrick Shipley was able to photograph, and he and Patti Koger were able to observe for some time,  one of the immature male ORORs in the same SDBG Coral Tree. On March 25, I briefly stopped by the Garden and was surprised to see a female OROR in the Coral Tree, which suggested that there may be even three ORORs, but no one had yet gotten a good look at both young males together.  
     On Thursday evening, March 28, Manolo reported catching a glimpse of the possible female Orchard Oriole east of the SDBG in a riparian area, and yesterday, on March 30, he was able to confirm that there were  indeed two young male Orchard Orioles in this Quail Gardens-Mays Hollow Dr/SDBG  area.  On private property east of the SDBG , he watched as one young male chased the other out of a tree.  Both males (evidently now molting) now have a similar amount of black in the bib and both bibs are seem roughly similar in length. Both birds also have some black behind the bill, with one having more pronounced black behind the upper mandible.  This bird also seems to have a few new small blotches of dark/cinnamon on its breast.   
   In summary,  we believe that there are three Orchard Orioles  in the San Diego Botanic Garden and neighboring area, and possibly all have been overwintering here.  I also wonder if the numbers of Orchard Orioles have been increasing in recent years, but are hard to track because they are often difficult to distinguish from overwintering Hooded Orioles.  
    Thanks to Manolo Tuner for monitoring these birds so closely and reporting his findings, and also to Patrick Shipley and Patti Koger for monitoring the SDBG location  and getting photos.  We hope, before the birds move on, to get photos of all three birds.   

Susan Smith 
Seiurus Biological  Consulting 
Del Mar, CA 
seiurus@...

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Susan Smith
Seiurus Biological Consulting
Del Mar, CA

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