Scott's Oriole

David Povey

I had a singing male Scott's Oriole in my yard this morning. Seems to me that species was regular here in the past, and absent in recent years.

Dave Povey

Tortugas Trip in April

Alison Hiers

For anyone who was interested in my previous post about a trip to the Dry Tortugas, Wildside Nature Tours has just made the whole thing even more complicated.  First I was told I couldn’t get our money back because they had to pay the boat.  Then I was told we couldn’t get our money back at all, even if they fill the boat, but could get credit for a future trip if the boat trip fills up.  However, that credit is non-transferrable and has an expiration date of Dec 2021.  For someone facing 2 years of chemo that really doesn’t help at all.  I was told though that we could fill our spots on the trip.  So I started looking on our io group and with friends.  Now I am being told that the two bed cabin that we had requested has been given away to another couple.  And that they aren’t sure if we can just transfer our spots.  They want us to have the other couple pay for the spots and then I’d have to give that couple their money back and “maybe” get a credit.  Which defeats the purpose of us making some of our money back.  They are considering letting us do a swap, but now they can’t give us an answer on whether they can do it until the end of March when our tour guide returns from birding overseas.  That would only leave two weeks until the trip leaves.  So I am sorry for wasting anyones time.  This is the first, and last time we’ll ever take a tour.  Having been a travel agent I can say that this is not the way we did business.  And adding insult to injury the tour guide had the nerve to say to me that he hoped I “could appreciate how hard this is for everyone.”  While he is giving bird tours in India.  Nice.

Ferruginous Hawk & Mountain Bluebirds

Mike Wittmer

There were six Mountain Bluebirds at the corner of Rangeland Rd and Highland Valley Road (S.E. Corner)  Mostly males with two females.  A "light Juvenile" Ferruginous Hawk was on a telephone/power pole along Rangeland Road on the East Side.  eBird Report with photo to follow.

Mike Wittmer

El Corazon Peregrines

buck fairbanks

Hello all
Of local interest perhaps, today 2-18-2020, there was a pair of Peregrine Falcons hunting into the south wind above the El Corazon nature trail in Oceanside. Behavior included hovering, kiting and stooping at high speed. Later they were seen resting at the soccer fields on the area of the west side employee entrance. The male was sitting on the grass and the female perched on the chain link fence a close distance away. Additional birds on the area included Horned Larks (3), Lesser Scaup (15) and singing California Thrashers.
Close by geographically, on Sunday 2-16-2020, the Cackling Goose continued, in the company of a Canada Goose, at the pond off the number 1 green of El Camino CC. Additionally, 3 Hooded Mergansers (2 males and a female) were on the pond off number 18 tee box. Although the course is largely restricted access, these ponds are viewable from Nicklaus Dr on the east side of the course. The cackler is developing a white neck band at the base of the neck, or maybe I just noticed it for the first time on Sunday.
Michael Martin
Oceanside, CA

Re: Wing Street "No Trespassing" sign

Anthony Fife

So today (02/18/2020) I stopped by wing street canyon (very birdie around 1:30pm) and spoke with residents. Everyone agrees the canyon is city property. I spoke with the owner of the sign and they advised it was to discourage unsafe vehicle traffic (such as unruly off-roaring) from passing through.

One other neighbor actually wanted to tell them to take the sign it’s an on-going dispute.

I walked the canyon nearly in it’s entirety and stoped just before the top of the road. I saw a couple signs of a possible transient in the area, but nothing outrageous.

I also took the time to look at city parcel maps. The maps show the street as a through thoroughfare with private parcels stopping well away from the “road”.

Just an update as we near March/April and people may be heading over there again.

Anthony “TooFly” Fife
La Mesa, Ca

Mountain Bluebirds

phil Pryde

It’s been noted that Mountain Bluebirds have been scarce or completely absent this winter from one of their usual regular wintering sites, along Rangeland Road in the Ramona Grasslands.  This morning I found a bunch of them along Highland Valley road, about 2/3 of the way between where Rangeland Rod begins and the parking/trailhead area to the west.  They were on the right (north) side of the road.  There is a dirt turn-out area on the south side of the road at that spot, and the MOBLs were sitting on the fence on the north side of the road.  There was a least one (maybe 2) males and at least two females in the group, maybe more out in the field. This could be the Rangeland Road flock just trying out a new field this winter.  There was also a large group of Lark Sparrows right there (south side of road) as well. If you don’t have Mtn Bluebird on your 2020 list as yet, this would be a good place go look. 

Phil Pryde
San Diego

Reminder for our SDFO meeting, tomorrow night, 18 Feb


Tuesday, February 18, at 6:00 p.m. CONTINUING NEW MEETING LOCATION!

SDFO can no longer meet at the San Diego Foundation Building in Liberty Station. For February we will be meeting again at the Pacific Beach/Taylor Library Community Room, 4275 Cass St., San Diego.

Directions: From I-5 south or north, take the Balboa/Garnet exit. Follow Garnet until it turns into Grand Ave. Turn left on Dawes St., then right onto Thomas Ave. From I-8 west, take the W. Mission Bay Dr. off ramp. Continue north onto Ingraham St. Turn left on Reed Ave. Parking is either on Thomas Ave. or Reed Ave.


Program: “The Restoration of Lake Apopka and surrounding North Shore Wetlands,” by David Walker. The restored wetlands around the north shore of Lake Apopka are now listed as the number 1 birding hotspot by eBird in the state of Florida (353 species). Just over 20 years ago, this area was intensively farmed agricultural land. This talk covers the restoration of Lake Apopka, remediation of pesticide contaminated soils, wetland restoration efforts, recreational opportunities and the beginning of the North Shore Birding Festival by the Orange County Audubon Society (January 16-20, 2020). All located just northwest of Orlando, FL. 

Next month’s meeting: Tuesday, March 17, at 6:00 p.m., at the Mission Valley Public Library Community Room, 2123 Fenton Parkway, San Diego. Rick Halsey will present “Understanding the environment and rediscovering ourselves in the Chaparral.” 

Time to Pay SDFO Dues for 2020: If you haven’t yet renewed your membership in SDFO, see  me, the membership chair, at this meeting, or put a check in the mail. My contact information is on the last page of this newsletter.  

Hope to see you there,

Barbara Carlson

SDFO Membership

continuing rarities Clairemont-Bay Park

Robert Patton

This morning (2-16-20), Elizabeth Copper, Dennis Parker, four-legged "Radar", and I birded a couple parks where rarities had been previously reported.  From 7:30 to 8:40, the female hepatic tanager was visible along with several western bluebirds in the pines & eucalyptus immediately south of the SSE edge of the parking lot at North Clairemont Community Park.  By just before 8 am, they disappeared and could not be refound despite four of us searching throughout the area for the next two hours.  The young male yellow-bellied sapsucker did not make an appearance until 9:40 when it flew in to eucalyptus and pines along the SSE edge of the east arm of the park (the opposite end of the park from previous reports).  Around 10 am it flew off to the NE and into the residential area NE of the intersection of Genesee and Bannock.  The white-throated sparrow was not refound; sparrow numbers were low and none stayed in any one place for any length of time, but seemed to regularly cycle through along the SSE edge of the park, the canyon to the south, and the fenced backyards off Genessee to the SE.  A male slate-colored junco and at least two chipping sparrows were seen among the white-crowns and Oregon juncos.  A male Bullock's oriole was seen along the SE & south edge of the south arm of the park (E & SE of the ballfield), a second chattering oriole in the area evaded visual ID, and a female was seen near Genessee.
It took several circuits throughout Western Hills Park off Kane St in Bay Park before the red-breasted sapsucker made an appearance in eucalyptus on the slope on the NNE edge of the lawn north of the basketball courts.
Robert Patton
San Diego, CA

Dry Tortugas trip

Alison Hiers

Due to unforeseen circumstances my husband and I cannot go on a boat trip we had planned from Key West to the Dry Tortugas with Wildside Nature Tours.  We are looking to sell the package as a two for the price of one - $1600 - if anyone is interested.  It leaves from Key West on the 23rd of April and returns on the 26th.  We have the only two person cabin on the boat.  You'd have to get yourself to the Keys but everything else is covered in the price of the boat trip.  If anyone is interested contact me and I will give you all the details.  And FYI - make sure you always read the fine print of trip insurance.  Any illness WITHIN 180 days of departure is considered a pre-existing condition.  And tours do not refund your money within the same timespan.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Point Loma

Sara Baase Mayers

This morning (Feb. 16) at 8:05AM, I found a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
in the large pine at the corner of Silvergate Ave. and Charles St. It
had the two wide, bright white face stripes and a wide bright white
stripe on the wing, but the back and front appeared mostly dark and
white speckled, like a juvenile. The only red I saw was mixed in with
black on the top of the head. A young female coming into adult plumage?
When I passed the tree later on my way home, the bird was not there.

Sara Mayers
Point Loma (San Diego)

Re: Gray Flycatcher & Red-breasted nuthatch @ Harry Griffen Regional Park

James Pike

Hi Trent,

That first photographed Red-breasted Sapsucker looks dead-on for the northern subspecies (S. r. ruber), given the vivid red that extends well down the breast and the sharp demarcation from the yellow belly. Further, the back-spotting is greatly limited. Jimmy McMorran had one up the coast a few years back. Still no records in the Orange County. Very cool.

Jim Pike
Huntington Beach  

On Sat, Feb 15, 2020 at 1:59 PM Trent R. Stanley <trent.stanley@...> wrote:
This morning Barbara Carlson and I did two laps around Harry Griffen Regional Park in La Mesa and found three Red-breasted sapsuckers, a Gray Flycatcher and a Red-breasted nuthatch. Then we went to Western Hills Park and found another Red-breasted sapsucker.

Gray Flycatcher & Red-breasted nuthatch @ Harry Griffen Regional Park

Trent R. Stanley

This morning Barbara Carlson and I did two laps around Harry Griffen Regional Park in La Mesa and found three Red-breasted sapsuckers, a Gray Flycatcher and a Red-breasted nuthatch. Then we went to Western Hills Park and found another Red-breasted sapsucker.

North Park Palm Warbler continues on 2/15/2020

Mark Stratton

Good morning,

I spent time from 8:01 to 8:58, watching and taking pics of the Palm Warbler this morning.  More specifically, it was in the front yard of 3274 Thorn St., in the Juniper, Banana, and even the tiny palm tree.  I will enter an e-bird report after breakfast.

Mark Stratton
North Park

Hooded Mergansers, Forrester Creek, Santee

Jeremiah Stock

6 Hooded Mergansers (1 male and 5 female/immature types) in a Forrester Creek pool, directly under Highway 52.  About 7 AM Saturday February 15, 2020.  Maybe the secret hiding spot for the birds that show up from time to time in this part of the county?

Rusty Blackbird

Nancy Christensen

The Rusty Blackbird continues today (Feb 14) at the Kobey Swapmeet Parking lot on Sports Arena Blvd. It should be noted that Kobey is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7-3. I looked there yesterday afternoon (Thursday), as well as over at the parking lots by Target, etc, across the street and found not one blackbird of any species. I have no idea where those birds are going the rest of the week.


The Rusty is changing into its spring plumage, with large patches of black now. It is still associating with the female Brown-headed Cowbird. The cowbird stands in front of the rusty with its head bent way down. The rusty occasionally preens the head of the cowbird, and the two occasionally touch beaks. If the rusty moves even a few inches, the cowbird shifts right over in front of it again. This seems like very odd behavior to me!


Checklist with a few photos of this odd couple:


Nancy Christensen



Male American Redstart in La Playa (Point Loma)

Sara Baase Mayers

A bright orange and black American Redstart flew across the path right in front of us

this morning on our walk on the bay trail in La Playa (8:35AM, Feb. 14).  The bird flitted

all along the vegetation at the chain-link fence of the second house from the south end of

the dirt path.  Google calls it Bessemer Path, though I've not heard anyone use that name.

     A little farther north on the path, the two big Torrey Pines had at least five great Blue

Herons on nests.

     You can access the 1/2 mile path from the south via Rosecrans, Owen, and San Antonio,

or from the north at the bottom of Talbot St.  It's pretty clear on Google maps.

Sara Mayers
Point Loma (San Diego)

Re: Em Goose?

ross christie

...and now I know.  It is a white-headed/white-necked Brant.  

Ross Christie

Pacific Beach

Re: Emperor Goose?

Stan Walens

This is a white-headed/white-necked Brant.
It was over in the nearby San Diego river channel a couple of months ago and photographed by many birders.

Stan Walens, San Diego
Feb 13, 2020; 1:09 pm

On Feb 13, 2020, at 1:02 PM, ross christie via Groups.Io <caracara99@...> wrote:

Mariners Basin (the bayside of Belmont Park) 

Goose associating with Brants.  

This is either a white-necked/headed Brant (if there even is such a thing) or possibly an Emperor Goose? 

I don't know.

Ross Christie 

Pacific Beach

Fw: Emperor Goose?

ross christie

Mariners Basin (the bayside of Belmont Park) 

Goose associating with Brants.  

This is either a white-necked/headed Brant (if there even is such a thing) or possibly an Emperor Goose? 

I don't know.

Ross Christie 

Pacific Beach

----- Forwarded Message -----

From: Ross Christie <rchristie269@...>
To: "caracara99@..." <caracara99@...>
Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2020, 12:45:09 PM PST
Subject: Emperor Goose?

San Diego County Bird Atlas

Matt Sadowski

Just a reminder that the San Diego County Bird Atlas is available here online:

Status/distribution of all species occuring in SD County is covered - early dates/late dates etc.

Matt Sadowski

2961 - 2980 of 13494