Date   

Re: bright yellow House Finch at Tecolote Canyon

Larry Edwards
 

I have seen this bird as well, but unable to get clear photo so far.
--
Larry Edwards
San Diego, CA


bright yellow House Finch at Tecolote Canyon

John Walters
 

Our monthly bird walk at Tecolote Canyon got washed out after 45 minutes or so, but while out and about we encountered an unusual male House Finch with the usual red pigment replaced by yellow--not yellow-ish, but bright canary yellow. This individual is likely the same bird we saw on last month's walk (January 25), so it is worth looking for. Today we saw it on Tecolote Rd. across from the recreation center and ball fields; last month it was a mile or  so  farther up the canyon. I suspect this bird exhibits a condition called xanthism--don't know if it has been previously reported in House Finches.

John Walters

Bonita, CA


hybrid gull status

lehman.paul@verizon.net
 

The recent posts about a hybrid gull at Kit Carson Park in Escondido states that Glaucous-winged X Western Gulls are appreciably more likely here than are Glaucous-winged X Herrings. However, this is no longer the case, as during the past 10-15 years or so throughout many parts of southern California the rate of occurrence/reporting of Glaucous-winged X Herring has increased substantially, whereas the number of reported Glaucous-winged X Westerns has remained flat or even possibly decreased. As a result, many of us are now seeing substantially more G-w X Herrings than G-w X Westerns here in s. CA, and this is perhaps even more true at sites slightly inland, such as where this current bird is in Escondido. Of course, a fair number of such hybrids aren't reported at all, and some G-w X Westerns may be incorrectly pigeon-holed into one or the other "pure" species more often than are G-w X Herrings, but the latter does appear to be clearly more numerous than the former in recent times.

In minor other news, a female Summer Tanager, W. Tanager, and 2 Bullock's Orioles continue in North Park/n. edge Balboa Park.

--Paul Lehman, San Diego


Re: Kit Carson perplexing hybrid gull

Tom Baxter
 


On Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 10:17 PM Tom Baxter via Groups.Io <Bomtaxter=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
This evening around 17:30, I happened upon a very interesting gull that is almost certainly a hybrid. I am not the world's leading expert on gulls by any stretch, so would urge others to hopefully find and study this bird for themselves, but I see many ID points that appear, to me, to be in favor of Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull, as opposed to the much more expected (although still rare) Western x Glaucous-winged Gull. The bird had bold and crisp brown streaking on the head, neck and nape, a light gray mantle, stark white tertials, and jet black primaries that, if anything, faded to a slightly less dark black at the tips. It also had bright pink legs and feet. All of these things seem to align for the proposed hybrid pair. The mantle color, head and nape streaking, and the solid black primaries discount the likely hood of Western x Glaucous-winged ***in my experience, which is limited to only a few individuals and some amount of computer study time. Perhaps the oddest characteristic that seems out of place on this bird is what appeared in the field as a red-orange orbital, which is barely distinguishable in the photos unfortunately. The photos are screen shots from a video that I took with my iPhone 11. I do not claim to know the identity of this bird. I simply used my best deductive reasoning, and to my best am keeping in check with myself based upon my limited experience here. Either way, very neat bird and I hope someone else can find it and study it.

Tom Baxter
Cape May, NJ

--
Tom Baxter



--
Tom Baxter


Kit Carson perplexing hybrid gull

Tom Baxter
 

This evening around 17:30, I happened upon a very interesting gull that is almost certainly a hybrid. I am not the world's leading expert on gulls by any stretch, so would urge others to hopefully find and study this bird for themselves, but I see many ID points that appear, to me, to be in favor of Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull, as opposed to the much more expected (although still rare) Western x Glaucous-winged Gull. The bird had bold and crisp brown streaking on the head, neck and nape, a light gray mantle, stark white tertials, and jet black primaries that, if anything, faded to a slightly less dark black at the tips. It also had bright pink legs and feet. All of these things seem to align for the proposed hybrid pair. The mantle color, head and nape streaking, and the solid black primaries discount the likely hood of Western x Glaucous-winged ***in my experience, which is limited to only a few individuals and some amount of computer study time. Perhaps the oddest characteristic that seems out of place on this bird is what appeared in the field as a red-orange orbital, which is barely distinguishable in the photos unfortunately. The photos are screen shots from a video that I took with my iPhone 11. I do not claim to know the identity of this bird. I simply used my best deductive reasoning, and to my best am keeping in check with myself based upon my limited experience here. Either way, very neat bird and I hope someone else can find it and study it.

Tom Baxter
Cape May, NJ

--
Tom Baxter


Morning in the Lagunas

Sara Baase Mayers
 

Keith and I hiked the trail from Mile 19 to Big Laguna Lake this
morning (Feb. 21). If anyone plans to go this weekend, be aware that
there is still snow, a little ice, and mud on parts of the trail - not
much of a problem, but good shoes and a hiking pole might help with the
slippery places. (We also had to stop several times on S-1 where road
work closed one lane, but that might not be an issue on the weekend.)

We saw the continuing Lewis's Woodpecker in a large dead tree (no
bark, no leaves) next to the trail, between the water trough and Los
Rasalies Lake. We didn't see Red Crossbills until we returned to the
road at noon, when we heard several calling from the group of tall pines
right at the road, just north of the trailhead. We saw six.

======================
Sara Mayers
Point Loma (San Diego)
======================


Mountain Chickadee in Poway

Timothy Burr
 

At about 0915 today, 21 February, I walked out to the end of my driveway and heard some calls in my hedge to the left, so I pished a few times. All of a sudden, a “chickadee-dee-dee” call came from the oak tree on my right. I felt confident right away that it was a Mt. Chickadee but I couldn’t see it. The bird then flew to the left and into a cultivated pine tree then disappeared. I ran back into the house to get my bins (forgetting all about my camera!) and dashed back out. After a few more pishes, the individual reappeared in a different pine across the cup-de-sac and I was able to see the definitive superciliary stripe above the eye. It then flew northward and disappeared. I have had this species at my house only once before about 1988 so was excited to record it again.

Tim Burr
Poway


Re: misc. NEW rarities during mid-Feb

Denise Riddle
 

Wednesday, we had several Costa’s Hummingbirds in the cactus garden at the Safari Park. At least one pair and possibly more.

Sincerely,

Denise Riddle
Oceanside


--
Denise Riddle
Oceanside


misc. NEW rarities during mid-Feb

lehman.paul@verizon.net
 

During the past couple weeks, here are some highlights of NEW rarities and other species of interest I've seen in coastal San Diego County--in no particular order:

Single new Orchard Orioles in both northeastern Balboa Park (imm male) and in Coronado (female), a young male Baltimore Oriole at the SD Zoo, a total of FIVE more Hooded Orioles presumed to be wintering locally (all were females or imm males) with flock of 3 in Nestor, 1 at Zoo, and 1 in residential ea. Pt. Loma--which brings the county winter total this season to a lofty ca. FIFTEEN individuals, which must be an all-time record. Also 6 more Bullock's Orioles (2 at Zoo, 2 at Liberty Station, and 2 at Nestor). A White-winged Scoter was north of Camp Surf and SIX Black Scoters (5 drakes, 1 female) were on San Diego Bay, plus a female Eurasian Wigeon and a male hybrid Eurasian X American Wigeon both in Coronado, and a Snow Goose on south San Diego Bay. A Wilson's Phalarope at the saltworks is casual in winter and is undoubtedly the same individual present there during much of November but not (?) seen in the interim. Also 6 Common Goldeneyes and up to 6 wintering Black Skimmers (not a usual wintering site) at the saltworks. Single Summer Tanagers in Nestor, Coronado, and residential Chula Vista. A Hermit Warbler is in the Stonecrest neighborhood of San Diego. A Red-naped Sapsucker and Plumbeous Vireo in UTC. Single Costa's Hummingbirds in Otay Mesa and La Jolla--a species now rare in winter away from the desert. And 6 more Bl.-thr. Gray and 2 more Yellow Warblers and 7 more Western Tanagers. The annual staging of late-winter Red-throated Loons has 60 birds today between Imperial Beach and n. Coronado. A major, widespread flight of northbound Tree Swallows also today (20 Feb).

--Paul Lehman, San Diego


Rufous Hummingbird

David Povey
 

I know I run the risk of sounding like I'm commenting on the spring word.....but,
I had a male Rufous Hummingbird at my feeders this afternoon.
Dave Povey
Dulzura


Grasshopper Sparrows in Ramona

Marcie Mason
 

This morning, Wed Feb. 19, Keith, Sara, Jan and I found 3 Grasshopper Sparrows in a field just southwest of where Montecito Way connects with Sonora Way in Ramona.  We started at El Paso and Montecito Way (Harris’s Hawk stakeout location) and birded north along Montecito Way.  Two Grasshopper Sparrows came up out of the tall grass onto a small shrub, and then a 3rd one popped up on a snag.  Approximate location (33.050932, -116.905214).  They stayed up for quite a while, allowing us nice long looks.

Link to ebird report: eBird Checklist - 19 Feb 2020 - stakeout Harris's Hawk, Ramona (2017-2020) - 20 species

Marcie Mason
Clairemont


Daytime saw-whet owl of 9/3/19 revisited

Geoffrey L. Rogers
 

On 3 September 2019, Phil Pryde reported a possible Northern Saw-whet Owl at 9:30 AM near the so-called crossbill spot along Agua Dulce Creek (Escondido Ravine Road) in the Laguna Mountains. The owl was calling. Today, Hank Ingersoll and I heard what we believe to have been a saw-whet owl at around 10:30 AM further south and upstream, actually where the creek bed flows over the road about 0.5 mile downstream from the pump house.

 

At the time, we questioned the Pryde sighting as saw-whets are *almost* completely nocturnal and calling mammals such as Merriam’s Chipmunk can be mistaken for them. Several folks wrote to say that in many years of owl study they had heard daytime saw-whets only once, and that would apply for me also. I have had many nocturnal encounters with calling saw-whets.

 

We believe that the mellow “toot” calls we heard, 7-8 about 1.5--2.0 seconds apart, were clearly from this species and we believe Phil Pryde could have heard a saw-whet owl, possibly this individual as the distance separating the locations is minimal. I overlooked this also, Birds of North America Online says that short bursts of advertising song (whatever short means) are often emitted in midday in response to playback. There was no playback in either instance so other stimuli must exist.

 

Hank’s eBird report for the day will be up soon. We had frequent Haemorhous finches (Cassin’s / Purple) singing and frequent calling flyovers from Red Crossbill. Weather was great but there is still a fair amount of patchy snow all over. Creek flow was minimal considering snowmelt. The usually open gate at the south end of Wooded Hill Road was closed but the usually closed gate on Wooded Hill Road at Agua Dulce Trailhead was open, possibly for fire crews as we saw a lot of fire hose along the trail near the middle portion of the creek.  

 

 

Geoffrey Rogers

San Diego, CA

 


Bell's Sparrows - Ramona area

Nancy Christensen
 

Each year before the bird festival I try to make a report about current locations to find Bell’s Sparrows. Today I birded along Black Canyon Road in Ramona (reached from Magnolia Ave, which becomes Black Canyon Road). The ceanothus is beginning to bloom and many birds are singing, including Bell’s and Rufous-crowned Sparrows. Bell’s always seem to sing pretty quietly, and I find it is often easier to listen for the soft chip note, which to me, sounds very much like a junco.

 

I always begin my checklists where the pavement ends and the dirt road begins (near the intersection with Black Canyon Place). From that point, there was a pair at 2.1 miles (33°6'32" N 116°49'27" W). A second pair at 2.7 miles (33°6'37" N 116°49'19" W). There were possibly two pairs at this spot as I heard singing from up on the slope across the road and out of my sight. A third spot at 2.47 miles (33°6'42" N 116°49'16" W) also had a singing male with attendant female nearby. There was a spot at about 1.9 miles that I could hear singing, but I was never able to locate the bird.

 

Black Canyon Road has a couple of spots with some potholes, and a few areas of pretty bad washboard, but is easily drivable in a passenger car. At approximately 3 miles, the road becomes very narrow, winding and steep without safe places to stop, so I always turn around at the 3 miles mark and come back the way I came. You can keep going and there are areas to bird further on, but not for Bell’s Sparrows.

 

Checklist from today - https://ebird.org/checklist/S64756076

 

Nancy Christensen

Ramona

 


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
Dulzura


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
Escondido


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.
Cheers
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 down...so 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

Barbara
 





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