Date   
Dos Picos Morning

Roger Uzun
 

In celebration of the 5 mile concept, I went birding this morning (Weds Jan 2) at Dos Picos Park in Ramona.  I didn't realize Virginia Rails were common there, it is listed as a common bird on the ebird list for that site.  I got some good shots of it as it worked on a fish that was left by some fisherman earlier.  Lots of other probably common, but uncommon to me, birds out and about including Gold-Crowned Sparrows and a Male purple finch at the water spigot.


I also birded around the house and down in Nestor/Hollister yesterday morning, Tuesday Jan 1st.  I did see the Vermilions, the Scarlet Tanager at Tesoro, but whiffed on the Scissor-Tailed, Thick-Billed or any of the Tropical Flycatchers down there.

Some photos from yesterday and today here - 



-Roger Uzun
Poway CA

Tesoro Grove Summer Tanager

dan jehl
 

The adult male Summer Tanager continued this afternoon in the willows and the eucalyptus above the willows at the western side of the creek at the entrance to the Tesoro Grove apartments in Nestor. Also seen was a single Western Tanager and a female Bullock’s Oriole in the same trees.

Dan Jehl
San Diego

Eurasian Wigeon, Mission Bay GC, 3 Jan 2019

Paul Chad
 

A (adult male) Eurasian Wigeon was mixed in with Americans, at the Mission Bay Golf Course today. Some Vermilion Flycatchers, presumably from the family group of last summer, are also still present.

Good Birding,

Paul Chad
University City

Probable Slaty-backed Gull on January 1st pelagic

Greg Gillson
 

Well, I’ve done it now.

 

I’ve convinced myself that a 2nd cycle gull I photographed offshore on the pelagic trip from San Diego is a Slaty-backed Gull. Or, perhaps it is a Slaty-backed x Herring, but how would one tell?

 

Perhaps others have photos of it too. I was trying to show a 1st cycle Herring Gull to other passengers, but this odd bird kept getting in my way….

 

9 photos and descriptions are added to the eBird trip list as “Larus (sp.)” which is true even if I botched the more specific ID.

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S51278848

 

 

Greg Gillson

 

 


--
Greg Gillson
Escondido, California 
sandiegogreg.blogspot.com

Orchard Oriole Tessoro Grove

Jeff Spaulding
 

For all the year listers I just had the Tessoro Grove Orchard Oriole working the Eucalyptus Trees along the northwest wall. The male Summer Tanager was also in the same area.
--
Jeff Spaulding
San Diego, CA

Re: Probable Slaty-backed Gull on January 1st pelagic

Justyn Stahl
 

Greg,

As best I can tell the Larus sp. is a Western Gull (as is the first Herring Gull photo). The eye color and all dark outer primaries are wrong for Slaty-backed among other things.

Justyn Stahl
San Clemente Island


On Thu, Jan 3, 2019 at 9:28 PM Greg Gillson <greggillson@...> wrote:

Well, I’ve done it now.

 

I’ve convinced myself that a 2nd cycle gull I photographed offshore on the pelagic trip from San Diego is a Slaty-backed Gull. Or, perhaps it is a Slaty-backed x Herring, but how would one tell?

 

Perhaps others have photos of it too. I was trying to show a 1st cycle Herring Gull to other passengers, but this odd bird kept getting in my way….

 

9 photos and descriptions are added to the eBird trip list as “Larus (sp.)” which is true even if I botched the more specific ID.

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S51278848

 

 

Greg Gillson

 

 


--
Greg Gillson
Escondido, California 
sandiegogreg.blogspot.com

Vesper Sparrow at Town Center Community Park (Santee - Jan 5, 2018)

Eitan Altman
 

In the spirit of checking underbirded parks in my 5MR circle, I found a nice VESPER SPARROW this morning foraging on a grassy field with a mixed flock of Lark Sparrows and American Pipits. This spot is easily accessed from the parking lot at the east end of a Town Center Community Park in Santee, in a big grassy field just E of the soccer fields.

Eitan Altman
San Carlos

5MR Circle thoughts

Roger Uzun
 

I have been doing the 5 Mile Radius thing since the 1st of the year and it's a lot of fun.  It got me thinking where is the best address to get the most species in the county within a 5 mile Radius?

In my opinion it would be either in Chula Vista West of 805 like near 3rd ave and Oxford, or maybe in Mission Valley slightly west of 163 and near I-8.

With Chula Vista you would get Seacoast Dr, Nestor, Hollister, ,Poggi greenbelt, but you would be too far west for Otay Lakes.

With Mission Valley you would get Robb Field, Famosa Slough, Balboa Park etc.  

I also got to thinking about really prized birding areas like Portal AZ, Madera Canyon AZ etc. and realized I don't think you can get to really high bird counts without a coastline with sea birds.  I wonder if the SE AZ bird counts wouldn't be lower than the ones near the Pacific coastline here in the county.

If anyone more familiar with the County Bird population could give their opinion I'm sure a lot of us would find it interesting.

-Roger Uzun
Poway CA (Near Iron Mtn, 67 species in 5MR so far.)

TRV 1-5-18

Eric Kallen
 

Trent Stanley & I birded several spots in the TRV this morning, 1-5-18.

At the air field we found a flock of about 12 Black-bellied Plovers. There were two distinctively different plovers in the group. We suspect that they are Pacific Golden-plovers.  Not a great photo opportunity, but Trent got some pics that will probably tell the tale.

We visited the Mall in San Ysidro to check out the large doves, where might be lurking the spotted variety that was seen in the area in October.  We were surprised to find two new Vermilion Flys, an adult male and a female-type on the border fence behind the Ross clothing store.  We then drove over to the ballfields to check on that  flycatcher, and Nestor Park.  The two well-known birds were in their usual spots.

Photos included with my ebird report.  

Eric Kallen

San Diego Christmas Bird Count - land bird shortage?

Justyn Stahl
 

Birders,

 

Now that I have received and compiled all of the data for the 66th San Diego Christmas Bird Count, the final count stands at 216. Having already presented the highlights (https://groups.io/g/SanDiegoRegionBirding/message/9114), I wanted to dig into the data a bit and see if it reflected the general feeling that land bird numbers were down this year. In short, this answer is not really, most numbers of migratory land birds were in fact stable. A few were notably down, however. I’ve not gone into any intensive analyses or even corrected for observer effort, but simply compared 2018 numbers for select species to the 10-year average from 2008 to 2017. (My, how things have changed from the 1950s and 60s…) Below is a list of notable counts – high or low, or for select species, average. Take this all with a large shaker of salt…

 

Greater White-fronted Goose – A new high count this year with 27.

Ross’s Goose – A new high count this year with 3. (Note this species was reported initially as Snow Goose.)

Canvasback – Fourteen is a good count for recent years.

Ring-necked Duck – Just one reported in each of the last 3 years, with average of 14.

Nearly all waterfowl numbers were below 10-year averages, with Lesser Scaup and Northern Pintail at about one-third average.

California Quail – Just three, and while barely hanging on inside count circle, this species is a far cry from when it reached triple digits as late as the early 1990s.

Pacific Loon – News from up north suggests this species is perhaps in decline, and we registered just 59, with a 10-yr average of 320.

Black-vented Shearwater – Averaging 72, we only saw 4, although this species can simply move en masse offshore and outside the circle.

Double-crested Cormorant – About half normal.

American White Pelican – A new high count this year with 97.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron – A new high count of 11.

White-tailed Kite – Although historically down, our count of 11 this year was equal to recent average.

American Avocet – Just 33, a near low, with average 105.

Snowy Plover – Some good news, 232 was well above average of 194.

Ruddy Turnstone – Apparently in decline, we had 18 (half normal) while Black Turnstone remains stable.

Dunlin – About one-third recent average, with 103 on count day.

Short-billed Dowitcher – We counted 166, about 25% average.

Red Phalarope – Missed some years, we saw 45, average is 184.

Cassin’s Auklet – I guess I didn’t realize how big of a deal this was at the compilation: our 6 on count day was the first observation since 1990!

Heermann’s Gull – Recent multi-year breeding failure may have cause our recent steady decline since 2015. We observed 178 this year, with 10-year average of 545.

Eurasian Collared-Dove – Thankfully stable at 124.

Great Horned Owl – The first miss for this species since 2002, but hopefully due to lack of effort.

Allen’s Hummingbird – Assuming the majority of Selasphorus hummingbirds reported were Allen’s, 232 would be a new high count for this species in San Diego.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher- For two years in a row (new in 2017) we’ve recorded two individuals – having a known roost helps!

Loggerhead Shrike – This species is just hanging on with 3 (a far cry from the long-term average of 41, recent years’ average just 4.3), but generally in decline nationally.

White-breasted Nuthatch – An invasion year, with 15 being a very good count. Average is 2.8, and the high is 20.

Cactus Wren – Happy to report above average numbers with 13 inside the circle.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – A large count from the east edge of the circle along the Otay River pushed our total to 113, a new high count. Average is 37.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Above average numbers: 218 vs 166.

American Robin, American Pipit, and Cedar Waxwing all above average.

Orange-crowned Warbler – At average: 272 vs 277.

Nashville Warbler – Three was a new high count!

Yellow Warbler – Above average: 12 vs 9.

Palm Warbler – None known in days prior to count, and not found on the count, one made count week when found on December 16th in Manzanita Canyon. A shocking miss on count day, given what seemed to be the best fall on record for this species along the coast in southern California.

Yellow-rumped Warbler – This species was essentially at average: 3380 vs 3468.

Black-throated Gray – With 14 on count day, we set a new high count. Average is 7.

Townsend’s Warbler – With 77, we were at about 75% average.

Wilson’s Warbler – Average year, with 6 compared to 6.6.

Chipping Sparrow – Average year, with 34 compared to 33.6.

Lark Sparrow – Average year, with 7 compared to 8.8.

Dark-eyed Junco – Juncos were above average with 49 observed, compared to 34.

White-crowned Sparrows – Plentiful as always, apparently, with 1599 seen compared to recent years 1756.

Golden-crowned Sparrow – An average year is 8.9, we had 13.

Savannah, Song Sparrow, California Towhee – all about 75% average.

Summer Tanager – Essentially average, with 6 vs 6.5.

Western Tanager – A notable uptick, with 32 (a new high!), compared to average of 14 and past high of 25 (in 2014).

Brewer’s Blackbirds – Seemingly down, and actually down, 103 was half average.

Brown-headed Cowbird – An average year: 103 vs 104.

Bullock’s Orioles – Nearly a high (20), we saw 17, which was above average (9.9).

And last but not least…

Scaly-breasted Munia – Continuing to grow, we set a new high count with 89 this year. In 2017: 62. In 2016: 33.

 

And notable counts of non-countable exotics:

Red-masked Parakeet – While common in parts of the county, 7 in the count circle was a new high.

Black-throated Magpie-Jay – While some historically argued (surely no one still is?) that this species should be added to the State List, with a 2018 count of 8 and a historic high of 17, not doing so was the right decision.

Pin-tailed Whydah – Perhaps one to watch? New for the count, with just 3, but this species is popping up at a small number of parks in San Diego, and is already seemingly established in some parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties. This species presumably parasitizes munias, so its expansion with Scaly-breasted Munia makes sense.

 

Thanks again to all of the participants who make this long-term dataset more valuable each year.

 

Happy New Year,


Justyn Stahl

San Clemente Island

Mountain Bluebirds in Mission Bay area

dan jehl
 

This morning (Saturday, January 5th) there was a pair of Mountain Bluebirds at Hospitality Point in Mission Bay. The birds were flying between the Lifeguard Headquarters building and the native plant area. A pair of Western Bluebirds were frequently chasing them around.

Dan Jehl.
San Diego

Bald Eagle with wing tag #19

Sunil Bhavsar
 

Ed Henry and I spotted a Bald Eagle with Wing tag #19 sitting on a rock outcropping off Highway 78, at approximately 3:30 pm, west of Santa Ysabel. It then flew off in NE direction perching on a telephone pole, displacing a Ferruginous Hawk that was perched on that pole.

Can someone educate me on how to Track/ID or learn more about such tagged bald eagles? ... as in details on where/when this bird was tagged?

Sunil Bhavsar.

Re: 5MR Circle thoughts

Greg Gillson
 

Can this be adapted to be used with the old San Diego Bird Atlas squares? And if so, how? It would be nice to have something to compare with and perhaps be useful for future research. 

Greg 

--
Greg Gillson
Escondido, California 
sandiegogreg.blogspot.com

Bald Eagle South of Lake Cuyamaca

Edward Henry
 

Between 8:20 and 8:30 a.m. Sunil Bhavsar and I (and our wives) observed a Bald Eagle not far off of CA 79 south of Lake Cuyamaca. Photo links below.

Ed Henry




Re: 5MR Circle thoughts

Justyn Stahl
 

Roger - interesting thought project. The San Diego CBC circle (7.5 mile radius) is centered near the mouth of the Sweetwater River and encompasses many habitat types (including open ocean, good shorebird/duck habitat, Balboa Park and various other migrant hotspots you mention, and stretching all the way east to the Sweetwater Reservoir). With 216 species in a single day last December, a 5MR circle based on that idea would likely be hard to top, but reducing it by 2.5 miles in either direction may require shifting it a bit to maximize diversity.

Greg - I'm not sure the 5MR circles can be adapted to replicate something as rigorous as the San Diego County Bird Atlas squares. [However, it's possible one could extract general eBird data for a similar purpose - but very few people use appropriate breeding codes***.] Being centered on a person's home, there's little choice in the matter of how 5MR circles are placed on the map. Most circles would overlap. And Atlas squares were 3x3 miles (9 square miles), while a 5MR is 78.5 square miles. They do, however, share at least one common theme: intensive scrutiny of a small area, particularly underbirded locations, in an effort to better document species' occurrence (including, but not limited to, rarities).   I do wish I'd lived here when the Atlas work was done (1997-2002) by Phil Unitt and the 400 volunteers from this community. But hopefully someday soon we'll be able to replicate it to assess the changes that have surely taken place locally.

The San Diego County Bird Atlas is an indispensable piece of literature for local birders. It's available to view online (https://www.sdnhm.org/science/birds-and-mammals/projects/san-diego-county-bird-atlas/) but I would encourage anyone with an interest in San Diego birds to swing by the Natural History Museum and pick up a copy.

*** This does actually bring up a good point: for those of you eBirding, I encourage you to use appropriate breeding codes throughout the breeding season, which is underway for some species already. Anna's Hummingbirds, for example, begin nesting as early as December. For more info on eBird breeding codes, follow this link: https://help.ebird.org/customer/portal/articles/1006850-breeding-codes-behavior-codes


Cheers,
Justyn Stahl


On Sat, Jan 5, 2019 at 8:49 PM Greg Gillson <greggillson@...> wrote:
Can this be adapted to be used with the old San Diego Bird Atlas squares? And if so, how? It would be nice to have something to compare with and perhaps be useful for future research. 

Greg 

--
Greg Gillson
Escondido, California 
sandiegogreg.blogspot.com

Re: 5MR Circle thoughts

Roger Uzun
 

For a 5MR circle if you want to keep Sweetwater Reservoir in the mix you lose Hollister st (for the most part), Bird and Butterfly Garden, Sunset ballfields, Dairy Mart Ponds, etc but you still have Nestor and Tesoro.

Is that the idea behind the sweetwater river CBC circle, to include the Reservoir?  If so it might be the best 5 mile radius, but you can't keep Otay and you will lose most of whats south of Nestor / Tesoro.

It seems like somehere in Chula Vista is going to be the best 5 mile spot though.  It's just a matter of how far South and West vs how far North and East you want to go because no single 5MR will give you all you think of in the area.

-Roger


On Sun, Jan 6, 2019 at 7:47 AM Justyn Stahl <justyn.stahl@...> wrote:
Roger - interesting thought project. The San Diego CBC circle (7.5 mile radius) is centered near the mouth of the Sweetwater River and encompasses many habitat types (including open ocean, good shorebird/duck habitat, Balboa Park and various other migrant hotspots you mention, and stretching all the way east to the Sweetwater Reservoir). With 216 species in a single day last December, a 5MR circle based on that idea would likely be hard to top, but reducing it by 2.5 miles in either direction may require shifting it a bit to maximize diversity.

Greg - I'm not sure the 5MR circles can be adapted to replicate something as rigorous as the San Diego County Bird Atlas squares. [However, it's possible one could extract general eBird data for a similar purpose - but very few people use appropriate breeding codes***.] Being centered on a person's home, there's little choice in the matter of how 5MR circles are placed on the map. Most circles would overlap. And Atlas squares were 3x3 miles (9 square miles), while a 5MR is 78.5 square miles. They do, however, share at least one common theme: intensive scrutiny of a small area, particularly underbirded locations, in an effort to better document species' occurrence (including, but not limited to, rarities).   I do wish I'd lived here when the Atlas work was done (1997-2002) by Phil Unitt and the 400 volunteers from this community. But hopefully someday soon we'll be able to replicate it to assess the changes that have surely taken place locally.

The San Diego County Bird Atlas is an indispensable piece of literature for local birders. It's available to view online (https://www.sdnhm.org/science/birds-and-mammals/projects/san-diego-county-bird-atlas/) but I would encourage anyone with an interest in San Diego birds to swing by the Natural History Museum and pick up a copy.

*** This does actually bring up a good point: for those of you eBirding, I encourage you to use appropriate breeding codes throughout the breeding season, which is underway for some species already. Anna's Hummingbirds, for example, begin nesting as early as December. For more info on eBird breeding codes, follow this link: https://help.ebird.org/customer/portal/articles/1006850-breeding-codes-behavior-codes


Cheers,
Justyn Stahl


On Sat, Jan 5, 2019 at 8:49 PM Greg Gillson <greggillson@...> wrote:
Can this be adapted to be used with the old San Diego Bird Atlas squares? And if so, how? It would be nice to have something to compare with and perhaps be useful for future research. 

Greg 

--
Greg Gillson
Escondido, California 
sandiegogreg.blogspot.com

Re: TRV 1-5-18

Trent R. Stanley
 

Here's a few in flight and ground pictures of the two Pacific Golden-Plovers at Ream Field, 32.566480, -117.123120.


On Sat, Jan 5, 2019 at 12:46 PM Eric Kallen <eric@...> wrote:
Trent Stanley & I birded several spots in the TRV this morning, 1-5-18.

At the air field we found a flock of about 12 Black-bellied Plovers. There were two distinctively different plovers in the group. We suspect that they are Pacific Golden-plovers.  Not a great photo opportunity, but Trent got some pics that will probably tell the tale.

We visited the Mall in San Ysidro to check out the large doves, where might be lurking the spotted variety that was seen in the area in October.  We were surprised to find two new Vermilion Flys, an adult male and a female-type on the border fence behind the Ross clothing store.  We then drove over to the ballfields to check on that  flycatcher, and Nestor Park.  The two well-known birds were in their usual spots.

Photos included with my ebird report.  

Eric Kallen



--
@sdbirder

Sagebrush Sparrow & White-winged Doves - Ramona

Jay Desgrosellier
 

As part of the Escondido CBC on Saturday January 5th Courtny Achenbach and I observed a SAGEBRUSH SPARROW on mitigation land to the west of the northern terminus of Pine Street in Ramona. This location is unusually far west for this species, which more regularly winters in the desert. It was observed foraging on the ground with 8 Bell's and several White-crowned Sparrows at the weedy edge of an extensive area of sage scrub. The Sagebrush Sparrow was immediately discernible, even from a distance, due to its very pale coloration relative to the coastal Bell's Sparrows. Closer observation allowed us to observe the fine streaking on the back that is characteristic of this species.

This area is accessible by heading north on Pine St. to where it bends to the west and parking on Katherines View Way. On the south side of the road, walk along the marked hiker/horse trail to the west, going through (or around) the first gully. Then head south along the edge of the sage looking for the flock on the ground. 

Additionally a conservative count of 14 WHITE-WINGED DOVE were noted along Black Canyon Road at the north end of the Oak Tree Ranch mobile home park, representing a substantial increase of this desert-dwelling species for the area. Four were noted at this same location on the count last year.

Good Birding!

Jay Desgrosellier
San Diego, CA

Archie Moore Rd Ramona

Roger Uzun
 

I headed up to Archie Moore Rd in Ramona this afternoon around 3PM to see what was there.  There were a few Red-Tailed Hawks in the area, a Ferruginous Hawk, Say's Phoebes, American Crows, a Kestrel, not much else.  Went by the Pomegranite farm area, but only birds I saw were Phoebes and Yellow-Rumped Warblers.

As the sun started to get low I headed  up to Rangeland rd and got out of my car near where the Bald Eagles have a nest, and on the West side of Rangeland Rd opposite of the Nest area was a Juvenile Bald eagle, maybe 25 ft from my car.  I did not see it until it took off and only managed a blurry photo as it flew away.  At the time I thought it was a Golden Eagle but looking at the photo it's not, it's pretty clearly a Juvenile Bald eagle.

Some locals said there has been a Juvenile Bald Eagle hanging around the power poles and flying low in the fields, so there might be a photo op here.

I saw no Mountain Bluebirds, and no blackbirds to speak of, except maybe a few red-winged or brewers far in the distance, I couldn't be sure what they were.

ebird lists here - 

-Roger Uzun
Poway CA

SLR River Reddish Egret

buck fairbanks
 

A Reddish Egret, quite possibly the bird first reported by Ken Weaver a couple of months ago, was present briefly west of the Pacific St bridge at the now open mouth of the San Luis Rey River in Oceanside today at noon. Showing nice reddish plumes on its neck, the bird flew off upriver after a few minutes of foraging along the flowing river.
Michael Martin 
Oceanside, CA