Vaux's Swifts Balboa Park

Gjon Hazard

This evening (1/24), right at sunset (5:10 PM), there was a unseasonable flock of chattering Chaetura swifts circling over the El Prado bridge over Hwy 163 in Balboa Park. I assume Vaux's; 2 or 3 dozen. They seemed to be gathering to roost nearby. They headed off to the south-southeast.


Glaucous-winged gull at Lake Murray

phil Pryde

     At approx. 11 a.m. today (1-24) a less-than-adult Glaucous-winged gull was well seen at Lake Murray. The location was Alvarado Bay (the first small bay on the left as you enter the park via Kiowa St.). There’s a small man-made spit that extends southwestward Into Alvarado Bay, and the gull was sitting at the end of it. Its pale gray and white wing tips were easily seen, as was its almost entirely blackish bill color except near the base. Based on the latter as well as faint bits of pale tan feathers on the wings, I concluded it was a second winter bird (its appearance was virtually identical to that shown for a 2nd winter GWGU on p. 221 of Sibley, 1st ed. (and indeed like Tony’s photo on p. 245 of the Bird Atlas). I returned to the spit about 5 minutes later, but the wildlife there was fisherman = 1, GWGU = 0.  I couldn’t find it again. 
    The Bird Atlas notes that GWGUs are now rare inland; I’ve never seen one at Lake Murray before.  

Phil Pryde 
San Marcos 

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Lower Otay, 1/24

Matt Sadowski

Jim Pawlicki found an adult LBBG at the Lower Otay Lake boat ramp. Still here at 16:09.

Matt Sadowski

Grace's Warbler 1-24-19 Encinitas

Eric Kallen

The Grace's Warbler showed up at about 9am this morning at 1282 Crest Drive.  It spent most of its time in the pines and in a small palm along the north boundary of the property, and in the small Pine adjacent.  The Hermit Warbler was not seen.

A few pics posted @

some pics of Marcie's Painted Bunting also.

ebird report S51998531

Eric Kallen
San Diego

Hooded Mergansers

Iris Kilpatrick

Male and female Hooded Merganser present in little pond at Raymond Av and Ramona Street in Ramona.

Iris Kilpatrick 

Grace's Warbler on Crest Drive, Encinitas, continues Wedn Jan 23.

Susan Smith

Thanks to Gretchen Nell for refinding this bird on Jan 20. It was first spotted Dec 7 in the exact same spot, but dang it all, disappeared during the RSF CBC I think because of a huge multi -truck earth moving project  the week before CBC day.  But now, this bird is back, in its same spot in pines in yards  near 1282 Crest Drive. This morning, it was found by others before 8:30 am, and for us  started calling I think about 9 am or so and thereafter, intermittently,and was still calling from the tall pines near this address at noon.  We also refound at least one Mountain Chickadee nearby , and the wintering Hermit Warbler male  in pines a little south of this GRWA location continues too.
    As Gretchen pointed out, please be aware that this is a private residential community, and our continued access to birding this productive area is hugely dependent on the good will of the residents there. Years ago when a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher showed, there were many birders and photographers  who converged on the area. There was a day care center on one of the side roads where the bird was most consistently seen, and we did not realize until later, that parents and managers of the center were very upset by the photographers in the area with big lenses.  Thankfully, I think, we were able to assure the harmlessness of our birders, but since then, some of those side streets have new no trespass  signs up.  So just a heads up, though I know you all know the drill.   
    On the up side, we talked to many today who were thrilled about the bird, and some got out of there cars, took a look through our bins and said wow.  But just a reminder to  be on our best birding behavior.   Sue 

Susan Smith 
Seiurus Biological  Consulting 
Del Mar, CA 

Susan Smith
Seiurus Biological Consulting
Del Mar, CA

Re: Grace`s Warbler Encinitas continues 1/22 0945

Susan Smith

Great photos of the bird Steve!  Sue

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

-------- Original message --------
From: "stevan brad via Groups.Io" <stevanbrad@...>
Date: 1/22/19 11:14 AM (GMT-08:00)
Subject: [SanDiegoRegionBirding] Grace`s Warbler Encinitas continues 1/22 0945

seen at 945 Am
. Gretchen said she et al have seen the bird mid morning    Bird was silent.    Bird was seen seen from street at 1282 Crest Drive Encinitas   Photos seen in my ebird report

good birding your way
steve brad
Susan Smith
Seiurus Biological Consulting
Del Mar, CA

Grace`s Warbler Encinitas continues 1/22 0945

stevan brad

seen at 945 Am
. Gretchen said she et al have seen the bird mid morning    Bird was silent.    Bird was seen seen from street at 1282 Crest Drive Encinitas   Photos seen in my ebird report

good birding your way
steve brad

pinyon jays


I hiked the Sunset Trail the other day (mile 19.3 of Sunrise Highway in Laguna Mountains) and ran into a big flock of pinyon jays a mile into the trail.  They were making a racket on the left side of the trail just before Water of the Woods.

La Jolla Sea Watch January 21

dan jehl

This morning starting around 7:00 I spent about three hours sea watching at La Jolla Cove. The wind brought large numbers of gulls (Western, California, Heerman’s, Ring-billed, Boneparte’s, and a single Glaucous-winged) a few Surf Scoters and loons. A light-phase Northern Fulmar flew by early, but the Black-vented Shearwaters didn’t come closer in until about 8:30, up to 500 were visible at one time. The wind is forecast to continue through the day, maybe the Skua or the Magnificent Frigate Bird seen north of us yesterday will show up this afternoon.

Dan Jehl
San Diego

Nelson’s Sparrow at Kendal Frost Reserve

dan jehl

On Sunday, January 20, 2019, a Nelson’s Sparrow (perhaps two) was seen along the fence of the Kendal Frost reserve at the peak of high tide (just before 8:00 a.m. The orange on the face was clearly visible as the sparrow moved through the vegetation. I got a couple of poor photos, others present got much better. The sparrow was seen by Eric Kallen and Ross Christie before I arrived, Bruce Aird and Steve Sosensky were there as well. The tide tomorrow (Monday, January 21st) should be high enough for the Nelson’s to be visible again.

Dan Jehl
San Diego

Sent from my iPhone

Grace's Warbler, Crest Drive, Encinitas, Jan. 20, 2019

There was a Grace’s Warbler in the tall pines near 1282 Crest Drive this morning, Jan. 20, 2019.  Likely a continuing bird, first found by RSF CBC scouting group led by Susan Smith on Dec. 7, 2018 & posted to eBird at that time, with photos.  In trees on private property in a residential neighborhood, but possibly can be viewed from the street.

Please see below for both eBird reports.

Gretchen Nell
Leucadia, CA

Laguna Loop 1-19-19

Eric Kallen

Trent Stanley & I birded several spots along the Laguna Loop this morning.  Early, it was cold and windy.

We stopped at the water tanks near the Sunset Trailhead off of Sunrise Highway.  We had what appeared to be a fly-over of 5 Clark’s Nutcrackers.

At the Pioneer Mail Campground, where the Lewis’ Woodpeckers wintered last year, we found only Fox Sparrows and a Red-breasted Sapsucker. The gates to the park and the road across the highway were chained, so our investigation here was limited.

At Stonewall Mine the male Williamson’s Sapsucker was easily found from the parking lot.

in Descanso we saw 5 Tricolored Blackbirds in a flock containing Brewer’s Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds, near the intersection of Viejas Blvd. and Mitzpah Lane.

At the Viejas Reservation there was a bright Ferruginous Hawk soaring. 

Eric Kallen
San Diego

Cassin's Vireo in Hillcrest

Philip Unitt

Dear friends,

I just had the most delightful surprise in the paloverde tree in my front yard at 1076 Hayes Ave.: a Cassin's Vireo. I got to watch it at distances as close as 6 feet for a full 10 minutes as it foraged in company with a female Townsend's Warbler. Then it flew off across the street. I don't recall hearing of any reported on any of the San Diego County Christmas bird counts this winter, and I don't see any recent reports via eBird for San Diego County in the past month.

Good birding,

Philip Unitt
San Diego

Eastern Phoebe, Pala (Not-chasable)

Jimmy McMorran

Hi Birders,
This morning, January 18, 2019, I observed a Eastern Phoebe at a defunct dairy farm on private property, approximately 5 miles east of Interstate 15, along highway 76. It was an area I was working with construction crews, so my camera was in the car at the time, but got sufficient/great views through my binoculars. It then flew to an area I could not access when I had the opportunity to look for and attempt photos. I say “not-chasable” because you’d need to search from the 76 over a wide area and an extremely dangerous location. So not worth it. I only report this because I haven’t heard of one in SD County this fall/winter season that I recall. And always a good day when you get three phoebe species within 100’ feet of each other!
Good Birding,
Jimmy McMorran
Leucadia, CA

Good Birding,
Jimmy McMorran,
Leucadia, CA

[CALBIRDS] Red-Flanked Bluetail - special hours Monday 1/21

Eric Kallen

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Rebecca Marschall" <rebecca.fenning@...>
Date: January 18, 2019 at 9:34:24 AM PST
Subject: [CALBIRDS] Red-Flanked Bluetail - special hours Monday 1/21

My colleagues and I have received at least a hundred phone calls and emails in the last 3 days, inquiring if the Clark Library will be open this holiday weekend for birders to look for the Red-Flanked Bluetail. I'm happy to say that:

** I will be able to open the library grounds on Martin Luther King Day, Monday 1/21 from 9am until 1:30pm. **

We will NOT be open on Saturday or Sunday this weekend (1/19 and 1/20) or next weekend (1/26 and 1/27)! This Monday will be our only exception to our regular hours (M-F, 9a-4:45p except for national/state holidays) this month. I do not have any information about potential weekend openings in February yet.

Since birders will be the only library users on Monday 1/21, please feel free to park inside the library grounds. There will be a security guard in the parking lot for directional help and to monitor cars.

*Use caution when walking off of maintained pathways, and also use caution when walking on u-shaped brick pathways behind the library - they can be quite slick for weeks after rainstorms!
*Please respect any caution tape or orange cones, as they are there for your safety
*Please don't stand on top of any statuary or benches - they have been sitting outside since 1926 and we can't vouch for their stability or structural integrity!

The Clark Library is located at 2520 Cimarron Street, Los Angeles 90018. We are a UCLA special collections library and more information about library collections, programs and tours are on our website ( The property is fully gated and the grounds are closed when the library itself is closed (again, M-F, 9a-4:45p). 
The bird is still being seen (at least as of yesterday 1/17) in the eastern half of the library property, especially in the southeast corner behind the historic library building. 

Thank you to all who have already come to see the RFBL and shown my non-birding colleagues how well-behaved birders can be! 

Rebecca Marschall
Clark Library/Valley Village

Tropical Kingbird - Dairy Mart Main pond

Anthony Fife

01/18/19 @ 8:08 am there is a tropical kingbird calling from the center of the lake. Heard first while walking the trail. Located on dead snags in the middle of the lake next to black crowned night herons. Best seen from small trail just north of path at
Lat 32.5572 and Long -117.0656

Anthony “Too Fly”
La Mesa

San Diego Audubon Bird Festival pelagics trips.

David Povey

Subject: San Diego Audubon Bird Festival pelagics trips.


Hello all,

The San Diego Audubon 2019 Bird Festival is approaching quickly. The Festival  dates are Feb. 27, to Mar. 3, 2019.

Among the many field trips, expert speakers, vendors, fun activities, and sales items, are three days of local pelagic trips.

These trips are aboard the modern 85 ft. New Seaforth out of Mission Bay. The trips will explore local waters that

may include the Nine Mile Bank, Point Loma, and La Jolla. Trips are about to 7-7.5  hrs. The boat is relatively dry and excellent

for photography.

We've had fairly good success in finding expected winter seabirds, such as our local specialties Black-vented Shearwater,

Brown Booby and Scripps's Murrelets. Occasionally we get rarities such as the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel (2-25-18) seen on

one of our trips last year. Other winter visitors vary year to year, such as Northern Fulmar, Pink-footed Shearwater, Red

Phalaropes, Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers, Common Murre,  Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklets. Bonaparte's, Glaucous-winged,

Herring, Mew, and other gulls, Black-legged Kittiwake, Royal and Elegant Terns.

Early March is also a good time to see Gray Whales, and several other species marine mammals.


The New Seaforth's captains are knowledgeable of local waters, and safe boat operations. Each trip will have several leaders to help get

you on the birds. Food and drinks are available for purchase onboard.


These trips are filling  quickly, and I suggest you contact San Diego Audubon soon if you wish to coming along with us.

The trips are Friday March 1st ( only one spot left )., Saturday the 2nd. , and Sunday the 3rd.

See details at, , no bookings are handled by the Seaforth Landing.


See you at the Festival,

Dave Povey





Laguna Mountains – very rare sapsucker hybrid?, Jan 11, 2019

Gary Nunn

Been doing a bit of armchair birding what with the rain and everything.  I noticed an interesting sapsucker report submitted to eBird by Ryan Pottinger from the Laguna Mountains (Noble Canyon Trail) on Jan 11, 2019.  The report has some distant photographs which show what superficially appears to be a male Williamson's Sapsucker.  But, as noted by Ryan in his description, the photos show red coloration in the front of the crown.  This red coloration seems to indicate the bird could be a hybrid with Red-naped Sapsucker, as Ryan also suggests.  Williamson's Sapsucker is sympatric with both Red-naped and Red-breasted Sapsuckers but there does not appear to be red coloration evident elsewhere about the head on this bird which might exclude Red-breasted involved as a parent.

Looking about in the literature, and online for photographs, it seems there are very few documented reports of such a hybrid.  I have not spent a huge time looking but I cannot seem to find a photo or report.  The only place I found mention of this hybrid is in a publication by Short & Morony (1970) describing in detail a male example discovered in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History.  That specimen collected on January 1, 1891 in northern Chihuahua, Mexico.  Their description matches the photographs by Ryan Pottinger.  In the publication the authors also note one other known specimen of a female collected in the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona on October 25, 1929.  Could this Laguna Mountains bird be a third example of this little known hybrid?

A very interesting looking sapsucker.  If anyone obtains closer more detailed photographs please let us know!

Ryan Pottinger's photos in his eBird checklist here

Short & Morony (1970) publication with description of male and female specimens here

Gary Nunn,
Pacific Beach

Re: Mission Valley – possible Hepatic Tanager, late report, Jan 13, 2019

Geoffrey L. Rogers

Gary and all,


Bachman runs between Hillcrest and Mission Valley. The description includes Montecito Point which is at the uphill (Hillcrest) end near the medical facilities. Good luck finding parking.


Geoff Rogers

San Diego, CA


From: [] On Behalf Of Gary Nunn
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 5:16 PM
To: SanDiegoRegionBirding
Subject: [SanDiegoRegionBirding] Mission Valley – possible Hepatic Tanager, late report, Jan 13, 2019


Visiting British birder Graham Etherington reported an interesting male tanager on Bachman Place in Mission Valley seen on Sunday Jan 13, 2019.  Photo, exact location by map link and some notes about the tree it was seen in can be found in the eBird report below.



Hard to be certain from the one photo, overhead and back lighting could be causing this, but bill looks dusky blue-gray colored, and plumage seems to have a darker gray coloration to feather bases.  It might be a male Hepatic Tanager.  If anyone is inclined to take a search for it please post if relocated!


Gary Nunn

Pacific Beach