Black Swifts at Mount Soledad

Since 1 p.m. there has been a total of 64 Black Swifts in a total of 5 flocks going by Mount Soledad near La Jolla, most courtesy of Jay D. and Trent S., although Barbara and I have arrived in time to see the most recent flock of 6 birds flying by. Now that the clouds have largely disappeared they may dry up as well pretty quickly. However, more rain is possible tonight into early tomorrow morning, so perhaps tomorrow morning might work as well.

Paul Lehman, San Diego

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Black Swift's - Mt Soledad now!

Jay Desgrosellier

Sunday, May 19th, 1:40 pm

Just had a group of at least 6 Black Swift's fly by on Mt Soledad near the saddle at almost eye level. Currently shrouded in fog, but it lifts a little occasionally. Birds are not in sight at this time.

Good Birding!

Jay Desgrosellier
San Diego, CA

Franklin's Gull at saltworks

Just after 8 a.m. on Sunday morning there was a breeding plumaged Franklin's Gull walking around in the dried-up saltworks pond that is a third of a mile east of the end of 13th Street. But in just a moment when we looked away, the bird has vanished, and we're not sure how far it has moved.......

Paul Lehman and Barbara Carlson, San Diego

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Four Black Oystercatchers continuing at Cabrillo NM; nest building (??) Pelagic Cormorant

Sara Baase Mayers

Three Black Oystercatchers were together on the cliff just north of the second parking lot ("tidepool overlook") at Cabrillo National Monument this morning (May 18); I saw the other from the first (southmost) parking lot.

     Plenty of juveniles: A Brown Pelican with several adults on the cliffs, six Heermann's Gulls (no adults), a Brandt's Cormorant, and Cal Towhee.

     One of three Pelagic Cormorants on the cliff had some loose vegetation in its bill - the sort of stuff that might be used for a nest.  At the time the SD Bird Atlas was published (now about 15 years ago) it appears there was indication Pelagic Cormorants might breed along the cliffs in La Jolla or Point Loma but not definitive evidence.  Now eBird shows some Pelagic Corms in May-July, so I don't know if this additional non-definitive evidence is interesting.

Sara Mayers
Point Loma (San Diego)

Re: Rose breasted grosbeak Morley Field

Nathan French

RBGR continues in same area 5:45 singing but tough to see. 

Nathan French 

On May 16, 2019, at 6:18 PM, Mark Stratton <zostropz@...> wrote:

At about 5:30, we ran into Nathan behind the Tennis Courts and RB Grosbeak started singing almost right above us.  If you are in the dog park parking lot, start walking in the direction of the tennis courts and the first Euc on the left is where the bird was.  There are a couple of trees at least that seem to have Lerps (I think it is), and quite a bit of bird activity there.  I also think this is where they had the Parula a couple of days ago.

Mark Stratton
North Park

On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 5:03 PM Nathan French <nathanfrenchphotography@...> wrote:
While trying to relocate the Northern Parula around 4:45pm, I found a Rose breasted grosbeak and the eucalyptus near the tennis courts off of Morley Field Drive in same area Parula was (32.7389564, -117.1419204). Have to run an errand but will return shortly...

Nathan French 

Rose breasted grosbeak Morley Field

Nathan French

While trying to relocate the Northern Parula around 4:45pm, I found a Rose breasted grosbeak and the eucalyptus near the tennis courts off of Morley Field Drive in same area Parula was (32.7389564, -117.1419204). Have to run an errand but will return shortly...

Nathan French 

Northern Parula near Morley Field Dog Park

Nathan French

After searching for a few hours I finally relocated the Northern Parula found this morning by Adam W in the foraging with YEWA and TOWA in the eucalyptus behind the tennis courts near Morley Field Drive (32.7389564, -117.1419204)

Nathan French

Point Loma Chestnut sided and Olive-sided

Tuesday morning the 14th, there is a very dull, female type Chestnut-sided Warbler periodically coming to the large blooming silk oak tree behind 649 Albion in residential Point Loma. And there is an Olive-sided Flycatcher bordering the parking lot for the church building to the left of the main entrance to Point Loma Nazarene University. Overall migrant numbers are only so-so so far, as was the case yesterday in the TRV as well, with Western Tanager being the dominant migrant species present.

Paul Lehman, San Diego

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Summer Tanager : Villa La Jolla Park 13 MAY 2019

Tito Gonzalez

I observed a SUMMER TANAGER today, 13 May 2019, at Villa La Jolla Park around 2 pm. It was feeding in the Carrotwood Tree on the northeastern boundary of the park where the sidewalk enters the townhouse complex to the north. This particular Carrotwood Tree is very productive this time of year and western tanagers and warbling vireos feast in this tree each spring. Despite being rare but regular in the fall, this is the first SUTA spring report at this location in Ebird. This location pattern of being more rare in the spring is consistent with known vagrancy patterns for this species according to SD Bird Atlas.  Almost certainly this is a recently arriving spring vagrant, as this location is regularly birded and SUTA has not been reported here since last October, and that one was a fully red mature male. Photos are in following  ebird report.


Tito Gonzalez

Carlsbad, CA

results of mon 13 may 2019 san elijo monthly bird count

Robert Patton

Thanks to 10 participants for conducting the 13 May 2019 San Elijo Lagoon monthly bird count: Steve Brad (beach, West Basin, nature center site); Alys Arenas (Pole Rd); Kathy Aldern, Maryanne Bache, Don Johnson, Diana Hector (CBS= Rios to freeway); Patti Koger, Jayne Lesley (EBS = La Orilla to Sta Inez); Steve Perry (EBE = Stonebridge Mesa); Robert Patton (EBNW = area of old dike; EBNE = Escondido Cr; Cardiff Cove, I-5 fill).

100 species were reported.  Species of interest included American bittern & blue-winged teal off the eastern mesa, a breeding plumage red knot in the west basin (& likely the same individual later in the east basin), black skimmers along the beach & in the west basin, pre-dawn great horned owls & common poorwills off Sta Carina, a late male rufous hummingbird NW of Rios, an acorn woodpecker & Bell’s vireo at the El Camino Real trailhead, and the continuing Nelson’s sparrow in closed construction area NW of Rios.

Species included:

pied-billed grebe, western grebe, brown pelican, double-crested cormorant, Brandt’s cormorant, American bittern, great blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, black-crowned night-heron, white-faced ibis, mallard, blue-winged teal, cinnamon teal, gadwall, osprey, white-tailed kite, northern harrier, Cooper’s hawk, red-shouldered hawk, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, California quail, Ridgway’s rail, Virginia rail, American coot, black-bellied plover, semipalmated plover, killdeer, black-necked stilt, American avocet, spotted sandpiper, willet, red knot, sanderling, western/least sandpiper sp., long-billed dowitcher, California gull, western gull, Caspian tern, elegant tern, Forster’s tern, black skimmer, rock pigeon, Eurasian collared-dove, mourning dove, (barn owl carcass), great horned owl, common poorwill, white-throated swift, Anna’s hummingbird, rufous hummingbird, Allen’s hummingbird, acorn woodpecker, Nuttall’s woodpecker, downy woodpecker, Pacific-slope flycatcher, black phoebe, Say’s phoebe, ash-throated flycatcher, Cassin’s kingbird, tree swallow, northern rough-winged swallow, cliff swallow, barn swallow, California scrub jay, American crow, common raven, bushtit, Bewick’s wren, house wren, marsh wren, California gnatcatcher, western bluebird, wrentit, northern mockingbird, California thrasher, European starling, Bell’s vireo, Hutton’s vireo, warbling vireo, orange-crowned warbler, yellow warbler, common yellowthroat, Wilson’s warbler, yellow-breasted chat, black-headed grosbeak, spotted towhee, California towhee, Nelson’s sparrow, Belding’s savannah sparrow, song sparrow, red-winged blackbird, great-tailed grackle, brown-headed cowbird, hooded oriole, house finch, lesser goldfinch, American goldfinch, house sparrow, scaly-breasted munia.

The next San Elijo monthly bird count will be Monday 10 June.  Counts are conducted by volunteers on the second Monday of each month, rain or shine.  Please spread the word or join us if you can (no RSVP required).  Meet at 7:30 am at the north end of Rios Ave in Solana Beach (north from Lomas Santa Fe Dr, west of I-5) to divide into groups to cover different subareas.  A compilation generally follows around noon at the nature center on Manchester Ave (bring your own lunch).

R. Patton
San Diego, CA

Short pelagic trip report for Sunday, May 12th

Bruce Rideout

The first Buena Vista Audubon pelagic birding trip of 2019 departed Sunday on the Grande under cloudy skies, with a relatively light swell and a nice northwesterly breeze – near ideal conditions, particularly for finding alcids, and we found plenty. The highlight for many participants was the excellent views of Scripps’s Murrelets throughout the day, including a pair with two chicks. Although the timing of nesting varies from year to year, probably relating in part to resource availability, this is a fairly early date for fledglings. We also had frequent, though often a bit distant, views of Cassin’s Auklets, so most participants were able to get comfortable with their identification in flight compared to Scripps’s Murrelets. Probably the biggest surprise of the day was a Pigeon Guillemot that flew across the bow as we were approaching the Thirty-mile Bank. It’s a bit earlier than expected for a guillemot, and most observations in the County are from sea-watches at Point La Jolla, not from boats that far offshore.


We had all three expected species of shearwaters, with Sooty Shearwaters being the most abundant by far, followed by a dozen or so cooperative Pink-footed Shearwaters, and a few late Black-vented Shearwaters. Black Storm-Petrels were also seen frequently throughout the day, with moderate numbers of Ashy, and a few dark-rumped Leach’s (subspecies chapmani).


The whales and dolphins did not disappoint either. We had excellent views of Fin and Blue whales, and the Common Dolphins periodically put on an acrobatic show as they approached the boat for some bow-riding. Unofficial total bird counts for the day are at the end of this post.


Our next trip will be on Sunday, June 9th. Trip details are on our website, We hope to see you on the boat!


Bruce Rideout and Dave Povey

San Diego Pelagics and Buena Vista Audubon


Species Totals:


Common Loon                       2

Pacific Loon                            30

Double-crested Cormorant  1

Brandt's Cormorant              25

Brown Pelican                       55

Brown Booby                         2

Red-necked Phalarope         54

Bonaparte's Gull                    1

Western Gull                          209

California Gull                        5

Heerman's Gull                      1

Common Tern                       3

Caspian Tern                         4

Royal Tern                             10

Elegant Tern                          93

Forster's Tern                        1

Least Tern                              36

Black-vented Shearwater     6

Pink-footed Shearwater       11

Sooty Shearwater                  166

Black Storm-Petrel                121

Leach's Storm-Petrel             8

Ashy Storm-Petrel                 48

Scripps's Murrelet                90

Cassin's Auklet                      117

Pigeon Guillemot                   1

Barn Swallow                         3

Snowy Egret                           5

Great Blue Heron                  2

Wilson's Warbler                  2

Townsend's Warbler           1


Green-tailed Towhee at Mt. Soledad

Nicole Desnoyers

An otherwise slow morning at Mt. Soledad today (13 May) turned up a Green-tailed Towhee. It was seen intermittently from the bench adjacent to the road on the south side of the monument.

Nicole Desnoyers
North Park

Slow-ish day May 12 at Fort Rosecrans, but some migrants passing through

Susan Smith

Slow day but a nice day out. There was a Hammond's Flycatcher on the east side, just  south of the  Eucalyptus Grove (probably continuing), a Cassin's Vireo in pines on the west side in a pine near the north fence line, and at least 6 Hermit Warblers, 4-6 Wilson's Warblers, 3 Townsend, 4 Yellows and other expected warblers coming through, and many Western Tanagers, and a superabundance of Pacific Slope Flycatchers and Western wood Pewees and grosbeaks.  I thought I saw one Willow Flycatcher. The population of Juncos seems to be producing many young here, more so than the Chipping Sparrows, which also had some fledglings about.  The towhees are everywhere and Lesser Goldfinches are more numerous than I have seen in the past. 

Susan Smith 
Seiurus Biological  Consulting 
Del Mar, CA 

Susan Smith
Seiurus Biological Consulting
Del Mar, CA

La Jolla Cove, May 12. 2019

Stan Walens

The pelagic trip out of San Diego today has placid seas. I am not on it. I am sure they have a good chance of seeing some terrific birds.
I am scoping from just north of children’s Pool. On a single scan I counted just under 500 storm petrels working offshore. More are working in the canyon to the north, too far away for me to count from here. Some of the storm-petrels have come quite close to shore. Most are 1 mile offshore. I have seen one Least storm-petrel and one probable Leach’s storm-petrel. Also 1 very close-in pink-footed shearwater.
If you are on today’s boat and haven’t seen enough storm-petrels, you might consider hitting La Jolla on your way back in to dock.

Stan Walens, San Diego
May 12, 2019; 10:30 am

YCNH Del Mar

Gjon Hazard

Watch for nesting Yellow-crowned Night-Herons in the trees along the south edge of the Del Mar Fairgrounds or across the river near the public works area.

Details in the following eBird account.


Paso Picacho / Stonewall Mine - Indigo and Bald Eagle

Andrew N

Hey everybody,

I went camping at Paso Picacho Friday through this afternoon and am happy to report I found the Indigo Bunting exactly where Nancy reported it, on the slope past the bathroom of the group campsite. It was singing VERY loudly (drowning out the other birds really) and changing bushes often. That was Friday afternoon, on Saturday morning I could hear it again but it was much further up the hill out of view from the trail and I was unable to find it.  I also had the happy surprise of seeing Lake Cuyamaca's Bald Eagle while hiking the Stonewall Mine trail. He was sitting in a very good spot where the trail comes close to the lake itself.
If anyone would like to see photos they are on my checklists below: - Indigo Bunting - Bald Eagle

Andrew Newmark

Gray Catbird at FRNC 5/11

James Pawlicki

Along east fenceline south of Euc Grove about here: 32.6857181, -117.2427474 this morning around 8 am. In shrubs behind fence, perching on fence, and also in adjacent ficus trees.

Also a female Purple Martin overhead at Cabrillo NM this AM.

Jim Pawlicki
La Mesa

Chestnut-sided Warbler in Borrego

Robert Theriault

Re the CSWA... I sign off as Bob Theriault / Borrego Springs...

Chestnut-sided Warbler in Borrego

Robert Theriault

This afternoon Paulette Ache found a stunning male Chestnut-sided Warbler at de Anza Country Club, quite rare out here in far east San Diego County! 

Re: Tundra or Trumpeter Swan at Batiquitos Lagoon Again

Nancy Christensen

Thanks Justyn! 

Nancy Christensen

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.
Chinese Proverb

On May 10, 2019, at 5:03 PM, Justyn Stahl <justyn.stahl@...> wrote:

To me, and a few others, this bird appears to be a TRUMPETER Swan. Unfortunately, given the presence of a pair of pet Trumpeter Swans at Lake San Marcos (just 5 miles east of Batiquitos, where there are also Black Swans, etc. on display), and an apparently successful breeding attempt by that pair in 2016 that produced 5 young, one could (should?) surmise that this one, and the one seen a few months ago are of that ilk and not of truly natural origin. This of course muddies the situation for any future reports of Trumpeter Swan anywhere in the county, and also increases the need for good photographs of Tundra Swans that do occur occasionally in the county in *winter* (12 November - 18 March, per the atlas). 

Justyn Stahl
San Clemente Island, where no swans, black or white, have been reported

On Fri, May 10, 2019 at 2:31 PM Denise Riddle <driddle1855@...> wrote:
At the monthly bird count this morning we again saw the swan in the east end of the lagoon off Chollas Point. Got better photos this time. See e-bird for photos.

Denise Riddle/iPad