Common Goldeneye, Lake Jennings Saturday afternoon

Jeremiah Stock

One Common Goldeneye in eastern arm of Lake Jennings, seen around 4:15 PM on Saturday March 4.  Bird had all brown head and all black bill.  Bill was large and head triangular.

Jeremiah Stock

Santee, CA


Super-belated Hammond's report from El Monte CP - 2/26/17

Steve Ritt

Mel's report of the Hammond's Fly at Balboa reminded me that I never posted about one that was at El Monte County Park in Lakeside last Sunday during the bird fest. It was just behind and east of the caretaker's house there, and extremely tricky to see/refind, as is often the case with Hammond's. But, though I'd mention it in case anyone wants to try another location. The rangers were told about it. Sorry for the late report; I'm now sick after pushing well beyond exhaustion for two weeks that ended days after the bird fest.

At least a dozen Lawrence's Goldfinches were in the Amsinckia/Fiddleneck fields about a mile west of the park as well. The continuing, returning Green-tailed Towhee also showed itself at the Tijuana Slough NWR visitors center that morning. The Painted Redstart continued at Crown Point.

On Wednesday, 3/1/17, a Black-throated Gray Warbler was at Maya St. x Jaeger Rd. in Spring Valley.

Steve Ritt
San Diego, CA

Eastern Phoebe at Whelan Lake

Alex Bairstow

An Eastern Phoebe was seen by many today during the monthly Whelan Lake walk. The bird was frequenting the shrubs just northeast of the lake, near the trail that leads down to the wastewater plant. It spent a lot of time deep in the brush, and only came out in the open for a few minutes. Photo in the eBird checklist below:

Alex Bairstow


Ancient Murrelets offshore

Ryan Andrews

Four birders aboard the Privateer including Raymond VanBuskirk, Michael Hilchey, Max Leibowitz, and myself saw four Ancient Murrelets about four and a half miles offshore Mission Bay. Photos to come on eBird.

Ryan Andrews
Valley Center

Continuing Hammonds Flycatcher at Balboa park

Mel Senac

The Hammons flycatcher is present in the open at 11 AM on Saturday March 4. Presently perched in short pine above and immediately adjacent to canyon just South of Marston House.
Also the pair of Bullocks Orioles are continuing at the Grape Street Dog Park in the flowering Coral tree.
Mel Senac
La Jolla

Oceanside March 3

Kenneth Weaver

I observed three Greater White-fronted Geese in the flooded field north of the east end
of the Oceanside Airport this morning about 9:00.  They were also present when I
passed by again about 11:00.  The birds, if still present, can be seen from the bike trail
or from Alex Road. 

Two Black Skimmers rested on the beach north of the San Luis Rey River.  My earliest
record of this bird is Feb. 28.  I frequently see the skimmer offshore in the summer, but
they rarely roost at this easily accessible site and are not common in the late winter/
early spring.  Both birds were rather confiding.  A first-year Glaucous-winged Gull at the
same location was the only other “somewhat rare” bird that I noted.

Ken Weaver

North American Birds - Winter 2016-2017.

Guy McCaskie

County Coordinators/Contributors:

The Winter Season (1 December 2016 through 28 February 2017) is ended, and we solicit reports for inclusion in the Southern California Region of NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS. Reports should be arranged with species in the taxonomic order followed by the American Ornithologists Union (Check-List of North American Birds 1998 and all Supplements). Reports of species included on the California Bird Records Committee (CBRC) review list

must be accompanied by documentation (written description, photographs, etc.). Similar documentation should also accompany reports of species exceptional for the location or season. Full names, with all initials, should be used in the reports (this reduces the potential for different observers having the same initials, and makes it simpler to acknowledge contributors).

Reports should be sent to the appropriate County Coordinators (listed below) or directly to Guy McCaskie. Reports for this season must be received priorto 24 March 2017. NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS can’t exist without your input.

David Compton (Santa Barbara County)
736 Cieneguitas, # F
Santa Barbara, CA 93110

Tom M. Edell (San Luis Obispo County)
46 8th Street
Cayucos, CA 93430

Kimball L. Garrett (Los Angeles County)
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Chet McGaugh (Riverside County 
194 W. Broadbent Drive
Riverside, CA 92507

Kelli Heindel-Levinson
1819 Locust Ravine
Bakersfield, Ca 93306

Tom and Jo Heindel (Inyo County)
PO Box 400
Big Pine, CA 93513

Adam Searcy (Ventura County)
2420 Balmoral Ct.
Camarillo, CA 93010

Alexander E. Koonce (San Bernardino County)
1357 Paige Lane
Redlands, CA 92373-6878

Guy McCaskie (San Diego and Imperial County)
954 Grove Avenue
Imperial Beach, CA 91932

Douglas R. Willick (Orange County)
236 S Batavia St #E
Orange CA 92868

We thank you in advance for your time and effort.

Guy McCaskie and Kimball L. Garrett.



Large group of scrub jays

Craig Denson

In my backyard on the edge of Tecolote Canyon this morning, a group of at least 10 scrub jays were flying in and out of a few trees and making a great deal of squawking. It looked like it might be some kind of mating behavior, but whatever it was I've never seen this before.
Are other populations with more communal behaviors moving in to our area?


San Luis Rey River mouth this morning

Greg Gillson

The river this morning was rushing into the sea. All cattails previously west of the bridge are now strewn along the beach northward.

I heard one each Sora and Virginia Rail east of the bridge. 

4 Black-crowned Night Herons were working the river edges at sunrise.

Two Mew Gulls were on the beach.

Greg Gillson

Reddish Egret at San Dieguito 2-26-17

Elizabeth Copper

An immature reddish egret was at San Dieguito yesterday afternoon -perhaps the wandering Batiquitos bird.  It would have been visible from San Dieguito/Racetrack Drive.  This is the first I have seen at San Dieguito.


Elizabeth Copper


San Diego Bird Fest pelagic - 26 Feb

Justyn Stahl

The third and final San Diego Bird Festival pelagic trips on 26 February 
visited the 9-Mile Bank and waters off La Jolla. We had light seas for much of the day, with occasional light rain, and wind picking up around noon. Highlights were 5 Black-legged Kittiwakes, 2 Brown Boobies, 1 Sooty Shearwater, and cooperative Rhinoceros Auklets. 

Select seabird totals included:

Northern Fulmar: 1

Sooty Shearwater: 1

Black-vented Shearwater: 500


Pomarine Jaeger: 1

Parasitic Jaeger: 1

Scripps's Murrelet: 9

Cassin's Auklet: 11

Rhinoceros Auklet: 13

BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE: 5 (2 first-cycle, 3 adults)

Mew Gull: 1

The 2017 San Diego pelagic schedule is available at with the next trip schedule for 21 May. Early bird sign-ups save $20.

Justyn Stahl
San Diego

Great Egret (or White Morph Great Heron?)

Cynthia Burnham

Haven't seen these reported much.

There's a beautiful Great Egret or White Morph Great Heron - I seem to be struggling to differentiate - a singleton - which has been hanging out for the last month or so in a field in Descanso.  It has a yellow bill, and what look to me like blue/blue grey legs.  

The field is on River Drive, just past the school, on the right.  The field is shared with two horses, and is just before the chicken farm, and across from the fire station and the alpacas.
Cynthia Burnham, MBA, BCC

Hepatic Tanager-No, Lawrence's Goldfinch-Yes

Lisa Ruby


Met Terry Hurst at Marston House this morning where we ran into Max and at least four other birders. No love from the Hepatic Tanager. I got there around 7:50 am, others had been there before that. Left around 10:00-10:30.

From there I went to Sycamore Canyon Road in Poway where I had better luck and saw at least five Lawrence's Goldfinches. Sometimes takes a little patience as they bury themselves in the weeds and when everything gets flushed have to pick through many House Finches, Lesser Goldfinches and Yellow-rumped Warblers to find them. I saw them around the area with the fencing that has wood boards supporting wire near the corner of Sycamore Canyon Road and Garden Road. They also flew just a tad west and got much closer to the road. I have a distant photo with a male Lawrence's and male Lesser Goldfinch standing side by side for a nice comparison.

If anyone from the Bird Festival is staying and wants to try for the Lawrence's, and hasn't been up to Rangeland Road in Ramona, I'd recommend stopping to see the Lawrence's Goldfinches, and then head on up to Rangeland Road, since you'll be a good part of the way there once you get to Sycamore Canyon Road. Rangeland Road, San Diego is a hotspot in eBird and there are recent lists posted. A scope is recommended.

A few photos here and in eBird list:

eBird lists from both locations:

Marston House:

Sycamore Canyon Road:

Lisa Ruby
Sabre Springs

Three Lewis's Woodpeckers at two locations

Greg Gillson

Two were in dead or mistletoe-infested sycamore trees 1/4 mile east of restaurant at Lake Henshaw at paved pullout where reported regularly the past couple of weeks. 

Earlier, a Lewis's was in a burned snag about 6 miles up Palomar Mountain on Nate Harrison Grade. Couldn't get through one sloppy mess very near the top with two-wheel drive, so turned around. Probably could have made it through starting from top, but tricky without 4-wheel drive.

Greg Gillson

Glaucous-winged Gulls Oceanside

stevan brad

For the visitors that might want to see first cycle Claucous-winged Gulls,  there were 3 near the west end of the San Luis Rey.  Photos and location in my ebird report  Hope all had/are having  a good time here in SD

steve brad


San Diego Bird Festival pelagic trips: 24 & 25 Feb

Paul Lehman

The San Diego Bird Festival pelagic trips on both 24 & 25 February visited the 9-Mile Bank and waters off La Jolla. The 24th started out bumpy but calmed down, and the 25th had light seas all day. Highlights were 6 Ancient Murrelets, Black-legged Kittiwake, several Brown Boobies, and a very unseasonal Common Tern. Select seabird totals included:

24 FEB, 25 FEB

Pomarine Jaeger: 1, 1

Scripps's Murrelet: 25, 45

ANCIENT MURRELET: 0, 6 (photo'd fly-by's, missed by most on board)

Cassin's Auklet: 18, 7

Rhinoceros Auklet: 0, 11

Pomarine Jaeger: 1, 1

BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE: 0, 1 (first-cycle)

COMMON TERN: 0, 1 (first-cycle, 14.2 nm W of Mission Bay; very unusual this time of year)

Northern Fulmar: 2, 1

Black-vented Shearwater: 2200, 1900


A third and final trip will take place tomorrow, Sunday.

--Paul Lehman, San Diego

Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker @ Lake Murray (Feb 25, 2017)

Eitan Altman

SDBirders - On this morning's Lake Murray tour for the SDBF, a surprising find was an apparently pure YELLOW-SHAFTED Northern Flicker.  

The bird was sighted in the trees and shrubs a bit to the west of the tennis courts on the west side of Lake Murray (west of the ballfields off Murray Park Drive).  I added some mediocre phone-scoped docushots to my eBird checklist so I would welcome feedback if anyone thinks this bird shows signs of being an intergrade:

Tour participants with big lenses should have even better shots which I will add to the eBird checklist if possible.

It was a gorgeous morning at Lake Murray, with clear skies and cool weather and plenty of bird activity.  We saw almost 60 species for the day, with great looks at CALIFORNIA GNATCATCHER among other coastal sage scrub specialties, plenty of "I care because they're countable" SCALY-BREASTED MUNIAS, and 4-5 separate adult male ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRDS who seemed to be getting territorial in various spots.  We spent most of the morning on the west side, but a quick check of the main parking lot off Kiowa Dr just before heading back yielded a pair of female TRICOLORED BLACKBIRDS scrounging in the dirt near the boat dock with Brewer's Blackbirds and Great-tailed Grackles.

Eitan Altman

San Carlos

Re: Hepatic Tanager

Philip Unitt

Dear friends,

Yes, 10 participants in the Natural History Museum field trip for the San Diego Bird Festival got good looks at the Hepatic Tanager as soon as we arrived at the Marston House—some other birders already had it spotted high in the crown of a eucalyptus. It moved around also in the big oak, a cedar, and a jacaranda tree along 6th Ave. Still flying strong at the age of at least 7 years. We also walked a loop around Morley Field and were able to approach closely to a few Horned Larks at the north end of the old dump and a female California Gnatcatcher at the edge of Florida Canyon.

Then we went to the San Diego Natural History Museum for a tour of the bird collection, including a comparison of the Hepatic Tanager with both subspecies of the Summer Tanager. I demonstrated bird skinning on a Sharp-shinned Hawk that flew into a window yesterday at the Wesley Palms retirement home in Pacific Beach. Being able to confirm the sex (as female) by dissection cleared up any possible question of Cooper’s versus Sharp-shinned.

Thanks to all the participants for a great morning.

Good birding,

Philip Unitt

San Diego

From: SanDiegoRegionBirding@... [mailto:SanDiegoRegionBirding@...] On Behalf Of Gail gdelalla@... [SanDiegoRegionBirding]
Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2017 8:16 AM
To: SanDiegoRegionBirding@...
Subject: [SanDiegoRegionBirding] Hepatic Tanager

Hepatic Tanager visible now at Marston House front yard Eucalyptus tree high branches.

Gail DeLalla
Solana Beach

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Checked by AVG - <>
Version: 2016.0.7998 / Virus Database: 4756/14023 - Release Date: 02/25/17

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Rangeland Road, Lake Hodges, Sat. a.m.

phil Pryde

        At about 9:30 Sat. Morning an imm. Snow Goose was being observed by numerous birders on Rangeland Road, about halfway down the road in a field on the west side.  It was snoozing, so bill was hidden, but the amount of grayish tint on head and streaking on wings strongly suggested a Snow rather than the lighter imm. Ross’s.  
       The Rangeland Road Bald Eagle nest (near end of road, east side) was occupied by one adult (same time on Sat. a.m.). 
       The Lake Henshaw LewIs’s Woodpeckers were right where Brennan described on Feb. 22. 
Phil Pryde 
San Diego

San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count - next Sunday, March 5th

Jayne Lesley

This is a reminder that the March 2017 San Dieguito Lagoon monthly bird count is next Sunday, March 5th.  Everyone is welcome. 

We will meet at 7:30 AM at the south end of San Andres Dr. (Turn right/south off of Via de la Valle heading east from Hwy 5.  San Andres dead ends at the lagoon).  We divide into groups to count 5 areas, and coordinate with park rangers to provide vests and access for restricted areas.  

We gather to tally our results at noon at the Del Mar Public Works parking lot/picnic tables.  (Turn west off of Jimmy Durante Rd. just south of the Fairgrounds and bridge crossing the San Dieguito River.) Bring water and a snack or lunch.

Hope to see you next Sunday at the count! 

Jayne Lesley  (cell phone: 858-663-6568)  (e-mail: jaynelesley@...)