Uncommon Shorebirds - San Dieguito Lagoon Dust Devil Trail

King, Dan

A check this afternoon (Sat. August 24) at the subject location off El Camino Real turned up two Lesser Yellowlegs and a Solitary Sandpiper among the more common shorebirds present.  The latter conveniently revealed itself when the mixed flock briefly flushed, and the Solitary called a few times before landing in the open; otherwise, I likely wouldn’t have picked it out of the weeds and heat haze.  Also of potential interest were six Red-necked Phalaropes and one Wilson’s Phalarope. 

Dan King
San Diego

If Howell and Zufelt 2019 is correct, then it was a Nazca Booby today at the Cove

Stan Walens

The booby this morning at La Jolla Cove was a near adult, somewhere in late 2nd-cycle.
It showed, as Dan Jehl described, basically all white plumage on body and wings except for the black remiges, some brown speckling to the upperwing coverts and back, and a brownish head.

Howell and Zufelt’s new Oceanic Birds book says [pp. 306-07] that 2nd-cycle Nazca boobies show a brown shawl to the crown and nape, whereas Masked boobies at that age show a white head and neck.

So even not having seen the bill very well [although I thought it was orangey at the base], this field mark of the brown crown and nape on an otherwise near-adult bird, if correct, would identify the bird as a Nazca.

As Dan mentioned, it was very similar in plumage to the bird seen at Dana Point until a week or so ago.
Also, it was no more than 200 yards offshore, heading south in a direct fashion.

Stan Walens, San Diego
August 24, 2019; 3:10 pm

Agua Dulce Creek, Laguna Mountains – Red Crossbills, 24 August 2019

Gary Nunn

I decided to follow up on an eBird report of two Red Crossbill seen and heard by Manolo Turner on 18 August 2019 at Agua Dulce Creek in the Laguna Mountains.  Any excuse to take a hike down this perennial creek is good with me!  Manolo had made a sound recording by iPhone, included in the eBird report, and I thought it sounded very good for crossbills.

A lot of bird activity was evident around the visible water sources along the creek bed so looked promising.  Sure enough, on arrival at the exact spot described by Manolo Turner in the eBird report, I immediately heard two Red Crossbills calling!  After some listening and watching the two birds came in to an open water area in the creek bed.  This water is a short distance back up the trail from the Y junction described in the original report, copied here: Location: from the (Agua Dulce Creek) pump house, cross the creek and turn left on the single track trail down hill to the junction with the wider dirt "fire road" trail and go straight on the "fire road"continuing down hill. Continue for some time on this road to the "Y" in the road. The birds were located near this "Y".

I put some photographs and a nice quality audio recording I made in my eBird checklist here

Based on vocalization these sound like "Ponderosa Pine", also called Type 2, the most commonly encountered form here in southern California.

Quite a good selection of birds at the creek bed water sources including Audubon's (Yellow-rumped) Warbler), Hermit Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, many Wilson's Warbler, Purple Finches.  Also two Cassin's Vireo occasionally starting up in short bouts of song.

Gary Nunn
Pacific Beach

Black and White Booby at LJ Cove and other pelagic birds

dan jehl

This morning I arrived before sunrise at La Jolla Cove for a seawatch. Good numbers of Black-vented Shearwaters were rafting about 3/4 mile offshore, at least 600 on the water and others streaming south. Stan Walens arrived about 6:40 and mentioned that it felt like a good day for a black and white booby. Sure enough, at 7:24 Stan spotted an immature black and white booby flying south. I didn’t get a look at the bill but Stan thought it looked orange at the base. It was in similar plumage to the Nazca Booby that was hanging out at Dana Point recently, perhaps even the same bird.

Also seen were about half a dozen storm-petrels, one definitely an Ashy and the others probably the same. A Sooty Shearwater was seen flying south above the BVSH flock, and both Parasitic and Pomarine Jaegers were harassing the large numbers of Elegant Terns flying north towards the bait boat off Del Mar. A couple of probable Common Terns were sitting on some drifting kelp as well.

Activity slowed by 8:30 so we called it a day.

Dan Jehl
San Diego

San Dieguito Monthly Bird Survey - Next Sunday, September 1st.

Jayne Lesley

This is a reminder about the next San Dieguito monthly bird count. The September 2019 bird count is on the first Sunday - next Sunday, September 1st. We are now in our tenth year of collecting bird data at the San Dieguito Lagoon.

Everyone is welcome - interested, beginners, visitors, experienced birders.

We will meet at the usual time and place: 7:30 AM at the south end of San Andres. (Turn right/south off of Via De La Valle, on the east side of I5. San Andres dead ends at the San Dieguito Lagoon.) We coordinate with park rangers to provide vests and access for the restricted areas. We'll divide into five groups to count the different areas.

We gather to tally our results at noon at the Del Mar Public Works parking lot/picnic tables off Jimmy Durante Rd.

Hope to see you next Sunday for another great day of birding.

Jayne Lesley (cell phone: 858-663-6568)

yellow crowned nght heron batiquitos correction

stevan brad

I attached the wrong ebird report to my SDRB report
the correct link is

steve brad

Yellow-crowned Night-Herons at Batiquitos

stevan brad

A number of us have observed for a couple of weeks now 1  Adult Yellow-crowned Night-heron and up to 3 Juvi`s.  Today Friday I observed 2 adults and one juvi. I took some bad photos of the 2 adults.....  so there may be up to 5 birds
If you happen to go there i may have observed a Solitary Sandpiper, my looks were bad and photos worse and its MORE  likely a spotted sandpiper thats been there for awhile.....but i might not be...

good birding  your way
steve brad

Whale watching trip


Birds were overall fairly sparse on Thursday morning's Privateer trip. Highlights were an adult Long-tailed Jaeger, adult Pomarine Jaeger, single Brown Booby, and one Parasitic/Long-tailed Jaeger.


Solitary Sandpiper Robb Field Mudflats

Nathan French

Sorry for the hasty update earlier. SOSA was at Mudflats hotspot near Robb Field OB approximately here (32.7554593, -117.2423973) at 8:30 but I was unable to relocate it after it flushed. A pair of Cooper’s Hawks and lots of loose dogs kept everything moving around.

Nathan French

Solitary Sandpiper at Mudflats

Nathan French

Found around 8:30 AM near the first few parking spots. Flew to westernmost pond and is still there.

Nathan French

bird & butterfly garden drip


If you've visited the bird and butterfly garden lately you'll notice the drip has been shut off.  The Ranger in charge says that it is only temporary, that there is a leak and they are waiting for a plumber.

La Jolla Cove, Aug 20, 2019: storm-petrels

Stan Walens

After days without any storm-petrels in the Cove, today I watched as a dozen or so Ashy Storm-petrels flew in from the south.
They were working the near patch of smooth water directly north from my bench [so in line with the 2-mile buoy off of Del Mar].
A very few Black Storm-petrels were much further out in the canyon.
I got a brief glimpse of a smaller storm-petrel, possibly a Least, but not seen well enough to identify for sure.

I also wanted to note that, if the Masked Booby reported on a whale-watching trip turns out to be that species, in a 24-hour period on August 17–18, all 5 species of booby were seen in San Diego County.

Stan Walens, San Diego
August 20, 2019; 9:45 am

Laguna Mtns.--Agua Dulce Creek

Larry Edwards

I saw two immature MacGillivray's Warblers this morning, previously reported by Nancy Christianson; uncooperative in terms of photos, being low in the bushes along the creek and in deep shade. Also a couple of immature Western Wood-Pewees. The creek is still running, but quite low.

Pleasant early morning -- about 60 degrees when I arrived at 7 a.m. -- but got quite warm by 10.

Anyone going to the area, be advised -- after 7 a.m. construction crews have sections of Sunrise Hwy down to one lane between the freeway exit and the village, so expect delays; weekends probably not affected.
Larry Edwards
San Diego, CA

RFI Ridgway’s Rail

Andrew Culshaw

Hi Everyone

I’ll be in San Diego next week with 3 days free for birding. I’ve got a couple of whale trips lined up but would like to try to see Ridgway’s Rail. Ebird suggests Tijuana Slough NWR is a place to see this and the general birding also seems good there. Looks like the trails around the visitor centre are favoured, but can anyone please recommend a particular area or any tips for connecting with the rail? Replies off list if you prefer. 

Good birding,
Andrew Culshaw,

Sunday Aug. 18, 2019 Buena Vista Audubon pelagic

David Povey

We had a good day offshore with some surprises, and an unplanned adventure.
First off a Red-footed Booby came into the boat twice for as close a look as anyone could hope. This bird about 22 n.miles west of the tip of Point Loma. 
Next was an adult Nazca Booby again came into the boat at about 26 n.miles from the Point. This bird right on the Mexican border and could be counted in both countries if one wished.
Last was a photographed Townsend's Storm-Petrel.
Other birds seen were Pink-footed, Sooty and Black-vented Shearwaters, Black, Ashy, Leach's chapmani, Storm-Petrels. Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, Parasitic Jaeger, Craveri's Murrelets, Cassin's Auklet, Sabine's Gulls, Common, Least, Elegant, Royal and Caspian Terns.
Also seen Elephant seal, California Sea Lion, Common and inshore Bottle-nosed Dolphin.
and last a Mako Shark.
Then the adventure. As we turned to move up the Thirty Mile Bank the starboard propeller shaft snapped, the prop slipped back into the rudder and we were dead in the water !! Now only able to turn circles on one engine. 
This required a crew member to go over the side and to tie off the prop shaft to pull the prop and shaft off the rudder. The first try broke the rope! The second try with a number of crew, passengers and leaders pulling succeeded.   We now had steering back but running on one engine. We worked and birded our way back to San Diego Bay.
Tough pill to take as the Thirty Mile Bank seemed to have a fair amount of life and further  exploration certainly would have been ideal. Still nice to know skill and knowledge of the crew got us home safely. Sad that we cut the trip some what short and that owner / Captain James will lose some of his prime fishing season to put the boat in the yard for repairs.
We will be back and ready to go for the next trip Sept. 22nd
Dave Povey

La Jolla Cove August 18, 2019: 2 black terns

Stan Walens

Went to the Cove while all the good birders in town are out on the pelagic trip. A gazillion dolphins, maybe 1500 black-vented shearwaters, hundreds of migrating phalaropes.
A pair of black terns was the highlight of the morning.

Then went to look for the common tern reported yesterday at Robb Field. No success there.

Stan Walens, San Diego
August 18, 2019; 12:20 pm

Swinhoe's (Japanese) White-eyes in Pt Loma

Sara Baase Mayers

Two Swinhoe's White-eyes were in our yard this morning (Aug. 18).  I puzzled over them for a long time, ruling out Nashville and Virginia's Warblers before I thought of white-eyes and looked up photos of them.  Based on the reports on eBird, these might be the southernmost. (I'll post a detailed description to eBird.)

Sara Mayers
Point Loma (San Diego)

Lesser Yellowlegs, Reddish Egret, N. Red Bishop

Justyn Stahl

The highlights from various locations in the TRV and the San Diego River today, 17 August included:

REDDISH EGRET continuing at J St.

A male NORTHERN RED BISHOP (ooh ahh) was at the mostly overgrown “stick pond” at Dairy Mart, where perhaps more notable was an adult LEAST TERN circling.

The sod farm actually had green irrigated sod but it was totally devoid of any birds.

An adult COMMON TERN was at the Robb Field stretch of the San Diego River, and up stream just east of the 2nd bridge (Old Sea World Drive), were three LESSER YELLOWLEGS.

Justyn Stahl, with Sadowski, Desnoyers, and visiting birder Ryan Shaw

Hornblower Aug 16 & La Jolla Cove, Aug 17: Black-vented shearwaters and a Franklin's gull

Stan Walens

Was out on the Hornblower yesterday. It was a mono-species day. Somewhere between 2000-2500 black-vented shearwaters. Hard to count because the boat turns in circles as it follows the one whale it finds. But one raft of black-vents was over 1000 birds. There were so many shearwaters circling the boat that even the Whalers were astonished. No other species of shearwater, no storm-petrels, no alcids [even though conditions were great for seeing them if there’d been any].

Almost the same today at the Cove except even more black-vents. I counted 120/minute streaming north into the canyon for close to an hour.
Probably somewhere around 5000 total, possibly more.
No other tubenoses. No boobies. No alcids.
Hundreds and hundreds of common dolphins everywhere, with swarms of shearwaters following them.

A first-winter Franklin’s gull was roosting on the rocks beneath my bench when I got there, but was almost immediately chased off by tourists trying to see how close they could get to the sea lions.
The gull flew deeper into the Cove and may have landed on the cliffs or headed to the beach at La Jolla Shores, but I was distracted by the multitudes of shearwaters and hoping for something besides a black-vent, and didn’t feel like chasing it.

Stan Walens, San Diego
August 17, 2019; 1:00 pm

Sunday Aug. 18, 2019 Buena Vista Audubon and Grande pelagic

David Povey

Just a reminder that the BVAS and Grande 12 hr. trip is this Sunday. 
Parking will be very tight.
Fishing is exceptionally good right now, several construction projects have cut into the local street parking, and to top it all off the America's Finest City Half Marathon will close off portions of Scott St., and North Harbor Dr. 
I highly recommend an early arrival to find parking, and check in at the H&M Landing office by 
6 a.m. the marathon starts at 6:15 a.m. out at Cabrillo. N.M.
I do plan to get the boat away from the dock on time  !
See you there,
Dave Povey