Date   
Hermit Warbler, etc. at Dudley St. in Point Loma

Sara Baase Mayers
 

Yesterday and today, Keith and I looked for the Calliope Hummingbird Paul found yesterday; no luck.  But this morning, April 15, from 8 to 8:30AM, the bottlebrush trees and a few other nearby trees at the east end of (the paved part of) Dudley St. were very birdy. Standing essentially in one spot, we saw an adult male Hermit Warbler, three Nashville Warblers, one Rufous Hummingbird, at least three adult male Allen's Hummingbirds (probably more; they were moving around a lot), two pairs of Hooded orioles, one female Bullock's Oriole, and a few Orange-crowned Warblers, about a dozen Yellow-rumped Warblers, juncos, and goldfinches.

======================
Sara Mayers
Point Loma (San Diego)
======================

10 warbler species (locally) 15 Apr 2019

Paul Chad
 

Back in my prior years here, back in the 90's, not sure I recall ever reaching double-digit warblers in a day...

Just thought I'd report just enough today of migrating and breeding warblers to reach double-digits, stops around Point Loma, Presidio Park, and then hopping up to western Penasquitos Cyn for breeders. No surprises, just the ten warblers most expected today locally. For those who don't know: Yellow, Yellowthroat, Chat, Yellow-rump, Orange-cr, Wilson's, Townsend's, Hermit, Nashville, Black-thr Gray. It was neat!

Paul Chad
University City

warblers and the latest taxonomy...

Paul Chad
 

(as Guy McCaskie correctly reminded me) make my recent post: 9 warblers and 1 quasi-warbler, i.e. Chat,

Still a cool day of birding :-)

Paul Chad

La Jolla Cove April 17; +Scissor-tailed flycatcher in University City

Stan Walens
 

The Cove this morning was lovely, with clear skies and bright light.
Hundreds of common dolphins and 2 inshore bottlenose dolphins were feeding actively, and attracting a lot of birds.

Jay Desgrossellier was already there when I arrived a little late, at 6:45, and he had spotted some storm-petrels working the canyon edge to the north.
His eBird numbers are a bit lower than mine:
I counted 53 in one scan, and thought there might have been more a little further out.
Didn’t see anything that looked like anything other than a black storm-petrel.
If you go to look for these, a scope is essential, and early morning is best light.
Also, I counted between 80–100 black-vented shearwaters.
A single jaeger was the only other seabird. No idea on species.

At around 10:00, while driving in my neighborhood, I spotted a scissor-tailed flycatcher sitting on a wire at the corner of Gullstrand and Robbins Sts.
It was a relatively short-tailed individual, with only one set or possibly two sets of white-tipped feathers protruding beyond the black innermost rectrices.
Tail was noticeably graduated and forked even at that length.
Very white on head and body, contrasting with dark wings that lacked white bars.

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

Whale watching trip

peterginsburg
 

I joined 5 other birders on today's (17th) Privateer outing. Birding was quite good for a 3-hour trip staying relatively close to shore. Good numbers of Scripps's Murrelets, several Cassin's Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes, Black Storm-Petrels (all in one flock), Black-vented and Sooty Shearwaters, alternate plumaged Pacific Loons, two Brown Boobies, and a Parasitic Jaeger were seen. 
Non-avian highlights were 4 Fin Whales (one of which partially fluked--an occurrence rarely seen) and a Guadalupe Fur Seal.
Hopefully this bodes well for the 12 May pelagic trip. See sandiegopelagics.com for details.
Peter

visible migration (morning flight) at Mt. Soledad, incl. Townsend's Solitaire, Calliope (a bit Long)

lehman.paul@verizon.net
 

I made my first early-morning visit of this spring to Mount Soledad today (Thursday), given that the overnight and early-morning wind flow was from the ENE. As some of you know, and some of you don't, the top of Mount Soledad in La Jolla can be a great spot to witness visible migration in spring--otherwise known as a "morning flight"--of moderate to large numbers of landbirds. But the conditions have to be right: preferably an overnight and early morning wind/breeze flow from somewhere between the SE and N, but not with a westerly component. Calm conditions are OK, too, but much better to have that easterly component. And certainly avoid mornings when the top of the mountain is enveloped in fog. (But a high marine layer could be OK, and having marine overcast, some drizzle, or north/northwest post-frontal winds in May is what can be good there for Black Swifts.) So check the overnight and pre-dawn weather conditions before heading there. The morning flight starts in a delayed fashion after dawn, sometimes not until 30-45+ minutes after first light; and it continues on good days for up to 90 minutes or so, although on other days only for 30+ minutes. Today, the largest numbers of birds were delayed even a bit more than usual and passed by between 7:00-8:20 AM. The entrance gate to the park is signed to open at 7AM, but they usually have it open by 6:30. Even if locked, park just outside and walk in.  The best place to look at the birds flying by is anywhere between the 'saddle' just inside the gate and to farther inside near the planted pines, just before the loop road and flagpole/cross--the 'exact' best stretch varies from day to day (today it was across the saddle) and can change a bit depending on the hour and on the changing lighting, and the flight can be on a somewhat broad front, from even outside the entrance to the top of the mountain, so impossible for a single person to witness the whole thing, and certainly not to identify every bird! Best chance for good numbers of birds is probably from now (mid-April) through mid-May, with the peak in late April and early May.

This sort of birding may not be everyone's cup of tea, as it requires the ability to get on birds quickly and to identify most of them on the wing.  Some birds briefly pause in vegetation, but a majority do not. It IS a very fun and interesting different sort of birding than most of us practice, it is a challenge, and it can really be quite exciting on a good day. It is certainly the BEST site in coastal San Diego County to witness such a phenomenon in spring, even quite a bit better than on outer Point Loma (which can be good on a few days each season.) A few rarities may well be possible, especially later in spring, and today I had nice looks at a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE flying by at about 7:15AM. In previous years I've had a White-winged Dove and an almost-certain Northern Parula. Problem of course is by the time you have identified a rarity in flight, and then called it out, the person standing next to you may have already missed it!  Another really interesting thing about such morning-flights is that one can document the relative ratios of migrants on a given day pretty well, AND document the active migration of species that otherwise are very difficult to detect as true migrants, and thus better determine early and late dates for migration. For example, today I had a male Phainopepla fly over at moderate height, migrant Ash-throated Fly and Blue Grosbeak, and three different young male and female Hooded Orioles in seemingly clear migratory flight. OK, we ALL know exactly when the FIRST Hooded Orioles appear each year, over a month ago, in our yard and neighborhood--boy, do we!:-)--but how late in the spring is this species still migrating??  Also, some species which we do not think are migratory at all can sometimes be seen indeed doing just that. When I lived in Cape May NJ, famous for its morning flights of large numbers of migrant birds, one could document sizeable fall flights of, for example, flocks of House Finches and multiple Northern Mockingbirds flying by in clear migratory movements. Morning flights can also be witnessed at a site or two up in San Francisco city.

I am often out of town for a fair bit of spring, so over the years I have been able to visit Mount Soledad only a relatively small number of times when the weather conditions are good, so there is still lots to be learned about what makes or doesn't make for a good flight, and what species might turn up.

This morning's totals, 18 April, a medium day:

Western Kingbird:  5

Ash-throated Flycatcher:  1

Warbling Vireo:  15

TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE:  1

Cedar Waxwing:  20

PHAINOPEPLA:  1

"SLATE-COLORED" FOX SPARROW:  1  (getting late; yes, it was indeed seen perched!)

Hooded Oriole:  3

Bullock's Oriole:  4

Orange-crowned Warbler:  15

Yellow-rumped Warbler:  35

Townsend's Warbler:  15

Hermit Warbler:  1

Common Yellowthroat:  1

Wilson's Warbler:  8

warbler sp.:  10

Western Tanager:  15

Black-headed Grosbeak:  7

Blue Grosbeak:  1

Lazuli Bunting:  25

And lastly, just slightly downhill on the main road (Capri Drive) to the north from the entrance gate is an abandoned building and microwave tower on the right with a pullout and lots of heavily blooming bottlebrush (both outside and inside a small "No Trespassing" sign). A female CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD was there this morning.

--Paul Lehman,  San Diego

Canyon Wren

Alison Hiers
 

If anyone needs a Canyon Wren for their life/county/year list I have access to a private preserve in north county where I have seen & heard two wrens on three separate visits over the last month.  I'd be happy to take someone out however it does require some hiking.  Contact me off list.

American Bittern

Andy Brumbaugh
 

I observed an American Bittern feeding in an inlet from Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Bold stripping along neck and upper body. The Caltrans restoration area is and will increase in being an excellent birding area.

American Bittern
Great Blue Heron 2
Cliff Swallows. 5
Song Sparrows. 15+

Agua Caliente / desert

Nancy Christensen
 

Dear birders, I visited Agua Caliente again this morning. Most notable bird today was a White-throated Sparrow seen near the palms at the end of the Marsh Trail. There was also a Fox Sparrow in the same area. In the campground there were two Yellow-headed Blackbirds, who were very unpopular with the phainopeplas.

Overall, the number and variety of birds seems really low. This is the time period when I usually see peak numbers of many species there. I have yet to see a single Western Tanager on the desert. At Agua Caliente- no Bullock’s Orioles, no Warbling Vireos, no Mockingbirds, and only small numbers of warblers. Very small numbers of Costa’s Hummingbirds, although 2 weeks ago they were plentiful. Multiple Bell’s Vireos and Chats were present. The Palo Verde trees have not yet begun to bloom, though last year they were past their prime in the third week of April. The hillsides are covered with blooming brittlebush and there are acres of blooming ocotillo. It is possible that most of the birds have been attracted to blooming areas this year.

I checked a few spots around Borrego Springs as well. That area seems to have bloomed earlier than the more southern areas. The Palo Verde trees are about halfway in bloom, but the spots I checked had no WETA or LABU or warblers.

 

Nancy Christensen

Ramona

 

Baltimore Oriole at Nestor Park, 18 Apr

Barbara
 

This morning, I saw and photographed a female Baltimore Oriole in the large hedge of blooming bottlebrush and nearby eucalyptus bordering the southeast part of Nestor Park. It may well be the same Baltimore Oriole that was present during mid-December in the northern Tesoro Grove section, but which hadn't been reported since. Baltimore Orioles in CA in mid-April are likely to be lingering wintering birds rather than new, spring migrants, which don't typically arrive until well into May.

Barbara Carlson
San Diego

Re: Agua Caliente / desert

Lisa Ruby
 

Hi,

As a followup to Nancy's report, I camped with a few other birders at Agua Caliente from the evening of April 12th thru noon on April 15th. The best days were the 14th and 15th. The numbers of birds overall was way down from the same time last year, but last year seemed like an exceptional year out there.

On the 14th I saw three Western Tanagers, and I think one on the 15th. One Bullock's Oriole, I forget where that was now. Either the Nature Trail or the Marsh Trail. There were three or four vocal Bell's Vireos in the campground, one on the Nature Trail, one at the beginning of the Moonlight Trail, and a few along the last portions of the Marsh Trail. We saw quite a few Costa's Hummingbirds. They were scattered all around the campground and along the Nature Trail. Saw a few along the Marsh Trail. On the morning of the 15th there were a good number of Orange-crowned and Nashville Warblers around, and a small number of scattered Black-throated Greys. Wilson's were around the campground, and seemed to increase in numbers on the 14th and 15th. There were very small numbers of MacGillivray's Warblers. As usual, hard to actually see, but I did get decent looks at three. Some were in the campground, some on the Nature Trail. Didn't hear too many along the Marsh Trail.

We saw a few Pacific-slope Flycatchers. No Hammond's. This is the first time I haven't seen at least one Hammond's in that location during early to mid April.

On the 14th we heard one Scott's Oriole along the Marsh Trail. There were a good number of Hooded Orioles, scattered around pretty much everywhere there were trees. A few Black-headed Grosbeaks were around. There was a small number of Lazuli Buntings on the 14th and 15th.

On the evening of the 12th there was a very large flock of White-crowned Sparrows that gathered together in an area off the side of the Nature Trail close to the campsites. They were very vocal. I have a recording I still need to put on eBird. The sound was amazing.

Late morning at our campsite on the 15th, five Wilson's and one Yellow Warbler parked themselves in a blooming Tamarisk bush that was covered in some sort of smallish, black flying insects. The birds stayed all day feasting on the bugs.

If I don't see another Phainopepla for the rest of the year it won't bother me in the least.

Lisa Ruby
Sabre Springs

On 4/18/2019 2:34 PM, Nancy Christensen wrote:

Dear birders, I visited Agua Caliente again this morning. Most notable bird today was a White-throated Sparrow seen near the palms at the end of the Marsh Trail. There was also a Fox Sparrow in the same area. In the campground there were two Yellow-headed Blackbirds, who were very unpopular with the phainopeplas.

Overall, the number and variety of birds seems really low. This is the time period when I usually see peak numbers of many species there. I have yet to see a single Western Tanager on the desert. At Agua Caliente- no Bullock’s Orioles, no Warbling Vireos, no Mockingbirds, and only small numbers of warblers. Very small numbers of Costa’s Hummingbirds, although 2 weeks ago they were plentiful. Multiple Bell’s Vireos and Chats were present. The Palo Verde trees have not yet begun to bloom, though last year they were past their prime in the third week of April. The hillsides are covered with blooming brittlebush and there are acres of blooming ocotillo. It is possible that most of the birds have been attracted to blooming areas this year.

I checked a few spots around Borrego Springs as well. That area seems to have bloomed earlier than the more southern areas. The Palo Verde trees are about halfway in bloom, but the spots I checked had no WETA or LABU or warblers.

 

Nancy Christensen

Ramona

 



--
Lisa Ruby
Sabre Springs

The Feather Thief author (Kirk W. Johnson) speaking in La Jolla

Justyn Stahl
 

warwick’s presents
Kirk W. Johnson

THE FEATHER THIEF

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - 7:30pm

7812 Girard Avenue, La JollaCA 92037


On Tuesday, April 23rd at 7:30pm Warwick's will host Kirk Wallace Johnson as he discusses and signs his book, The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century. Kirk Wallace Johnson is the author of To Be a Friend Is Fatal and founder of the List Project. His writing has appeared in The New YorkerThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. He is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the American Academy in Berlin, and the USC Annenberg Center. This event is free and open to the public. Reserved Seating is available when the book is pre-ordered from Warwick's for the event. Only books purchased from Warwick's will be signed. Please call the Warwick's Book Dept. (858) 454-0347 for details.


In The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century, a high spirited true-crime adventure that spans centuries and crisscrosses the globe, Kirk Wallace Johnson draws on exhaustive research and hundreds of interviews to chronicle this stranger-than-fiction tale.

Johnson’s own entry into the story is just as unlikely as the crime itself. After working for USAID in Fallujah, he founded the List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies, which aimed to help thousands of Iraqis imperiled because of their service to the U.S. military obtain visas to emigrate to the United States. But over the course of eight years, as Johnson pressured Washington to act on their behalf – an effort documented by NPR’s This American Life and CBS’s 60 Minutes – the list only grew, and the pressures felt enormous. Johnson’s only escape was fly-fishing. It was on one such trip in New Mexico, when, waist high in a river, he first heard the name Edwin Rist.

Immediately transfixed by the strange story, and incensed by the fact that Rist had gone unpunished for a crime that had blown a gaping hole in the scientific record – the stolen birds surely held answers to questions that researchers haven’t yet thought to pose – Johnson was soon reading everything he could about the case. His curiosity soon snowballed into a worldwide, years-long investigation that took him deep inside the feather underground, infiltrating the fly-tiers’ private forums and pinning down the network of the feather thief’s customers in the hopes of retrieving the missing bird skins and returning them to their rightful place.  

A masterful work of narrative nonfiction, The Feather Thief is at once a gripping story of a museum heist and of one man’s relentless pursuit of justice, and an unexpected and profoundly insightful examination of the legacies of obsession, and our destructive impulse to harvest the beauty of nature. 


The above description copied from www.warwicks.com
-Justyn Stahl, North Park

Kitchen Creek Rd./Jacumba; late Vesper Sparrow (real and imagined)

lehman.paul@verizon.net
 

On Friday the 19th, a visit to Kitchen Creek Road in the early morning produced--and as reported by others over the past couple weeks--Gray Vireo just barely past mile marker 2 (a usual spot) and multiple Gray Vireos between about a quarter and half a mile east out the Pacific Coast Trail (another usual spot). Black-chinned Sparrows are scattered in good numbers, and there were a couple Mountain Quail just past MM2. No sign of any through-migrant landbirds, however.

At Jacumba, we had only a smallish-to-so-so number of migrants, just 1 White-winged Dove, many Lawrence's Goldfinch pairs are scattered all around town and easy to see, and the Tricolored Blackbirds are nesting at the pond/marsh near the west end of town, with a total of ca. 60+ birds coming and going with food (so, given that there are already young in the nest, fledging could easily happen within a week or ten days, or less). The least expected find of the visit was a getting-late Vesper Sparrow at the east edge of town. In looking up recent reports of this species unusually late in spring (latter April and May) via the eBird species maps, we found a number of pin-drop reports from May of singles and even small groups of birds from forested and semi-forested habitats on Mount Palomar! Clearly, these reports involved juvenile Dark-eyed Juncos--and indeed, the eBird reviewers have gotten them removed from those lists. But the records STILL appear as individual pin-drops with the basic data of date, location, and checklist number if you scroll your mouse over the pin without opening the full checklists up one by one. Very unfortunate, as it will certainly lead the casual data miner to get a very misleading impression of status for any species with number of invalidated records. (There were also a couple good May VESP records, such as from the Ramona Grasslands area one or two years ago.)

--Paul Lehman & Barbara Carlson,  San Diego

Townsend's Solitaire continuing in Point Loma since March 1

Sara Baase Mayers
 

I had seen a Townsend's Solitaire in the neighborhood March 1, so I was surprised to see one today, April 20, about 7:50AM, on Albion St. (near Dupont, near a large Torrey Pine).  Later I realized it is likely the same bird (see reason below). The bird is the "drab" version, with a small faintly rusty patch on the side of the wing.   It has a white eye ring and small dark bill and is plain light gray on the back and underside (including undertail coverts); it has some light edging on some of the wing feathers. It appears fluffy, almost like a young bird. It ate a few red berries and didn't seem to mind us (Keith and me) being quite close.  The only mark I didn't see was white at the outer edges of the tail when it flew around, but when it was perched I could see from the underside that the outer tail feathers were very light at the tips and along the outer half, with dark gray along the upper, inner half.  I returned after walking to the end of Silvergate, found the bird in the Torrey Pine, and spent 15 minutes trying to get a good photo with my phone (no luck).  But it was singing, very quietly, a lovely melodious song, similar to what the Sibley app calls its "continuous song."  I think the bird might be molting as the underside view of the tail seemed to show some very short feathers extending a little past the undertail coverts.  Eventually, the bird flew off, low, to the northeast.  I decided to stop at the end of Dudley on my way home to check the bottlebrush again.  To my astonishment, the Solitaire was perched on the wire at the end of Dudley near the top of the dirt path - exactly where I saw the bird on March 1.  So, if this bird was here almost two months, was it likely wintering?  (The SD Bird Atlas indicates that wintering in the coastal area would be very unlikely.)

     My walk along Silvergate also turned up a Lazuli Bunting and a Golden-crowned Sparrow.

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Sara Mayers
Point Loma (San Diego)
======================

Black-and-white Warbler - PLNU

Alex Abela
 

I stopped by Point Loma Nazarene University and birded the path along the eastern edge of campus this morning (April 20). After a slow start, activity picked up a little after 830, with the birdiest stretch between the parking garage and the locked Dupont gate. The highlight was a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER creeping along the branches of a large tree about 50 yards north of Dupont on the west side of the path. There were several Black-throated Gray and Nashville Warblers, and a Hermit Warbler present as well.

Alex Abela
San Diego, CA

off shore carlsbad and mission bay

stevan brad
 

fyi for the birding community
Pete Ginsburg and I observed about 200 Black storm Petrels this morning saturday  at around 8 just south of the the carlsbad power plant    a number of other expected species seen in big  numbers
couple days back pete I et al did the san diego whale watch 3 hour  pelagic out of mission bay  and had 23 scripps murelets which is the most i have ever seen in 1 day or at the least a few hours   1 very cooperative Guadalupe Fur seal too
good birding

steve brad
leucadia

Marbled Godwit, Ramona Grasslands

Jeremiah Stock
 

Saturday morning, April 20, there was a single Marbled Godwit in the ephemeral pond on the east side of Rangeland Road in the Ramona Grasslands.

Jeremiah Stock
Santee, CA
jscls@...

Lewis's Woodpecker continues in Descanso, 20 Apr

Barbara
 

A Lewis's Woodpecker continues on the utility poles in the area of 32.8587, -116.6102 or 24976-24926 Viejas Blvd. near Descanso. This bird was first reported by Jim P. yesterday. It moves around, however, as I didn't see it on my return drive through the same area. 

Wintering Lewis's Woodpeckers fairly regularly will remain as late as the beginning of May.

Barbara Carlson
San Diego

Cuyamaca Neotropics?

Jim Roberts GMAIL
 

The last ebird report on the Lake Cuyamaca Neotropic Cormorants was April 9.

Has anyone seen them since?

I am considering a drive up there on Tuesday.

 

                   Help please,

 

                      Jim Roberts

                 University City

LBVI at Lake Murray!

Barbara Kus
 

This morning I encountered a singing Least Bell’s Vireo at Lake Murray! First record that I’m aware of off the top of my head, although I’ll have to research it. He’s in the vicinity of San Carlos Bay.
Barb Kus