October Empidonax misconceptions; Pacific Golden-Plovers


In the lowlands during October, the most likely Empidonax flycatcher is Pacific-slope, although any one of several other species occur although are much scarcer. In the mountains, however, by far the most likely October Empidonax is Hammonds, and it is in fact the default empid at higher elevations during the month. All other species would be rarer. Many reports of Pacific-slope Flycatcher there are fraught with likely error, and although they undoubtedly occur in small numbers, it is very likely that they are over-reported in the mountains at this time of the season. The culprit is that Hammonds are in fresh plumage now and so they are heavily washed with yellow underneath, and a good number of them show at least a faint teardrop shape to the eyering.

Totally changing gears, earlier today, Thursday, there were four Pacific Golden-Plovers roosting with a very large number of Black-bellies at high tide in the Salt Works impoundment where the Little Stint is seen, when it is seen, off the end of 10th and 11th. I have been told that the Goldens have not been seen at the Tijuana River mouth for a number of weeks now, so it is possible that at least some of these birds today at the Salt Works are the same individuals and have shifted roost sites for the time being. Time will tell.

Approximately 57 Greater White-fronted geese continue at the North Island golf course, and a getting-late Western Wood-Pewee continues along the border of NASNI and Coronado.

Paul Lehman, San Diego