Agua Dulce Creek, Laguna Mountains – Red Crossbills, 24 August 2019
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 https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59229439
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.