mid-winter county totals (some new high records) for various scarce and rare landbirds


The past couple days, my only new birds of minor interest have been 2 Yellow Warblers at Liberty Station and a flock of 6 Western Tanagers along Rose Creek just below the Garnet bridge, both locations are regular wintering sites for these species.

Given that we are now about half way through the winter season 2020-2021 (Dec-Feb), it seemed like a good time to summarize the totals of a number of scarce and rare winter landbirds in San Diego County. Some record-high totals have been set for several of them. These Dec-Jan 2020-2021 totals, below, are the best I could figure using eBird data, posts on the SanDiegoRegionBirding listserv, and a few from folks' personal notes:

Pacific-slope Flycatcher: 7 in January (winter season record is 10)

Clay-colored Sparrow: 7 in January (this winter's total of 13 is a new record)

White-throated Sparrow: 7 in January (winter season record is 11)

Green-tailed Towhee: 8 in January, 12 for Dec-Jan (former winter record was 8)

Bullock's Oriole: season total = 28 (winter season record is 47)

Nashville Warbler: 7 in January (winter season total is a new record)

Yellow Warbler: season total = 24 (winter season record is 31)

Black-thr. Gray Warbler: season total = 24 (winter season record is 35)

Wilson's Warbler: season total = 32 (previous winter record was 20)

Western Tanager: season total = 54 (winter season record is 66)

I've lost track of the exact numbers of Vermilion Flycatchers and out-of-range Purple Finches, but both are near or making records.

Several of the above species are found regularly in small numbers every December but then are substantially more difficult to find in January-February, including Nashville, Yellow, Black-thr. Gray, and Wilson's Warblers.

Species this winter at BELOW recent winter averages:

Plumbeous Vireo: only 4 so far in January

Summer Tanager: only 4 so far in January

--Paul Lehman, San Diego