SE Balboa Park, 29 Feb 2020

Philip Unitt

Dear friends,


We enjoyed a good two hours of birding in Balboa Park this morning as part of the bird festival, before coming into the museum for a tour of the bird collection and demonstration of specimen preparation.


The biggest surprise was an adult male Orchard Oriole, in the trees at the bottom of the dip where Russ Blvd. dead ends between 26th and 28th streets (32.7195° N, 117.1352° W). As far as I know, this individual has not been reported previously. In the same tree was a female Yellow Warbler, which I’d seen previously there on 18 January. Also a Western Tanager stopped there briefly. On our second pass of the trees just north of the restroom along 28th Street, we saw the male Black-and-white Warbler and two Lark Sparrows. A couple of juncos were singing, more clue to that species’ spread as a breeding species through the park and the city of San Diego as a whole. At least two Chipping Sparrows. A pair of Cooper’s Hawks circled overhead, the male in display flight. Finally, a male Merlin perched very obligingly at length n a leafless eucalyptus tree.


On our way into the museum, in a cedar tree at the south end of the parking lot on the east side, we noticed a pair of Bushtits working on a nest. It was a classic situation for a Bushtit nest, woven around several slender parallel hanging twigs, supporting the nest from the side. I’ve seen Bushtit nests in the last week of February several times previously.


Good birding, and happy leap day,


Philip Unitt

San Diego

Tuck Russell

I ran into Millie and Peter Thomas this morning at this location, and together we refound the male Orchard Oriole at about 10AM (in the same tipu and bare cottonwoods in the dip described by Phil, before it absconded deep into the golf course), the female Yellow Warbler, and the Chipping Sparrows and Juncos.  The Black-and-White Warbler continued by the bathrooms.  

Before Millie and Peter left we had a mystery bird in the tipu that we never got good looks at, but seemed to be a female tanager or oriole.  After they left, I got better looks at this bird, which turned out to be a female Bullock's Oriole.  I managed adequate pictures of the orioles, along with perhaps my worst ever picture of a Townsend's Warbler, which are included in this checklist:

Tuck Russell