san diego

                                                                       BIRD SURVEYS OF

                                           COASTAL SAN DIEGO COUNTY

                                                           December 27, 2009 - January 1, 2010

                                                                         Callyn D. Yorke



                              Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) South San Diego Bay, January 1, 2010.                                      © 2010 Callyn D. Yorke


                                                                   SAN ELIJO LAGOON (62 Species)

                                                                               December 27, 2009

Weather: Fair: 47-57F; winds 2-5 mph. High Tide 1030 hrs. Surf 5-9 ft.(photo).

Time: 0739- 0910; 1529-1648 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and me.

                                                                                                                                                © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke

                                                                                                                                                        Swamis, Encinitas, CA  December 27, 2009.                           

Area Covered: 1) Western portion of San Elijo Lagoon (WSEL: 0739-0910; 1610-1648 hrs). We walked all the trails

beginning at the visitor center, surveying estuarine marsh, sloughs, open water, riparian and coastal sage scrub habitats.

Morning survey at high tide; afternoon survey at low tide. Used binoculars, scope and DSLR camera. Conditions on the trails

 were generally good for detecting bird vocalizations; a few hikers on the trails, otherwise quiet during the surveys. 

2) Eastern portion of San Elijo Lagoon (ESEL: 1529-1610 hrs.): From the parking lot at Mira Costa College, we crossed the busy roadway

and entered the trail bisecting the marsh into east and west halves. Our survey included parkland habitat at Mira Costa College,

adjacent coastal sage scrub and farmland, marshland and open water, using binoculars, scope and DSLR camera. Aside from

one other photographer and two hikers, the trails were vacant and conditions good for observing birds at close range. The purpose of our visit to the lagoon this afternoon was mainly to find species we may have overlooked this morning at high tide at WSEL and find new species for our day-list at ESEL.

                                       BIRDS NOTED

1) Gadwall  5 (m,f) WSEL   dabbling in the slough.

2) Mallard  6 (m,f)  WSEL  in the slough and marsh.

3) American Wigeon  25 (m,f)   ESEL  open water and marsh.

4) Northern Shoveler  1 (m) WSEL   in slough.

5) Northern Pintail  2 (m,f)  WSEL in slough.

6) Green-winged Teal  8 (m,f) WSEL  edge of slough;  2 ESEL muddy edge of marsh.

7) Canvasback  2 (f) WSEL  in slough.

8) Bufflehead  6 (m,f) WSEL in slough (photo).

9) Pied-billed Grebe  1  WSEL in slough.

10) Western Grebe  2  WSEL in slough (PM).

11) Double-crested Cormorant  20  WSEL  some on utility lines; others on shore.

12) Great Blue Heron  2 WSEL   S side of marsh.

13) Great Egret  1  ESEL  fishing in the shallows at close range (photo).

14) Little Blue Heron  1 WSEL  edge of slough near HWY 1 overpass.

15) Snowy Egret  3  WSEL   edge of slough, NWC.

16) Black-crowned Night Heron  1 (ad) WSEL  at edge of slough.

17) Osprey  1  WSEL  on low post, S side of lagoon.

18) Northern Harrier 1 (f) WSEL  flying low over S marsh.

19) Red-tailed Hawk 2  ESEL  in trees and soaring at edge of adjacent fields.

20) American Kestrel  1  WSEL on fence post SEC of marsh.

21) Virginia Rail  1 WSEL  calls from innundated riparian section along trail (unseen).

22) American Coot  200 ESEL  open water and marsh.

23) Black-bellied Plover 30   WSEL   crowded together at edge of slough.

24) Killdeer  2  WSEL  slough area; calls (unseen).

25) Long-billed Dowitcher  4  WSEL  muddy edge of slough (PM).

26) Short-billed Dowitcher  15  WSEL   edge of marsh.

27) Black-necked Stilt 1 WSEL  edge of marsh near overpass.

28) American Avocet  12  WSEL  wading, swimming and standing at edge of slough.

29) Spotted Sandpiper  1 WSEL  narrow muddy edge of slough.

30) Least Sandpiper  2  WSEL     "                                         "

31) Whimbrel  5   WSEL  resting on edge of slough.

32) Willet  50   WSEL      "                              "

33) Marbled Godwit  5  WSEL   "                    ".

34) Wilson's Snipe  2   WSEL  flying low over marsh, NW.

35) Ring-billed Gull  10 (ad, imm)   ESEL  10  resting in open water.

36) California Gull  2  (ad) WSEL   flying over marsh.

37) Western Gull  2  (ad)  WSEL    "                      "

38) Mourning Dove 25  WSEL   on utility lines; some displaced by an incoming American Crow.

39) Belted Kingfisher  1 WSEL   flying low over slough; calls (PM).

40) Anna's Hummingbird  10  WSEL  conspicuous and vocal in riparian area.

41) Allen's Hummingbird  2  WSEL  flying and vocalizing in riparian area.

42) Nuttall's Woodpecker  1 (f) WSEL riparian edge; calls.

43) American Crow  5 WSEL   utility lines; flying and calling.

44) Western Scrub Jay  1  WSEL   riparian area; calls (PM).

45) Black Phoebe  2  ESEL  edge of marsh; sallying from base of tules.

46) Say's Phoebe  1  ESEL  edge of adjacent open field.

47) Cassin's Kingbird  2   ESEL   tall trees on the Mira Costa College campus; calls.

48) Bushtit  10 WSEL  vocal flock in riparian area.

49) House Wren  3   WSEL   riparian area; scold calls.

50) Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2   WSEL   riparian area; calls.

51) Gnatchatcher sp.   1  WSEL    riparian- coastal sage edge area; called once (unseen).

52) Northern Mockingbird  1  WSEL   riparian area; calls.

53) European Starling  6  ESEL  tall trees and utility lines; calls imitating killdeer and fragments of vocalizations of other birds.

54) Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)   WSEL   2   riparian area; vocal and active in mid-level to canopy.

55) Common Yellowthroat  6  WSEL   marsh and edge of riparian; calls.

56) Spotted Towhee  1  WSEL  dense riparian undergrowth; calls.

57) California Towhee  1  WSEL  edge of riparian, on ground.

58) Song Sparrow  15  WSEL  riparian and edge of marsh; active and highly vocal (calls and song).

59) Belding's Savannah Sparrow  10  WSEL  marsh and edge of riparian along boardwalk; calls.

60) Lincoln's Sparrow  2   WSEL   riparian edge; calls.

61) White-crowned Sparrow   6  WSEL   riparian; calls and song.

62) House Finch  15  WSEL  riparian; calls and song.


                                            Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) West San Elijo Lagoon, San Diego County, CA                              © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke



                                               IMPERIAL BEACH AND LA  JOLLA  (24 Species)

                                                                                  December 28, 2009

Weather: Fair, 65 to 70F. Winds WNW 5-7 mph. High Tide at about 1030 hrs. Surf 6-10 ft.

Time: 0940-1040 hrs (IMP); 1230-1450 hrs. (LJ).

Observers:  Merissa Mendez and me.

Area Covered:  1) Imperial Beach and Pier (IMP): We parked about 1/2 mile north of the Imperial Beach Pier and walked south on the beach to the Pier, surveying

nearshore waters, breakwaters and the beach (fairly crowded with families). We used binoculars, scope and a DSLR camera. The pier was

undergoing noisy renovations at both ends, but was passable with brief delays while workmen replaced the boardwalk planks. A few fishermen and a steady stream of visitors were on the pier during our survey. Visibility was good for scoping the near-shore waters, but the vibrations from foot traffic and heavy surf made identifications  of distant birds difficult 2) We drove into the congested streets of LaJolla (LJ)and parked near the shore overlooking tidal flats. After lunch, we walked through the town, surveying gardens using binoculars, then down along the path overlooking Children's Beach and cove, which was crowded with visitors. Birdlife was minimal; the big attraction was a large group of harbor seals hauled out on the beach and a couple of young surfers off the point.


      Surf Scoter (Melinitta  perspicillata)   Coronado Harbor, San Diego, January 1, 2010.                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                © 2010 Callyn D. Yorke



1) Surf Scoter  40 (m,f)  IMP    scattered groups off shore; one f near the pier.

2) White-winged Scoter ? 2 (f) IMP   mixed in with SSC; too distant to identify.

3) Common Loon  1  IMP  200 yards offshore.

4) Western Grebe  3   IMP  100 yards offshore.

5) Brown Pelican  2 IMP  flying ; 6  LJ  flying low along the coastline.

6) Double-crested Cormorant  1 LJ  flying N.

7) Brandt's Cormorant  1  IMP  resting on breakwater.

8) Pelagic Cormorant 1 LJ  flying low over water, N.

9) Spotted Sandpiper  1  LJ  on wet rocks.

10) Western Sandpiper  1  LJ  "     " .

11) Whimbrel  1  IMP  on breakwater.

12) Willet  1  IMP  on beach.

13) Ring-billed Gull  15 (ad, imm)   IMP  on beach; being chased by children.

14) Western Gull  25  (ad, imm)  IMP  on breakwater; flying; 30 LJ  cliffs, beach and offshore.

15) California Gull  10 (ad, imm)  LJ  cliffs and shoreline.

16) Heermann's Gull   25 (ad, imm)  IMP  on beach and breakwater; 30 LJ  cliffs and shoreline.

17) Rock Pigeon  10  IMP  in and around town and on the beach; 50 LJ on lawns, sea side cliffs and in town.

18) Anna's Hummingbird 1  LJ  garden in town; calls.

19) Black Phoebe  1  LJ   flycatching around dumpster in alley.

20) Say's Phoebe  2  IMP  in yards adjacent to the beach.

21) American Crow 2  LJ  in town; calls.

22) American Pipit  2  IMP  flying along the beach; calls.

23) Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 1 (m) LJ  garden with small trees in town; calls.

24) Orange-crowned Warbler   1  LJ                "                             ".


                              MOONLIGHT BEACH, ENCINITAS (22 Species)

                                                          December 29, 2009

Weather:  Fair. 49F.  Winds WNW 1-4 mph. High tide 1030 hrs. Surf 3-4 ft.

Time: 0740-0810 hrs.

Area Covered:  1) Moonlight Beach and adjacent areas, Encinitas (MBE): Surveyed a small riparian creek-side preserve at the SWC of HWY1 and "B" Street (BRP), beach, coastal cliffs, and nearshore waters, using a 10x42 binocular. 2) Continued by bicycle to the "D" Street overlook (DS), where a small portion of the beach and nearshore waters could be seen. The beach had abundant piles of kelp and about 30 feet of exposed shoreline. A few surfers were offshore.

                  BIRDS NOTED

1) Brown Pelican  1  DS  flying low in front of the breakers.

2) Black-bellied Plover  1 DS  foraging among piles of algae on beach.

3) Semipalmated Plover  1  DS   "                   ".

4) Least Sandpiper  5  DS   flying low and fast, S.

5) California Gull  10 MBE  resting on dune behind MB.

6) Western Gull  15  MBE  "                        ".

7) Ring-billed Gull  20  MBE  "                   ".

8) Heermann's Gull    4  MBE  "                 ".

9) Mourning Dove  5  MBE   roof-tops in adjacent residential area; one pair appeared 30% smaller than others.

10) Rock Pigeon  5  MBE   flying by.

11) Anna's Hummingbird  2   BRP  calls.

12) American Crow  2  MBE   Flying over; calls.

13) American Pipit  1  DS  foraging among piles of algae on beach.

14) Bushtit 5  BRP   active and vocal in shrubs.

15) Cedar Waxwing  4-6  BRP  calls from tall trees (unseen).

16) Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's and 1 Myrtle) 5  BRP  active and vocal in trees and shrubs.

17) Common Yellowthroat  2  BRP

18) California Towhee  1  BRP  calls from dense brush.

19) House Finch  5  BRP   in willows; calls.

20) American Goldfinch  5  BRP  in willows; calls.

21) Song Sparrow  3   BRP  active and vocal in understory vegetation along creek.

22) House Sparrow  5  BRP and adjacent gardens; calls.


                                          CABRILLO NATIONAL MONUMENT

                                                      POINT LOMA (23 Species)

                                                                   December 29, 2009


Weather: Mostly sunny. 60 to 64F; WNW winds 5-12 mph. Surf 3-5 ft.

Time: 1030-1337 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and me.

Area Covered:  1) Cabrillo National Monument visitor center and surrounding coastal sage scrub (VC). We walked the trails around the visitor center

surveying pines, coastal sage scrub on exposed hilltops with panoramic views of San Diego and the coastline, using binoculars. Hundreds of holiday visitors in the monument during our survey. Birdlife was nonetheless abundant, especially in the gardens around the visitor center.  2) We then drove down to the northernmost

parking area along the western shoreline of Point Loma (PL)and walked the roadway and trail S along the cliffs overlooking tidepools and the nearshore waters. Rocks along the shore were pounded by heavy surf, leaving little space for shorebirds to forage. And combined with the large number of people in the tidepool areas (still a relatively high tide), birdlife was restricted mostly to the inaccessible cliffs and outside of the surf zone. Surveyed the coastal sage scrub along the cliffs and upslope of

the paved roadway.

                             BIRDS NOTED

1) Brown Pelican  30  PL   resting on cliffs with cormorants.

2) Double-crested Cormorant  10  PL  on cliffs; flying low near shore.

3) Brandt's Cormorant  25  PL   "                        "

4) Pelagic Cormorant  4  PL   "             ".

5) Western Gull  50 (ad, imm)   PL  on cliffs; flying.

6) Heermann's Gull  20  PL  "           ".

7) Willet  1  PL  on shore.

8) Black Turnstone  2  PL  foraging on wet rock shelf.

9) Wandering Tattler  1  PL  "                      ".

10) Least Sandpiper  6  PL  on wet rocks; flying low, N.

11) Red-tailed Hawk  2  (ad) VC  one in pine by armory building; one soaring on updrafts.

12) Western Scrub Jay  2  VC  one with USFWS metal band (unreadable); 1 PL flying down hillside.

13) Common Raven  2  PL  soaring along hillside.

14) Say's Phoebe  1  VC;  2  PL in open fields; edge of cliffs.

15) Black Phoebe  2  PL  open fields near shore.

16) Bewick's Wren  2  VC   one singing;  one preening.

17) Wrentit  2   VC    alternate singing from opposite brushy hillsides.

18) Ruby-crowned Kinglet   1  VC shrubs near pines; calls.

19) Spotted Towhee  1  VC  calls from dense cover.

20) California Towhee  2   VC and 2 PL  conspicuous and vocal.

21) California Thrasher  1  VC  singing weakly from hillside (unseen).

22) White-crowned Sparrow  6  VC,   4  PL; calls and song.

23) Savannah Sparrow  2  PL  active in roadside scrub; calls.


                                           BATIQUITOS LAGOON, CARLSBAD-ENCINITAS  (61 Species)

                                                                                            December 30, 2009


Weather: Overcast with light rain beginning at 1300 hrs. 63F. Winds WNW 5-10 mph. High Tide at about 1100 hrs.

Time: 0900-1240 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and me.

Area Covered: From a small parking area on Gabbiano Rd., between Encinitas and Carlsbad, we walked into the 610-acre Batiquitos Lagoon Ecological Reserve (BL), using the trails covering the northwest northern and northeastern shoreline (about 2.4 miles round-trip). We surveyed small sections of adjacent suburban gardens, coastal sage scrub, extensive Eucalyptus woodland bordering an estuarine marshland, mudflats (mostly in the NEC), shoreline, 300 + acres of open water and an isolated riparian strip (about 20 acres) in the eastern portion the lagoon, bordering El Camino Real. We used binoculars, scope and a DSLR camera. Numerous walkers (many with leashed dogs), joggers and a few casual birders were on the trails. Conditions for detecting birds and their vocalizations were generally favorable, except in the northwest corner near I-5, which was overwhelmingly noisy. The Aviara country club parallels the main northshore trail for about 1/3 mile; one section of the BL trail regularly receives stray golf balls, and could not be safely surveyed (a walker ahead of us was nearly struck by a golf ball ricocheting off a Eucalyptus tree). Aviara also has a small artificial pond divided by a waterfall, visible from the BL trail, which contained bird species not found elsewhere during our survey (e.g. Green Heron and Spotted Sandpiper).Folks on the trails seemed friendly; a couple of them asked in passing what birds we had seen.  However, as I have observed throughout California, most users of these wonderful ecological reserves appear to have little or no knowledge of the diverse community of plants and animals they support. Trail systems (often laboriously constructed and maintained by volunteers) are simply popular locations for a run or walking the dog. Visitor centers, often stocked with checklists, specimens, maps and natural history guides, are often bypassed or used primarily as a convenience store.

Back at the western BL trail head, we entered the small, but well-appointed visitor center and spoke with Robin, a volunteer who was finishing her shift. Robin, a recent immigrant from NYC, has taken a keen interest in the natural history of the lagoon and eagerly recorded one of our unusual sightings (.Stercorarius sp.) Handing us the May, 2004 checklist, Robin mentioned that about 300 species of bird have been recorded at BL (only 181 species are shown on the May, 2004 list; no species of Jaeger (Stercorarius) was on this list).

We subsequently drove to the east end of the lagoon and parked on a narrow, raised shoulder of El Camino Real, where I attempted (unsuccessfully) to obtain a usable photograph of a pair of White-tailed Kites seen there earlier through the scope from the northshore trail. Light showers began at about this time, forcing us to abandon further observations of birds using this relatively isolated, trail-less section of BL.

                         BIRDS NOTED

1) Mallard  10 (m,f) edge of lagoon.

2) Northern Pintail   4 (m)  close together at the edge of the lagoon.

3) Green-winged Teal  2 (m,f)  NE shore.

4) Gadwall  20 (m,f)  foraging in the NE lagoon and marsh.

5) American Wigeon  50 (m,f)   open water and edge of marsh.

6) Canvasback   20 (m,f)   SE edge of the lagoon.

7) Ring-necked Duck 5 (m,f) artificial pond in adjacent Lakeshore Mobile Home park (west side of I-5).

8) Lesser Scaup  50 (conservative est.) (m,f) scattered in open water.

9) Bufflehead  50 (conservative est.) (m,f) open water.

10) Red-breasted Merganser  1  (f)  open water.

11) Ruddy Duck  60 (conservative est.) (m,f)   open water.

12) Pied-billed Grebe 3  open water and edge.

13) Horned Grebe  1 open water, central-east.

14) Western Grebe  3  "               ".

15) Eared Grebe  3     "                ".

16) American White Pelican    11   resting together, east shore.

17) Brown Pelican  2  flying E; in water, east end.

18) Double-crested Cormorant  2  flying low, W.

19) Great Blue Heron  4   around S and E edges of the lagoon.

20) Great Egret  2  east edge of the lagoon.

21) Snowy Egret   2  central-west edge of lagoon.

22) Green Heron  1   edge of  waterfall and pond on Aviara golf course.

23) Osprey  2  circling (w side) and perched in trees (e side).

24) White-tailed Kite  2   first one found in a tree E riparian, then another arrived and perched along side it; wary and difficult to photograph from 80 yards.

25) Red-shouldered Hawk  2  (ad, juv)  N-central Eucalyptus; fly, calls.

26) Red-tailed Hawk  2 circling, W and E.

27) American Coot  200 (conserv. est)  open water throughout.

28) Black-bellied Plover  15  N-central narrow, muddy shoreline.

29) American Avocet  60  N-central shoreline.

30) Willet  15   edge of marsh, N.

31) Spotted Sandpiper   1  rocks around waterfall and pond, Aviara golf course.

32) Long-billed Dowitcher  5   resting in marsh, N-central.

33) Short-billed Dowitcher  10  "                   ".

34) Marbled Godwit  5    "             ".

35) Western Sandpiper  6   "                 ".

36) Least Sandpiper    20   "                 ".

37) Long-billed Curlew  10  "                ".

38) Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus?) 1 (imm.) flying low along NE shore, alarming shorebirds with speedy, agile, gull-like manuevers ; an immature/non-breeding          S. parasiticus profile and flight pattern was clearly seen,  i.e. a large, uniformly dark brown, bulky body, no elongated central tail feathers visible, and vaguely pale underwing marks seen when banking. Seen at a distance of 50-80 yards when I was studying a group of sleeping shorebirds with a 35-55x Nikon spotting scope mounted on a sturdy (Bogen #3126) tripod. First sighting at about 1100 hrs. for 20 seconds or less. The bird was seen again for a few seconds about 10 minutes later to the NEC where hundreds of shorebirds were resting, again causing much disturbance with vocalizations and flights westward over the lagoon. No further sightings of this species were made during the remainder of our survey. We reported the sighting to Robin at the BL visitor's center.

39) Ring-billed Gull  10  (ad) marsh and mudflats.

40) Western Gull  4   (ad) flying over lagoon.

41) Caspian Tern  1  on mudflat, NE.

42) Forster's Tern 1  flying at 50' over the lagoon.

43) Mourning Dove  1  flying S, E side.

44) Annas Hummingbird  20  uiquitous, especially in Eucalyptus woodland; calls.

45) Belted Kingfisher  2  W-central;  Aviara pond and waterfall.

46) Black Phoebe  2   N side.

47) Say's Phoebe  1  NE.

48) American Crow  2   calls,  NE.

49) Marsh Wren  1  calls, N-central marsh.

50) Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2  Eucalyptus woodland; msf with YRW; calls.

51) Gnatcatcher sp.  1  calls (sounded like P. californica) from NW section of coastal sage scrub (unseen).

52) Starling  2  shopping area along El Camino Real.

53) Orange-crowned Warbler   1  edge of riparian, N.

54) Yellow-rumped Warbler  25  ubiquitous; msf  with RCK, WCSP and HF in Eucalyptus.

55) Common Yellowthroat 35  ubiquitous in marsh and edge; calls.

56) California Towhee 8   brushy areas throughout.

57) Savannah Sparrow  3  edge of marsh, W.

58) Song Sparrow  20  ubiquitous around edges of lagoon.

59) Lincoln's Sparrow  1  N-central; calls.

60) White-crowned Sparrow  15   ubiquitous in brushy areas; calls and song.

61) House Finch  10 mostly in wooded areas, edge of riparian; calls and song.


                                   TIJUANA SLOUGH NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE  (56 Species)

                                                                                    December 31, 2009



                                                                 Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) TSNWR  Dec. 31, 2009


                                                                                                          © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke


Weather: Fair. 60 to 65F. Winds WNW 2-5 mph. High Tide about 1130 AM.

Time: 1030-1330 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and me.

Area Covered:  1) Tijuana Slough NWR, Imperial Beach (TSNWR): We walked all the accessible trails (i.e. branches of the North McCoy Trail) through the reserve, first to the NW corner with a small riparian and suburban edge, then SE through the extensive marshland. A deep slough (without a bridge we could find) separates North and South McCoy trails.We also walked along the eastern border (5th Street) with fenced yards and a fenced airfield. Habitats surveyed, using binoculars, scope and DSLR camera, included suburban gardens and mature pines, riparian, saltbush scrub, coastal sage-Cholla cactus scrub, marshland, sloughs and short grassland within the  fenced airfield property. After our survey we picked up a bird checklist and information brochures at the attractive and educationally well-supplied visitor center. We walked a total distance of about 1.5 miles through the refuge.

A day-list of unusual bird sightings was posted inside the visitor center. The male Hepatic Tanager we found earlier in the pines by the apartment complex, had already been noted with other sightings (e.g. Mountain Plover - a species we did not see). The McCoy trail was fairly busy with cyclists (illegal), dogs and their owners (all but two dogs were leashed), hikers, joggers and a couple of wildlife photographers during our survey. 2) We then drove E on Imperial Beach Boulevard and south on Hollister Street (HS), stopping briefly at the entrance to Border Field State Park (BFSP:  The Monument Road entrance was predictably closed; gate locked) and Tijuana River Valley County Park (TRVCP) with an impressive entry sign but without maintained trails or facilities. These areas form part of the Tijuana River drainage system and offer a variety of habitats we did not find at TSNWR (e.g. pastures, corrals, mature riparian and coastal sage scrub).


                           Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  TSNWR   December 31, 2009       ©  2009 Callyn D. Yorke                                                                                                   


                                                                      BIRDS NOTED

1) Mallard  4  (m,f) TSNWR  dabbling in marsh.

2) Northern Pintail  2 (m,f) TSNWR    "               ".

3) Cinnamon Teal  2 (m,f)  TSNWR  middle of marsh.

4) Northern Shoveler  2 (m,f)  TSNWR  "              ".

5) American Wigeon  43  (m,f)  TSNWR   "            ".

6) Gadwall   2 (m,f)  TSNWR   "                ".

7) Bufflehead  10 (m,f)  TSNWR  in swift-flowing slough.

8) Ruddy Duck 4  (m,f)  TSNWR  in slough and marsh.

9) Brown Pelican  1  TSNWR   flying over W border of marsh.

10) Great Blue Heron  1  TSNWR  in middle of marsh.

11) Great Egret  3  TSNWR   scattered around edges of central marsh.

12) Snowy Egret  4  TSNWR  "                          ".

13) Little Blue Heron  1  TSNWR  edge of marsh, NWC.

14) White-tailed Kite  1  TRVCP   in tree with headless mouse in talons; took flight as I approached (photo).

15) Northern Harrier  2 (m,f) TSNWR  in the same central area but about 30 minutes apart; both flew low over marsh;  the female NH landed then flew off.

16) Cooper's Hawk  1 (imm) TSNWR flew into tall tree at NWC (see above photo); allowed my approach to within about 50 ft.

17) Red-tailed Hawk  1 (ad)   TSNWR  on utility pole and flying over airfield and marsh.

18) American Kestrel  1  HS  on utility pole.

19) American Coot  30 (onserv. est.)   TSNWR  ubiquitous in marsh and sloughs.

20) Killdeer  2   TSNWR   edge of marsh; calls.

21) Greater Yellowlegs  1  TSNWR   largely inactive in the middle of the marsh.

22) Willet  20  TSNWR     "                            ".

23) Whimbrel   2  TSNWR   "                           ".

24) Long-billed Curlew  4  TSNWR    "                         ".

25) Marbled Godwit  12  TSNWR       "                         ".

26) Sanpiper sp (probably Least SP)  12  TSNWR   flying over N side.

27) Ring-billed Gull 1  TSNWR  flying over marsh.

28) Western Gull  1  TSNWR   "                ".

29) Rock Pigeon   50 (conserv. est.) pastureland on Monument Road; one DOR individual attended by its mate, a melanistic individual with a large pink eye-ring..

30) Mourning Dove  5   HS  on utility lines.

31) Eurasian Collared Dove   1  TRVCP  on a utility line. Seen clearly with  a 10x42 binocular at distance of about 50 feet (* missing on the TSNWR Bird Checklist).

32) Burrowing Owl   1   (TSNWR) on adjacent airfield in a burrow beneath a sign indicating "Burrowing Owl Nest Site."

33) Anna's Hummingbird   6 (m,f) TSNWR   conspicuous and vocal in brushy areas around marsh (photo); 1 TRVCP in Eucalyptus tree.

34) Black Phoebe 3  TSNWR   low perches around edge of marsh; calls.

35) Say's Phoebe  1  TSNWR  open field next to marsh.

36) Cassin's Kingbird   1  TSNWR   low perch at N edge of marsh; calls.

37) American Crow  2  TSNWR  flying and calling, N edge of reserve.

38) Marsh Wren  1  TSNWR  active and vocal at edge of marsh.

39) Bewick's Wren  2  TSNWR  in cactus scrub at edge of marsh; calls;  1 TRVCP in brushy area; calls.

40) Hermit Thrush  1  TSNWR  edge of apt. gardens and pines, N.

41) Northern Mockingbird  1  TSNWR  apt. area, N; singing.

42) American Pipit  1  TSNWR   fly/call;  12 BFSP   a flock on chain-link fence and wet ground along roadway.

43) European Starling 6  TSNWR  suburban edge;  3  HR  on utility poles and lines.

44) Yellow-rumped Warbler   4  TSNWR  4 conspicuous and vocal in brushy areas, N.

45) Common Yellowthroat  1  TSNWR  edge of marsh in brushy area.

46) Hepatic Tanager  1 (m) TSNWR flushed at 5 ft. from shrubs bordering the N apt. complex with mature pines. Seen briefly but clearly. I noted dull-colored back contrasting with red head and underparts; dark bill. Apparently this was the same bird reported here earlier today by others.

47) California Towhee  1  TSNWR   NWC  on ground with WCSP, brushy edge of suburbs.

48) Belding's Savanna Sparrow  12  TSNWR  12 active and vocal at edge of marsh.

49) Song Sparrow  14  TSNWR   "                  "   also in NWC riparian area.

50) Lincoln's Sparrow  1  TSNWR  brushy edge of marsh NW.

51) Golden-crowned Sparrow  1 (imm)  TSNWR  on ground with WCSP in NWC riparian edge.

52) White-crowned Sparrow  25 (ad, imm)   TSNWR  Brushy areas and edge throughout; calls and song.

53) Tricolored Blackbird  2 (m,f) HR  on utility pole next to corrals.

54) House Finch  20  TSNWR;  10  HR and BFSP; active and vocal in shrubs and trees.

55) American Goldfinch  6  TSNWR  on a hanging sock feeder in 5th Street backyard; calls.

56) House Sparrow  10  TSNWR   suburban gardens; 20  HS corrals and pastureland.


                                     CORONADO ISLAND AND SOUTH SAN DIEGO BAY  (77 Species)

                                                                                          January 1, 2010





                                               Brant  (Branta bernicla) South San Diego Bay.  January 1, 2010                                       © 2010 Callyn D. Yorke  


Weather: Fair. 55-65F; winds WNW 5-15 mph. High Tide at about 1130 hrs.

Time: 0930-1500 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and me.

Area Covered:   We found free, unlimited parking in a residential area on Ardella Street, a few blocks E of the Hotel Coronado, where we enjoyed a tasty buffet breakfast.. Afterwards, we cycled through the mature, tree-lined streets of suburban Coronado Island (CI) down to Coronado Harbor (CH) and along the west shore of South San Diego Bay on the paved, two-lane Bayshore Bike Trail, (BBT)stopping frequently to observe and photograph birds along the shore, marshland and open water. We also included a brief visit to Silver Strand State Beach (SS) to survey the outer coast and nearshore waters. Continuing southward, we reached the South Bay Bay Marine Biology Study Area (SBMBSA) where a system of levees enclose shallow lagoons. The southern section of the bike route goes through a residental area, a fenced corridor, salt evaporation ponds, and a brackish drainage ditch, before meeting open fields at the junction of I-5, where we stopped for lunch. We returned along the same route, cycling into a steady 15 mph headwind. The return trip, though tiresome due to the wind, afforded  views of the extensively exposed western mudflats at low tide. There were many other cyclists, walkers and joggers using the bikeway during our survey; most of the traffic was at the north end of the route between Lowe's Resort and Coronado Harbor. Conditions were generally favorable for observing birds with only binoculars, though a scope would have been helpful at times. A few observation platforms along the route alowed close-up views of birds with excellent photographic opportunities.We covered a round-trip distance of about 12 miles.


   Belding's Savannah Sparrow  (Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi) South San Dego Bay.  January 1, 2010.                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                     ©  2010  Callyn D. Yorke


                                                   BIRDS NOTED   

1) Brant   200 (conservative est.)   BBT  widespread, scattered flocks near shore (photo).

2) American Wigeon  10  (m,f)  BBT  near shore.

3) Mallard  6 (m,f)   CH  edge of muddy shore.

4) Blue-winged Teal  3  BBT    in southeastern drainage ditch.

5) Northern Shoveler 10  BBT  near shore, south end.

6) Northern Pintail  4 (m)   BBT  near shore in SBMBSA.

7) Redhead  60   large flock in CH and adjacent open water.

8) Lesser Scaup 200 (conserv. est.) BBT  open water in the north and central portions of the bay.

9) Greater Scaup  5 (m,f)   BBT  near shore in a protected cove (photo).

10) Surf Scoter  60  CH diving and resting in harbor (photo). Probably 100 or more in the middle of the bay.

11) Bufflehead  50  CH and BBT  in harbors and open water throughout the north and central bay.

12) Red-breasted Merganser  16 (f)   BBT  open water and in flight.

13) Ruddy Duck  3  BBT  south end of bay.

14) Pacific Loon 1 SS  outside the surf zone.

15) Common Loon  2  BBT  open water about 200  yards from shore.

16) Pied-billed Grebe  3  BBT  near shore, southern section near levee.

17) Horned Grebe  3   BBT open water about 50 yards offshore, N-central.

18) Eared Grebe  60  BBT  S salt ponds.

19) Western Grebe  10  BBT  open water, S.

20) American White Pelican  11  BBT  resting on levee in SBMBSA.

21) Brown Pelican 6  SS   flying low near shore and over open water.

22) Brandt's Cormorant  2   SS  flying S low.

23) Double Crested Cormorant  25  BBT on  levee and in flight around SBMBSA.

24) Great Blue Heron 5 BBT   innundated saltmarsh.

25) Great Egret  8  BBT  "                ".

26) Snowy Egret  10  BBT "                " (photo).

27) Little Blue Heron  1   BBT  levee next to drainage ditch, S.

28) Osprey  2  BBT a pair sharing cross piece on utility pole; one with kelp strands and a piece of insulation under its talons (photos); W-central.

29) Northern Harrier  1 (f)  BBT flying low over field, SE.

30) Red-tailed Hawk  1 (imm) BBT on utility pole, SE.

31) American Kestrel  2  BBT   perched on utility line and chain-link fence.

32) American Coot  70   CH and BBT, scattered throughout harbor and shoreline.

33) Black-bellied Plover  200 (conserv. est) BBT shoreline W-central.

34) Black-necked Stilt  25 BBT  S salt ponds.

35) American Avocet  50  BBT  shallows in S; salt ponds.

36) Spotted Sandpiper  1  CH  rocks along shore (photo).

37) Wandering Tattler  10  BBT  crowded on narrow shoreline at high tide, W-central.

38) Greater Yellowlegs  1   BBT  marsh, W-central.

39) Lesser Yellowlegs  1 BBT  W-central shoreline.

40) Willet   20  BBT  edge of marsh, W-central.

41) Long-billed Curlew  20 BBT   "             ".

42) Marbled Godwit  60  BBT   12 in feeding frenzy in marshy shallows, SBMBSA.

43) Ruddy Turnstone  20  BBT  edge of marsh on narrow shoreline, W-central.

44) Sanderling  12  BBT  in flight over open water, W-central.

45) Western Sandpiper 50  BBT   about 20 in an exposed shoreline feeding frenzy, SBMBSA.

46) Least Sandpiper 80  BBT  mostly on exposed shorelines, SW.

47) Dunlin  25  BBT   "                   "  SBMBSA.

48) Short-billed Dowitcher  50  BBT   foraging on exposed shoreline at the edge of the marsh, SW.

49) Heermann's Gull  10 (ad, imm)   SS  outer beach.

50) Ring-billed Gull 20   SS outer beach; 15 BBT  S levee next to salt ponds.

51) California Gull  2 (ad, imm) BBT on levee next to salt ponds; one adult with a striking yellow bill and flesh-yellow legs, suggesting transitional breeding plumage.

52) Herring Gull 2  (ad, imm) BBT   "                          ".

53) Western Gull 50 (conserv. est)  SS on beach; BBT  flying over bay and harbors.

54) Glaucous-winged Gull  1 (imm) BBT on S levee next to salt ponds.

55) Forster's Tern  10  BBT  shoreline of salt ponds; a few flying over bay, S.

56) Royal Tern   20  BBT  "                    "  ;a large flock was seen earlier in the survey plunge-diving in central bay.

57) Rock Pigeon  10  CI and BBT; on utility wires and fences.

58) Mourning Dove  6   CI and BBT, mostly around buildings and open fields.

59) Anna's Hummingbird  15  CI and BBT, around gardens and tall shrubs throughout.

60) Belted Kingfisher  2  CH on ship's mast; BBT S-Central flying along shore.

61) Black Phoebe  4  BBT  W-central open fields near water.

62) Say's Phoebe  2  BBT  W and S-central, open fields near water.

63) American Crow  4  CI and CH, fly, call.

64) Common Raven  1 BBT   S-central, flying.

65) Marsh Wren  2  BBT   SE  calls from side of ditch.

66) Northern Mockingbird  1  CI  singing.

67) Ruby-crowned kinglet  1  CI  calls.

68) European Starling  25  BBT  ubiquitous on utility lines, fences and in tall palms.

69) American Pipit  5  SS  on outer beach with piles of kelp; fly, calls.

70) Orange-crowned Warbler  1  CI  mature trees on Ardella Street; calls.

71) Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)   30  CI, BBT ubiquitous in brushy areas and gardens throughout.

72) Belding's Savannah Sparrow  30 BBT commonly seen in marshland near shore (photo).

73) Song Sparrow  10   BBT   marsh and ruderal areas, S.

74) White-crowned Sparrow  CI BBT 35 ubiquitous where brushy vegetation and/or trees are, esp. in SE; calls and song.

75) Brewer's Blackbird  3  BBT  fly, call  SW.

76) House Finch  30 CI  BBT  ubiquitous in brushy areas, especially SE.

77) House Sparow  30  CI   BBT   patchily distributed along the survey route;  mostly around buildings and gardens.


                                             Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)  South San Diego Bay,  January  1, 2010.                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                          ©  2010 Callyn D. Yorke


           Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia)  Coronado Harbor, San Diego, January 1, 2010.                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                         © 2010  Callyn D. Yorke


      Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)  South San Diego Bay, January 1, 2010.                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                        © 2010 Callyn D. Yorke