© Callyn Yorke



                  Previous Bird Surveys (2009-2012)                                                                                     Current (2013) Bird Surveys


                                                                                                                  BIRD SURVEYS

                                 COASTAL AND INLAND SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA

                                                                                                          December, 2009 - January, 2012

                                                                                                                           ©  Callyn D. Yorke



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




Weather: Fair; 55F. wind ENE, WNW 2-5 mph. Low Tide @ 1300 hrs.

Time: 0915 - 1115 hrs.

Areas Covered:  1) West San Elijo Lagoon (WSEL): From the nearly full visitor center parking lot (all spaces were taken when I returned from my survey), I walked a counter-clockwise route on the designated paths around and through the coastal sage - riparian strip bordering the lagoon. Three people were present with DSLR cameras and long lenses; a busload of noisy elementary school children, divided into two groups, arrived around 0930 hrs. The outgoing tide resulted in a fairly brisk (i.e. 3 mph) current in the main channel. Most of the waterbirds appeared to be in the distant central and southern portion of marsh and lagoon, beyond the effective range of my 10x42 binocular (0915-1015 hrs.).  2) East San Elijo Lagoon (ESEL). From the narrow roadside parking area next to the north gate, I walked south across the concrete spillway to the riparian - coastal sage scrub at the opposite side. Many more ducks and other waterbirds were seen here in the shallow flooded areas of the marsh and at relatively close range in comparison with WSEL. One jogger (shirtless, wearing headphones and connected to a leashed dog) passed me on the trail at the south end of the spillway. Another individual with a small dog began walking across the spillway after they saw me return to my vehicle. Except for the din of traffic on I-5 near the south end of the spillway, conditions were good for finding, identifying and photographing birds. I used a 10x42 binocular and DSLR camera for the survey.


Gadwall  1  WEL;  12  (m,f) resting and dabbling in shallows, ESEL.

American Wigeon   10 (m,f)   middle of the lagoon, WSEL;   5 (m,f)   ESEL.

Green-winged Teal   1 (f) flying low over marsh, WSEL;   10 (m,f)  foraging in shallows; running over mudflat, ESEL (photo).

Green-winged Tea (left, male; center and right, females)    East San Elijo Lagoon, San Diego County, CA  January 20, 2012

                                                                                                                                            © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Northern Pintail    1  central marsh, dabbling, WSEL;  4 (f) dabbling at edge of marsh, ESEL.

Northern Shoveler    60 (m,f)  pairs and small flocks dabbling in shallows throughout marsh, ESEL (photo).


Northern Shoveler (left, female; right, male)  East San Elijo Lagoon, San Diego County, CA  January 20, 2012

                                                                                                                                               © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Mallard   6  (m,f) at edge of main channel, WSEL;  3 (m,f) edge of marsh, ESEL.

Canvasback   12  (m,f) resting in main channel at edge, WSEL.

Bufflehead   2  (m,f) separated by 100 m in channel; diving, WSEL.

Double-crested Cormorant   4  on poles in marsh, WSEL; 1 flying over marsh, ESEL.

Great Egret  1  edge of marsh, WSEL.

Snowy Egret  1  edge of channel on mudflat, WSEL.

Black-crowned Night Heron  1 (ad) edge of channel in marsh, WSEL.

Osprey  1 (ad) circling above the marsh, ESEL.

Northern Harrier  1 (imm)  in tall marsh vegetation, ESEL.

Red-shouldered Hawk   1  calls, sw corner, ESEL.

Red-tailed Hawk  2 (ad, imm) circling above the marsh, ESEL.

American Coot   8   riparian flooded area and edge of channel and marsh, WSEL;   50  in shallows throughout, ESEL.

American Avocet  8  foraging in shallows, central marsh, WSEL;  10  foraging in shallows, ESEL.

California Gull  1  flying over distant beach, WSEL;   70  resting together on sandbar in marsh, ESEL.

Anna's Hummingbird   3  calls, riparian, WSEL;  2  calls, riparian - coastal sage, ESEL.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1  calls, riparian WSEL.

Black Phoebe  1  calls, flying low, edge of marsh-riparian, WSEL; 1 flying low over marsh, ESEL.

Say's Phoebe  1  edge of marsh, ESEL.

Cassin's Kingbird  1  atop a tall, dead tree at swc of marsh, ESEL (photo).

Cassin's Kingbird    swc of San Elijo Lagoon, SDCO, CA  Jan, 20, 2012

                                               © 2012 Callyn Yorke



American Crow    3  fly, call, WSEL;  4  fly, call, ESEL.

Bushtit   10  active, vocal, coastal sage scrub - riparian, ESEL.

Bewick's Wren   2  calls, song,  coastal sage scrub, WSEL.

Marsh Wren    1  calls, marsh, WSEL;  3  calls; actively invesigating my presence, marsh, ESEL.

Wrentit   1 song, adjacent coastal sage-chaparral hillsides, WSEL.

Northern Mockingbird   1  calls, garden and ornamental plantings adjacent to WSEL;  calls, swc riparian, ESEL.

California Thrasher  2  song, atop tall shrub in coastal sage scrub, ESEL.

Yellow-rumped Warbler    5  active, vocal, riparian and sage scrub, WSEL;  active, vocal, riparian, ESEL.

Common Yellowthroat   4 (m,f)   calls, active at edge of marsh and riparian, WSEL;  calls, edge of marsh, ESEL.

California Towhee    2  calls, sage scrub around visitor's center;  2 calls, dense riparian-chaparral, ESEL.

Song Sparrow  6  calls, song, riparian and edge, WSEL;  10 calls, song, marsh, edge of sage scrub, ESEL.

Savannah Sparrow (2 subspecies, including at least two Belding's)  6  secretive, occasional calls,  flying and staying low in pickleweed at edge of slough, WSEL;  4 fly, call, marsh, ESEL.

White-crowned Sparrow   5 (ad, imm) vocal; edge of riparian-marhs, WSEL; 6   edge of riparian, ESEL.

Red-winged Blackbird  2 (m) fly, call  over marsh, ESEL.

Lesser Goldfinch  8  active, vocal in willows, WSEL.

House Finch    2 (m,f)   coastal sage scub, vocal, WSEL;  3 (m,f)   riparian edge, ESEL.









                                                                                                         PREVIOUS SURVEYS

Weather: Overcast (11/24); Fair (11/25). Winds WSW 2 - 5 mph. 55F to 63F. Low Tide @ 1300 hrs.

Time: 1403 - 1530 hrs. (11/24);  0747 - 1030 hrs. (11/25).

Areas Covered:  West San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Preserve (WSEL): I walked the main trails from the visitor center through coastal sage scrub, riparian woodland and saltmarsh habitats, surveying with binocular (10x42) and a DSLR camera. The adjacent tidal channel was flowing out to sea swiftly (3-5 mph) on 11/24; more slowly on 11/25. A low tide exposed mudflats throughout the marsh (11/24); at high tide the marsh was mostly flooded (11/25). The same areas of WSEL were surveyed twice, first in the afternoon (11/24: 1403 -1530 hrs), then the following morning (11/25: 0938-1030 hrs.). A few walkers, joggers and dog owners were using the trails during my surveys. Conditions were otherwise good for identifying birds by their vocalizations.

East San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Preserve (ESEL - 11/ 25: 0747-0920 hrs): I parked off the roadway at the north entrance gate and walked the trails through the marsh, riparian and coastal sage scrub. A few people were jogging on the trails during my survey; conditions were good for finding and identifying birds by their vocalizations.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found included,  Sharp-shinned Hawk (1) and California Gnatcatcher (4).


Gadwall    10 (m,f) ESEL (photo).

Gadwall (male and female)  ESEL San Diego County, CA   November 25, 2011

                                                                                                                        © 2011 Callyn Yorke

American Wigeon   45 (m,f)   foraging in the sloughs and in shallow ponds throughout the marsh, ESEL, WSEL.

Mallard  90 (m,f)  ubiquitous in and around the marsh, ESEL, WSEL.

Cinnamon Teal  2  (m,f)  shallows w of the main trail, ESEL.

Green-winged Teal   25 (m,f)  shallows throughout the marsh, ESEL (photo).


Green-winged Teal (male and female)  ESEL, San Diego County, CA   November 25, 2011


                                                                                         © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Northern Shoveler   35 (m,f)   foraging at edge of marsh throughout, ESEL, WSEL.

Northern Pintail  1 (f)  interior marsh w of trail, ESEL.

Bufflehead   10 (m,f)  diving in main channel with outgoing tide, WSEL.

Ruddy Duck  1 (m)  in main tidal channel, WSEL.

Pied-billed Grebe  2  diving in tidal channel, WSEL;  1 ESEL.

Brown Pelican  1 (imm) flying in from outer shore, WSEL.

Double-crested Cormorant  5  resting on posts, WSEL;  6 flying over marsh, ESEL.

Great Egret  1  in marsh, WSEL.

Snowy Egret   3   in marsh at edge of slough, WSEL; 1 ESEL.

Osprey  1  on post at sw corner of marsh, WSEL.

Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 ( ad. probably f) on outer branch in large, dead tree, sw corner, ESEL (photo).

Sharp-shinned Hawk ( adult female ?)  ESEL, San Diego County, CA Nov. 25, 2011

                                                          © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Red-tailed Hawk  1 (ad)  flew into large shrub and emerged carrying a small animal, north slope, WSEL.

American Kestrel  2 (m)   perched on snag, ESEL; perched on large shrub next to tidal channel, WSEL.

Northern Harrier  1 (f)  on a short post in the marsh, ESEL.

Sora  1  calls, dense tule marsh, s ESEL.

American Coot  200  ubiquitous in wet areas, ESEL, WSEL.

Killdeer  2  resting in adjacent agricultural field, ESEL.

Black-bellied Plover  1  foraging on mudflats, WSEL (photo).

Black-bellied Plover   WSEL, San Diego County, CA  November 24, 2011

                                                                                           © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Short-billed Dowitcher  16  foraging on mudflats along main tidal channel, WSEL.

Dunlin  2  foraging on mudflats along main tidal channel, WSEL; 20  resting at edge of marsh, ESEL.

Willet  1  foraging on mudflats next to the marsh, WSEL.

California Gull   60  resting on mudflats, ne  ESEL.

Royal Tern  1  diving in open water, se WSEL.

Rock Pigeon  8  flying over adjacent suburbs, WSEL.

Anna's Hummingbird  2   active, vocal, coastal sage, riparian ESEL;  coastal sage and riparian, WSEL.

Belted Kingfisher  1  flying downstream above main tidal channel, WSEL.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1  calls riparian woodland, WSEL;  1 calls, riparian woodland ESEL

Black Phoebe   3  edge of marsh, ESEL;  edge of marsh-riparian, WSEL; interacting with SAPH.

Say's Phoebe  1  on information sign overlooking marsh; interacting with SAPH, WSEL.

Western Scrub-jay  2  calls, riparian and adjacent suburbs, WSEL.

American Crow  6  fly, call, ESEL, WSEL.

Common Raven  2   a pair in a tall snag; calls, WSEL.

Bushtit  10  calls, active in coastal sage scrub-riparian, ESEL.

Wrentit  2  song, coastal sage scrub, sw corner, ESEL.

House Wren  1  calls, dense riparian woodland, WSEL;  1  calls, riparian-marsh edge, swc ESEL.

Marsh Wren   2  calls from mixed Salicornia marsh, WSEL;   8   active, often concealed; calls, song, edge of dense tules and Salicornia marsh, ESEL (photo).

Marsh Wren  ESEL, San Diego County, CA  November 25, 2011

                                                                    © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2  calls from riparian woodland, WSEL.

California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica)   3 (m,f) Distinguishing features include: voice: a thin, high-pitched nasal, cat-like call; tiny, thin bill; little white on underside of tail; female with pinkish brown flanks (latter two features not visible in photos); preferred habitat (patchy coastal sage scrub).

 On November 25, 2011, I observed a male and female (possibly an immature -  see photo below) foraging separately (about 5 yards apart) for about 10 minutes in css (ESEL); individuals were very active, giving repeated calls, which initially drew my attention; foraging was largely confined to Artemesia californica, Eriogonum sp.; mostly lower levels and usually well-concealed. Another individual found on 11/24/2011 in WSEL, was in open, coastal sage scrub next to boardwalk, about 50 yards east of visitor center; staying out of view. CAGN is listed as a THREATENED SPECIES by USFWS and CDFG.; This quasi-endemic species (its range includes Baja California, MX) has likely suffered asignificant population decline over the previous three decades, presumably due to widespread habitat loss (e.g.housing developments; agriculture, fire and invasive exotic vegetation) throughout coastal Southern California.


                    California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica) female San Elijo Lagoon, San Diego County CA  Nov 25 2011


                                                                                                   © 2011 Callyn Yorke


American Robin  1 calls, riparian patch with pyracantha berries, ESEL.

Northern Mockingbird  1  calls, adjacent gardens, n WSEL.

European Starling  5  on utility wires over main tidal channel and in adjacent yards, WSEL.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler   15  ubiquitous; vocal, activein riparian patches, ESEL, WSEL.

Common Yellowthroat   8  (m,f) active, vocal, tules and edge of marsh throughout, ESEL;  2 WSEL.

California Towhee   2    calls, coastal sage scrub-chaparral, swc ESEL;  2  css and ornamental shrubs, WSEL.

 Savannah Sparrow (probably 2 subspecies, including Belding's)   20   vocal, active, gregarious; mostly in Salicornia (photo), ESEL; WSEL

Savannah Sparrow  WSEL, San Diego County, CA Nov. 25, 2011

                                                                               © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Song Sparrow  15   active; calls and song (at least two dialects heard), edge of marsh throughout, WSEL, ESEL (photo).

Song Sparrow  ESEL  San Diego County, CA  November 25, 2011

                                                                                           © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Lincoln's Sparrow  1  calls, edge of riparian, WSEL.

White-crowned Sparrow   20  (ad, imm) edge of riparian-marsh; coastal sage scrub, WSEL, ESEL.

Red-winged Blackbird  4  (f, imm) flying over marsh, calls, ESEL.

Great-tailed Grackle  1  calls, nw corner near adjacent suburban gardens, WSEL.

House Finch   40 (m,f)   ubiquitous in a variety of vegetation types, ESEL, WSEL.

Lesser Goldfinch  3  calls, roadside shrubs near visitor center, WSEL.

















NOVEMBER 23, 2011  MISSION BAY (58 Species)

Weather: Partly cloudy to fair; 53F to 60F; winds WSW 5 mph. Low Tide @ 1330 hrs.

Time: 0820 - 1500 hrs.

Area Covered: We first cycled part of the south shore and parkland of Mission Bay, in the vicinity of and including Paradise Point Resort (PP). The latter location included mature trees and manicured gardens, lawns and a large, secluded pond in the middle of the resort. We then drove across the Ingram St. bridge over a wide channel, and found parking on the northwest shore. We continued cycling the entire bike path along the north and northeast shore, terminating at the Robin Stribley Marsh Preserve (RSM), where an extensive salt marsh and exposed mudflat could be viewed from Crown Point Rd.. A receding tide left much exposed sand and mud shoreline attracting numerous shorebirds; most shorebirds were found along the northern and northeastern shorelines. Many small bivalve fragments were observed on the shore around the bay. Power boats (some with skiiers) in the southeastern bay region effectively prevented occupation of open water areas by birds.Traffic on the bike paths was light. We had lunch at the Pacific Beach Alehouse. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Black Skimmer (30), California Least Tern (1), Little Blue Heron (1) and Wilson's Warbler (1).


Brant   3   on shore PP (photo);  120  on mudflats and swimming, RSM.

Brant and Ring-billed Gull (adult)  s Mission Bay, San Diego, CA   November 23, 2011

                                                                                                                                      © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Mallard  20 (m,f) in and around pond, PP.

American Wigeon  8  (m,f)  frequent intraspecific physical contact and vocalizations, PP (photo);

American Wigeon (male and female)  Mission Bay, San Diego, CA   November 23, 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                               © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Northern Pintail  1 (f)  flying; swimming near mudflats, RSM.

Anas sp. hybrid   1  anterior resembling female Garganey (note black bill, facial pattern with broad buffy supercilium; reddish-brown neck, breast); posterior of a Canvasback?; swimming with white domestic mallards and other ducks, PP. (photo). Compare photo of male Garganey from Holland (March, 2012, Adri DeGroot).


Anas sp. hybrid   Paradise Point pond, Mission Bay, San Diego, CA   November 23, 2011.

                                                                                                                                                                                                © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Garganey    Holland   March, 2012   Adri DeGroot



Lesser Scaup   4 (m)   PP (photo);  20 (m,f)   west bay.

Lesser Scaup (adult male)  Paradise Point, Mission Bay, San Diego, CA   November 23, 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                          © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Bufflehead   40 (m,f)  scattered around the edges of the bay.

Red-breasted Merganser    3  (f  ad, imm)  in pond outside of PP (photo).

Red-breasted Merganser (adult females and immature)    south Mission Bay, San Diego, CA   November 23, 2011.

                                                                                                                                                                                  © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Surf Scoter  20  (m,  f ?)  diving for bivalves in main bay, w and s (photo).

Surf Scoter (adult male) Note small bivalve protruding from bill in left-most bird;   southwest Mission Bay, San Diego, CA   November 23, 2011.

                                                                                                                                                                                          ©  2011 Callyn Yorke

Pied-billed Grebe  4  diving at edge of mudflat, RSM.

Eared Grebe    4  diving, south-central bay.

Western Grebe   30  mostly resting in a protected cove near shore, RSM.

Brown Pelican   25  main bay, ne, RSM.

Double-crested Cormorant  30, RSM.

Great Blue Heron  4   shore and marsh, PP, RSM.

Great Egret   1  marsh-mudflat, RSM.

Snowy Egret  4   RSM.

Little Blue Heron  1   on shore at Crowne Point (photo).

Little Blue Heron   north Mission Bay, San Diego, CA   November 23, 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                     © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Red-tailed Hawk  1 (imm) in eucalyptus, Crowne Point.

Northern Harrier  1 (f) flying low over marsh, RSM.

American Coot    30  in artificial ponds and on lawns, PP.

Black-bellied Plover   80   shoreline and mudflats, RSM.

Willet  50  on shore, MB; RSM.

Marbled Godwit    50  on shore and in shallows, MB, RSM (photo).

Marbled Godwit   west Mission Bay, San Diego, CA   November 23, 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                     ©  2011 Callyn Yorke

Western Sanpiper  3    foraging on nw shore, MB  (photo).


Western Sandpiper    northwest Mission Bay, November 23, 2011

                                                                                                                        © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Sanderling   30  foraging at water's edge near WESA, northwest MB (photo).

Sanderling   northwest Mission Bay, San Diego, CA   November 23, 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                     © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Ring-billed Gull   10   on shore, PP, RSM.

California Gull   10  on shore, MB; 100   on mudflats, RSM.

Heermann's Gull   10  on shore, RSM.

Western Gull    50   on shore, MB, RSM; flying. One with injured wing in east park near Ingram bridge (2 photos).

Western Gull (immature C3-4)  west-central Mission Bay, San Diego, CA   November 23, 2011


                                                                                                    ©  2011 Callyn Yorke   


Forster's Tern   2 (basic plmg.) on sign in bay; one adult with full black cap and long tail feathers, flying w over bay.

California Least Tern  1  ad  dove once, flew w, central-west.

Black Skimmer   35 (ad, imm)   on beach, PP (photo).


Black Skimmer    southwest Mission Bay, San Diego, CA  November 23, 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                          © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Rock Pigeon   20  around parks, MB.

Anna's Hummingbird   20  in flowering eucalyptus and other vegetation throughout.

Allen's Hummingbird  2  (m)   flew directly toward us from parkland trees, nw.

Belted Kingfisher  1  flying low over bay, w.

Black Phoebe   20  ubiquitous in parks and edge of bay.

Say's Phoebe  5  open areas in parks; often near BLPH.

Cassin's Kingbird   2   calls; active at edge of marsh on fence, RSM (photo).

Cassin's Kingbird  Stribley Marsh, Mission Bay, San Diego, CA  Nov. 23, 2011

                                                                                                 © 2011 Callyn Yorke


American Crow   10  call, fly, s, PP.

Western Scrub-jay  2  calls, active in gardens, PP.

House Wren  1  edge of marsh on fence; vocal RSM (photo).

House Wren  Stribley Marsh, north Mission Bay, San Diego, CA  Nov. 23, 2011


                                                                                              © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Marsh Wren   1  edge of marsh, vocal, RSM.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2  calls, garden (RSM) and park trees, s MB.

Northern Mockingbird   1  vocal, edge of marsh, RSM.

European Starling   2  calls, perched on tower, PP.

American Pipit  5   on lawn, Crowne Point park.

Orange-crowned Warbler   6  in garden (PP) and parkland trees, MB.

Yellow-rumped Warbler   15  parkland trees and gardens thoughout.

Wilson's Warbler  1 (f)  active, calls, in fruiting Ficus tree, Crowne Point park, n MB.

Common Yellowthroat  2(m,f)  active, calls, edge of garden on shore, PP; RSM.

Savannah Sparrow   1  edge of marsh, RSM.

Song Sparrow  2   PP; edge of marsh,  1 RSM.

Lincoln's Sparrow    1  calls, active around fence line at edge of marsh, RSM (photo).

Lincoln's Sparrow  Stribley Marsh, north Mission Bay, San Diego, Nov. 23, 2011

                                                                                                      © 2011 Callyn Yorke

White-crowned Sparrow   30 (ad, imm)   ubiquitous in gardens and shrubby borders of bay.

House Finch   40 (m,f)   ubiquitous in gardens and parkland trees.

House Sparrow   35  edge of marsh, Crowne Point Rd., n MB.















NOVEMBER 22, La Jolla (33 Species)

Weather: Fair; 66F; winds WSW 2-5 mph. Seas moderately calm; surf 1-3 ft. Low Tide @ 1300 hrs.

Time: 1235-1430 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered:  Cliffs,shoreline, nearshore waters and adjacent park overlooking La Jolla cove. We observed birds with a 10x42 binocular, while sitting on a bench overlooking the ocean. Subsequently, we walked northeast along the path through the small park with cypress trees and ornamental shrubs, to the rocky shelves supporting a colony of California Sea Lion and Brandt's Cormorant. The area was quite busy with holiday visitors; many people clambering out on the rocks exposed by low tide.


Surf Scoter   2  flying low offshore.

Common Loon   1  flying low offshore.

Pacific Loon  2  flying low offshore.

Western Grebe  20  a loose flock offshore.

Brown Pelican   50 (ad, imm) diving into a surface school of fish offshore; resting on cliffs with BRCO.

Double-crested Cormorant  30  flying low offshore; flocking with BRCO in feeding frenzy offshore.

Brandt's Cormorant   500   flocks of 30 - 50 birds flying low single-file, se offshore; many in feeding frenzy; 60 on cliffs (photo).

Brandt's Cormorant  La Jolla, San Diego, CA  November 22, 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                               © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Pelagic Cormorant  2  flying near shore, behind a line of Brandt's Cormorant .

Snowy Egret  2   in tidepools and on shore.

Osprey  1(ad)  on street light above crowded park and adjacent colony of Sea Lions and cormorants (photo).

Osprey   Ja Jolla, San Diego,  November 22, 2011

                                                                                                        © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Black-bellied Plover  6  in tidepools and on shore.

Whimbrel   2  foraging among tidepool rocks.

Willet  2  on beach.

Bonaparte's Gull   1  (ad) flying, dipping near shore.

Ring-billed Gull   3 (ad)    on beach.

Heermann's Gull   20 (ad, imm) resting together on rocks above the high tide mark.

Herring Gull  1  on rocks exposed by low tide.

Western Gull   50 (90%ad)   on rocks, on shore; flying offshore.

Glaucous-winged Gull   1 (C1)  on exposed tidepool rocks.

Forster's Tern   1  flying 20-40 ft offshore.

Royal Tern   4  flying 50-80 ft. offshore.

Caspian Tern 1 ?  flying 80-100 ft, sw offshore; appeared relatively heavy-set and with a slow wing stroke, c.f. ROTE.

Rock Pigeon   15  flying around park and adjacent cliffs.

Anna's Hummingbird   2   calls, bottlebrush and other garden shrubs.

Allen's Hummingbird  1  calls,  adjacent garden.

Say's Phoebe  1  open area next to cliffs; calls.

Black Phoebe  2   edge of cliffs; gardens and parkland.

American Crow  4  fly, call.

Tree Swallow  1  flying near shore around cliffs.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet   1  calls, active in small trimmed trees.

American Pipit  1  fly, call; active on rocks.

Yellow-rumped Warbler 2  active, calls, garden.

House Sparrow  4  around buildings and cliffs.





                                          Painted Redstart (Myioborus pictus) Rohr Park, Chula Vista CA Nov. 22, 2011


                                                                                                   © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Weather: Fair; 61F to 66F; winds W  1- 2 mph.

Time: 0921 - 1107 hrs.

Area Covered: From the east entrance off Sweetwater Rd (reached via the Bonita exit off eastbound HWY 54)., we cycled the entire park along pathways, through parking lots and on adjacent streets. The park runs roughly east-west on the northern border of a busy golf course; west and east borders are suburban-light commercial developments. Ornamental trees (mature eucalyptus and silk oak) are interspersed with lawns, playing fields, one small duck pond (part of the golf course) and shrubs (e.g. bottlebrush and pyracantha).The park was moderately conjested with school children, joggers, cyclists, dog-owners and others.  At least two other birders were present. Conditions were fair for finding birds by their vocalizations. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today, included one vagrant species (reported here two days ago), Painted Redstart (1).


Swan (domestic) Goose 4 resting near pond; taking food from someone throwing it at the hoardes of gulls, coots and other birds.

Gray-lag (domestic)  4  resting in shade; taking food.

Muscovy Duck  1  resting in shade at edge of pond.

Mallard  20 (m,f) resting at edge of pond; taking food.

American Coot  50  including several tame individuals at edge of pond.

Ring-billed Gull   45 (90% ad) edge of pond.

California Gull  20  (ad, imm) edge of pond.

Rock Pigeon   100  resting near pond; flying around.

Mourning Dove   6  in small tree near the park entrance.

Anna's Hummingbird  10  calls, song; shrubs and flowering eucalyptus.

Allen's Hummingbird  1  calls, eucalyptus.

Nuttall's Woodpecker   1  calls, eucalyptus grove along fence line.

Say's Phoebe  2   edge of open fields.

Black Phoebe   4  edge of fields; near puddles and pond.

Cassin's Kingbird  4  calls, eucalyptus grove on fence line.

American Crow   5  fly, call.

Bushtit   15   in shrubs and small trees.

Bewick's Wren  1  shrubby hillside near park entrance.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3  in eucalyptus and small trees in parking lot.

Northern Mockingbird  1  calls, edge of golf course.

Orange-crowned Warbler  1  calls, trees in parking lot.

Yellow-rumped Warbler   20  active, vocal in most trees and shrubs throughout.

Painted Redstart  1 (m) active, calls; moving quickly  between mesquite, eucalyptus and other ornamental trees in north parking lot next ot display train tracks. Initially found by its distinctive calls, then flashes of white in wing. Twice came to ground, presumbably gleaning small insects from leaf litter beneath a fence line grove of mature eucalyptus; PARE, a southwestern montane species, is a regular fall vagrant to San Diego County, averaging about 1 individual reported per year  (Unitt, P. 2004. San Diego County Bird Atlas . Ibis Publ Co. pp.498-99).

Painted Redstart (Myioborus pictus) male:   Rohr Park, Chula Vista, SDCO, CA  November 22, 2011

                                                                                                                                     © 2011 Callyn Yorke

California Towhee  3  brushy edges of park; calls.

Chipping Sparrow  5   in shrub border, w; flock flew into a sycamore.

Song Sparrow  1  calls, song,  riparian strip in northeast.

White-crowned Sparrow    2  calls, shrub border, w.

Brewer's Blackbird   2   playing field and utility line.

House Finch   15 (m,f)   ubiquitous in trees and shrubs.

Lesser Goldfinch  2  fly, call; bathing in puddle.

House Sparrow  4  1 around buildings and garden. .




Weather: Fair to partly cloudy. 60F; wind E 5 mph. High tide @ 0830 hrs.

Time: 0820 - 1205 hrs.

Observers: Merissa and I.

Area Covered:  1) Tijuana River Estuary National Reserve (TJE). From the visitor's center, we walked the trails around the edge of the salt marsh, including McCoy Trail. Habitats surveyed included salt marsh, riparian, coastal sage, ruderal pathways and adjacent gardens planted to conifers and exotic shrubs. Our survey this time did not include the Tijauna Slough. A group of local (SDCO) birders was present during our survey. The pathways through the reserve also hosted people on bicycles and with dogs, despite signage prohibiting those two activities. The visitor center was closed and the reserve appeared to have been abandoned by official personnel.  2) San Diego County Butterfly and Bird Sanctuary, Hollister Road (BBS). We walked the walking and equestrian trails along a willow -riparian drainage, through the picnic area and to the northwest through groves of mature salt cedar. The entire area we surveyed (about 50 acres) was unoccupied by park personnel; conditions were good for identifying birds by their vocalizations The highlight here was the discovery of a flock of Black-throated Magpie Jay, a northwest Mexican species that has been documented as a breeding resident in this vicinity since 2000 (1030 - 1125 hrs.). We continued east on Monument and Dairy Mart roads, stopping briefly at a sod farm (SF) before returning to Encinitas via I-5 (1130 -1205 hrs.). The sod farm on Dairy Mart Road produced an Aleutian Cackling Goose.


Canada Goose  1  with an ACGO, foraging on grass in the northeastern section of the farm, SF (photo).

Aleutian Cackling Goose  1  foraging with a CAGO (photo). Both birds reluctant to fly as I approached for a photo.

Aleutian Cackling Goose (both photos) and Canada Goose (second photo)   Sod Farm, Dairy Mart Road, San Diego County, CA  January 22, 2012


                                                                                    © 2012 Callyn Yorke   

American Wigeon  5  foraging in shallows at edge of shallows, TJE.

Mallard   3  (m,f) foraging in marshyshallows at edge of channel, TJE.

Blue-winged Teal   4 (m,f) foraging in marshy shallows, TJE (photo).

Blue-winged Teal (male) Tijuana Estuary SDCO, CA  Jan 22, 2012


                                                                      ©  2012 Callyn Yorke  

Northern Pintail   1 (f) foraging in shallow marsh, TJE.

Green-winged Teal   5 (m,f) foraging in shallow back-water area, ne, TJE.

Eared Grebe  1  diving in main channel, TJE (photo).

Eared Grebe  1  diving in channel, Tijuana River Estuary Reserve, SDCO, CA  Jan. 22, 2012


                                                                            ©  2012 Callyn Yorke

Great Egret  2  remote parts of the marsh, TJE.

Snowy Egret   4  edge of channel, nw, TJE.

White-tailed Kite  1 preening atop a salt bush, central marsh, TJE.     

Northern Harrier  2  (m,f) flying low over the central marsh, TJE.

Red-tailed Hawk  1 (ad) circling over farmland, BBS.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1  calls, BBS.

American Kestrel 2  utility lines, BBS, SF.

Sora  1 calls, riparian stream, BBS.

Clapper Rail  5  calls; active along edge of marsh and channel; swimming, foraging (photo).

Clapper Rail   Tijuana River Estuary National Reserve,   San Diego County, CA  January 22, 2012

                                                                                                                    ©  2011 Callyn Yorke

Killdeer  1 calls, ne mudflats, TJE.

Willet   12  flew into marsh at edge of channel, TJE.

Whimbrel   30  foraging at edge of channel, TJE.

Long-billed Curlew  1  flying over marsh, TJE.

California Gull  2  (ad, imm) flying low over marsh, TJE.

Mourning Dove  8  on utility lines, BBS.

Rock Pigeon   100  flying around; on utility lines, suburbs, TJE, BBS.

Anna's Hummingbird   10  fly, call, display,  around red-flowering shrubs, TJE; BBS.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1  calls, BBS.

Black Phoebe    2   low flights, calls, edge of marsh, TJE, SF

Say's Phoebe  1  low flight over edge of marsh, trails, TJE; 1 BBS.

American Crow    3  fly, call, adjacent suburbs, TJE

Common Raven  2  flying over fields, SF.

Black-throated Magpie Jay  6 (adult, imm?)  These showy-plumaged birds were initially well-concealed when located by their vocalizations, becoming more frequent as we approached their roost in a grove of mature salt cedar in the northwest corner of BBS. The birds flew over to investigate us by perching in a nearby tree (photo), vocalizing for a few minutes, then flew to more distant trees. Their curious behavior suggested the birds may be semi-domesticated, associating humans with food. According to William Hass (in Unitt. P. 2004. San Diego County Bird Atlas. pp. 599-600) this species was first documented nesting in Goat Canyon in 2000. It is reportedly a popular cage bird in Tijuana, likely to explain its occurrence in the Tijuana River Estuary region. However, without additional genetic input from individuals outside this population (e.g. new escapees), it seems unlikely this small, isolated population could survive more than a few generations.

Black-throated Magpie Jay (Calocitta colliei)   Butterfly and Bird Sanctuary, Hollister Road, San Diego County, CA


                                             ©  2012 Callyn Yorke

Bushtit   10  riparian strip, nw, TJE;  12  shrubs and trees, BBS.

Marsh Wren  4  vocal, active in marsh at edge of channel and pathways, TJE.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1  calls, salt cedar, BBS.

Hermit Thrush  1  calls, dense riparian, nw, TJE;  1  flying low between shrubs, calls, BBS.

Western Bluebird  4  calls, fly, BBS.

Yellow-rumped Warbler   2  calls, active in riparian, TJE;  4  calls, active in salt cedars, BBS.

Orange-crowned Warbler   1  riparian, TJE.

Common Yellowthroat    2  calls, active in riparian area, nw TJE;  2 calls, BBS.

California Towhee  2   ne corner, TJE.

Savannah Sparrow  10  active, vocal in marsh and edge, TJE (photo).

Savannah Sparrow  Tijuana River Estuary Reserve, San Diego County, CA    January 22, 2012

                                                                                                              © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Song Sparrow    10 calls, song, marsh and coastal sage, TJE; 2 song, BBS.

Song Sparrow  Tijuana River Estuary National Reserve, San Diego County, CA  January 22, 2012

                                                                                                                      © 2012 Callyn Yorke

White-crowned Sparrow   4  calls, song, low shrubs, TJE.

Dark-eyed Junco  2  calls, active in understory of salt cedars, BBS.

Western Meadowlark  3  fly, song, marsh, TJE.

Red-winged Blackbird  1  on fence next to riparian stream, SF.

House Finch   6  fly, call, riparian and edge, BBS;  4  BBS.

Lesser Goldfinch   4 calls, song, BBS.

House Sparrow  5  adjacent suburb, TJE.









NOVEMBER 21, 2011  Imperial Beach, Tijuana River Estuary and Slough (54 Species)

                                                                                                                                                                                       PREVIOUS SURVEYS

Weather: Partly cloudy (20% cloud cover); 61F; wind WSW 5-15 mph. Low Tide @ 1300 hrs. Seas choppy; surf 1-3 ft.

Time:  1015 - 1420 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Areas Covered:   1) Imperial Beach (IB). We walked along the beach, climbing over two breakwaters south of the boardwalk-fishing pier. We also walked the length of the pier, surveying nearshore waters (1013-1130 hrs.). 2) Tijuana Estuary National Reserve (TJE). We walked the main McCoy trail, southward to the terminus and back, surveying coastal salt marsh, mudflats, tidal channels and coastal sage scrub. Returning the same route, we met Jim Pea, a local birder, who informed us of other birding areas in SDCO (e.g. Rohr Park)  the recent four-year nesting record of Yellow-crowned Night Heron at TJE, and of a recent report of Long-tailed Duck at the south end of the nearby Tijuana slough. (1208-1300 hrs.).  3) From the parking area at the southern terminus of Seacoast Drive, we walked southward on an elevated, rocky berm bodering the Tijuana Slough wildlife reserve (TJS), surveying the beach, coastal salt marsh, mudflats and tidal channel. Most of the birdlife appeared concentrated at the southern outlet of the slough, another 0.5 miles from the end of the berm where we stopped. We scoped the mudflats and channel at several locations along the berm; the LTDU was not found.(1309-1425 hrs.). Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Greater Scaup (3), Little Blue Heron (1), White-tailed Kite (1) and Peregrine Falcon (1). Special Note: Repetitive low flights of military helicopters over the Tijuana Estuarine National Ecological Reserve (originating from an adjacent airfield), created a noisy, nauseating disturbance during our entire visit (1208-1425 hrs), which included undue toxic exposure to widespread aerosol aviation fuel. Although no immediate effects of this environmental intrusion were observed on wildlife, our experience in this otherwise pristine area, included a significant negative impact. Furthermore, no postings of a potential health risk (i.e. poor air quality) were found anywhere in the reserve. I respectfully recommend an immediate halt of all such aviation activities until an EIR adresses potential impacts to humans and wildlife and mitigation measures are implemented.


Gadwall  1 (m) flying over marsh, TJE.

American Wigeon  2 (m,f) TJE;  30 (m,f) TJS.

Green-winged Teal  1 (f) on mudflat at edge of channel, ne TJE; 2  edge of channel, TJS.

Greater Scaup  3 (m,f)  with LESC; noted relatively large size, round head profile; in channel, s TJS

Lesser Scaup    8  (m,f)  middle of channel, s TJS.

Bufflehead  5  (m,f) diving in slough, TJE;  30 (m,f)  diving in slough, TJS.

Ruddy Duck   3  (m,f) swimming in slough, TJE.

Pied-billed Grebe   2  diving in slough, TJE.

Eared Grebe  2  diving in slouogh, s TJS.

Western Grebe  50  loose flocks offshore, IB;  1  in slough, TJS.

Brown Pelican   15  diving offshore; on breakwater, IB; 60-70 resting on sandbar, s TJS.

Double-crested Cormorant  1 flying, TJE;  20 resting on sandbar, s TJS.

Great Blue Heron  1  edge of slough, TJS.

Little Blue Heron  1 (ad) foraging on a mudflat next to the main slough, s TJS.

Snowy Egret  3  at the edge of the marsh, slough, TJE; 3  edge of slough, TJS.

Great Egret  1  edge of marsh, TJS.

White-tailed Kite  1  on a perch, central marsh; later flying with NOHA, TJE.

Northern Harrier  1 (f) flying low over the marsh, TJE.

American Kestrel  2 (m,f)  apparent courtship flights over the marsh, TJE.

Peregrine Falcon  1  chasing shorebirds off mudflats, TJS.

American Coot   6   in channel, TJE;  10  in main slough, TJS.

Black-bellied Plover  4 on beach near breakwater and in piles of kelp, IB;  50  on sandbar and mudflats, s TJS.

American Avocet    40  on sandbar and in shallows of main channel, s TJS.

Black-necked Stilt   50  in tidal salt pan off Palm Ave, IB.

Spotted Sandpiper  2  mudflats, TJE.

Western Sandpiper   8  mudflats, TJS.

Least Sandpiper   6  mudflats, TJE;  100  mudflats, TJS.

Surfbird  4  on outer breakwater covered with Mytilus, IB (photo).

Surfbird (adult) on breakwater, Imperial Beach, SDCO, CA  November 21, 2011

                                                                                                                            © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Willet   20  on mudflats and sandbars, s TJS.

Long-billed Curlew   1  on mudflat, TJE;  3  mudflats, TJS.

Whimbrel   2  on breakwater, IB;  8  edge of channel in marsh, TJE; 5  mudflats, TJS.

Marbled Godwit   3  on mudflats, TJS.

Short-billed Dowitcher  80  on mudflats, TJS.

Western Gull   20   ( 90% ad, imm) on beach and nearshore , IB.

California Gull  10  (ad, imm)  on beach, IB.

Ring-billed Gull  2  (ad) on beach, IB.

Heermann's Gull   3  (ad, imm) on beach, IB.

Royal Tern  2  flying nearshore, TJS.

Rock Pigeon  1 5  around beach and pier, IB,  3  flying around adjacent apartments, TJE.

Mourning Dove  1  flying over adjacent suburbs, TJE.

Anna's Hummingbird  2  calls; perched on tall shrubs, TJE.

Black Phoebe  2   landward edge of beach, IB; edge of sloughs and marsh, TJE.

Say's Phoebe  1  on beach volleyball net , IB.

American Crow  4  flying, calls, IB.

Tree Swallow  1  flying over marsh, TJE.

Marsh Wren  1  calls, edge of trail, marsh-slough, TJE.

Northern Mockingbird  1  calls, shrubby area, edge of marsh-slough, TJE.

American Pipit    1 fly, call, IB;  1  fly, call over beach, TJS.

Yellow-rumped Warbler   2 on breakwater (photo); 2  gardens next to beach, IB;  2  shrubs and trees at edge of reserve, TJE.

Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warbler (male) Imperial Beach breakwater, San Diego County, CA Nov. 21, 2011

                                                                                                                                                © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Savannah Sparrow  2  on breakwater near shore (photo);  edge of marsh, TJE.

Savannah Sparrow  breakwater at Imperial Beach, SDCO, CA  November 21, 2011

                                                                            © 2011 Callyn Yorke

White-crowned Sparrow  10 (ad, imm)   shrubby areas near visitor's center, TJE.

House Finch   5  (m,f) shrubby areas near visitor's center, TJE.

Western Meadowlark   5  marsh, TJE.

House Sparrow    5  suburban gardens, edge of beach, IB;  around apt. buildings, TJE.






Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, CA   January 23, 2012

                                                                                     © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Swami's Encinitas CA   January 23, 2012

                                                                                                                                                                                         © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Weather: Variable: Fair, partly cloudy to light rain (1/21;23); 55 to 60F. HT 0830 hrs; LT 1300 hrs. Surf 3 -12 ft (1/23).

Time: 0730-0930 hrs (1/19; 1/23); 1536-1626 hrs.(1/22).

Area Covered: I walked through the coastal area, surveying the shoreline, nearshore waters, parkland and adjacent Cottonwood Creek Preserve (CC), which included riparian and adjacent suburban gardens. Several beachgoers and surfers were present during the survey. Conditions were good for finding and identifying birds. I used a 10x42 binocular and DSLR camera for the survey.


Western Grebe  35  about 200 m offshore.

Double-crested Cormorant  1  flying low over the ocean, nearshore.

Brandt's Cormorant  1  flying low over the ocean, nearshore.

Brown Pelican  10  offshore; flying, resting on water.

Black-bellied Plover  20 (basic plmg.) foraging on the shore (photo).

Black-bellied Plover  Moonlight Beach, Encinitas,  San Diego County, CA   January 19, 2012

                                                                                                                 © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Semipalmated Plover  16 foraging on shore (photo).

Semipalmated Plover   Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, San Diego County, CA  January 19, 2012

                                                                                                                        © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Willet  3   foraging on the outer edge of the beach.

Marbled Godwit   3   foraging together on the beach (photo).

Marbled Godwit   Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, San Diego County, CA   January 19, 2012

                                                                                                                                              © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Whimbrel  2  foraging on the beach (photo).

Whimbrel   Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, San Diego County, CA   January 19, 2012

                                                                                                                     © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Sanderling  30  foraging at the tidal line of the beach (photo).

Sanderling    Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, San Diego County, CA   January 19, 2012

                                                                                                                     © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Western Gull  15  (C1, C2, C3; adult)  on beach (photos).

Western Gull  (immatures: first, second and third cycle)  Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, San Diego County, CA  Jan 19, 2012


                                                                                 © 2012 Callyn Yorke

California Gull   100  (ad, imm)  mostly resting on beach.

Ring-billed Gull   25 (ad, imm)  on beach near creek outlet.

Heermann's Gull   15  (ad, imm) mostly resting on beach.

Herring Gull    1 (C1)  resting on beach with CAGU and WEGU (photo).

Herring Gull (immature, C1)  Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, SDCO, CA  Jan 19, 2012

                                                                                               © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Glaucous-winged Gull   2  (C1)  resting on beach with WEGU and CAGU (photo).

Glaucous-winged Gull  (immature: C1)   Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, San Diego County, CA   January 19, 2012

                                                                                                                      © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Forster's Tern  1 (alt. plumage) flying low over shoreline (1/23).

Royal Tern  1 (ad) flying low over shoreline (1/23).

Mourning Dove    5  on utility wire over riparian strip, CC.Rock Dove  20  flying around over suburbs and beach.

American Crow   10  fly, call.

Anna's Hummingbird   1  calls, riparian, CC.

Black Phoebe   2  low perch; calls, beach and riparian.

Cassin's Kingbird  1 vocal, tall exotic trees, suburbs, CC

Bushtit    20  foraging, vocal, riparian, CC.

Northern Mockingbird   1  calls, song, riparian, suburbs, CC.

European Starling  6  on utility lines, CC.

Yellow-rumped Warbler   3  calls, foraging, riparian, CC.

Common Yellowthroat   2  calls, riparian, CC.

Orange-crowned Warbler  1  riparian, CC (photo).                                              

Song Sparrow   3  calls, song, riparian and suburbs, CC.

California Towhee  1  edge of suburbs-riparian, CC.

White-crowned Sparrow   4  calls, song, riparian, CC.

House Finch   5  calls, song, riparian, suburbs, CC.

Lesser Goldfinch   6  calls, song, riparian, CC.

American Goldfinch  1  calls, riparian, CC.

House Sparrow  5  adjacent suburban gardens, CC








                                                                                                                                                                                                       PREVIOUS SURVEYS


                                                                                                                                                       © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Weather: Fair; 57F; wind WSW 2 mph. High Tide @ 0600 hrs. Seas calm; surf 3 - 6 ft.

Time: 0640 - 0820 hrs.

Area Covered: I cycled from the south end of Encinitas (960 So.Coast Highway) on 3rd St. to Moonlight Beach (MB) and back, surveying the suburbs, gardens with ornamental trees (e.g. eucalyptus) and shrubs (bottlebrush); I included a brief survey of the outer coast from a cliff-top overlook (OC). I also surveyed (from the sidewalk) the Cottonwood Creek Ecological Preserve between Moonlight Beach and SCH (CC). Auto and foot traffic was light; conditions were good for locating landbirds by their vocalizations. The outer beach was largely vacant, with only a couple of photographers and folks taking their morning excercise. A Pacific Northwest storm passed through Southern California yesterday, leaving much kelp and other debris on the shore, along with swollen streams and wet vegetation. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Stercorarius sp. ( 4 - 6,  Parasitic and possibly Pomarine).


Pacific Loon  3  flying s offshore, MB; OC..

Western Grebe  8  on the water offshore, OC.

Brown Pelican  50   nearshore (photo); diving offshore; resting on water, MB, OC.

Brown Pelican  Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, San Diego County, CA   November 21, 2011

                                                                                                                                           © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Brandt's Cormorant  8  flying low offshore OC.

Double-crested Cormorant  4  flying low offshore OC.

Black-bellied Plover  5  foraging on beach amongst piles of kelp, MB.

Whimbrel   4  foraging on beach at edge of water and near piles of kelp, MB; OC.

Sanderling  20 foraging on outer beach, MB; OC.

Willet   2  foraging on outer beach and amongst piles of kelp, MB, OC.

Herring Gull   4  (ad, imm) on beach (photo).

Herring Gull (foreground, adult; with adult CAGU)  Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, SDCO, CA  Nov. 21, 2011


                                                                              © 2011 Callyn Yorke

California Gull   100 (90% adult) resting on beach.

California Gull (adult)  Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, SDCO, CA   November 21, 2011

                                                                                             © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Western Gull  50 (ad, imm) resting on beach; offshore; drinking from creek inlet to ocean (photo).

Western Gull (immature, first cycle) Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, CA  Nov. 21, 2011


                                                                         © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Heermann's Gull  25 (ad, imm)  staying together; resting on the beach.

Ring-billed Gull  2 (ad, imm)  resting on the beach.

Royal Tern   4 (ad, imm)  flying offshore; landing on beach;  one AHY calling (photo).

Royal Tern (AHY)  Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, SDCO, CA  November 21, 2011

                                                                                               ©  2011 Callyn Yorke

Forster's Tern  2  flying offshore, OC.

Stercorarius spp.?  possibly both pomarinus and parasiticus   4-6  flying about 10 -25 ft. above the water, s ( 2 photos).

Stercorarius spp.   note relatively large torso and wing profile.

Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, San Diego County, CA  November 21, 2011  © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Mourning Dove  1  flying through suburbs, MB.

Rock Dove  3  MB.

Anna's Hummingbird   3  suburban gardens, MB.

Allen's Hummingbird  1  calls, garden, MB.

Black Phoebe  2  CC, MB.

Cassin's Kingbird  1  calling from utility wire,  960 SCH, MB.

American Crow   4  fly, call (including a long, clattering call), MB.

Bushtit  12  riparian and edge of garden, CC.

House Wren  2  edge of garden and riparian, CC.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet   2  CC.

Northern Mockingbird   1 calls, CC.

Orange-crowned Warbler   4  gardens, riparian, MB, CC.

Yellow-rumped Warbler   8  gardens, riparian, MB, CC.

Common Yellowthroat   1  riparian, CC.

California Towhee   2  calls, riparian, CC.

Song Sparrow  1  calls, riparian, CC.

White-crowned Sparrow  8 (ad, imm)   gardens, riparian, CC, MB.

House Finch   6  riparian, CC.

House Sparrow  4  gardens, MB.















Weather: Heavy marine layer with light drizzle; 66F. Winds WSW 2-5 mph. Tide outgoing.

Time: 0736 - 1033 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered:  1) West entrance at the visitor's center (W). We walked the trails through riparian and coastal sage scrub, bordering a tidal marsh with narrow, exposed mudflats. Most of the shorebirds were in the middle of the marsh, rather than along the nearby channel. We used a 35-55x scope, binocular and DSLR camera for the survey ( 0737-0826 hrs.; 0924 - 1013 hrs.).  2) We drove to the east side of the marsh (E), walking in from the Mira Costa College parking lot. Relatively few bird species were found. Most of the marsh and mudflats were dry (0832 - 0916 hrs.).


Mallard  6 (f) in channel and edge of marsh, W, E.

Pied-billed Grebe  2  in main channel, W.

Double-crested Cormorant   6  on utility lines, W.

Great Blue Heron  1  edge of marsh, W.

Great Egret   3  w marsh, W.

Snowy Egret  1  edge of marsh and channel,. W.

Black-crowned Night Heron  2 (ad, imm)  edge of riparian-marsh, W (photo).

BCNH (imm) West San Elijo Lagoon, August 8, 2011.

                                             © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Osprey  1  flying w with material in talons, W.

Cooper's Hawk  1 (imm) in canopy of willow, W.

Clapper Rail  2  calls (unseen) in marsh, W.

Black-bellied Plover    80 (alt., bsc. plmg.)   on mudflats, central marsh, W.

Semipalmated Plover   8  on mudflats in central marsh, W.

Killdeer  1  on mudflat, central marsh, W.

Black-necked Stilt  4  central marsh, W.

Spotted Sandpiper  1(bsc. plmg.)   foraging on mudflat at edge of channel, W.

Greater Yellowlegs  2  central marsh and mudflat, W.

Least Sandpiper  4  mudflats, W.

Sanderling   10  mudflats at edge of central marsh, W.

Short-billed Dowitcher   4  foraging in shallows, central, W.

Black Turnstone  2  mudflats, central marsh, W.

Willet  2  central marsh and mudflats, W.

Whimbrel   10 on mudflats, central, W.

Marbled Godwit  1 on mudflat, central, W.

Ring-billed Gull  3 (ad)   edge of marsh, W.

Western Gull  1 (ad) flying over, W.

Caspian Tern   4  flying, resting on mudflat, central marsh, W.

Elegant Tern   3  resting on central mudflats, W.

Mourning Dove  2  riparian, W.

Anna's Hummingbird  2 (f)  riparian, W.

Nuttall's Woodpecker   1  calls, riparian, W.

Black Phoebe  4   edge of marsh and channel, W, E.

American Crow  10  flying over, W, E.

Tree Swallow  2  flying over marsh, E.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, flying low over marsh, E.

Cliff Swallow   30  flying at variable heights over marsh, E.

Barn Swallow  15  flying low over marsh, E.

Bushtit  10  coastal sage and riparian edge, W.

Bewick's Wren  2  calls and song, coastal sage, W.

Marsh Wren  2  calls and song, marsh, E.

Northern Mockingbird  1  adjacent suburbs, W.

Western Bluebird  1  on utility line, adjacent suburb, W.

Wrentit  1  song, coastal sage, W.

Common Yellowthroat  6   calls and song, riparian, marsh, W, E.

California Towhee  2  coastal sage, W.

Salt Marsh Savannah Sparrow  10  calls,  active, marsh, W.

Song Sparrow  3  calls, song, W.

Red-winged Blackbird  6  flying over marsh, E.

House Finch   20  riparian, W, E.




December, 18, 2010  SAN ELIJO LAGOON ECOLOGICAL RESERVE (41 Species)


Weather:  Overcast with intermittent light rain; 58F; winds WSW 2-4 mph; outgoing tide (HT @ 0600 hrs.).

Time:  0815 - 0953 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered:  1) West San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve (WSE). We walked slowly along the trails through a willow riparian, coastal sage, salt marsh, freshwater-brackish marsh and edges of adjacent suburban gardens. A few joggers and dog-walkers were in the area during our survey. Conditions were fair for identifying bird vocalizations. The relatively high tide left little area of exposed mudflats around the marsh.   2) East San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve (ESE). We parked in a roadside pull-out (with a No Parking Zone occupying most of the tiny parking area) next to a locked gate leading into ESE. A few other people were in the area during our brief survey (0929-0953 hrs.); we walked only about half way across the n-s levee, then returned before heavy showers began. We surveyed both WSE and ESE using a 10x42 binocular. A very large concentration of California and Western Gull, initially seen circling high above WSE, was found resting in open water in ESE. Six species were added to our day-list at ESE: Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Tree Swallow and Say's Phoebe.


Gadwall  20 (m,f)  dabbling, flying in pairs, WSE;  50  ESE.

American Wigeon  25  (m,f)  flying low over marsh, WSE; ESE.

Mallard  20  (m,f)  pairs flying low over marsh, WSE;  30, ESE.

Northern Shoveler  4 (m,f)  open water and edge of marsh, WSE;  60, ESE.

Northern Pintail   3 (m,f) channel in marsh, WSE.

Green-winged Teal   6  shallow marsh, ESE.

Bufflehead  6  diving in channel, WSE.

Pied-billed Grebe  1  diving in marsh, ESE.

Double-crested Cormorant  8  on utility wire, WSE.

Great Egret  4  s edge of marsh, WSE.

Great Blue Heron  1 s edge of marsh, WSE.

Northern Harrier  1 (f) flying low over marsh, WSE.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1  flying into large Eucalyptus tree, WSE.

Red-tailed Hawk  1 (ad) flying over east border of riparian, ESE.

American Coot  1  WSE;  300  ESE.

American Avocet   50  swimming in central marsh, WSE.

Short-billed Dowitcher  1 flying low, back and forth, calls, WSE;   10  resting edge of marsh, ESE.

Least Sandpiper  1  flushed from mudflat, ESE.

California Gull   800 (90% ad)  circling over marsh (WSE); resting on wate (ESE).

Western Gull   200 (90% ad)  "                                    "                              ".

Mourning Dove  1  on utility wire, WSE.

Anna's Hummingbird  4  riparian and edge of marsh, WSE.

Black Phoebe  2  edge and middle of channel, WSE.

Say's Phoebe   1  sally-flycatching from low perch, ESE.

American Crow  3  flying over riparian; calls, WSE.

Common Raven  2  soaring over riparian, WSE.

Common Bushtit  12  riparian, calls, WSE.

Tree Swallow   20  flying low, back and forth over marsh, ESE.

Marsh Wren   2  calls at edge of marsh, WSE; 1 calls, ESE.

Hermit Thrush  1  flushed from edge of creek-riparian, WSE.

Northern Mockingbird  1  calls from coastal sage scrub, WSE.

Orange-crowned Warbler  1  foraging in willow thicket, calls, WSE.

Yellow-rumped Warbler   6  suburban gardens, willow thickets, WSE.

Common Yellowthroat   5  calls, active in marsh-riparian, WSE;  1 ESE.

California Towhee  6  edge of coastal sage scrub and gardens, WSE.

Song Sparrow  5  calls, song, riparian and edge, WSE.

Lincoln's Sparrow  1 calls, coastal sage scrub edge, WSE.

Savannah Sparrow  4  flock at edge of salt marsh, WSE.

White-crowned Sparrow   20  edge of gardens, coastal sage scrub, on ground; calls. WSE.

House Finch  15  coastal sage scrub edge, WSE.

Lesser Goldfinch  3  coastal sage scrub, WSE.



July 18, 2010   SAN ELIJO LAGOON ECOLOGICAL RESERVE (45 Species)  


Weather: Overcast, 63F; winds WSW 2 mph.

Time: 0629 - 0900 hrs.

Area Covered: 1) West end of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve ( WSEL):  I walked all the trails leading to and from the visitor center (closed), surveying willow riparian, coastal sage, saltmarsh, sloughs and adjacent suburban gardens. Only the main slough on the north end contained significant moving water on an outgoing tide. Extensive exposed mudflats in the central area; smaller areas exposed around the slough. I surveyed birds using a 10x42 binocular (somewhat inadequate for distant shorebirds) and a DSLR camera. A few dog-walkers ( all dogs were leashed as required by local ordinance) and joggers in the reserve, which was mostly quiet and undisturbed by human activities during the survey.  2) East end of the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve (ESEL): I walked south along the trail across from a ploughed field and Mira Costa College, through the salt marsh-riparian habitats, surveying birds with a 10x42 binocular and DSLR camera. A much lower diversity of birds was found here, however several new species were added to the day -list : Green Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Black-necked Stilt, Common Raven and Red-winged Blackbird.


                    Information sign at WSEL                                          Viewing southwest from the trail next to the visitor center.  July 18, 2010


                                                                                                                                                                                                               © 2010 Callyn Yorke



1) Mallard   3 (f) edge of slough WSEL.

2) Great Egret   2  S end of marsh at edge of slough with several Snowy Egrets, WSEL.

3) Great Blue Heron  2  edge and middle of marsh, WSEL.

4) Snowy Egret  10   wading in and fortaging along the edge of sloughs, S and N, WSEL.

5) Green Heron  1 (ad)  flushed from wetland, N-central, ESEL; calls.

6) Pied-billed Grebe  1 diving in slough, WSEL.

7) Double-crested Cormorant   7  on utility lines, W, WSEL.

8) Western Gull  1 (imm) flying over beach,  WSEL.

9) California Least Tern  1 on central sandbar-mudflat; fly, WSEL.

10) Caspian Tern   5 (ad, imm)   central sandbar-mudflat, WSEL.

11) Black Skimmer  2   a pair skimming back and forth along N slough, WSEL (photo).

                                                                                                                               © 2010 Callyn Yorke


12) Willet  20 (ad, imm)   widespread on mudflats, WSEL.

13) Marbled Godwit  2  central mudflats, WSEL.

14) Whimbrel  6  flying W over slough, WSEL.

15) Western Sandpiper   4  central mudflat, WSEL.

16) Black-necked Stilt   3 (ad; imm) small ponds; adult agitated, calling and head-bobbing as I approached, ESEL (photo).

                                                                                           © 2010 Callyn Yorke


17) Killdeer  10  central mudflat, WSEL;  4  ploughed field adjacent to ESEL.

18) Black-bellied Plover  12 (basic and trans, plmg.)    foraging on central mudflat , WSEL.

19) Semi-palmated Plover  4  foraging on central mudflat, WSEL

20) Clapper Rail  2  N edge of slough and central mudflat, WSEL.

21) Red-tailed Hawk  1  on utility pole, ESEL.

22) Mourning Dove  4  flying over riparian; perched on utility lines, WSEL.

23) Downy Woodpecker  1  calls from riparian woods, WSEL.

24) Nuttall's Woodpecker   1  calls from N suburban edge of riparian, WSEL.

25) Anna's Hummingbird   4  calls from riparian area; one female following a House Finch, WSEL; ESEL.

26) American Crow   8  flying, calling, WSEL; ESEL.

27) Western Scrub-jay   1 calls from adjacent suburbs, WSEL.

28) Barn Swallow   2  flying over riparian woods and marsh, WSEL.

29) Cliff Swallow  20  flying over hillside, riparian and marsh, WSEL.

30) Common Bushtit   10 in coastal sage; calls, WSEL.

31) Bewick's Wren   2  calls and song in coastal sage, WSEL.

32) Marsh Wren   3  calls and brief song from dense tules, ESEL.

33) California Gnatcatcher  1  called once in coastal sage near visitor center, WSEL.

34) Northern Mockingbird  1  riparian woods, WSEL.

35) European Starling  4  flying around suburbs and w end of slough; on utility lines, WSEL.

36) Black Phoebe   2  edge of riparian and marsh, WSEL.

37) Common Yellowthroat   5  calls from riparian and edge of marsh, WSEL.

38) Song Sparrow  2  dense riparian woods; calls and song; WSEL.

39) Belding's Savannah Sparrow   6 (ad; imm)  saltmarsh and foraging on mudflats; ad feeding fledgling, WSEL.

40) California Towhee  2  edge of trail through coastal sage, calls, WSEL.

41) Red-winged Blackbird  4  flying E into large area of tules, ESEL.

42) Hooded Oriole   2 (f)  in  and around palms and adjacent garden shrubs, WSEL.

43) Black-headed Grosbeak  3  riparian woods; calls, WSEL.

44) House Finch   15  widespread in riparian and suburbs, WSEL; ESEL.

45) Lesser Goldfinch  4   song, calls, flying in riparian woods, WSEL.



  December 27, 2009    SAN ELIJO LAGOON (62 Species)


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 I.


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.



Weather: Overcast;  65F; winds WSW 2mph. Surf 2-3 ft. Tide medium high.

Time: 0650 -0730 hrs.

Area Covered: 1) Moonlight Beach (MB), including nearshore waters, Cottonwood Creek outlet, beach and picnic area. A few people were on the beach, including surfers and two individuals using metal detectors. More folks arriving by the time I left the survey area. This beach has been heavily used each day during late morning through evening hours.2) Cottonwood Creek Ecological Preserve (CC). I walked through the small but densely vegetated riparian area (about 5 acres of seep grasses, willow, alder, mulefat, etc.) bordering the west side of South Coast Highway with a seasonally flooded drainage to the ocean. One homeless person was apparently camped in the southeast corner. Encinitas suburbs (ES). I cycled about 0.5 mile to and from Moonlight Beach on quiet residential streets lined with homes, office buildings and mature gardens with tall exotic shrubs and trees (e.g. eucalyptus, elm, pine). Conditions were fair for identifying bird vocalizations. A 10x42 binocular was used for the survey.


Brown Pelican    6  flying low offshore, MB.

Whimbrel  3  foraging among clumps of kelp on the beach, MB.

Western Gull 60 (ad, imm: 80/20%) resting on beach; offshore; drinking from creek,MB.

California Gull   15 (ad, imm: 80/20%) resting on beach, drinking from creek, MB.

Ring-billed Gull   6 (ad)  resting on beach, mostly away from other gull spp, MB.

Heermann's Gull  30 (ad, imm (90/10%)  resting on beach; drinking from creek, MB

Mourning Dove   4  fly, call, ES.

Eurasian Collared Dove  1  calls, ES.

Rock Pigeon   100 beach and adjacent suburbs, MB, ES.

Anna's Hummingbird  2  riparian, CC.

Allen's Hummingbird 1?  calls, riparian, CC.

Cassin's Kingbird  1 calls, utility line, ES.

Black Phoebe   2  calls, CC, MB.

American Crow   20  ubiquitous, MB, CC, ES.

Northern Mockingbird   2  ES.

Common Yellowthroat   2  calls, CC.

California Towhee  1  calls, CC.

Song Sparrow  1  song, CC.

House Finch   20  CC, ES.

House Sparrow   12, ES.



Weather Overcast with light rain. 55F;winds WSW 2-5 mph; surf 1-3 ft.

Time: 1500-1600 hrs.

Area Covered:  December 17: I walked from the Moonlight Beach Motel across 'B' street to the Cottonwood Creek (CC). This park, at the southwestern corner of Coast Highway (Hwy 101) and B Street, is the western terminus of the City of Encinitas Cottonwood Creek restoration zone, featuring a small stand of willow, alder and cottonwood along a rocky stream draining onto Moonlight Beach. A homeless person was sitting under a the mature palms on the southern border of the park; a small tent was pitched nearby. This area has attracted local homeless people for years. Birdlife was scarce; incipient stormy weather making observations difficult. Continuing to Moonlight Beach (MB), I surveyed (using a binocular and DSLR camera) artificial dunes and shore at low tide. A brief survey of the neighboring suburban gardens was made on the way back to the motel. By this time the rains had increased and my optical equipment became quite wet. Subsequently, the LCD monitor on my Nikon D3X shut down, presumably due to water damage. All other camera functions continued to work properly.

December 18   (1500-1540 hrs.) Merissa and I surveyed the same areas noted above, in addition to nearshore waters, at about the same time of day. Several species were added to the bird list:  Brandt's Cormorant, Willet, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Caspian Tern and Song Sparrow. Dozens of people were walking on the beach during our survey. Low tide and recent storms have left an abundance of kelp         ( e.g. Macrocystis) onshore. I did another brief survey (1045-1110 hrs.) of the same area on December 20 (overcast with light rain), adding four species to the list: Brown Pelican, Royal Tern, Anna's Hummingbird and Orange-crowned Warbler. About 200 more gulls, mostly CAGU, took shelter on the lee side of the artificial dune next to the lifeguard station. Children arrived while I was observing these gulls and deliberately flushed them by running, screaming and waving their arms, terminating my bird study session. Their parents stood by watching passively.

December 21 (1500-1530 hrs.) Low tide; intermittent rain with WSW winds gusting to 25 mph. We surveyed this area once again. Surf was now 3-7 ft; seas choppy and windblown, with surges onto a broad, litter and kelp strewn shoreline. Cottonwood Creek was nearing flood stage, running swiftly onto Moonlight Beach and cutting a wide swath through the sandy shoreline. A few surfers were out, along with families playing on the beach; the latter folks disturbing shorebirds gathered around the creek outflow. Six species of bird were added to the list: Semipalmated Plover, Dunlin, Western Sandpiper, Herring Gull, Forster's Tern and Mourning Dove.

December 22 (1145 - 1345 hrs.) Medium tide, surf 1-2 ft, seas choppy; partly cloudy with intermittent showers; WSW winds 5-15 mph. We surveyed CC and MB again and included a walk along HWY 101 through downtown Encinitas to Swami's and back. New species added to our list were: Western Grebe, Allen's Hummingbird, House Wren, California Towhee and White-crowned Sparrow. Caspian Tern was removed from the bird list because the initial sighting and identification was unclear (Dec.17); the bird was most likely a Royal Tern, which has been seen here both on and off-shore nearly every survey.

December 23 (1400-1430 hrs.) Low tide, surf 3-6 ft, seas glassy to choppy; partly cloudy. WSW winds 1-2 mph. We surveyed CC and MB again, specifically for closer views of Gray Whales, two of which were seen spouting and showing a fluke, about 60 yards offshore of MB at about 1345 hrs. today. Many people were on the beach, including about 15 surfers (photos). No new birds were added to our list.

December 24 (0830-0845 hrs.). High Tide, surf 2-3 ft. seas moderately calm. Winds WSW 1-2 mph. I briefly surveyed CC, MB and adjacent suburbs, using a 10x42 binocular. Several people on the beach and in the adjacent playground area. Glaucous-winged Gull was added to our bird list.


                                                                              Moonlight Beach, Encinitas,  December 23, 2010                                                                                                            © 2010 Callyn Yorke




Western Grebe  8  a fairly cohesive flock just offshore, MB.

Brown Pelican   8  soaring over shore, MB.

Brandt's Cormorant   2  flying s offshore, MB

Black-bellied Plover 2   outer shore, MB.

Semipalmated Plover  1   foraging on the outer shore, MB.

Sanderling  3  running along outer shore, MB.

Western Sandpiper  3 foraging on the outer shore, MB.

Dunlin  2  foraging on the outer shore, MB.

Willet   1  on outer shore, MB.

Whimbrel  4  staying close together on shore, MB.

Marbled Godwit  3  on shore, MB.

Heermann's Gull  25  (ad; imm) resting on sand dune,  flushed by low-flying military helicopters, MB.

Ring-billed Gull  12  (ad, imm) resting on sand dune and outer shore, flushed by low-flying military helicopters, MB.

California Gull  50  (ad, imm) resting on sand dune and outer shore; flushed by low-flying military helicopters, MB (photo: ad, bsc plmg.).

                                                                                                                                © 2010 Callyn Yorke

Glaucous-winged Gull  1 (C1) resting on beach at base of sand dune with other gulls.

Herring Gull  1 (C1) resting on the artificial dune, MB.

Western Gull  30  (ad, imm) resting on sand dune and outer shore with CAGU (photo); flushed by low-flying military helicopters, MB.

                                                                                                                                ©  2010 Callyn Yorke                                                      


Royal Tern  4   on beach, MB.

                                                                                                                               © 2010 Callyn Yorke


Forster's Tern  4  flying south outside of the surf zone, MB.

Rock Dove   4  playground, MB.

Anna's Hummingbird  1 (imm  m)  suburban garden, MB.

Allen's Hummingbird  1 (f) feeding on flowers of Bird of Paradise, west side of HWY 101.

Black Phoebe  1  playground, MB.

Cassin's Kingbird  3   on utility wire in suburbs; calls, MB.

American Crow   4  rooftops in suburbs, MB.

House Wren  1  edge of swampy area in shrubs, CC.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet   1  active in willow thicket, CC.

Yellow-rumped Warbler   12  active, calls, CC and suburban gardens, MB.

Orange-crowned Warbler  1  streamside shrubs, MB.

Song Sparrow  1  calls and song, riparian strip along creek, CC.

White-crowned Sparrow  2 (ad) in dense riparian tangle, CC.

California Towhee  2  singing on top of shrubis in Swami's garden.

Purple Finch  1 (f) visiting hanging bird feeder, suburbs, MB.

House Finch   2  (f)  "                       "

House Sparrow   20 (m,f)  "          ".




 December 29, 2009    MOONLIGHT BEACH, ENCINITAS (22 Species)



                                                               Swamis, Encinitas, CA   December 27, 2009.                                                                    © 2009 Callyn Yorke


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 (MB): Surveyed a small riparian creek-side preserve (Cottonwood Creek) at the SWC of HWY 101 and "B" Street (CC), 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 MB  resting on artificially created dune behind MB.

6) Western Gull  15  MB  "                        ".

7) Ring-billed Gull  20  MB  "                   ".

8) Heermann's Gull    4  MB  "                 ".

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

10) Rock Pigeon  5  MB   flying by.

11) Anna's Hummingbird  2   CC  calls.

12) American Crow  2  MB   Flying over; calls.

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

14) Bushtit 5  CC   active and vocal in shrubs.

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

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

17) Common Yellowthroat  2  CC

18) California Towhee  1  CC  calls from dense brush.

19) House Finch  5  CC   in willows; calls.

20) American Goldfinch  5  CC  in willows; calls.

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

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



Weather: Overcast to partly cloudy; 72F. Winds, WSW 5 -10 mph.

Time: 0915- 1130 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Areas Covered: 1) Hollister Street to the Borderfield State Park entrance (HS). The road goes through horse ranches, riparian and ruderal fields in the Tijuana River Estuary region of sw San Diego County bordering Mexico. A bridge across a riparian strip occurs about 2 miles south of Coronado Avenue at Interstate 5. This was the location we first observed and photographed four Black-throated Magpie Jays.  2) Borderfield State Park (BSP). We cycled about 1.5 miles from the parking area outside the entrance (closed on weekdays) on a partly paved road to the hilltop picnic area, passing through coastal sage scrub and a mosaic of wetland-riparian patches. A wide, sandy beach supported a small assemblage of gulls and other shorebirds. Equestrians approached our survey area from the north as we were concluding the survey. Otherwise, no one else was on the beach during our survey. A high metal fence, newly constructed since our last visit (see below) now separates the old border fence from the park boundary (the southwestern corner of the United States). A U. S. border patrolman sat in his SUV at the top of the hill next to the fence. Other border patrol agents with dogs worked the park entrance area as we were leaving.


Brandt's Cormorant  1  flying s, low over the outer shore, BSP.

Turkey Vulture  2  soaring, HS.

Red-tailed Hawk  1 (imm) on utility pole, HS.

Northern Harrier  1 (f) flying low over open field, BSP.

Falco sp.  1  large (PRFA size), tawny brown above, slow, low flight over coastal sage scrub, BSP.

Killdeer  5  on beach, BSP.

Sanderling  6 on shore, BSP

Willet  2  on beach, BSP

Marbled Godwit   5 (ad, imm)   on beach (photo).

MAGO (imm) Borderfield SP  10 August, 2011    © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Whimbrel   8 (ad, imm)  on beach, staying together. All except one individual with normal body proportions (see photo below).

Whimbrels    Borderfield SP   Note relatively short, stocky legs of individual in foreground.   August 10, 2011     © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Heermann's Gull  30 (95% ad). together on beach, BSP.

Western Gull  10  (ad, imm)  on beach, BSP.

Ring-billed Gull  2  on beach apart from WEGU and HEGU, BSP.

Parasitic Jaeger ? 1  flying fast s offshore, BSP.

Rock Pigeon   30  foraging on ground in ranch yard outside BSP.

Mourning Dove  20  on utility lines, on ground, HS.

Cassin's Kingbird  1 (imm)   on utility line, entrance to BSP (photo).

CAKI  (imm) Borderfield SP  10 Aug 2011  © 2011 Callyn Yorke


American Crow   4  flying over, HS.

Black-throated Magpie Jay (Calocitta colliei)  4  one individual first seen flying in riparian drainage beneath bridge, 2 mi. s of Coronado Ave; soon joined in willow tree by another individual; calls.(photo), then a total of four birds seen flying sw. Evidently, as many as 10 individuals of this exotic species have been seen together in this area (e.g. Imperial Beach); nesting has been documented in this area since 2001.

BTMJ  four individuals seen together on Hollister Street, 2 mi. S of Coronado Ave, San Diego County, CA  August 10, 2011           

                                                                                                     © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Wrentit  1  song, coastal sage hillside, BSP.

California Thrasher  1  song, coastal sage scrub (unseen), BSP.

House Finch   60  ubiquitous around ranches, HS.

House Sparrow   40  ranch yards, HS.






                      BORDERFIELD STATE PARK (19 Species)

                                                     July 17, 2010

Weather:  Fair, 75F; winds WSW  5-7 mph.

Time: 0940 - 1120 hrs.

Observers: Merissa, Ethan and I.

Area Covered: We walked west about 1 mile from Borderfield Park entry gate (closed to autos indefinitely and entry station deserted) along a paved road turning to a sandy path to the beach, surveying birds using a 10x42 binocular. The first section of the dusty entry road traverses a patchy willow riparian strip that appeared to be good bird habitat but only a few species ( e.g., California Towhee, House Finch, Yellow Warbler) were found.  Most of the habitat is a mosaic of dry saltmarsh and exposed alkaline flats. The new monument detour (the paved road is closed for repairs) is a sandy path that traverses protected Snowy Plover/California Least Tern nesting habitat, which is lightly fenced and signed. We continued along the shore (incoming tide) to the southwestern corner of the U.S.A. at the Mexican border, represented by a dilapidated fence extending a short distance into the water (photo). Most of the shorebirds were congregated on the shore near the border fence (photo). We returned to our vehicle along the same route, passing some equestrians and a few hikers.

Southwest corner of the USA, Borderfield State Park July 17, 2010                     Willet and Marbled Godwit, Borderfield State Park   July 17, 2010


                                                                            © 2010 Callyn Yorke                                                                                                           © 2010 Callyn Yorke



1) Brown Pelican   5  flying over nearshore waters.

2) Double-crested Cormorant   1  flying low off shore.

3) Western Gull   25  (ad, imm) on shore

4) Heermann's Gull   30 (ad, imm) on shore

5) Elegant Tern  10  flying over nearshore waters.

6) Caspian Tern  1  flying over nearshore waters.

7) Forster's Tern  1  flying over nearshore waters; diving.

8) Whimbrel   6  on shore.

9) Marbled Godwit   4  on shore.

10) Willet  16  foraging  at tideline.

11) Killdeer  2  on shore and sandy beach.

12) Snowy Plover  2  foraging along tideline.

13) Sanderling   6  foraging along tideline.

14) Mourning Dove  1  on utility line, entry road.

15) Cliff Swallow  1  flying over open field.

16) Yellow Warbler  1  singing in willow thicket.

17) Belding's Saltmarsh Savannah Sparrow   8  in salicornia and foraging in clumps of kelp on the beach.

18) House Finch   6  in riparian area.

19) California Towhee   3  on road in riparian area.















                                               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 I.

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 (Melanitta  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                "                             ".




Weather: Fair; 55F. Wind N  2 - 5 mph. Low Tide @ 1300 hrs. Surf 1 - 3 ft.

Time: 1124 - 1243 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: We walked the paths around the monument visitor's center, then the tidepools of Point Loma. Many park visitors were present today, including a busload of elementary school children. Most of the tidepool area was heavily used by visitors, including their dogs. One person was feeding gulls with bread from a large plastic bag, evidently brought here for that purpose. Park officials (three were present) apparently were unwilling to intervene. Almost no birdlife was present in the tidepool areas frequented by park visitors, except for a few Western Gulls taking handouts. A 10x40 binocular was used for the survey.


Red-throated Loon  1  preening, diving 100 m offshore.

Pacific Loon  2   preening, diving 80 m offshore.

Western Grebe   10   50-200m offshore.

Double-crested Cormorant  1 flying low nw,   100 m offshore.

Brandt's Cormorant    4  flying individually, low sw  150 m offshore.

Brown Pelican    30   flying around 20-300 m offshore; swimming in large flocks on surface, 300-400 m offshore

Western Gull   10 in tidepool; 20-300 m offshore; 4 (ad, imm) taking bread offered by a park visitor at the tide pools.

Royal Tern  1  flying low, ne over the shore, 50 m.

Black Phoebe    1  fly, call, low shrubs near tidepool path.

Wrentit  1  song, dense sage scrub chaparral near visitor's center.

Spotted Towhee  1  calls, sage scrub near visitor's center.

California Towhee  4   calls; onpath, sage scrub, visitor center and edge of cliff overlooking tidepools.

Yellow-rumped Warbler    2  fly, call, evergreen trees and shrubs near visitor center.




                                          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 I.

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


JANUARY 24, 2012   BATIQUITOS LAGOON (67 Species)

Weather: Partly cloudy, 55 to 62F; winds increasing, WNW 0 - 7 mph. High Tide @  0915 hrs.

Time:  0815 - 1340 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: We walked the north shore nature trail from Gabbiano Lane to near the terminus about 1.5 miles east of the nature center; returning the same route. The trail goes through patches of coastal sage scrub, freshwater marsh, and narrow strips of mudflat and saltmarsh; mature groves of Eucalyptus dominate the trail edges, acting as a barrier between the nature reserve and adjacent residential community with a private golf course. We used a scope to scan about 250 acres of the tidal channel (Batiquitos Lagoon), a.10x40 binocular and DSLR for the survey. About 50 people, most with leashed dogs, were encountered on the trail during our survey.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Common Ground Dove (2) and California Gnatcatcher (2).


Gadwall  4 (m,f) foraging in shallow, marshy edges of the lagoon.

American Wigeon   120  (m,f) in open water and edges of lagoon.

Mallard   1  (f) in pond on golf course.

Northern Shoveler  1 (f) in pond on golf course.

Northern Pintail     12 (m,f)  open water and edge of channel.

Green-winged Teal   50 (m,f)   edge of marsh and on mudflats.

Canvasback   30  (m,f) swimming, resting; edge of channel.

Lesser Scaup   15  (m,f)  swimming, diving, open water in channel.

Bufflehead  40 (m,f) diving, open water in channel.

Ruddy Duck    90  (m,f) most resting at east end of channel.

Pied-billed Grebe  6  middle of channel.

Horned Grebe  2  diving,  north edge of channel.

Eared Grebe   2  diving, north edge of channel.

Western Grebe  6  resting, preening, south edge of channel

Double-crested Cormorant   14  swimming, diving, edge and mid channel.

Brown Pelican   4  flying low over channel; resting in open water, east end.

Great Blue Heron  2  on shore at west edge of channel.

Great Egret   2  deep inside marsh, sw, e.

Snowy Egret    6  edge of channel, mudflats and marsh.

Green Heron  1  edge of pond in golf course.

Osprey  1 (ad) perched on short post at edge of marsh, e.

Red-shouldered Hawk  2  fly, calls, golf course.

Red-tailed Hawk  2  (ad, imm)  perched in snags, n, nw.

American Coot   1,500  edge of marsh and channel.

Black-bellied Plover   80   mudflats at edge of channel.

Semipalmated Plover   3  foraging on mudflats in marsh, e.

American Avocet   80  mudflats at edge of channel, e.

Greater Yellowlegs   2  foraging in shallows of marsh, e.

Willet   20  mudflats at edge of channel, e.

Marbled Godwit    12  mudflat at edge of channel with other shorebirds.

Long-billed Curlew  8 mudflat at edge of channel with other shorebirds.

Short-billed Dowitcher 8  mudflat at edge of channel with other shorebirds.

Western Sandpiper   8   foraging on mudflat with other shorebirds.

Least Sandpiper  1   foraging on mudflat with other shorebirds.

Ring-billed Gull    6 (ad, imm)   fly, resting in channel.

California Gull   4  (ad, imm) flying over channel.

Western Gull 1 (ad) resting on mudflat near other shorebirds.

Forster's Tern   3  flying back and forth over channel, diving.

Common Ground Dove  2  flying fast over channel, coastal sage scrub and freeway, w.

Rock Pigeon  10  on light pole, adjacent suburb, w.

Anna's Hummingbird  30  call, display, all habitats, especially eucalyptus groves.

Belted Kingfisher 1 (m) perched on tall saltbush at edge of marsh; fly, call.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  2  foraging on horizontal, dead eucalyptus limb; calls.

Black Phoebe  4  fly, call, open areas around golf course.

Say's Phoebe  2  sallying to grass on golf course; calls from adjacent open field; on fence.

Cassin's Kingbird  1 on utility line, e.

American Crow   4  fly, call, w.

Bushtit   30   vocal, active flocks in understory and in eucalyptus groves (photo).

Bushtit    Batiquitos Lagoon, San Diego County, CA  January 24, 2012

                                                                                                         © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Bewick's Wren   6  calls, song, coastal sage scrub.

Marsh Wren  3 calls, song  edge of marsh, w, e.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet    6  vocal, active, especially in eucalyptus (photo).

Ruby-crowned Kinglet    Batiquitos Lagoon   San Diego County, CA  January 24, 2012

                                                                                                                            © 2012 Callyn Yorke


California Gnatcatcher   2  active (silent) in coastal sage scrub, nw.

Wrentit   2  singing in coastal sage scrub, w.

Northern Mockingbird  2  calls, coastal sage scrub revegetated area; landed in same bush with singing CATH.

California Thrasher  1 singing from a large sugarbush at edge of revegetated coastal sage patch on residential hillside.

European Starling  2  calls, w suburbs.

Orange-crowned Warbler   5  active, vocal in eucalyptus with YRWA.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (A)  foraging, vocal in eucalyptus groves.

Common Yellowthroat   20 (m,f)   active, vocal in marsh, riparian, edge of coastal sage scrub.

Spotted Towhee  3  song, coastal sage scrub, w.

California Towhee  10   vocal; pairs on ground in coastal sage scrub and edge.

Savannah Sparrow   15  active, vocal, secretive in marsh and edge of coastal sage scrub.

Song Sparrow  30  active, vocal throughout.

White-crowned Sparrow  20 (ad, imm)   active, vocal throughout.

Red-winge Blackbird  1 (m) vocalizing atop deciduous tree, w.

House Finch  25 (m,f)   ubiquitous.

Lesser Goldfinch  4  calls, deciduous tree, w.







AUGUST 9, 2011  BATIQUITOS LAGOON (36 Species)

Weather: Overcast with light drizzle. 65F; winds WSW 2 mph. Tide medium high.

Time: 0836-1122 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: 1) East Batiquitos Lagoon (EBL). From the northern residential suburb (Aviara) near the intersection of Arenal and Columbine, we walked southeast along a sometimes muddy trail through coastal sage and marsh. This area has open fields bordering the east end of BL, but is distant from the lagoon and required the use of a scope (0836-0913 hrs.).  2) West Batiquitos Lagoon (WBL). We walked the trail along the northern edge of the lagoon from Gabbiano Lane to about the middle of the Aviara golf course and country club (about 1.5 mi.). This trail allowed closer views of the lagoon and mudflat margins than EBL, but had many children, joggers and dog owners, making observations of landbirds difficult. We used the scope to view a sandbar in the middle of the lagoon on the west side of Interstate 5 (heavy traffic) and elsewhere to distant portions of the lagoon (0929-1122 hrs.). Northern mudflat areas along the trail were dry and largely devoid of birdlife. Relatively few waterbirds were found here compared with San Elijo Lagoon yesterday, with the notable exception of about 150 Black Skimmers in EBL.


Mallard 1 (f) on the waterfall rocks, Aviara country club, WBL.

Cinnamon Teal  1 (m) flying e over channel, WBL.

Brown Pelican  12  on the sandbar w of Interstate 5, WBL.

Double-crested Cormorant   20  same place as the DCCO, WBL.

Great Egret  3  edge of lagoon, EBL.

Snowy Egret  2  edge of lagoon, EBL.

Great Blue Heron  1  edge of marsh, EBL.

Osprey  1  with nest material, flying w, WBL.

Cooper's Hawk  1  (ad) on light pole in adjacent suburb, EBL.

Killdeer  1  distant mudflat, WBL.

Semipalmated Plover   20  distant mudflat, WBL.

Willet  30  distant mudflat, WBL.

Western Gull  30 (ad, imm)   mostly west of Interstate 5 on sandbar.

Ring-billed Gull  2  flying over channel, WBL.

Black Skimmer  150 (ad, imm)   resting on mudflats; flying low over lagoon; calls, EBL.

Mourning Dove 4  riparian edge, EBL, WBL.

Anna's Hummingbird  10 (m,f)  riparian, eucalyptus groves and coastal sage, EBL, WBL.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  2   calls, riparian, eucalyptus groves, EBL, WBL.

Black Phoebe  6  edge of marsh, riparian, eucalyptus, EBL, WBL.

American Crow  6  fly, call, eucalyptus, riparian.

Western Scrub-jay  1  calls, Aviara residential area, EBL.

Cliff Swallow   50   nesting under east ledge of Interstate 5 overpass; flying low over marsh, WBL, EBL.

Oak Titmouse  1  calls, song, woodland at edge of country club, EBL.

Bushtit  10  calls, active in shrubs and trees, EBL, WBL.

Bewick's Wren  3  calls, song, coastal sage, EBL.

California Thrasher  1  song, coastal sage, EBL.

Wrentit  1  song, coastal sage hillside, EBL.

Common Yellowthroat  10  calls, riparian, eucalyptus, marsh, EBL, WBL.

Orange-crowned Warbler  2  active in lower levels of exotic trees, and shrubs; calls, song, WBL

California Towhee  2  calls, EBL.

Savannah Sparrow  2  calls, marsh, EBL, WBL.

Song Sparrow  6  calls, song, EBL, WBL.

Red-winged Blackbird  1  calls,  small marsh next to west entrance, WBL

Hooded Oriole  3 (f) active, calls in middle level and canopy of eucalyptus, WBL.

House Finch  30  ubiquitous, fly, call.

Lesser Goldfinch  4  fly, call, song,  edge of suburbs, EBL.










Weather: Partly cloudy; intermittent light rain at 1100 hrs. Temp. 54F; winds WSW 1-2 mph. Outgoing tide.

Time: 0801-1130 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: We walked the entire north shore trail (about 1.2 miles) from the parking area adjacent to the visitor center to the eastern terminus and back. Habitats surveyed (see Dec. 30, 2009 notes below), included open estuarine waters, saltwater and freshwater marsh, riparian, Eucalyptus woodland, chaparral, ruderal fields and meadows. We used binoculars and scope and carried a DSLR camera. The trail was fairly busy with joggers, dog-walkers and families with young, noisy children, during our survey. Conditions were otherwise good for identifying bird vocalizations. Sections of the eastern trail were inundated from recent heavy rainfall and required traversing across higher ground and through dense shrubs.


Brant  3  flying west.

Mallard  3 (m,f)  flew into a shallow marsh at the east end.

Northern Pintail   10 (m,f) marsh at east end.

Northern Shoveler  1 (f) in pond with waterfall on adjacent golf course.

Gadwall    30 (m,f)   marsh, central and eastern sections.

American Wigeon   60  (m,f)  open water and marsh throughout.

Canvasback   12 (m,f)   open water, east end.

Redhead  5 (m,f)  west lagoon.

Lesser Scaup  3 (m,f) 0 open water, west lagoon; diving.

Greater Scaup  5 (m,f)   open water, west lagoon; diving.

Bufflehead   80  (m,f) open water throughout.

Ruddy Duck   200 (m,f) open water throughout.

Eared Grebe  20 open water e, and w.

Pied-billed Grebe   6  edge of marsh, e and w.

Great Blue Heron  2  edge of marsh, w and central.

Great Egret  2  edge of marsh, e.

Snowy Egret  1  flying over lagoon, w.

Brown Pelican   10  in lagoon.

Double-crested Cormorant   1  flying over lagoon,w.

Osprey  1  flying e; landing on fence post, e.

White-tailed Kite  1  hovering over open meadow, e.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1  flying through Eucalyptus woods, e.

Red-tailed Hawk  1   on ground in open meadow with  freshly caught California Ground Squirrel in talons; flew off with the squirrel.

American Kestrel  1  on tall Eucalyptus branch, w.

Virginia Rail  1  calls from cattails, w.

Sora  1  calls from cattails, w.

American Coot   300  marsh and open water throughout.

Killdeer  2 marsh, e.

American Avocet  80  resting in marsh, e.

Greater Yellowlegs  2  edge of marsh, fly, call,e.

Willet   10  marsh, e; fly, call.

Long-billed Curlew  1  edge of marsh, e.

Marbled Godwit   30  resting at edge of marsh, e.

Least Sandpiper   15  narrow mudflats, central.

Bonaparte's Gull 3 (ad)   marsh with other gulls, e.

Ring-billed Gull     12 (ad)   marsh and sandflats, e; flying over lagoon.

California Gull   20 (ad, imm)   flying over lagoon; marsh, e.

Herring Gull  1 (ad) flying over lagoon, w.

Western Gull  4 (ad, imm) flying over lagoon, marsh, e.

Caspian Tern  1  flying over lagoon, w.

Elegant Tern  1  flying over lagoon, e.

Mourning Dove  6  on utility wire, w.

Anna's Hummingbird  6  edge of riparian, w, central.

Belted Kingfisher   1  on fence post in marsh, e.

Nuttall's Woodpecker   2  (m(?), f)    1 f active in Eucalyptus; calls from Eucalyptus woodland.

Say's Phoebe  1  edge of marsh, w.

Black Phoebe   8  edge of marsh, riparian, suburban garden, w, c, e.

Cassin's Kingbird  3   tall tree perch w;  sally-flycatching at edge of marsh, e; low shrub, sallying, next to pond in meadow, e

American Crow   4  fly, call; pair in tree.

Horned Lark  10  flying into meadow, e; calls.

Bushtit    20  small, noisy flocks in riparian and edge of woods.

House Wren  4  edge of marsh, chaparral and riparian; calls.

Marsh Wren  2  calling in marsh, w.

Hermit Thrush   1  dense riparian patch, nw.

Wrentit  3  singing in chaparral, w, central, e.

American Pipit   3  flying, calls, e.

European Starling   30  in meadow, e.

Northern Mockingbird  1  suburban garden, nw,

Orange-crowned Warbler  2  dense riparian and tall shrubs & exotic trees, w, central; calls.

Yellow-rumped Warbler   20 (m,f) (Audubon's) 1 (Myrtle - by call)  arboreal and terrestrial foraging, riparian and woodland; shrubland edge; calls.

Common Yellowthroat   20 (m,f)   marsh and riparian-chaparral edge; calls.

Spotted Towhee  1  flushed from chaparral-roparian edge, central.

California Towhee  20  pairs in chaparral, riparian, edge throughout; calls.

Belding's Savannah Sparrow  3  calls in Salicornia, w, central.

Song Sparrow   30  ubiquitous in marsh, riparian and chaparral edge.

White-crowned Sparrow   12  edge of chaparral and marsh,w, central.

Lincoln's Sparrow  1  edge of chaparral-riparian, e.

Red-winged Blackbird   10 (m,f)  patches of cattails, w, central; with starlings, e.

House Finch   20 (m,f)   brushy areas, edge, riparian, suburban gardens, w.

American Goldfinch  3  foraging on Sycamore fruits, nw.







  December 30, 2009 BATIQUITOS LAGOON, CARLSBAD-ENCINITAS                     (61 Species)



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 I.

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.


 August 10, 2011 TIJUANA RIVER NATIONAL ESTUARY (21 Species)

Weather: Overcast; 65F; winds WSW 2-5 mph.

Time: 0730 - 0900 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: We walked from the visitor's center off 3rd Street, Imperial Beach, south on the North McCoy trail, including residential gardens and riparian adjacent to the visitor's center (closed). We used a 10x42 binocular, 35-55x scope and DSLR camera for the survey. A few walkers and joggers were present during the survey, including two individuals with a dog (against the sign-posted rules). A continuing Yellow-crowned Night Heron was photographed on and near the wooden bridge. Otherwise, few waterbirds were found during our survey.


Brant ?  8  a flock of large waterfowl flying low in the distance, s.

Brown Pelican   3  flying over the adjacent shore, s.

Double-crested Cormorant  1  flying over.

Snowy Egret 2  foraging in shallows of channel, c.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron 1 - continuing ?(ad) first seen on wooden bridge; moved to adjacent slough (photo).

YCNH (ad) McCoy trail bridge, TRE, Imperial Beach, San Diego County, CA   August10, 2011    © 2011 Callyn Yorke



American Kestrel  1 (f) flying low over marsh, n.

Clapper Rail  5   frequent calls,  highly vocal individuals fairly close together in the salicornia marsh, yet unseen, nc.

Whimbrel  3  fly, call, nc.

Western Gull   3  flying over marsh and outer coast.

Caspian Tern   2 flying over marsh, n.

Rock Dove   10 adjacent suburbs.

Anna's Hummingbird  2  (m,f) calls, active in coastal sage, riparian.

Black Phoebe  2  low perches at edge of marsh.

American Crow  4  flying over adjacent suburbs.

Bushtit   4  coastal sage scrub and riparian around visitors center.

Northern Mockingbird  1  adjacent suburbs, n.

Song Sparrow  2  calls and song, riparian, n.

Savannah Sparrow  12  marsh and edge of channel.

Blue Grosbeak   1 (f) landed on cable fence along trail, (photo).

Blue Grosbeak (f) North McCoy Trail, TRE, Imperial Beach, San Diego County, CA  August 10, 2011    © 2011 Callyn Yorke


House Finch  10  ubiquitous.

California Towhee 2  riparian -coastal sage scrub.






                                TIJUANA RIVER NATIONAL NATIONAL ESTUARY (23 Species)   

                                                                                           July 13, 2010


Weather:  Fair, 65 to 70F; WNW winds 5-7 mph.

Time: 0854 - 1052 hrs.

Observers:  Merissa Mendez, Ethan Yorke and I

Area Covered:  We walked slowly along the south McCoy Trail from the visitor center (closed Monday and Tuesday) to the circular viewing area with benches overlooking the tidal marsh and coastal scrub habitat. We also walked along the eastern border trail adjacent to suburban backyards and a fenced airfield. Workers at the visitor center allowed us in the building to update the rare bird posting for Yellow-crowned Night Heron, which Merissa found and I photographed today (YCNH had also been noted on 5/13/10 along the McCoy Trail). Aside from this rarity,  a relatively low diversity of waterbirds was found today in the marsh. Water levels in the marsh were very low; most of the waterways were mudflats. Other animals noted included, Western Fence Lizard (4) Cottontail Rabbit  2 ( one disembowled along the trail) and California Ground Squirrel  (10) on the airfield.


1) White-faced Ibis  1  flying over.

2) Great Egret  2  flying over.

3) Snowy Egret   2  foraging in the slough.

4) Yellow-crowned Night Heron  1  (ad) at the end of McCoy Trail, then flew N into a narrow slough (photo).

                                                                                             © 2010 Callyn Yorke


5) Long-billed Curlew  1 foraging in a shallow slough.

6) Killdeer  2  eastern side and on the airfield.

7) Western Gull  3  flying over.

8) Rock Pigeon   1 flying over.

9) Eurasian Collared Dove  1 on ultility line, E.

10) White-tailed Kite  1  flying low over marsh.

11) Northern Harrier   3 (f; imm) flying low over marsh; two on ground in airfield.

12) American Kestrel  2 (m,f) perched together on chain-link fence, E.

13) Anna's Hummingbird   3   on and around tall shrubs; calls.

14) Northern Mockingbird  2  adjacent suburbs, E (song imitations of Cassin's Kingbird).

15) Bushtit  2  in tall shrubs near visitor center.

16) Black Phoebe  2  edge of marsh, E; calls.

17) American Crow  2  flying over.

18) Song Sparrow  2  edge of marsh, N.

19) Savannah Sparrow   6  flying low around marsh.

20) California Towhee   2  on trail.

21) American Goldfinch   13  at sock feeder in backyard, E.

22) House Finch  6  in tall shrubs at N end.

23) Western Meadowlark  1  on airfield, E.








                                                                                    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 I.

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 I.

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) San Diego Bay  Jan. 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



























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