This is a bird that’s been on my radar for a long time. The Indigo Bunting is a close relative of the common Lazuli Bunting which shares the same habitat requirements. Where their ranges overlap they are often seen together. They are rare west of the Colorado River. I’ve seen Indigos at Fort Rosecrans Cemetery on Point Loma, a well-known rare bird trap, San Felipe Valley between Julian and Borrego Springs, and in Madera Canyon in SE Arizona. The local habitat, the edges of our cottonwood-riparian woodland in Jacumba, is perfect for breeding of this species.
This morning about 6:50 I was birding with Trent Stanley when we heard a faint song that sounded like a yellow warbler, which we know to be in the area. Trent scanned the cottonwoods in the distance and announced that he had an Indigo Bunting. I looked at the bird through my binoculars but could not make out the color, as it was at too great a distance. We worked our way around to the cottonwoods and finally got some good looks at what indeed is an adult male Indigo Bunting. He is a rather shy bird and would not allow close-up photos except when he was directly between us and the sun. I managed to get a few crummy photographs.
As I noted above, I’ve been looking for this bird for a long time, and it was a great thrill to finally see one. My 165th Jacumba bird.
Also seen today were a pair of (M&F) Lazuli Buntings – early migrants or birds on their post-breeding dispersal from local nesting grounds in the Lagunas. Additionally, the green herons at the lake have three fledglings. We also saw an adult male yellow warbler and an immature male blue grosbeak at the swamp.
In my yard I’ve been seeing migrant rufous and Allen’s hummers as well as Scott’s, hooded and Bullock’s Orioles. Tricolored Blackbird numbers are decreasing as the birds fledge their chicks and go on their odyssey.