I thought perhaps, that there might be a malePurple with the two females that showed up at my feeders. This is the male that caught my eye – large bill, pink on the chest, fine streaking on the flanks. Pretty subtle differences when compared to the House Finch.
Cassin’s Finch is a a bird usually seen in the higher mountain areas of the county, and while it is not uncommon, it can be difficult to find. I’ve seen them at the Laguna Park HQ, and along the trail from Sunrise Highway out to the Laguna Meadow. They were not on my radar for Jacumba. But here they are. Go figure. On the 20th I was birding with others, and we saw these finches which we passed off as the more common and similar Purple Finch. Nancy Chistensen posted a pic online and Terry H. suggested that it was a Cassin’s. Nancy’s bird seems to be the first Cassin’s Finch seen at Jacumba. Maybe yes, maybe no.
On Monday, 2-23-15, I was at the pond and noticed a small gull. I got some decent shots, and consulted my Sibley’s Guide. I knew that lit was not one of our very common gulls, and found that it matched Bonaparte’s. It also looks like the ultra-rare Little Gull, so I went back to the lake to see if I couldn’t get some better looks. Alas, it was gone. We often get oddball birds at the lake after a big wind. I don’t know of any records for this bird in Jacumba. The Bird Atlas shows no local records.
The pair of Evening Grosbeaks still tease any birder who trys to find them. This morning I noticed them up in one of my trees. I expected them to come down to feed, in competition with the Tricolored Blackbird mob, or go to water feature. No, they just flew off. I found them later in a tall pine near the north end of Campo Street.
Anslinger was our first drug czar, a real piece of work. He was appointed by Herbert Hoover in 1930 and fired by JFK in 1961. He was personally responsible for boatloads of problems that we are not yet over. He looks just like my grandfather Goldstone. Enjoy.
A pair of large goldfinches, Evening Grosbeaks, appeared in my yard this morning. In December 2012 I had a female which lingered until April 2013. They are highly unusual in San Diego County.
Yesterday the first of season Rufous Hummingbird showed up. Last year the bird showed up on the same date. I thought I’d been seeing a male Costa’s hummer for the last several days, and yesterday I got some pics of him, also.
Last week, while on a bicycle ride in the morning I took the little side-road, a narrow cement by-passed section of Old US 80 at the east end of Bankhead Springs and found a flock of about 35 Band-tailed Pigeons. These large birds are the closest living relative to the extinct Passenger Pigeon. I’ve seen a single bird at the swamp and at my feeders this winter. There has been a mini-invasion of them this year in unusual places, especial along the coast. Boulevard has decent enough habitat, lots of oaks, for these birds. Perhaps they will stick around. I doubt it.
Just later on the same ride, as I passed McCain Valley Road, I saw a brilliantly colored Lewis’ Woodpecker, a regular winter visitor to San Diego County, and not too far from its usual wintering grounds. I returned the next morning with my camera and attempted to get some pics, but the bird was a bit shy and my pics were lousy.
I did notice on my first photographic visit, that there were at least two birds, and they were aggressive in defending their territory, a small oak woodland, from the resident acorn woodpeckers. As soon as an acorn woodpecker would get close, one of the Lewis’ would chase it off. The Lewis’ were usually out of sight otherwise.
Lewis’ woodpecker was named for Meriwether Lewis, a leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark got an aggressive corvid named after him, Clark’s Nutcracker, which I reported on about a year ago. Legendary Clark’s Nutcracker at Laguna Recreation Area 2-16-2014. You could look it up.
A Nuttall’s woodpecker has been doing some excavation in my Cottonwood tree, preparing a new nest cavity. Two years ago two of these pairs nested in the tree. Last year a starling took over the nest hole.