The Lark Buntings are uncommon migrants in Southern California. I’ve seen them twice at Fort Rosecrans. This afternoon I found this female-type along Seeley Avenue near Campo Street. The lot on the south side is a riot of grapes and berries. The lot on the north side has a dense stand of sunflowers and grasses. The bunting was grazing on both sides of the street. Western Tanagers are pretty thick in the grapes and Lazuli Buntings like the sunflower seed heads and the tall grasses. Lark Buntings and Lazuli Buntings are not closely related. The Lark Bunting is more sparrow-like, the Lazuli is goldfinch-like.
Seeley Avenue, particularly the sunflower lot and the lot directly across the street in the block to the east of Campo Street is the best spot for easy birding in Jacumba. This week I’ve seen numerous Lazuli Buntings, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Western Tanagers, Hooded Orioles (getting really late), Wilsons Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Cedar Waxwings, Lawrence’s Goldfinches, Swainson’s Thrush, and Warbling Vireos.
The chat is the largest of our warblers. Its about the size of a northern mockingbird, and like the mocker its often very vocal, hence the name chat. It looks more like a vireo than a warbler.
The female is gray with the same red eyes. They favor mistletoe berries.
So far the Fall migration has been a bit on the slow side – actually very slow. Until the last several days there’s been only a few birds with noting, The painted bunting reported earlier will probably be the best bird of the Fall. The first fall migrants usually start showing up in late July, and by early August there’s usually a few migrant warblers floating around. Only in the last several days have I noticed a significant increase in Fall migrants. There were several days in August that I saw nothing but a few doves and lesser goldfinches at the swamp. Last year and in 2013 around these dates I found decent numbers and sometimes excellent variety.
There is one remaining Bullock’s oriole in town as of 9-9-15. The last male hooded oriole was seen the same date. Three female type hoodeds were seen this morning along Seeley Avenue in the first block west of Campo Street and one was seen at the swamp. The bees finally found my jelly feeders about two weeks ago, and the orioles have been scare since. The one remaining male hooded (as of 9-9-15) shows up in the evening just before sunset and picks through the bees. I’ll soon retire my jelly feeder until the Spring.
One tricolored blackbird has been visiting by seed feeder as well as a single yellow-headed blackbird. Costa’s, black-chinned and Anna’s hummers are at the feeders from just before down to last light – pretty much non-stop. One selasphorus also.
This morning I found 4 lazuli buntings on Seeley Ave, along with 10 western tanagers, 3 black-headed grosbeaks, all female types, and a couple of common warblers.
Western tanagers have started showing up in good numbers. Besides the 10 along in one spot along Seeley Avenue there were about that number at the swamp, and more birds spread out around town. The swamp had a decent selection of common migrants including yellow warbler, Lawrence’s goldfinch, Swainson’s thrush, flycatcher sp 2, Wilson’s warbler (10), black-throated gray warbler, common yellowthroat, warbling vireo 2, hooded oriole, lazuli bunting 3,and orange-crowned warbler 10.
Today’s best bird was a male Lawrence’s goldfinch. These birds are unpredictable. I heard a small group but could find only one of them. The light was awful as it was heavily overcast. This kept the temperature down into the low 80s, at least.
Several new placards have appeared in Jacumba. Sponsored by the Jacumba-Boulevard Revitalization group, they highlight interesting sights etc. in Jacumba. The placard pictured, placed at the swamp (aka Lake LaZare) has a big problem. It turns out that the Arroyo Toad, a federal endangered species, is not found in or near Jacumba. If someone actually found one, it would be like having California Condors roosting with our Turkey Vultures. Western Toad anyone?
In other sightings in Jacumba……
I’m a bit shaky on flycatchers, especially when it comes to western wood-pewees and willow flys. So I might be mistaken here.
Unusual sighting of a common woodpecker. These guys are usually seen only as far east as McCain Valley Road’s intersection with Old Highway 80 – about 6 miles west of Jacumba. The Bird Atlas reports no records for Jacumba. There are enough oak trees with acorns that the town could support a small number of these noisy, social woodpeckers.