Spring migration is starting to heat up, with large numbers of orioles, and decent numbers of warblers. The first western tanager has shown up at my feeder and is making a hog of himself. In a coupe of weeks the large fruiting mulberry tree on El Centro ave (west of Campo Street) will be covered in fruit which will attract all sorts of tanagers, grosbeaks, orioles, starlings etc.
These birds were found in the disturbed chaparral bordering the north end of Jacumba Valley Ranch.
This is one of a pair of adult males that arrived last week. They appear at my feeders several times a day. I suspect that they are scouting territories to defend once the mademoiselles arrive.
Here are pics of the two lark buntings, the first from 2-17-16 and the second from 2-24-16. In addition to the differences shown above, the great coverts, above the white patch on the wing, are different. The second bird was found about a mile, as the bunting flies, from the first. It was associating with vesper sparrows.
I don’t think that this Rover will do much more roving. These were nice cars, underpowered, but appointed with lots of wood and leather. By the mid-sixties, Rover used the Buick 215 cid aluminum V8.
Hudsons were nice cars in the thirties. By the early 1950s Hudson was in serious decline. The cheap and tacky “Jet” and “Jet Liner” were attempts to revive their sagging fortunes. They eventually evolved into Rambler/AMC and their cars devolved into the absurd “Pacer” and ghastly “Gremlin” models. The Jeep line escaped the death of AMC and is now owned by Italians. A step up.
I came across this fine specimen in the chaparral along the northeast corner of town, near the railroad tracks in Jacumba Valley Ranch. It flew off east into the weedy fields after I’d gotten a coupe of almost OK ID shots. I found it again it down the road a few moments later and it was patient with my photographic efforts.
The timing for this bird appears perfect, but in Winter they are usually seen on the coastal slopes only. An exception was the bird seen in the winter of 2008 at Milk Ranch Road near Cuyamaca Reservoir. I remember marching through 6″ of snow and not finding the bird.
The FOS Hooded Oriole that appeared on 2-17-16 was a one-stop wonder.
According to Phil Unitt’s San Diego County Bird Atlas (2004), Hooded Orioles begin to appear in early March. The earliest recorded date is February 26. In 2014 my date for this bird was February 24.
This first of season adult male Costa’s Hummingbird, Calypte costae , showed up this afternoon. I’ve not had a Costa’s since last November 17. Last year the first of season appeared on 1-22.
I’ve also been seeing up to 20 Anna’s hummingbirds, Calypte anna, in the evenings sharing, peacefully, my two feeders. Some of these usually aggressive birds calmly share one feeder port, taking turns.
I recently purchased a quantity of meal worms. I’ve used these in the past to coax recalcitrant warblers out in the open to be photographed – this works great for Oven Birds – and I was not surprised that this adult male Scott’s Oriole, Icterus parisorum, gobbles them up like candy. He’ll stop by and eat 5 or 6 quickly and then fly off with another. And then in about half an hour he returns and repeats, sometimes having grape jelly for dessert.
This Bullock’s Oriole, Icterus bullock, showed up several weeks ago and I see him every three of four days. This morning he was in a feeding flock with two bright Scott’s orioles.
I found these two Northern Flickers, Colaptes auratus, duking it out at the community park.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY!
This, Dear Friends, is a bird that I’ve been waiting for ever since the first time I opened a birder’s guide. I saw Mark Stratton’s post with photos recently, and could not resist the chance to see this spectacular icterid when Roger Uzun offered a day trip to Yuma and beyond. The weather report indicated that it would be clear and relatively warm (65F) in Yuma. We found the bird with the help of a traveling birder, Chris(?) from Montana. It posed nicely in almost exactly the advertised spot.
Also seen were a couple of Gila woodpeckers and several Inca doves.
This giant toad and psychedelic toad stool appeared in my yard yesterday (12-29-15). I think its an arroyo toad. The eyes light up. We’ll see how long it takes before it gets vandalized.
There are three male Scotties in town. They often forage together in the pines near the RR station.
The robins and cedar waxwings have entirely cleaned out the pyracantha pomes. Also visiting the pyracantha hedge have been a sage thrasher and Townsend’s solitaire.