Mountain Bluebirds 11-25-14

Mountian Bluebird 11-25-14.

Mountain Bluebird 11-25-14.

Last year I didn’t find these guys until December 20.  This one needs a better wig. I found about 6 of these birds in the bare-earth ag fields on the south side of Old US 80 between the Highland Center and the two rustic homes with the wonderful tumbleweed displays.  The birds were widely distributed as they foraged.

Mountain Bluebird 11-25-14

Mountain Bluebird 11-25-14

Vesper Sparrow  11-25-14

Vesper Sparrow 11-25-14

I’m surprised that I have not seen a Vesper Sparrow earlier.  It’s a close relative to the very common Savannah sparrow.  I found 2 while looking for the Mountain Bluebirds.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwings usually show up in gangs to raid my pyracanthas.

Fox Sparrow

Fox Sparrow

I see this Fox Sparrow in my yard every couple of days.  He scratches at the leaf litter, like a towhee, with his gigantic feet.

Myrtle Warbler, left, and Red-breasted Nuthatch 11-8-14

Myrtle Warbler, left, and Red-breasted Nuthatch 11-8-14

The Myrtle Warbler, left, is the eastern variety of the common-as-dirt Yellow-rumped Warbler.  The western version is called “Audubon’s Warbler.”

Myrtle Warbler 11-18-14

Myrtle Warbler 11-18-14

Audubon's Warbler 11-7-14

Audubon’s Warbler 11-7-14

This isn't Kansas, either.

This isn’t Kansas, either.

 

Yardbirds ~ November 10, 2014

Townsend's Solitaire 11-10-14

Townsend’s Solitaire 11-10-14

White-breasted Nuthatch 11-10-14

White-breasted Nuthatch 11-10-14

Red-breasted Nuthatch 11-10-14

Red-breasted Nuthatch 11-10-14

Western Bluebirds, male left, and female.  11-10-14

Western Bluebirds, male left, and female or immature. 11-10-14

American Robin raiding pyracantha with  hidden western bluebird

American Robin raiding pyracantha with hidden western bluebird

Scot's Oriole 11-10-14

Scott’s Oriole 11-10-14

The best bird of the day was a female-type Baltimore Oriole – a yardbird!

perhaps a Baltimore Oriole...?

Baltimore Oriole – female type.  Another awesome Jacumba bird!

 

Today was a pretty good day for birding my yard  in Jacumba.

Besides the birds pictured, I found red-naped sapsucker, red-breasted sapsucker, cedar waxwing(8) hermit thrush (2), budgerigar, sharp-shinned hawk and pine siskin(7).

Brown Thrasher 10-30-14

Just in time for Halloween a Brown Thrasher appeared at the community park.  The thrasher was found foraging through the leaf letter near the fence line at Old US 80. This is a pretty rare bird in Southern California.  The last one I saw was at the now-defunct drip at the Cabrillo Monument in 2007.

Brown Thrasher 10-30-14 at the community park

Brown Thrasher 10-30-14 at the community park

Brown Thrasher 10-30-14 at the community park

Brown Thrasher 10-30-14 at the community park

Brown Thrasher 10-30-14 at the community park

Brown Thrasher 10-30-14 at the community park

The Brown Thrasher breeds in the southeast and winters in Texas and south.  To see one in San Diego County is quite unusual.

 

Also seen today were  three very aggressive Pine Siskins.  They were seen often in the winter of 2012-2013 but I do not recall any county reports for last winter (2013-2014).  The first-of-season siskin showed up on the 26th.

Pine Siskin 10-29-14

Pine Siskin and two lesser goldfinches 10-29-14

 

 

Jacumba Update 10-26-14

Townsend's Solitaire 10-22-14

Townsend’s Solitaire 10-22-14

The Solitaire, first seen at the swamp on October 7, is hanging around.  I’ve seen it several times foraging in my pyracanthas.  Another treat was a Western Tanager in the same pryacantha on the 24th.

Tricolored Blackbird 10-25-14

Tricolored Blackbird 10-25-14

I dunno ... probably just a mutant Red-winged Blackbird

I dunno … probably just a mutant Red-winged Blackbird

Finally .. some nice birds at O’Neil Lake at Camp Pendleton.

Neotropic Cormorant - first county record found by Paul Lehman

Neotropic Cormorant – first county record  – found by Paul Lehman. Photo 10-24-14

This is a bird that has been expanding its range.  Its been in the Imperial Valley for about 6 years, and is successfully breeding.  

American Redstart Camp Pendleton 10-24-14

American Redstart Camp Pendleton 10-24-14

EGK_7757 2

Townsend’s Solitaire and more…. 10-14-14

I wouldn’t usually post such a crappy photograph in this blog.  But this is a special occasion! Townsend’s Solitaire is a bird of high montane forests, not Jacumba.  I can only suggest that it was driven to lower elevation by the drought, or perhaps, like last week’s band-tailed pigeon, it stopped by in transit from our mountains to the forests of Baja, which are not too far to the south.

Last Sunday, on a Western Field Ornithologists field trip the same species was noted in flight directly overhead (I didn’t see it).  So this morning I was amazed to see this bird feeding on berries in my pyracantha.  This might be the same bird as seen on Sunday.

Townsend's Solitaire  420mm Nikkor  1/1600 sec f5.6 ISO 4200

Townsend’s Solitaire ~ 1.4TC/ 300mm f4 AFS  Nikkor 1/160 sec f5.6 ISO 4200 ~ just after sunrise.

This morning I found a Chestnut-sided warbler at the eastern edge of town adjacent to the old ag fields.  This is a first-year female.  Another really good bird, an eastern warbler.

Chestnut-sided warbler 10-14-14

Chestnut-sided warbler 10-14-14

Chestnut-sided warbler 10-14-14

Chestnut-sided warbler 10-14-14

Chestnut-sided warbler 10-14-14

Chestnut-sided warbler 10-14-14

Lastly, a flycatcher photographed at the swamp on 10-13-14.  It looks to me to be a Willow Fly, but the primary extension looks to be too short, and there are no bold wing-bars.

Willow flycatcher 10-13-14

Willow flycatcher 10-13-14

Willow flycatcher 10-13-14

Willow flycatcher 10-13-14

 

A Diversion – Tijuana River Valley 10-11-14

Peregrine Falcon Tijuana River Valley 10-11-14

Peregrine Falcon at the Sod Farm, Tijuana River Valley 10-11-14

I have not birded in San Diego since July 2013 so today I met Trent Stanley and we birded in the Tijuana River Valley.  The specific places are called, Diarymart Pond, the Stickpond, the Sod Farm, the Bird & Butterfly Garden, and a riparian area in Nestor, next to some odd Stonehenge-like statuary with a homeless man who looks like Santa Claus and who’s been there for at least three years.

Townsend's warbler Nestor

Townsend’s warbler Nestor

Hermit Thrush at the Bird & Butterfly Garden

Hermit Thrush at the Bird & Butterfly Garden

EGK_6248

Band-tailed Pigeon 10-10-14

Band-tailed Pigeon 10-10-14

Band-tailed Pigeon 10-10-14

This is a bird that was off my radar.  I did not expect to see this species in Jacumba. But, here it is! I found it atop one of the large trees along the east side of the pond.    Band-tailed Pigeons are our largest pigeons.  It is related to the extinct passenger pigeon and the common rock dove, also known as the street pigeon.

The band-tailed pigeon is usually found in montane habitats like Palomar (pigeon roost in Spanish) or the higher mountains of the county.  This bird may be lost, or just in transit between populations in San Diego County and nearby Baja California.

Munia - previously known as nutmeg mannikin 10-9-14

Munia – previously known as nutmeg mannikin 10-9-14

On the 9th, a trio of spotted munias showed up in my yard.  Two female or immature males and a shy adult male.  This last year the bird authorities changed the status of this bird from escaped pet-trade bird to naturalized exotic species.  They have become well established in Southern California, and are easily found along the San Diego River in Mission Valley and the canyons around San Diego.

Fox Sparrow 10-9-14

Fox Sparrow 10-9-14

This fox sparrow showed up in my yard several days ago.  It is a large, dark sparrow, which acts like a towhee, scratching at the ground and working through leaf litter, looking for bugs.

MacGillivray’s Warbler 10-5-14

MacGillivray's Warbler 10-5-14

MacGillivray’s Warbler 10-5-14

MacGillivray's Warbler 10-5-14

MacGillivray’s Warbler 10-5-14

MacGillivray’s warblers are considered to be a “common” western migrant.  But they are hard to find as they are reclusive and usually forage out of sight near the ground and and hidden by brush.

Black-throated gray Warbler 10-5-14

Black-throated gray Warbler 10-5-14

Western Tanager 10-4-14

Western Tanager 10-4-14

Lincoln's sparrow 10-5-14

Lincoln’s sparrow 10-5-14

Vermilion flycatcher 9-30-14

Vermilion flycatcher 9-30-14

This vermilion flycatcher is a hatch-year bird.  Adult males, especially, are brilliantly red.

Prairie Falcon Buckman Springs 9-26-14

Prairie Falcon Buckman Springs 9-26-14

Prairie Falcon Buckman Springs 9-26-14

Prairie Falcon Buckman Springs 9-26-14

Green Heron 10-4-14

Green Heron 10-4-14