San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[San Diego County Bird Atlas Project]

Notable Discoveries
Summer 1997

Already field work for the San Diego Bird Atlas is revealing interesting aspects of bird distribution. Refer to the grid system map for location of squares. Some notable reports so far...

Elizabeth Copper found a pair of Ospreys incubating in Square S8, North Island, the first record of Ospreys nesting in San Diego County since 1912. A pair at Lake Murray in Q11, followed assiduously by Jim Brown, copulates and carries an occasional stick to a platform but won't quite commit themselves to a serious nest attempt.

John Konecny found a pair of Sooty Terns returning to the same site in the Salt Works tern colony (U10) where they had been last year. Will the Sooty Tern make it any farther as a breeding species in San Diego County than last year's copulation at the Santa Margarita River mouth?

Art and Dorothy Hester, covering square U23, Campo East, found what is probably the largest colony of the Tricolored Blackbird in San Diego County this year, with around 1200 birds. Conversely, Bill Haas found the site of a former large colony in T13, Upper Otay Lake, almost deserted.

Two nesting pairs of Belted Kingfishers, rare at the southern limit of their range here in San Diego County, have been reported: one in N7, Nate Harrison Grade, by Conrad Sankpill, one along the Sweetwater River in S13, San Miguel Mt., by Pete Famolaro.

Bill Haas and Jeff Wells have found Long-eared Owls in dense oak woodland in several squares -- far more widely on the coastal slope than anyone would have anticipated.

In O22, Noble Canyon, Phil Unitt found a pair of Gray Vireos building a nest -- one of the few Gray Vireo nests ever observed in San Diego County.

At the mouth of the San Luis Rey River in Oceanside, H5, Paul Jorgensen found a pair of Barn Swallows building a nest -- a species rarely reported nesting in San Diego County away from the two traditional sites, La Jolla and Point Loma.

A local resident phoned in the establishment of a new Great Blue Heron colony of 11 nests at the corner of Miguel and Glorietta Blvd. in Coronado, S9. Andy and Kathy Mauro alert us to a regularly used but previously unpublished colony near the Carlsbad library in I8. Both the Mauros and Lisa Ellis and Mike LeBuffe remind us of a locally well known -- but not widely publicized -- Snowy Egret and Black-crowned Night Heron colony behind the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce in M7.

Phil Pryde found the Wrentit east of its previously reported range in the southern Anza-Borrego Desert in Indian Canyon in square P26.

The avian condominium prize so far goes to Paul Jorgensen, who in Green Valley Falls Campground in N20 found five species -- Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Wood Pewee, Violet-green Swallow, House Wren,and Western Bluebird -- nesting in a single live oak tree -- with another, Hutton's Vireo, nesting in the shrubbery beneath the tree.

Field work for the atlas can yield unexpected vagrants, too. Ed Hall found a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, the first in San Diego County in 5 years, in K12, Highland Valley. Ken Weaver had a Clark's Nutcracker fly by in C15, Dameron Valley, and Geoff Rogers and Dave Seals saw another in N22, Filaree Flat (Laguna Mts.). Phil Unitt encountered an Indigo Bunting in P22, Scove Canyon (Laguna Mts.).

Undoubtedly, this is but a small fraction of the interesting observations made so far. Please send or call in your especially notable discoveries quickly to let other participants know about them as soon as possible.

Summer 1997 Wrenderings | Wrenderings Archive | Bird Atlas Introduction