Yesterday I participated in a local Audubon Christmas bird count in San Diego County. Our group surveyed part of downtown San Diego. You might think downtown does not have a wide variety of bird species, and in some ways you would be right. There are large numbers of the usual suspects such as pigeons and house sparrows and crows, however the parks and the bay make for far more interesting birding than you might suppose.
Pigeons in San Diego
A distant peregrine Falcon perched on a tall building in Downtown San Diego.
I was so excited to see my first Chestnut-sided Warbler among the multitude of Yellow rumps and Orange crowned. These birds are usually found in the East but occasionally one makes its way to San Diego for the winter instead of Mexico and Central and South America. During the breeding season this bird is common in scrubb and second growth forest in eastern parts of southern Canada – and the USA. I would love to see one in the breeding season when the Chestnut sides really show. These little warblers move so quickly it was very hard to photograph but I include two photos that prove I saw it!
The morning started off cold and wet but cleared up revealing some nice water birds as well as well as the usual suspects. The most exciting bird was a Red-necked Grebe – There have been less than ten sightings recorded of this species in San Diego County so it was exciting to get such good views so close to shore.
It was also very nice to see a Common Loon
Other nice birds were Surf Scoters close to shore and a beautiful little spotted Sandpiper
In the end a beautiful day with good company and good birds!