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February 24, 2018 – San Diego Big Day (110 Birds in a Day!!!)

After packing up the car to begin our journey home this evening, we were excited to get our San Diego Big Day – eleven straight hours of birding – underway.

It was a chilly morning once again, but thankfully the temperature quickly rose to 61 degrees by 11:00 AM, and the fierce winds of the previous day had vanished. By lunch time we had recorded 76 species – two more than all of yesterday!

We began our day at Nestor Neighborhood Park, a prime spot for early warblers. Here we documented yellow-rumped, common yellowthroat, orange crowned, and the star of the show – a gorgeous male Townsend warbler! Other species included western and summer tanagers and a stunning view of a red shouldered hawk, among others.

Stop two brought us to the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge Shoreline. Here we found bufflehead, kingfisher, lesser scaup, multiple species of scoters and grebes, Brandt’s cormorant, royal tern, sparrows of all kinds…so many birds!

Having seen nothing at stop 3, the Tijuana National Estuarine Reserve yesterday, we were toady delighted to find many avian visitors. A few highlights: marsh wren, Coopers hawk, and hermit thrush. We also found the yellow-crowned night heron we saw yesterday at the apartment complex just a short walk away.

The final stop before lunch was another return welcomed from yesterday, Chula Vista State park. While the cackling goose was absent, many other birds delighted us with views. Among them: Many heron, a reddish egret, plovers, long-billed curlew, Caspian and Forster’s terns and blue-winged teal.

After a ‘working lunch’ of 20 minutes travel north, we arrived at Lake Murray, where opening day for the local Little League baseball and softball teams was underway, complete with music and alluring aromas produced by food vendors. A fun, festive family atmosphere. As Ethan observed, it’s fun to see how kids everywhere are basically the same – playing, teasing, eating – simply outside enjoying a time-honored ritual of spring.

Below the ball fields is a lake surrounded by a wide biking, running/walking path, The temperature being perfect for a day outdoors, the path was quite busy. Despite all of the human activity, the birds were undisturbed and quite active, especially for mid-day. Stars of this habitat included: California gnatcatcher (a rarity), California towhee, ruddy ducks, redheads, bushtit and a very oddly named scaly-breasted munia. Violet green swallows, Bewick’s wrens, lesser goldfinch and gadwall were among the many birds enjoying the lake and it surrounding trees, reeds and shrubs. By this time our list for the day had grown to a robust 91!

El Monte Park, our next stop, had a decidedly different feel to it with its surround of rock-faced mountains and garden-like setting, home to a variety of bird-attracting trees. Highlights here included a great horned owl (on nest in an oak tree), acorn woodpeckers, lark sparrows, Hutton’s vireos, white-winged doves and a red-tailed hawk treated us to a soaring display as he contentedly hovered above us on a steady draught of wind. Here our list reached 101!

Our final stop was Robb Field which abuts a tidal river. As we drove across the bride entering the area white pelicans and American avocets were plentiful. To top off the day we quickly added a killdeer pair, American pipit, tricolored heron, whimbrel , red-breasted merganser and a great surprise and a first and much sought after bird for us, a black skimmer – yes, they really do skim the surface of the water as they search for food.

As we walked back to the bus, a vesper sparrow appeared in our path, putting the frosting on the cake of this fantastic day of birding and growing our list to its final 110 birds for the day!

Vesper Sparrow (#110)

BirdWhenLocationIdentified by
Vesper Sparrow 02/24/2018 04:51 pm4875 W Point Loma Blvd San Diego CA United StatesSight
Black Skimmer 02/24/2018 04:45 pm2525 Bacon St San Diego CA United StatesSight
Red-breasted Merganser 02/24/2018 04:36 pm4886 W Point Loma Blvd San Diego CA United StatesSight
Whimbrel 02/24/2018 04:33 pm2521 Bacon St San Diego CA United StatesSight
Tricolored Heron 02/24/2018 04:31 pm2455 Bacon St San Diego CA United StatesSight
American Pipit 02/24/2018 04:27 pm2455 Bacon St San Diego CA United StatesSight
Killdeer 02/24/2018 04:24 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
American White Pelican 02/24/2018 04:13 pmI-8 W San Diego CA United StatesSight
American Avocet 02/24/2018 04:12 pm4304 W Point Loma Blvd San Diego CA United StatesSight
Hutton's Vireo 02/24/2018 03:19 pm15805 El Monte Rd Lakeside CA United StatesSight
White-winged Dove 02/24/2018 03:14 pm15805 El Monte Rd Lakeside CA United StatesSight
White-breasted Nuthatch 02/24/2018 03:14 pm15805 El Monte Rd Lakeside CA United StatesSight
Chipping Sparrow 02/24/2018 03:13 pm15805 El Monte Rd Lakeside CA United StatesSight
Lark Sparrow 02/24/2018 03:11 pm15805 El Monte Rd Lakeside CA United StatesSight
Western Bluebird 02/24/2018 02:54 pm15805 El Monte Rd Lakeside CA United StatesSight
Dark-eyed Junco 02/24/2018 02:53 pm15805 El Monte Rd Lakeside CA United StatesSight
Acorn Woodpecker 02/24/2018 02:41 pm15805 El Monte Rd Lakeside CA United StatesSight
Great Horned Owl 02/24/2018 02:40 pm15805 El Monte Rd Lakeside CA United StatesSight
Turkey Vulture 02/24/2018 02:23 pm14893–14955 El Monte Rd Lakeside CA United StatesSight
Gadwall 02/24/2018 01:27 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Ring-necked Duck 02/24/2018 01:25 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Redhead 02/24/2018 01:20 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Bushtit 02/24/2018 01:18 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Ruddy Duck 02/24/2018 01:16 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
California Gnatcatcher 02/24/2018 01:01 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
California Thrasher 02/24/2018 12:57 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Lesser Goldfinch 02/24/2018 12:55 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Bewick's Wren 02/24/2018 12:49 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
California Towhee 02/24/2018 12:47 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Wrentit 02/24/2018 12:43 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Violet-green Swallow 02/24/2018 12:43 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Common Raven 02/24/2018 12:42 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Scaly-breasted Munia 02/24/2018 12:42 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
American Kestrel 02/24/2018 12:29 pmSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Blue-winged Teal 02/24/2018 11:36 am862–988 Marina Pkwy Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Northern Mockingbird 02/24/2018 11:34 am862–988 Marina Pkwy Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Forster's Tern 02/24/2018 11:01 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Horned Grebe 02/24/2018 11:01 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Caspian Tern 02/24/2018 10:54 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Long-billed Curlew 02/24/2018 10:52 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Brant 02/24/2018 10:44 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Western Sandpiper 02/24/2018 10:39 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Double-crested Cormorant 02/24/2018 10:39 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Green-winged Teal 02/24/2018 10:37 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Semipalmated Plover 02/24/2018 10:36 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Least Sandpiper 02/24/2018 10:34 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Osprey 02/24/2018 10:33 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Short-billed Dowitcher 02/24/2018 10:32 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Greater Yellowlegs 02/24/2018 10:32 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Black-bellied Plover 02/24/2018 10:31 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Reddish Egret 02/24/2018 10:28 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
American Coot 02/24/2018 10:26 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Great Blue Heron 02/24/2018 10:25 am1006–1098 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Brewer's Blackbird 02/24/2018 10:24 am1007–1099 Marina Way Chula Vista CA United StatesSight
Red-tailed Hawk 02/24/2018 09:55 am352 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 02/24/2018 09:46 am352 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Hermit Thrush 02/24/2018 09:34 am375 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Cooper's Hawk 02/24/2018 09:28 am301 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Marsh Wren 02/24/2018 09:22 am301 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Pied-billed Grebe 02/24/2018 09:19 am301 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Great Egret 02/24/2018 09:16 am301 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Common Yellowthroat 02/24/2018 09:12 am301 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
House Wren 02/24/2018 09:11 am301 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Northern Pintail 02/24/2018 09:10 am301 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Cinnamon Teal 02/24/2018 09:09 am301 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Mallard 02/24/2018 09:09 am333 Imperial Beach Blvd Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Song Sparrow 02/24/2018 09:00 am300–346 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
White-crowned Sparrow 02/24/2018 08:52 am1100 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Snowy Egret 02/24/2018 08:46 am1501–1699 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Brandt's Cormorant 02/24/2018 08:35 am1500–1698 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Royal Tern 02/24/2018 08:33 am1500–1698 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Say's Phoebe 02/24/2018 08:32 am1500–1698 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Western Grebe 02/24/2018 08:31 am1500–1698 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Common Loon 02/24/2018 08:26 am1500–1698 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Marbled Godwit 02/24/2018 08:26 am1500–1698 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Brown Pelican 02/24/2018 08:23 am1500–1698 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
White-winged Scoter 02/24/2018 08:23 am1500–1698 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Surf Scoter 02/24/2018 08:21 am1500–1698 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Willet 02/24/2018 08:20 am1500–1698 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Sanderling 02/24/2018 08:20 am1500–1698 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Savannah Sparrow 02/24/2018 08:16 am301 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Eared Grebe 02/24/2018 08:12 am1501–1699 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
American Wigeon 02/24/2018 08:10 am1501–1699 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Northern Harrier 02/24/2018 08:10 am1501–1699 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Lesser Scaup 02/24/2018 08:09 am301 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Belted Kingfisher 02/24/2018 08:09 am301 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Bufflehead 02/24/2018 08:06 am301 Caspian Way Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
Mourning Dove 02/24/2018 07:57 am200–298 Imperial Beach Blvd Imperial Beach CA United StatesSight
House Finch 02/24/2018 07:41 am2484 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Allen's Hummingbird 02/24/2018 07:39 am2330 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Summer Tanager 02/24/2018 07:36 am2484 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Red-breasted Nuthatch 02/24/2018 07:28 am2484 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Western Tanager 02/24/2018 07:28 am2484 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Anna's Hummingbird 02/24/2018 07:21 am2330 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Black Phoebe 02/24/2018 07:17 am2484 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Red-shouldered Hawk 02/24/2018 07:11 amSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Northern Parula 02/24/2018 07:10 amSan Diego CA United StatesSight
Townsend's Warbler 02/24/2018 06:56 am2423 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Merlin 02/24/2018 06:55 am2423 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Ring-billed Gull 02/24/2018 06:50 am2423 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Cassin's Kingbird 02/24/2018 06:50 am2423 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Orange-crowned Warbler 02/24/2018 06:49 am2423 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 02/24/2018 06:48 am2423 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Black-throated Gray Warbler 02/24/2018 06:46 am2423 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Yellow-rumped Warbler 02/24/2018 06:39 am2423 Grove Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
American Crow 02/24/2018 06:33 am2290 Coronado Ave San Diego CA United StatesSight
Rock Pigeon 02/24/2018 06:18 amI-8 E San Diego CA United StatesSight
Western Gull 02/24/2018 06:17 amI-8 E San Diego CA United StatesSight
Red-crowned Parrot 02/24/2018 06:15 am4601–4633 Nimitz Blvd San Diego CA United StatesSight
California Gull 02/24/2018 06:13 am2970–2982 Sunset Cliffs Blvd San Diego CA United StatesSight
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