The Oceanside CBC (Saturday December 26, 2009) dawned cold and clear. Many birders remarked about a seemingly "slow day" in marked contrast to scouting excursions earlier in the week. Ken Weaver noted, "This is the first year that we found no overwintering neotropical migrants." Phil Unitt wrote "Very low activity this year except for flickers and California Thrashers." Ken and Phil weren't alone in their observations. More details may be found at the "CBC rarities" web page.
Not unexpectedly, the population of Allen's Hummingbirds continues it's rapid expansion into our residential areas, attracted by Cape Honeysuckle and other flowering exotics. The counts registered zero or one Selasphorus hummingbird for decades, then one per year for a few years, then suddenly 17 in 2007, 23 in 2008 and an explosion to 90 Allen's and suspected Allen's (Allen's/Rufous) in 2009.
Despite the perception of "slow" birding by many teams, we still had an excellent day. We reported slightly over 50,000 birds this year compared to 36,000 in 2008 and 30,000 in 2007.
We did okay species-wise, too (193) thanks to 4 key elements: (1) The pelagic team enjoyed one of the better days of Dave Povey's 33 years of doing the pelagic portion of this count. (2) Several teams and individuals thoroughly scouted their sectors prior to the count and were able to refind some darned good birds. (3) We had excellent coverage from well-led teams hitting some sectors as early at 2 a. m. and going out again after the "Reading Of The Sacred List." (4) Most importantly, the gods smiled upon us as evidenced in the following paragraph.
22 species were represented by only a single individual: Ross's Goose, Tundra Swan, Red-necked Grebe, Reddish Egret, Sooty Shearwater, Golden Eagle, Black Oystercatcher, Wilson's Snipe, Herring Gull, Caspian Tern, Short-eared Owl, White-winged Dove, Rufous Hummingbird, Costa's Hummingbird, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Plumbeous Vireo, Tree Swallow, Cactus Wren, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, Hooded Oriole. Oh, and add a lone Budgie at Buccaneer Park for 23 (noted but not officially "counted").
12 species were represented by only two individuals: Eurasian Wigeon, Horned Grebe, Pelagic Cormorant, Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Rock Wren, Wilson's Warbler, Western Tanager, Fox Sparrow, Lawrence's Goldfinch, Red-crowned Parrot.
4 species were represented by just 3 individuals: Common Ground Dove, Virginia Rail, Summer Tanager, Rufous-crowned Sparrow.
INTERESTING AND/OR NOTABLE SPECIES REFOUND AND/OR POSSIBLY RETURNING:
A Tundra Swan first reported in November was refound at Aviara Golf Course.
A Red-necked Grebe first reported by Ken Weaver on December 4 was seen from both Camp Pendleton in the Del Mar boat channel and from boat in Oceanside harbor.
A (the same?) Reddish Egret showed up for the third year in a row in the estuary near the mouth of the Santa Margarita river in Camp Pendleton.
A (the same?) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was recorded for the third year in a row near the Guajome Lake wedding gazebo.
A White-throated Sparrow was refound at Buddy Todd Park exactly where Paul Lehman reported it 2 weeks prior.
A Hooded Oriole was refound in the blooming Red Hot Poker bush near La Costa Golf Course exactly where Paul Lehman reported it 2 weeks prior.
Cassin's Auklet: 286 in 2009 is the most Dave Povey has ever seen on the count.
Rhinoceros Auklet: 20 is an all -time high as we are now in the third year of "Rhino" invasion.
Pacific-slope Flycatcher: Unusual in any year, two were seen this year. One on the Oceanside City Golf Course just across the border from Camp Pendleton; the other in Brengle Terrace Park staked out from earlier in the week and refound on count day.
Eurasian Wigeon: a female at El Camino Golf Course and a male at La Costa Golf Course.
Lawrence's Goldfinches: One at Dawson Creek (Sector 5) and one near Bonsall (area 14).
Fox Sparrow: One seen near Bonsall, one near Gopher Canyon. Missed in 2008.
White-winged Dove in the Agua Hedionda Lagoon sector.
Summer Tanager: One near Hunter Park on Melrose Dr feeding in grape vines. One near Gopher Canyon. One on the north shore of Buena Vista Lagoon near the Hungry Hunter restaurant.
Wilson's Warblers: One in Buena Vista Lagoon sector and one at Bud Williamson Park.
Nashville and Yellow Warbler: Both on La Costa Golf Course.
UNEXPECTED AND/OR NEW FOR THE COUNT IN THIS MILLENNIUM
A Golden Eagle at Camp Pendleton was seen soaring over Ysidora Basin with Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures. Phil Unitt reported that they were fairly regular on the count in Camp Pendleton until the early 1990s when they moved their nest to new Camp Pendleton location far north of the count circle.
A Short-eared Owl was reported at dawn from the NE side of Buena Vista Lagoon.
A Black Oystercatcher was found on the sandy beach with the gull flock at the outflow of the San Luis Rey River at Oceanside Harbor. Two hours later it was photographed in a more expected location, on the rip-rap jetty into the Oceanside Harbor.
Seven White-breasted Nuthatches were seen at San Luis Rey Golf Course.
Found with individuals of the Oregon race of Dark-eyed Juncos was a Pink-sided Junco, the first time ever recorded on the 52 Oceanside counts to date; well described and drawn by Sue Smith.
EXPECTED-BUT-MISSED SPECIES ON THE 2009 OCEANSIDE COUNT
The following species have been seen on at least 3 counts over the past decade. Some or all are declining do to habitat loss. All were missed in the count circle on count day: Snow Goose, Canyon Wren, Red-naped Sapsucker, Black Turnstone, Violet-green Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black and White Warbler, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin.
Other birds not really "expected" (but hoped for) that have been seen on past counts include: Cackling Goose, Brant, American Bittern, Short-billed Dowitcher, Pomarine Jaeger, Common Murre, Vaux's Swift, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, NRW Swallow, Cassin's Vireo, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Mountain Bluebird, Bullock's Oriole, Tricolored Blackbird (extirpated from the circle?) and Burrowing Owl (extirpated from the circle?).
LISTED (BUT NOT COUNTED IN THE 193 TOTAL) EXOTICS
10 Ringed Turtle Doves seen at Libby Lake Elementary School for the second year in a row by Ross Christie and Brian Loly.
10 Nutmeg Manikins were seen by Paul Lehman along Hummingbird Lane, between Aviara and La Costa.
1 Budgie seen at Buccaneer Park (last year's Rusty Blackbird site) by Tom Blackman and Eric Kershner.
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