Southern California: Fall 2020
Fall 2020: 1 Aug–30 Nov
Kimball L. Garrett
McCaskie, G. and Garrett, K. L. 2021. Fall 2020: Southern California. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-bfC> North American Birds.
The highlights of a typical warm and dry fall were the region’s first Fork-tailed Flycatcher on north Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara Co, and its second Common Ringed-Plover at Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo Co. Other notable vagrants included a Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, California’s tenth Arctic/Kamchatka Leaf Warbler, a Northern Wheatear (San Clemente Island’s fourth muscicapid species!), five White Wagtails, a Field Sparrow, a Streak-backed Oriole that remained through the winter, a Connecticut Warbler, and California’s first well-documented “Red-backed” Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis dorsalis).
Moderate irruptions of Red-breasted Nuthatches and Pine Siskins occurred during the fall, but other irruptive species such as Lewis’s Woodpeckers, corvids, Golden-crowned Kinglets and Varied Thrushes were scarce.
Once again, significant wildfires impacted considerable acreage of chaparral, oak woodlands, coniferous forests and desert woodlands. Although central and northern California suffered the brunt of the historically large 2020 fire season, over 250,000 acres burned in the Southern California region between August and November. More than half of the burned acreage was in Los Angeles Co, where much of the central San Gabriel Mountains burned in the Bobcat fire, which also spread into large areas of pinyon pine and Joshua-tree/juniper woodland. Although chaparral habitats regenerate within a few years under most fire regimes, the impacts of these fires on coniferous forests and Joshua tree woodlands will be seen for many decades.
Finally, we extend a heartfelt thanks to Jo and Tom Heindel, who are retiring from decades of coordinating the Inyo County contribution for the regional reports; their attention to detail and superb guidance to the Inyo birding community has been exemplary. At the same time, we are pleased to welcome Chris and Rosie Howard to this role and look forward to their reports.
Contributors (county compilers in boldface)
Alex R. Abela, Alice Abela, Christopher Adler (ChA), Will Anderson, Gautam Apte, Cathy Armstrong (CaA), Salah Baazizi (SBa), Nicholas A. Barber, Robert A. Barnes, Joel Barrett (JBa), Richard Barth, Sonja Beeve (SBe), Nick L. Belardes, Bob Bender, Thomas A. Benson, Marc Better, John Birsner (JBi), Sandrine Biziaux-Sherson, William B. S. Black, Derik Bowen, Jeff Boyd (JBo), Kevin Boyne, Jeff M. Bray, Ann and Eric Brooks (A&EB), Indigo Brude, Sean Buchanan (SBu), Mike O. Bush, Stephen Bylin (SBy), Brent R. Campos, Eugene A. Cardiff, Jay C. Carroll, Kiera Carvalho, Tom Cassaro, Paul Chad, Julie Chamberlain, Petra and Jack Clayton (P&JC), David M. Compton (Santa Barbara), Greg Cross, Brian E. Daniels, Greg B. P. Davies, Ian Davies, John Deacon (JoD), Chris A. Dean, William R. Deppe, Jay Desgrosellier (JaD), Nicole J. Desnoyers, Palamy Douangsitthi, Konshau Duman, Manual Duran (MDu), Mickey Dyke (MDy), Tom M. Edell (San Luis Obispo), Leo Edson, Herb D. Elliott, Matt Farley, Jon S. Feenstra, Jeffrey Fenwick, Adele Fergusson, Roy Fisher, Brian C. Flick, Nathan French, Howard Freshman, Peter A. Gaede (PAGa), Noah L. Gaines, Hannah Garland, Kimball L. Garrett (Los Angeles), Peter A. Ginsburg (PAGi), Mark A. Girardeau (MAGi), Aaron Gomperts (AGom), Ariel Gonzalez (AGon), Tito Gonzalez, David A. Goodward, Jesse Grantham, Matthew A. Grube (MAGr), Aaron Gyllenhaal (AGy), Bill Haas, Liam and Kilian Hampl (L&KH), Mark Hays, Tom & Jo Heindel (Inyo), Kelli K. Heindel (Kern), Alison Hiers (AHi), Adrian W. Hinkle, Ron P. Hirst, Mark A. Holmgren, Dave Holway, Alec Hopping (AHop), Chris Howard, Jim Howard, Rosie Howard, Andrew Howe (AHow), Vernon Howe, John Ivanov, Cathy Jaion, Dan Jehl, Judy Johnson, Logan Kahle, Deven Kammerichs-Berke, Dave L. Keeling, Mary Alice Kessler, David Kettering (DKe), Dan King (DKi), Will H. Knowlton, Russell D. Kokx, Alexander E. Koonce (San Bernardino), Karl Krause, Julie Kummel, Tony Kurz, Marv Kwit, Kevin J. Lamberton, Peter Laramendy, Paul E. Lehman, Nick A. Lethaby, Tom Lewis, David Levasheff, Janice Levasheff, Michael Lombardo, Eric Lutomski, Anni Mallison, Barry Mantell, Gabriel G. Maple, Curtis A. Marantz, Rebecca Marschall (RMar), Rebecca May (RMay), Sarah B. Mayers, Guy McCaskie (San Diego and Imperial), Mark McConaughy, Chet McGaugh (Riverside), Debbie McGuire, Robert McKernan, Gary McLarty, Jimmy McMorran, Robert B. McNab, John and Linda Mendoza (J&LM), Thomas Miko, Kiandra Mitchell, Marnie Mitchell, Jake Mohlmann (JMo), Graham Montgomery, David Moody, Charlotte Morris (ChM) Caitlin Morrow (CaM), Carina Motta (CMo), John Mueller (JMu), Jonathan Nakai, Durst Neiderman, Kevin Nick, David Nimmonds (DaN), Devin Nix (DeN), Gary Nunn, Brittany O’Connor, Ron and Nancy Overholtz (R&NO), Jon Parker (JoP), Robert T. Patton, Jim Pawlicki (JiP), Dave Pereksta (DPe), Kaaren L. Perry, James E. Pike, Scott Pipkin, Dave Povey (DPo), Martin R. Powell, Justin M. Purnell, Melissa Rains (MRa), David Rankin, Sandy Remley (SRe), Michelle Rensel (MRe), Ethan Ripperger, Jim Roberts (JRo), Max Roberts (MRo), William L. Rockey, Kerry Ross, Sean Rowe (SRo), Jim S. Royer, Martin Ruane (MRua), Mark Rubke (MRub), Jake Ruygt (JRu), Matt Sadowski (MSa), Florence Sanchez, Larry Sansone (LSa) (Regional Photo Compiler), Naresh Satyan, Mark and Janet Scheel (M&JS), Peter T. Schneekloth, Roger A. Schoedl, Gisele M. Schoene, Kevin Schwartz (KSc), Larry Schwartz (LSc), Adam J. Searcy (Ventura), Jeffrey L. Seay, Mohan U. Shenoy, Dessi E. Sieburth, Jason Siemens (JSi), Brad C. Singer, Eric A. Smith Jr, Maggie L. Smith (MLSm), Susan E. Smith, Jeff Spalding (JSp), Bridget Spencer, Mark Stacy (MSt), C. K. Staurovsky, Justyn T. Stahl (San Clemente Island), Susan L. Steele, Don Sterba, Mike D. Stiles, Ed Stonick, Stephanie Stragier, Caleb Strand, Karen Suarez (KSu), Steven D. Summers, Maury L. Swoveland (MLSw), Ryan S. Terrill, Paula Theobald, Robert Theriault (RTh), Paul D. Thomas, Daniel Tinoco (DTi), Eric Tipton, Bob Toleno (BTo), David Trissel (DTr), Robert Trusela (RTr), Becky Turley (BTu), Autumn E. Turner, William Tyrer, Geoff Veith, Lisa Walker-Roseman, Ethan Van Arnam, Sally Veach, Haim Weizman, Katherine Wendel, Lynette Williams, Ryan S. Winkleman (Orange), Barbara Wise, Kevin J. Zimmer. Many additional observers who could not be individually acknowledged submitted reports – all have our thanks.
C.L. (China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, extreme northeastern Kern); F.C.R. (Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley National Park, Inyo); N.E.S.S. (north end of the Salton Sea, Riverside); S.E.S.S. (south end of the Salton Sea, Imperial); S.J.W.A. (San Jacinto Wildlife Area near Lakeview, Riverside); S.J.W.S. (San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine, Orange); T.L.D.D. (Tulare Lake Drainage District – southernmost pond, Kern); V.A.F.B. (Vandenberg Air Force Base in northwestern Santa Barbara); V.C.G.P. (Ventura County Game Preserve near Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station, Ventura). Museum collections abbreviated in the text are: SDNHM (San Diego Natural History Museum). Because most rarities in southern California are seen by multiple observers, only the observer(s) initially finding and/or identifying the bird are included. Documentation for species on the California Bird Records Committee (C.B.R.C.) review list (see www.californiabirds.org) is forwarded to the C.B.R.C. and archived at the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in Camarillo.
Waterfowl through Grebes
Two Tundra Swans at the Kern NWR 12 Nov (JJ) were the earliest of the nine reported this fall, with one at Dana Point 15 Nov (KJL) then San Elijo Lagoon, San Diego Co the following day (TG) being the southernmost. A female Garganey at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area (Varner Harbor), Riverside Co 19 Oct–30 Nov+ (CS) is presumed to be the same bird present last winter. The number of Blue-winged Teal at Varner Harbor peaked at an amazing 630, with an additional 185 elsewhere along the north shore of the Salton Sea on 11 Nov (RMcK). Sixteen Eurasian Wigeon were reported from along the coast, the earliest of which was in Long Beach, Los Angeles Co 30 Sep (JI); and at the Salton Sea, there were four at North Shore 18 Nov (RMcK) and one more at Salt Creek Beach 4–30 Nov+ (RMcK). A Mexican Duck was photographed at Desert Center, Riverside 14 Nov (AWH).
Single Harlequin Ducks at Port San Luis 23 Oct–30 Nov+ (BB) and Estero Bluffs SP 7–30 Nov+ (JCC) were in San Luis Obispo Co, where they are rare but occur annually; another 12 km inland from the coast at Peters Canyon Wash near Tustin 25 Nov–14 Dec (JMB) was only the fourth recorded in Orange Co. Migrant Surf Scoters reported inland included 4 at C.L. 17 Oct (SLS); one at Lake Perris, Riverside Co 1 Nov (CMcG); at least 16, along with six that spent the summer, at N.E.S.S. 4 Nov+ (RMcK); and up to three at S.E.S.S. 12–28 Nov (CaM). In addition, seven White-winged Scoters were reported inland, with three at F.C.R. 14 Nov (GGM); one at Owens Lake, Inyo Co 15 Nov (R&NO); and up to three at N.E.S.S. 28 Oct–30 Nov+ (RMcK). One Black Scoter was inland at F.C.R. 25 Nov (BRC), and at least 20 were found along the coast after 29 Oct, including 11 on 8 Nov (GN) flying south with Surf Scoters off Point La Jolla in La Jolla, San Diego Co. There were only a few Long-tailed Ducks this season: one in Long Beach 13 Nov+ (JBo); single birds flying south from Point La Jolla on 6 (MSa), 7 (JaD) and 8 Nov (MSa); and one off Coronado 27 Nov (NAB). A Barrow’s Goldeneye at Pismo Beach 4 Nov–15 Dec (DLK) was only the fifth recorded in San Luis Obispo Co.
Three Horned Grebes at N.E.S.S. and one at S.E.S.S. on 7 Oct (RMcK and GMcC) appear to establish the earliest date for fall migrants inland at the Salton Sink. Five Red-necked Grebes were reported after 30 Oct: four were on the coast, with one at Bolsa Chica, Orange Co 5 Nov–11 Dec (SBa) being the southernmost; and one was inland on Lake Palmdale, Los Angeles Co 14 Nov (KLG).
Doves through Hummingbirds
Single Ruddy Ground Doves, now casual to accidental stragglers to California, were in Ontario, San Bernardino Co 15 Oct (SS) and Coronado/North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego Co 15 Oct (BCF). White-winged Doves were more numerous along the coast than usual in fall, with over 100 reported after 16 Aug from the Mexican border north to San Luis Obispo Co, with one in Cambria 23 Aug (BH) being the northernmost.
A Yellow-billed Cuckoo, rare away from the few known nesting locations, hit a window in Encinitas 3 Aug (AM; * SDNHM) and another hit a window in Carmel Valley on the exceptionally late date of 18 Oct (DTr; * SDNHM).
Since reports of southbound Black Swifts are few in fall, the detection of 34 over coastal San Diego Co 5 Sep–3 Oct, including eight in the Tijuana River Valley 15 Sep (DJ) and 24 over Point Loma 3 Oct (GN, JiP, AGy) was unprecedented; in addition, one was photographed over Bolsa Chica, Orange Co on the exceptional date of 28 Nov (M&JS).
A female Calliope Hummingbird well photographed in the Tijuana River Valley 13–16 Sep (PEL) appears to be only the second documented fall record from along the coast of Southern California, with an old specimen taken in Los Angeles on 19 Aug being the other one. Six Broad-billed Hummingbirds were certainly more than expected, with single birds in Montecito, Santa Barbara Co 10–16 Nov (DaN); Pasadena, Los Angeles Co 21 Nov+ (DL); Loma Linda, San Bernardino Co 15–16 Oct (KN); San Diego 20–27 Sep (MRa); Pacific Beach, San Diego Co 1–3 Oct (GN); and Poway, San Diego Co 25 Oct–1 Nov (MAK). A well photographed second-year female Allen’s Hummingbird in Rosamond, Kern Co 19 Oct–29 Nov (MDy) appeared to be wintering; the species is rare inland in the fall.
Cranes through Phalaropes
Single Sandhill Cranes at Mojave Narrows Regional Park, San Bernardino Co 30 Sep (WRD); in flight over Long Beach 1 Nov (JBo); and at S.J.W.A. 23 Nov (DAG) were well away from any location of regular occurrence.
Single American Oystercatchers, rare stragglers to the coast, were at Playa del Rey, Los Angeles Co 26 Aug (JoP) and Laguna Beach, Orange Co 6–11 Oct (fide RSW). The only American Golden-Plover was one near Port Hueneme, Ventura Co 12–15 Oct (AJS), and an unidentified American/Pacific Golden-Plover was at the San Diego R. mouth 15–24 Oct (ChM). At least 28 Pacific Golden-Plovers were along the coast, with one near Port Hueneme 7 Aug (AJS) being the earliest, and many remaining into the winter. A Common Ringed Plover at Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo Co 1–7 Oct (KJZ) is the fourth recorded in California. Noteworthy were 14 presumed migrant Mountain Plovers reported on the immediate coast between 1 Oct and 4 Dec, along with two at C.L. 24 Oct (RTB) and two more at Desert Center, both locations being far from any known wintering area inland, as well as a presumed wintering bird at Bolsa Chica 11–30 Nov+ (RAS).
A juvenile Hudsonian Godwit, a casual straggler to California, was at S.E.S.S. (Young Rd) 10 Oct (GMcC), and another juvenile was about five miles away near the Salton Sea NWR HQ 10–12 Oct (GMcC). The only Ruddy Turnstone reported inland away from the Salton Sea was one at the T.L.D.D. 26 Sep (MSt). A Black Turnstone, rare inland, was at N.E.S.S. (North Shore) 26 Aug (RMcK) and another was at S.E.S.S. (Obsidian Butte) 23 Sep–7 Oct (GMcC). The only Red Knot reported inland was one at C.L. 10 Oct (RAB). Four Ruffs were reported, with an apparent wintering bird at the T.L.D.D. 31 Aug–17 Jan (SLS, WLR), along with single birds in Ontario, San Bernardino Co 17 Nov–11 Jan (GMcL), and at the S.E.S.S. (Unit 1) 2–4 Aug (GA) and (Lack & Lindsey) 9–10 Oct (BTu). Two juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpipers were found, with one at Morro Bay SP 18–21 Oct (L&KH) and the other near Port Hueneme 17–20 Oct (MB).
Stilt Sandpipers are rare anywhere in Southern California away from the S.E.S.S., so the following are all noteworthy: one at the Santa Maria R. mouth, San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara Co 11 Aug (HDE); one in Blythe, Riverside Co 13 Aug (KD); up to four near Vernon, Los Angeles Co 19–29 Sep (RB); three at the S.J.W.S. 23 Sep (JMB); and one at south San Diego Bay 25 Sep (PEL) on the coast; and up to 10 well inland at the T.L.D.D. 18–28 Nov (SLS, WLR). A Curlew Sandpiper was at the T.L.D.D. 5 Sep–18 Nov (SDS, SLS), and another remained in Goleta, Santa Barbara Co 16 Sep–2 Dec (FS). The only Sanderlings found inland away from the Salton Sea were one high in the mountains at Big Bear Lake, San Bernardino Co 28 Aug (ET) and another at Harper Dry Lake, San Bernardino Co 10 Sep (SRo). Baird’s Sandpipers were far more numerous than expected, with about 250 reported along from the coast between 1 Aug and 18 Sep, including a high count of 25 at the V.C.G.P. 12 Sep (LSa), and at least 225 inland between 1 Aug and 3 Oct, including a high count of 58 at N.E.S.S. 30 Sep (RMcK); single birds at S.E.S.S. 23 Oct (LK) and on San Clemente I. staying to 28 Oct (JTS) were unusually late.
A Little Stint at south San Diego Bay 4 Jul and 3 Oct–30 Nov+ (PEL) was believed to be the same bird present during the past two winters; in addition, an adult was at the S.J.W.S. 17 Aug (WBSB). Five Buff-breasted Sandpipers included single birds in Oceano, San Luis Obispo Co 24 Aug–4 Sep (HG); Goleta 15–16 Sep (NAL); the San Diego River mouth 14 Oct–5 Nov (NF); North Island Naval Air Station 14 Oct (BCF); and the Tijuana River Valley 3–30 Oct (PEL). Pectoral Sandpipers were less numerous than expected at most locations, excepting Ventura Co, where there were over 70 including 57 at the V.C.G.P. 25 Sep (LSa); one at Batiquitos Lagoon, San Diego Co 13 Nov (CJ) and another near Calipatria, Imperial Co 13 Nov (TL) were late. Semipalmated Sandpipers appeared in far fewer numbers than usual, with only 19, all juveniles, along the coast, and two inland between 1 August and 13 September. The earliest juvenile Short-billed Dowitchers reported inland were one at N.E.S.S. 9 Sep (RMcK) and another in the mountains on Big Bear Lake 12 Sep (BCS); adults are rare, but there were three at S.E.S.S. between 22 and 26 July (CAM). At least 60 Solitary Sandpipers were reported between 6 August and 27 September, with most along the coast. Red Phalaropes were at C.L. 30 Aug–5 Sep (SLS, RAB) and 8–14 Nov (SLS. RAB), with as many as three present on the latter date; F.C.R. 17 Oct (AWH); Owens Lake 13 Nov (CKS); and Harper Dry Lake 24 Nov (SRo). The species is rare inland.
Skuas through Terns
Five South Polar Skuas were reported, with one well off San Diego 7 Aug (DPo); two south of Santa Cruz Island 8 Sep (DPe); another near San Juan Seamount 9 Sep (DPe); and a fifth off Orange Co 15 Oct (RBMcN). About ten Parasitic Jaegers were at S.E.S.S. 6 Sep–4 Nov (GMcC). An adult Long-tailed Jaeger was at Diaz Lake, Inyo Co 25 Aug (MRP) and single juveniles appeared inland at T.L.D.D. 5 Sep (JLS), N.E.S.S. 15 Sep (RMcK), and S.E.S.S. 26 Aug (LK) and 6 Sep (GMcC).
Two Scripps’s Murrelets 25 miles west of Mission Bay, San Diego Co 18 Nov (DPo) constituted one of only a few records of this alcid in Southern California waters between August and December when most have moved northward. The only Guadalupe Murrelets reported were eight over deep water well off Santa Barbara Co 9 Sep (DPe) and one at the Cortes Bank 10 Sep (DPe). Small numbers of Craveri’s Murrelets continued off Southern California through August and September, with 10 off Santa Barbara Co on 3 Oct (DPe) being the northernmost. Five Ancient Murrelets flying south off La Jolla during stormy conditions on 7–8 Nov (AG and JaD) were the only ones reported.
Black-legged Kittiwakes were decidedly scarce, but four were seen as far south as La Jolla during the strong storm of 7–8 Nov (AGy and JaD). Eleven Sabine’s Gulls well inland between 10 Sep and 21 Oct included one in the mountains at Big Bear Lake 26 Sep–7 Oct (ET) and seven at scattered locations in the Salton Sink; four on the coast in La Jolla on 7 Nov (AGy) were late. A juvenile Little Gull was on the coast at Montana de Oro SP, San Luis Obispo Co 6 Nov (BTu); another was inland at Owens Lake, Inyo Co 9 Sep (EAS Jr); and an adult was at S.E.S.S. (Young Rd) 30 Aug–10 Sep (GMcC). A Laughing Gull in La Jolla 8 Nov (GN) was on the coast where the species is rare. Far fewer Franklin’s Gulls than usual were reported—only one near Port Hueneme 28 Aug–19 Sep (LK) and another inland on Fig Lagoon 23 Sep (GMcC). Since Heermann’s Gulls are rare inland, the following reports were all noteworthy: single birds appeared in the mountains at Big Bear Lake 10 Oct (ET); at N.E.S.S. (84th Ave.) 4 Aug (GC); at Salton Sea State Recreation Area 15 Sep (RMcK); and in the Imperial Valley, Imperial Co at Fig Lagoon 7 Oct (GMcC) and Carter Reservoir 4 Nov (GMcC). The only Mew Gull reported inland was an adult at N.E.S.S. (84th Ave.) 18 Nov (CMcG). An adult Herring Gull at S.E.S.S. (Lack Rd) 30 Aug (GMcC) establishes the earliest date for a fall migrant at the Salton Sink. Numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls continue to increase, with six individuals along the coast from the Santa Ynez River mouth in Santa Barbara Co on 23 Sep (NAL) to Lower Otay Reservoir in San Diego Co 11–12 Nov (MSa), and one inland (north of the Salton Sink) at the Kern NWR 30 Nov (SDS).
Two Arctic Terns were found inland, with a juvenile at Diaz Lake, Inyo Co 11–23 Sep (RDK) and an adult at N.E.S.S. (Whitewater River mouth) 1–3 Aug (CS); an adult in La Jolla 7 Nov (MSa) was exceptionally late.
The only Red-billed Tropicbird reported was one picked up at Newport Beach, Orange Co 24 Aug (DMcG) and taken to a local rehabilitation center.
Loons through Cormorants
A Red-throated Loon was far inland on Lake Isabella, Kern Co 20 Nov (SLS).
The only Laysan Albatross was reported over the Cortez Bank 10 Sep (DPe) and had been banded on Guadalupe Island. A Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, rare in Southern California waters, was over the Santa Barbara Channel off Ventura Co 6 Sep (DB). Eight Townsend’s Storm-Petrels well off Santa Barbara Co 9 Sep (DPe) were the northernmost reported this year. Least Storm-Petrels were less numerous than expected, with four well off Santa Barbara Co 2 Oct (DPe) being the only ones reported north of San Diego Co.
The only Cook’s Petrel was one near the Cortes Bank 10 Sep (DPe). About 175 Buller’s Shearwaters over the waters west of San Miguel Island 9 Sep (DPe) was a large number for Southern California, and one 3 km west of Ocean Beach, San Diego Co 19 Sep (DPo) was in an area where the species is considered rare. A Flesh-footed Shearwater, decidedly rare over Southern California waters, was off Orange Co 15 Oct (RBMcN). The only Manx Shearwaters were one off Morro Bay 26 Sep (KJZ) and another from shore in Montana de Oro SP 6 Nov (ID).
A Wood Stork near Escondido, San Diego Co 3–15 Oct (EL) was believed to be the same bird seen there and at Lake Elsinore and the S.J.W.A. to the north in Riverside Co since May of this year. Multiple boobies of five species were reported off the coast. A Masked Booby appeared first at Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach, then Corona del Mar and Dana Point, Orange Co 13 Sep–30 Nov+ (MAGi), and another was at Del Mar, San Diego Co 2 Sep (GV). Single Nazca Boobies were at the San Juan Seamount 9 Sep (DPe); near Anacapa Island 28 Aug (JB); and 20 miles west of San Diego 7 Sep (DPo) and Imperial Beach 9 Oct (BW). Single unidentified young Masked/Nazca Boobies turned up off Goleta 25 Aug (RPH) and south of Santa Cruz Island 8 Sep (DPe) and 3 Oct (DPe). The only Blue-footed Boobies were a continuing adult paired with a Brown Booby and attending a fledgling at Santa Barbara Island 3 Oct (DPe), and another in Long Beach 20 Sep (JBo). At least 90 Brown Boobies were on and around Santa Barbara Island 8 Sep (DPe), illustrating the recent abundance of this species off Southern California. Reports of Red-footed Boobies include single birds off Huntington Beach, Orange Co 22 Aug (JSa); near Anacapa Island 28 Aug (JBa); and off San Diego 19 Sep (JMcM) and 4 Oct (PEL and KW), where there were two on the latter date; and a long staying bird was on the bait barges at the entrance to San Diego Bay 20 Oct–9 Jan (KB).
Neotropic Cormorants continue to spread north and west from the southeastern part of this region, with one as far north as Goleta 16 Aug (L & KH); up to two in Santa Barbara 4–8 Aug (AJS); one wide-ranging bird around Oxnard, Ventura Co between 23 Aug and 15 Oct (DK-B); at least six in the Los Angeles Basin between 11 Aug and 23 Oct; three in Orange Co between 25 Aug and 30 Nov (JMB, IB, HF); and up to four at Bonita/Sweetwater Reservoir, San Diego 28 Jul–24 Aug (JSp).
Herons through Woodpeckers
Single Little Blue Herons in Irvine 15 Sep–14 Nov (WBSB), Bolsa Chica 17 Oct–30 Nov+ (RMay), and San Pedro, Los Angeles Co 13 Aug (RTr) and 26 Oct–30 Nov+ (RTr) were the only four found north of coastal San Diego Co. Six Tricolored Herons were reported, with four in coastal San Diego Co, including single birds on south San Diego Bay 12–30 Nov+ (MSa); at the San Diego River mouth 14 Oct–30 Nov+ (DJ); San Dieguito Lagoon 3 Sep (SES); and San Elijo Lagoon 16–30 Nov+ (SBu); elsewhere, another was at Bolsa Chica 2 Oct–30 Nov+ (PDT), and the sixth was at Point Mugu 25–30 Nov+ (MRua). At least five Reddish Egrets were known to be inland on the Salton Sea during the period (RMcK, GMcC), and one at Big River 6 Sep (MF) was only the second recorded in San Bernardino Co. A Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in San Simeon, San Luis Obispo Co 19–26 Oct (J & LM) was the northernmost on the coast, and one at the Prado Regional Park 1 Aug–21 Sep (RF) along with up to two S.J.W.A. 11 Sep–15 Oct (GC) were the only three found inland. The Roseate Spoonbill first seen on 3 Apr remained at S.E.S.S. (Unit 1) through 27 Sep (GMcC).
Mississippi Kites are casual stragglers to California. Two were reported this season, including an adult in Palm Springs, Riverside Co 7 Aug (JRu) and a hatch-year bird flying north from Chula Vista to Mission Bay, San Diego Co 9 Sep (JiP, PEL). Fifteen migrant Broad-winged Hawks were reported from along the coast between 9 Sep and 17 Oct, along with single birds inland at Lone Pine, Inyo Co 9 Oct (RDK) and Fort Irwin, San Bernardino Co 25 Sep (KR). Only four Zone-tailed Hawks were reported north of Orange and San Diego counties this season—an immature bird in Ojai 21 Nov (MRo) followed by an adult 28–30 Nov+ (AJS), a wide-ranging adult around Monrovia/Altadena, Los Angeles Co 1 Aug–17 Nov (KSu), and an immature at Santa Fe Dam in Irwindale, Los Angeles Co (NS). Elsewhere, the species appeared well inland near Big Bear Lake 15 Aug (AGon); Desert Center 3 Aug (DeN) and 3 Sep (DeN); over the P.V.E.R. 12 Aug (LW); and near Niland, Imperial Co 20 Nov (GMcC). A Short-eared Owl at North Shore 21 Oct (RMcK) provides one of a very few records for N.E.S.S.
Noteworthy reports of Lewis’s Woodpeckers included one in the Tijuana River Valley, San Diego Co 27 Oct (JiP) and another in Calipatria, Imperial Co 7–12 Oct (GMcC). At least 12 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were reported from scattered locations in the region between 23 Oct and the end of the period. A Hairy Woodpecker on the immediate coast at Point Loma 26 Oct (MMcC) was unexpected.
Flycatchers through Vireos
Dusky-capped Flycatchers at F.C.R. 4–7 Nov (LK) and Picacho SRA 12 Nov (AWH) were not seen again, but one at Ventura (Camino Real Park) 28 Nov+ (DPe) remained into the winter. Great Crested Flycatchers, casual vagrants to California, were at Morro Bay 23 Oct (JSR) and at Columbia Park in Torrance, Los Angeles Co 24 Oct (KC). A relatively small-billed Brown-crested Flycatcher (perhaps not of the “expected” subspecies magister) returned for a second winter in Palos Verdes (South Coast Botanic Garden), Los Angeles Co 28 Nov–21 Feb (JI), and another returnee was at Mission Viejo, Orange Co 26 Nov+ (MUS). A Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, less than annual in California, was at Long Beach 21–24 Sep (JBo), only the third recorded in Los Angeles Co. The regular northward fall movement of Tropical Kingbirds brought at least 41 to the region, with the earliest in the Tijuana River Valley 5 Sep (PEL); as usual, many remained through the winter. A Thick-billed Kingbird at Chula Vista returned for its 11th winter 26 Oct+ (DJ), which might establish a longevity record for the species. Eastern Kingbirds, regular early fall vagrants in the region, were in San Diego Co at Point Loma 2–3 Sep (PEL) and Coronado 22 Sep (SB-S), as well as inland at F.C.R. 14 Sep (CH, RH) and Desert Center 28 Sep (PAGa). A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was at S.E.S.S. (Salton Sea NWR Headquarters) 24 Oct (DN); elsewhere, another at Chula Vista 24 Nov–13 Mar (WA) had returned for its fourth winter, and one at Playa Vista, Los Angeles Co 30 Nov (DS) may have been the same bird found nearby later in the winter. A Fork-tailed Flycatcher on north V.A.F.B. 22 Oct (AA) was only the fourth for California and the first for the region.
An Olive-sided Flycatcher at S.E.S.S. (Salton Sea NWR headquarters) 4 Oct (ML) established the latest fall record for the Salton Sink. Returning wintering Greater Pewees were at Balboa Park in San Diego 22 Sep–21 Nov (JiP) and Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles Co 6 Oct–2 Jan (JSF). A very late silent wood-pewee, not identified to species, was at Anaheim, Orange Co 10–16 Nov (SRe). The only two Least Flycatchers documented were at Santa Cruz Island (Prisoner’s Harbor) 23 Oct (NAL) and east of Lancaster, Los Angeles Co 14–15 Sep (CAD). A very late Dusky Flycatcher at Lake Los Angeles, Los Angeles Co 21 Nov+ (DES) remained into the winter. Five Eastern Phoebes on the coastal slope 25 Oct+ included two returning wintering birds; two others were on the deserts 3–7 Nov along with a bird returning for its fourth winter to Bishop, Inyo Co 23 Nov+ (R&NO). Vermilion Flycatchers at Pismo State Beach Oceano Campground 17 Sep (MOB) and Morro Bay 23 Oct (DLK) established the ninth and tenth records for San Luis Obispo Co. Farther south, the species has become increasingly routine: Los Angeles Co hosted Vermilion Flycatchers at nine locations in the Antelope Valley and 35 on the coastal slope, and there were up to 42 birds in Orange Co, as well as some 50 birds on the coastal slope of San Diego Co.
The summering White-eyed Vireo in Goleta continued to 5 Sep (NAL); another at Matilija Lake 27 Aug–22 Sep (JG, PL) established the first record for Ventura Co, and one in the Sorrento Valley, San Diego 3–28 Aug (PC) had probably been present since late spring. A migrant Bell’s Vireo in Morro Bay 10 Sep (KLP) was unusual in that area. A Gray Vireo photographed at Stephen Sorensen Park in Lake Los Angeles 20 Nov (WT) was very late and one of the few migrants ever recorded in the region. A Yellow-throated Vireo remained at Matilija Lake 28 Aug–13 Sep (LK, DES), and another was north of Ventura 25 Sep (MK). Plumbeous Vireos of note were at Montana de Oro State Park, San Luis Obispo Co 18–24 Oct (WHK), Goleta 24 Oct–6 Nov (TM), and in the Imperial Valley at El Centro 23 Oct (LK); numerous others were in the remaining coastal counties. A Philadelphia Vireo at California City, Kern Co 4 Oct (AHow) was the only one reported. Red-eyed Vireos were at Refugio Creek, Santa Barbara Co 9–10 Aug (MAH); Los Osos (Pecho Rd. willows), San Luis Obispo Co 7–15 Sep (JCC); and Point Loma 9 Sep (PEL). This fall Red-eyed outnumbered Yellow-green Vireo, one of which was at La Jolla, San Diego Co 28 Sep–3 Oct (BS).
Corvids through Pipits
A Clark’s Nutcracker at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, San Bernardino Co 11–12 Oct (EAC) was well out of habitat, but there were no other indications of any corvid flights this fall. The fall movement of Purple Martins seemed more robust than usual, with birds at Morro Bay 7 Sep (TME) and Montana de Oro State Park 9 Sep (TK) being only the second and third in fall for San Luis Obispo Co, and good counts of up to 10 birds at S.J.W.S. 6–9 Sep (RSW) and 25 on Point Loma 5 Sep (GN). Some other Purple Martin sightings of note were on San Clemente Island 8 Sep (JTS) and on the deserts at Desert Center 8 Aug (two birds; DAG); Baker, San Bernardino Co 31 Aug (LK); and S.E.S.S. 6 Sep (GMcC).
A Bushtit photographed at S.E.S.S. (intersection of Lack and Young) 20 Sep (MM) was the first for the Imperial Valley. Very rare on the coast was a Verdin in Rancho Palos Verdes (Alta Vicente Preserve), Los Angeles Co 17–18 Nov (MDu); one in San Timoteo Canyon in Redlands, San Bernardino Co 4 Sep and two there 18 Nov (MAGr) were also out of range.
Red-breasted Nuthatches were fairly widespread in moderate numbers in the desert and coastal lowlands. Golden-crowned Kinglets, in contrast, showed little evidence of movements into the lowlands during the fall. A Pacific Wren at Los Osos 9 Sep (MDS) was quite early. Swinhoe’s White-eyes continue their expansion and population boom in the south coastal part of the region; they are now widespread in southern Los Angeles Co, with extralimital records in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles 12 Aug–28 Oct (up to five birds; GBPD) and at Avalon on Santa Catalina Island 24 Oct (TAB, BO’C).
A Wrentit at N.E.S.S. (Buchanan St.) 11 Nov (RMcK) was an unexpected vagrant – the first for the Salton Sink – of this normally very sedentary species; the nearest known habitat is in the Santa Rosa Mountains to the west, where the species is very scarce. An Arctic/Kamchatka Leaf Warbler at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley 20 Sep (NLG) was a first for Orange Co and only the tenth for California (none has been confidently identified beyond the species-pair level). A Northern Wheatear on San Clemente Island 3 Oct (NJD) was a first for the island and, astonishingly, the fourth muscicapid species to be recorded there following records of Stonechat, Bluethroat, and Red-flanked Bluetail! A few Mountain Bluebirds appeared in the coastal lowlands, with one on the Morro Strand, San Luis Obispo Co 22 Nov (BTo, JC) being particularly far from expected habitat. A Swainson’s Thrush at Morro Bay 27 Nov (TME) was one of the latest ever in San Luis Obispo Co.
Three coastal Gray Catbirds at Malibu (Malibu Bluffs Park), Los Angeles Co 27 Sep (AGom); Huntington Beach 6–9 Oct (BED); and Santa Barbara (Botanic Garden) 18–24 Oct (SP) were matched by three on the deserts at Ridgecrest, Kern Co 20–23 Sep (RAB); F.C.R. 1 Oct (CH, RH); and Pachalka Spring in northeastern San Bernardino Co 4 Oct (ER). A Curve-billed Thrasher was at Cactus City, Riverside Co 28 Sep (CAM); the species is a casual vagrant west of the Colorado River. The only Brown Thrasher of the fall was at Pipes Canyon above Yucca Valley, San Bernardino Co 22–23 Nov (CaA). A Bendire’s Thrasher at Borrego Springs, San Diego Co 16–22 Aug (RTh, GN) was the first in San Diego Co since 2007; another was at S.J.W.A. 11 Sep (DAG). A Cedar Waxwing at Refugio Creek, Santa Barbara Co 9 Aug (MAH) was record early by 13 days; also early was one at Montana de Oro State Park 2 Sep (MH).
White Wagtails were well-represented this fall. One was on the Lower Los Angeles River, Long Beach 27–28 Sep (GM), and what was likely the same bird was there 18–23 Oct (David Moody). Others were at Malibu Lagoon 5–7 Oct (ES); Estero Bluffs State Park, San Luis Obispo Co 27–28 Oct (MLSm); and Santa Barbara (Ledbetter Beach) 7–8 Nov (AJS). All these were thought to be M. a. ocularis. Another at the Santa Ynez River Estuary, Santa Barbara Co 19 Nov (LW-R) was missing its right foot, and, amazingly, what was certainly the same individual (also missing a right foot) was found Feb–Mar 2021 along the Los Angeles River in Vernon, Los Angeles Co. Plumage maturation showed this individual to be a black-backed bird (M. a. lugens). Red-throated Pipits were not so prevalent this fall. The only reports came from San Clemente Island, where there was one 1 Oct and 23–29 Oct, and two on 24 Oct (NJD, JTS). Elsewhere, there were singles at two different sites at Port Hueneme 4 Oct and 4–24 Oct (DES), as well as at Nestor, San Diego Co 19–25 Oct (PEL).
Finches through Icterids
Purple Finches moved into the lowlands in greater than average numbers. Fifteen or more were on the deserts of Los Angeles Co 8 Oct+; at least 20 were on the San Bernardino Co deserts; three were on San Clemente Island 23 Oct–16 Nov; and two were at Picacho State Recreation Area, Imperial Co 12 Nov (AWH). One at F.C.R. 25 Oct (C&RH, JLD) showed the characters of the eastern nominate subspecies. There was a minor indication of an influx of Cassin’s Finches into Santa Barbara Co, including four in Buellton 27 Nov–2 Dec (PTS). Pine Siskins were clearly on the move, mainly starting in late October; above average numbers were reported in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino Counties, including the deserts and coastal slope.
Nine Lapland Longspurs were found in San Diego Co 21 Oct+; the only others were at Port Hueneme 10–24 Oct (DPe) and San Clemente Island, where there were two 16 Oct–29 Nov (JTS). Seven Chestnut-collared Longspurs in San Diego Co were augmented by one at Port Hueneme 16 Oct (KK), one on San Clemente Island 24 Oct (JTS), and one near Primm, San Bernardino Co 13 Oct (JMo). Thick-billed Longspurs were in San Diego Co at Mission Bay 31 Oct+ (AHi), Ocean Beach 5–6 Nov (AHi), and Chula Vista 12 Nov+ (RTP).
Small numbers of migrant Grasshopper Sparrows were found on the coastal slope, and others on the deserts included one to two at F.C.R. 27 Sep–7 Nov (AWH); one at Twentynine Palms, San Bernardino Co 11 Oct (AHow, VH); and one at N.E.S.S. (State Recreation Area) 24 Oct (RMar). Twenty Black-throated Sparrows wandered to the coastal slope 21 Aug–12 Dec, a typical pattern in fall. Lark Buntings included an alternate-plumaged male on San Clemente Island 7 Aug (Justin M. Purnell), and others at Rancho Palos Verdes 7 Sep (JN); Carmel Valley, San Diego Co 13 Sep (DKi); Malibu Lagoon 18 Sep (NS); Bitterwater Road at Cholame Creek, San Luis Obispo Co 20-30 Oct (SDS); and south of Shandon, San Luis Obispo Co 23 Nov (PJ&C). Clay-colored Sparrows occurred in record numbers this fall, with at least 91 on the coastal slope after 3 Sep, although it was considered a poor year on San Clemente Island, where only three were found 9 Sep–10 Nov (JTS); another eight were on the deserts 12 Sep–27 Nov. At least 17 Brewer’s Sparrows reported between 9 Sep–2 Nov established a new fall season high count for Orange Co (RSW). A Field Sparrow at Los Osos 20–27 Nov (JSR) was the first for San Luis Obispo Co. A Dark-eyed Junco showing the characteristics of the “Red-backed” subspecies dorsalis at Domenic Massari Park in Palmdale, Los Angeles Co 6–9 Nov (KLG) would be the first of that subspecies to be well-documented in California. A gambelii White-crowned Sparrow in a yard in Reseda, Los Angeles Co 11–12 Aug (DT) likely summered locally. Harris’s Sparrows were on San Clemente Island 16 Nov (JTS) and at Lompoc, Santa Barbara Co 27 Nov (DMC). The earliest of some 35 White-throated Sparrows to appear in the region was at Piute Ponds 29 Sep (JBi). A Vesper Sparrow at Niland 10–15 Sep (GMcC) established the earliest fall record for Salton Sink. A Nelson’s Sparrow was at Prisoner’s Harbor on Santa Cruz Island 15–22 Oct (NAL); others appeared in more typical mainland salt marsh habitat in San Diego Co at Mission Bay 14 Nov (JRo) and San Elijo Lagoon 14 Nov (DK). Eight Swamp Sparrows were on the coastal slope 4 Oct+, with others at Desert Center 15 Nov (DKe); Kern NWR, Kern Co 29 Nov (SLS); and C.L. 30 Nov (SLS).
Bobolinks were present in below-average numbers this fall: Santa Barbara Co was well-represented with 15 birds, including one on Santa Barbara Island 22 Sep (JH), but only 12 were found in the remaining coastal counties, along with one at Twentynine Palms 9 Oct (EAC). Eleven Orchard Orioles were found, the earliest of which was present 7–11 Sep in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara Co (JoD). An immature male Streak-backed Oriole that remained through the winter at Islay Creek Campground at Montana de Oro State Park 4 Nov+ (JSR) was the first for San Luis Obispo Co and only the tenth for California. Baltimore Orioles were at Jacumba, San Diego Co 2 Oct (PEL); La Jolla 10 Oct–18 Nov (LE); Solana Beach, San Diego Co, where it was a returning bird 14–20 Nov (PEL); Montana de Oro State Park 21 Oct (TME); and Fountain Valley 24–25 Nov (JEP); finally, another was on the northern desert at Shoshone, Inyo Co 8 Oct (JEP). The only Rusty Blackbird of the period was on San Clemente Island 29 Nov+ (JTS). A Common Grackle at Del Mar, San Diego Co 29 Nov (SBu) was the first in the region in five years, quite a hiatus for a species that was seemingly set to become regular in the first decade of this century.
Warblers through Dickcissel
The seven Ovenbirds reported during the fall included five near the coast from 3 Sep–4 Oct, plus birds on the desert at Stovepipe Wells, Inyo Co 1 Oct (CH, RH) and Big Morongo Canyon Preserve 7–14 Oct (BM). An about-average count of Northern Waterthrushes included 26 on the coastal slope 3 Sep+ and three on the deserts 31 Aug–13 Oct. A Blue-winged Warbler at Pitts Ranch Park in Camarillo 26–27 Sep (JMu) was the first for Ventura Co. A well above average tally of 68 Black-and-white Warblers was reported 14 Aug+ from the coastal slope, where some remained through the winter; another five were on the deserts 11 Sep–3 Oct. Prothonotary Warblers were in the Tijuana River Valley 12–15 Sep (SBe) and at Lake O’Neill on Camp Pendleton, San Diego Co 17 Oct (PAGi). Tennessee Warblers were more numerous than usual, with 44 on the coastal slope and islands 23 Aug–28 Nov, plus birds in Borrego Springs 26 Sep (RTh) and 25 Nov (GN). A good total of 24 Lucy’s Warblers appeared along the coast from Santa Barbara Co to San Diego Co 3 Aug–30 Nov, including one on San Clemente Island 25 Oct (JTS); a bit further inland one was at Moreno Valley, Riverside Co 27 Aug (DR). Sixteen Virginia’s Warblers were found in the coastal counties 24 Aug–22 Oct, with outliers on the Mojave Desert at Fenner, San Bernardino Co 11–13 Sep (EV), and in the mountains at Wrightwood, San Bernardino Co 15 Sep (KD). A Connecticut Warbler, less than annual in the region, was at north V.A.F.B. 22 Sep (WHK). Casual in winter, a MacGillivray’s Warbler found in Goleta 11 Oct remained to 10 Feb 2021 (KSc). A Mourning Warbler in Goleta 18–20 Oct (DMC) was the first in Santa Barbara Co since 1991. Kentucky Warblers were in the Santa Ynez Mountains (Camino Cielo), Santa Barbara Co 19 Aug (JK) and at Matilija Lake 28 Aug–18 Sep (CAM); it is unknown whether they were early fall migrants or had been present earlier in the summer.
Greater than average numbers of Hooded Warblers continued a trend begun in late spring—singles were at Matilija Lake 28 Aug–4 Sep (LK, DES); Westchester (Loyola Marymount University), Los Angeles Co 5 Sep (AHop); Point Loma 3 Sep (male; SBM) and 9 Oct (female; ARA); and Mission Viejo 13 Oct (MLSw). About average were the 42 American Redstarts on the coastal slope 31 Aug+, with nine more on the deserts 2 Sep–25 Oct. Cape May Warblers are scarcer now as vagrants to California than in past decades: this fall, one was at Inyokern, Kern Co 3–4 Oct (SLS), and another was found 29 Nov at Lake Murray, San Diego (JiP), where it remained through the winter. An odd warbler at La Jolla 5 Oct (ARA) was thought to be a Cape May x Townsend’s hybrid. Nineteen Northern Parulas were on the coastal slope and islands 13 Aug–22 Nov, with three others on the deserts 3 Sep–23 Oct. Below average was the total of four Magnolia Warblers found this season, at Morro Bay 26–30 Sep (P&JC); Anacapa Island 6 Oct (JH); San Nicolas Island 14 Oct (DPe); and Montecito SBA 19–21 Oct (JSi). The season’s first Bay-breasted Warbler, reported 1–2 Oct at Laguna Lake, San Luis Obispo Co (NLB), was followed by others at Avalon, Santa Catalina Island 24 Oct (TAB, BO’C); Santa Rosa Creek in Cambria, San Luis Obispo Co 30 Oct (WHK); and San Diego (Hillcrest) 17 Nov (NF, JTS). A count of 11 coastal Blackburnian Warblers 5 Sep–21 Nov was a bit above average; another was on the northern deserts at Ballarat in the Panamint Valley, Inyo Co 2 Nov (JTS). Also just above average was a total of 17 Chestnut-sided Warblers on the coastal slope 6 Sep–26 Oct, plus three on the deserts 10–19 Oct. Blackpoll Warbler numbers remain below historical averages, even without accounting for far higher observer effort in recent years: this fall, 28 were found on the coastal slope 2 Sep–29 Oct, and on the deserts, one was at Piute Ponds 18 Sep (BTu) and another represented Imperial County’s third fall record near El Centro 22 Oct (KZK). Black-throated Blue Warblers were at Anacapa Island 6 Oct (JH); Santa Cruz Island 15 Oct (NAL); San Nicolas Island 26-29 Oct (DPe); Hopkins Wilderness Park in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles Co 12 Oct (MRub); University Town Center, San Diego Co 15-22 Nov (JaD); and on the desert at Barstow, San Bernardino Co 16 Oct (AWH). A very early Palm Warbler at Piute Ponds 9 Sep (JSF) was followed by five more on the deserts 23 Sep–16 Oct; and on the coastal slope and islands, 58 more were found 26 Sep+. Beside these expected nominate birds, a “Yellow” Palm Warbler (hypochrysea), casual in California, was in the Tijuana River Valley 10 Nov+ (PEL). The only Prairie Warblers were in San Diego Co at Ocean Beach 9–13 Sep (JiP) and Coronado 28–29 Nov (PEL) and at the Calico Lake Wash near Yermo, San Bernardino Co 17 Oct (RDK). A migrant Grace’s Warbler was at Point Loma 14 Sep (PEL), and returning wintering birds in San Diego Co were at La Jolla 7–30 Oct (ARA), Del Mar 8–31 Oct (ARA), and Encinitas 17 Oct+ (SES). The only Black-throated Green Warbler of the fall was at Piute Ponds 29 Oct–2 Nov (CAD). Canada Warblers were at Nojoqui Falls County Park, Santa Barbara Co 7 Sep (SBy); San Clemente Island 8 Sep (JTS); Huntington Beach 21 Sep (DES); Highland Park, Los Angeles Co 29 Sep (RST); Guajome Regional Park, San Diego Co 28–29 Sep (PT); La Jolla 29–30 Sep (BS); and on the desert at Twentynine Palms 10 Oct (AEK). Painted Redstarts found in the San Bernardino Mountains on the Upper Santa Ana River 23 Aug–1 Sep (PD) and at Lake Arrowhead SBE 26 Aug (MRua) may have summered locally. Migrant Painted Redstarts were at the UCLA campus in Westwood, Los Angeles Co 14 Sep (MRe); Crescenta Valley Park, Los Angeles Co 2 Oct (JF); Santa Monica, Los Angeles Co 15–17 Nov (LSc); and at the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve, Riverside Co 25 Nov (KM); and winterers were at University City 20 Nov+ (DH); Arroyo Verde Park, Ventura Co 25 Sep–16 Mar (AF; returning for second winter); and Tierrasanta, San Diego Co 5 Nov–22 Jan (PEL; returning for second winter).
A Hepatic Tanager returned for its third winter at Tierrasanta 12 Nov (PEL). Excluding lingering summering birds, about 49 Summer Tanagers were found on the coastal slope during the period, with two others near El Centro 25 Nov+ (Kenneth Z. Kurland). Scarlet Tanagers, regular late fall vagrants, were at La Jolla 24–30 Oct (JiP); San Clemente Island 16 Nov (AET); Buddy Todd Park in Oceanside 22 Nov (SV); Clairemont, San Diego Co 30 Nov (HW); and Bard 12 Nov (AWH), the last representing only the third record for Imperial Co. Thirty-one Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were found 1 Aug–22 Nov, some of these perhaps having summered locally. A scattering of Indigo Buntings included nine on the coastal slope 1 Aug–10 Oct, plus one at the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve 12 Aug (CMo) and one at Borrego Springs 27 Nov (GN). Painted Buntings, all green immatures, were at Presidio Park, San Diego 3 Sep (NF); Hollywood Park, San Diego 13 Sep (JTS); Tijuana River Valley 16 Sep (PEL); Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles Co 18–19 Sep (A&EB); and Hopkins Wilderness Park in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles Co 8—10 Nov (MDu), with outliers at Forest Falls, San Bernardino Co 31 Aug–3 Sep (EAC) and Chiriaco Summit, Riverside Co 30 Sep (PAGa). A modest showing of Dickcissels brought birds to La Jolla 28 Sep–9 Oct (BS); Santa Barbara 29 Sep (JL); Allied Gardens, San Diego Co 23–25 Oct (ChA); Costa Mesa, Orange Co 25–26 Oct (GMS); and on the deserts near Shoshone 2 Sep (JEP) and Chiriaco Summit 30 Sep (PAGa).
Report processed by Amy Davis, 23 Aug 2021.