Southern California: Spring 2022
Spring 2022: 1 Mar–31 May
Kimball L. Garrett
McCaskie, G., and K. L. Garrett. 2022. Spring 2022: Southern California. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-eiG> North American Birds.
It was something of a lackluster spring over most of the Region, punctuated by a predictable sprinkling of rarities. There was intensive monitoring of early morning visible migration of landbirds at various sites, most notably Bear Divide in the western San Gabriel Mts. of Los Angeles Co, the area around Gorman in the northwest corner of Los Angeles Co, Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, San Diego Co, and Butterbredt Spring in the Mojave Desert of Kern Co. Total numbers were a bit below those of 2021 at these sites but still impressive.
Some random notable records included a very early Common Nighthawk (14 May) in ne. Kern Co., a Horned Puffin on 21 May off Los Angeles (with a Tufted Puffin in the same area the following day, along with two more Tufteds off Santa Cruz Island two days after that), an inexplicable flock of 15 Sabine’s Gulls on an interior reservoir in Los Angeles Co in late-Mar, and a good variety of wood-warblers including single exceptionally rare Mourning and Cape May warblers.
We summarize below some first spring arrival dates as reported by county sub-regional editors or gleaned from eBird submissions:
Ash-throated Flycatcher: 23 Mar La Jolla, San Diego Co (Paul E. Lehman), 1 Apr Cerro Alto, San Luis Obispo Co (Jeff K. Miller), and 6 Apr El Centro, Imperial Co (Guy McCaskie)
Western Kingbird: 11 Mar Tierrasanta, San Diego Co (Paul E. Lehman); 11 Mar Niland, Imperial Co (Guy McCaskie)
Olive-sided Flycatcher: 8 Apr San Diego (Ethan Lai); 10 Apr Cerro Alto (Petra and Jack Clayton); 15 Apr Brawley, Imperial Co (Wendy Miller)
Western Wood-Pewee: 13 Apr Brawley, Imperial Co (Guy McCaskie)
Hammond’s Flycatcher: 20 Mar Lake Forest, Orange Co (Thomas E. Wurster, Liga Auzins Wurster); 24 Mar Cuyamaca Mtns., San Diego Co (Catherine Zinsky); 3 Apr Cerro Alto (Nick L . Belardes)
Willow Flycatcher: 7 May S.E.S.S. (Adam Dudley); 7 May Leucadia, San Diego Co (Peter A. Ginsburg); 8 May Huntington Central Park, Orange Co (Caitlin Eldridge); 12 May Atascadero, San Luis Obispo Co (Kathleen I. Kent)
Pacific-slope Flycatcher: 10 Mar Atascadero, San Luis Obispo Co (Kevin J. Zimmer); 16 Mar Saber Springs, San Diego Co (Lisa Ruby)
Warbling Vireo: 12 Mar Cerro Alto (Maggie L. Smith); 22 Mar La Jolla, San Diego Co (Paul E. Lehman); 3 Apr S.E.S.S. (Bob Packard)
Cassin’s Vireo: 18 Mar Cachuma Campground, Santa Barbara Co (Peter T. Schneekloth)
Swainson’s Thrush: 15 Apr Oso Flaco Lake, San Luis Obispo Co (Maggie L. Smith); 28 Apr Birchim Canyon north of Bishop, Inyo Co 28 Apr (Rosie Howard)
Black-chinned Sparrow: 20 Mar Bear Divide, Los Angeles Co (Griffin Rohrer); 7 Apr Cerro Alto (Jay C. Carroll)
Hooded Oriole: 20 Feb Westminster, Orange Co (Mary Castillon); 22 Feb Vallecito (Britta Lee Shain); 15 Mar Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo Co (Liam and Kilian Hampl)
Bullock’s Oriole: 4 Mar San Luis Obispo (Nick L. Belardes); 12 Mar Agua Caliente County Park, San Diego Co (Beth Pearson)
Scott’s Oriole: 2 Mar Juniper Hills, Los Angeles Co (Kimball L. Garrett)
Nashville Warbler: 19 Mar Kitchen Creek (Joe Alsadi); 25 Mar Bear Divide (Chris Dean); 1 Apr Cerro Alto (Jeff K. Miller)
Lucy’s Warbler: 23 Mar Borrego Springs, San Diego Co (Robert Theriault)
MacGillivray’s Warbler: 4 Apr Cerro Alto (Jeanette K. Stone)
Yellow Warbler: 26 Mar Salton Sea NWR, Imperial Co (Mike Ostrowski); 1 Apr Jacumba, San Diego Co (Julie Szabo)
Black-throated Gray Warbler: 16 Mar Lake Henshaw, San Diego Co (Paulette Ache); 26 Mar Cerro Alto (Mike Sanders); 6 Apr S.E.S.S. (Guy McCaskie)
Hermit Warbler: 1 Apr Cerro Alto (Jeff K. Miller)
Wilson’s Warbler: 6 Mar Anza-Borrego Desert SP, San Diego Co (David Alvarez)
Western Tanager: 26 Mar Rancho Santa Margarita (Ryan S. Winkleman); 29 Mar Vallecito (Britta Lee Shain); 8 Apr Cerro Alto (Ann M. Stockert) and Nipomo (Tom D. Slater)
Black-headed Grosbeak: 12 Mar Carlsbad (Patricia Langen); 20 Mar Templeton, San Luis Obispo Co (Jackie B. Knowlton)
Blue Grosbeak: 10 Apr Palos Verdes Estates, Los Angeles Co (Brett Karley); 16 Apr Nipomo (Tom D. Slater)
Lazuli Bunting: 1 Apr Paso Picacho (Logan Kahle); 8 Apr Cerro Alto (Tom M. Edell) and San Luis Obispo (Nick L. Belardes)
David M. Compton (Santa Barbara), Tom M. Edell (San Luis Obispo), Kimball L. Garrett (Los Angeles), Chris and Rosie Howard (Inyo), Kelli K. Heindel (Kern), Alexander E. Koonce (San Bernardino), Guy McCaskie (San Diego and Imperial), David Rankin (Riverside) Larry Sansone (photo editor), Adam J. Searcy (Ventura), Justyn T. Stahl (San Clemente Island), Ryan S. Winkleman (Orange).
Abbreviations: N.E.S.S. (north end of the Salton Sea, Riverside Co); S.E.S.S. (south end of the Salton Sea, Imperial Co). 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
Brant migrating northwestward towards the coast after wintering in the Gulf of California included flocks of 81 over Palm Canyon 11 Apr (Charity Hagen) and 18 over Agua Caliente 29 Apr (Nancy Christensen) in Anza Borrego Desert State Park and 24 on Lake Murray 11 Apr (Matt Sadowski) and 45 over Carmel Valley 27 Apr (Dan King) close to the coast, all in San Diego Co. Ten Brant at Piute Ponds, Los Angeles Co 3 May (Chris Dean) had strayed to the northeast of the expected route to the coast; one in Boron, Kern Co on the late date of 25 May (Emilie Strauss) and another in Barstow, San Bernardino Co 25 Apr (Brian Sandstrom) were likely lost. A Eurasian Wigeon, present in Huntington Beach, Orange Co since 3 Nov, remained to the late date of 18 May (Ryan S. Winkleman); otherwise, one on Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo Co to 6 Apr (Eugene DeMayo) and another in Ontario, San Bernardino Co 3 Apr (Eugene A. Cardiff) were the latest staying. A female Tufted Duck, a rare vagrant to Southern California, was on Lake Miramar, San Diego Co 12–24 Apr (Jim Pawlicki). A high count of 43 Surf Scoters at N.E.S.S. on 2 Mar (Robert L. McKernan) undoubtedly included birds moving northwestward from the Gulf of California, whereas four well inland in Jacumba, San Diego Co 5 Mar (Connor Cochrane) and one on Puddingstone Reservoir, Los Angeles Co 29 Mar (Keith Condon) were obvious migrants. Single Black Scoters in Goleta 9 Apr (Linus Blomqvist) and at Pt Conception on 1 and 9 Apr (Nick A. Lethaby) were the latest of the wintering birds. Four Long-tailed Ducks on the coast in Mar and early Apr were long staying wintering birds; one in Goleta/Santa Barbara 24 Mar–8 May (Ben Byerly, Lynn Scarlett) remained later than expected, and another at the Santa Clara River Estuary, Ventura Co 9 May–30 Jun (Sammy Cowell) was summering locally. A Long-tailed Duck at S.E.S.S. (Morton Bay) 23 Mar (Guy McCaskie) was the only one found inland where rare.
Two Red-necked Grebes at Malibu, Los Angeles Co 21 Mar (Chris Dean) and another at Point Mugu, Ventura Co 10 Apr (John Apperson) were the only three reported from along the coast; one inland on Big Bear Lake 5–25 May (Jo and Collin Drummond) was possibly the same bird present here in November, having spent the winter there undetected.
Doves through Hummingbirds
Only six White-winged Doves were reported from the coast between 23 Mar and 22 May. A Common Nighthawk photographed in Ridgecrest, Kern Co 14 May (Bob Barnes) was exceptionally early, the first of the spring migrants not normally arriving before the last week in May. A Mexican Whip-poor-will calling at Winston Spring in the San Gabriel Mountains 13 May (Mary and Nick Freeman) provides one of a very few records for Los Angeles Co. Migrant Black Swifts were noticeably scarcer than in recent years but included nine at Bear Divide in the San Gabriel Mountains 16 May (Ryan S. Terrill) and an exceptionally early individual over Oso Flaco Lake, San Luis Obispo Co 10 May (Maggie L. Smith). A Chimney Swift at Point Dume 24 May (Kimball L. Garrett) was the only one reported. An Allen’s Hummingbird near El Centro, Imperial Co 24–25 Feb (Kenneth Z. Kurland) is one of a very few documented in extreme southeastern California. An adult male Broad-tailed Hummingbird at Lake Tamarisk in Desert Center, Riverside Co 12-14 May (Nathan Mansor) was unexpected. A male Broad-billed Hummingbird in Borrego Springs, San Diego Co 7–13 Mar (Judy Orton) was the only one reported.
Gallinules through Puffins
A Common Gallinule high in the San Bernardino Mountains at Big Bear Lake 12-15 May (Brad Singer) was the first ever there.
An oystercatcher in Los Angeles Harbor since Feb that was still present 1 May (Andrew Birch) and another on Point Loma (Cabrillo National Monument) 20–29 May (Susan E. Smith) closely matched “pure” American Oystercatchers. A Pacific Golden-Plover in Huntington Beach, Orange Co 25 Apr (Lena Y. Hayashi) and up to two in Goleta 8–12 Apr (Mark A. Holmgren) were probably northbound migrants, and one near Imperial, Imperial Co 6 Apr (Guy McCaskie) was inland where much rarer.
A Red Knot on the east shore of the Salton Sea at Salt Creek 4 Mar was the earliest of the migrants moving north through the Salton Sink this spring, with numbers peaking at 750 on 27 Apr, and 52 there on 18 May being the latest (Robert L. McKernan). A high count of 455 northbound Sanderlings at N.E.S.S. on 11 May (Robert L. McKernan) was impressive. Single Baird’s Sandpipers, rare in spring, were near the Kern National Wildlife Refuge 13 Apr (Konshau Duman), at San Timoteo Canyon in Redlands, San Bernardino Co 18-19 Apr, and on south San Diego Bay 4 May (Matt Sadowski). The Little Stint that spent the winter on south San Diego Bay was last noted 25 Apr (Matt Sadowski). Single Pectoral Sandpipers were west of Calipatria, Imperial Co 14 Apr (Keith Condon) and at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge 21 Apr (Ken and Brenda Kyle). The only Semipalmated Sandpipers reported this spring were single birds on the coast at the Ventura County Game Preserve near Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station 2 May (Larry Sansone), and inland on the east shore of the Salton Sea at Salt Creek 4 May (Robert L. McKernan) and at Tecopa, Inyo Co 7 May (Chris McCreedy). A Solitary Sandpiper known to have wintered at the Sepulveda Basin, Los Angeles Co remained to 24 Apr (Candice Byers); about 30 migrant Solitary Sandpipers scattered throughout the Region between 5 Apr and 9 May was slightly less than expected.
A Long-tailed Jaeger 90 km west-southwest of Pt Arguello 12 Apr (Jim Holmes) was exceptionally early for a spring migrant. A Pigeon Guillemot in alternate-plumage at La Jolla 30 May (Mike Anderson) was south of this species’ known breeding range. Eleven Craveri’s Murrelets in the San Pedro Channel off Los Angeles Co 25 May (Chris Dean) are the first ever reported in May. The only Ancient Murrelet reported this spring was one 65 km west of Purisima Point, Santa Barbara Co 30 Apr (Jason Fidorra). A Horned Puffin, a casual straggler to Southern California’s pelagic waters, was well photographed 16 km west southwest of Point Vicente, Los Angeles Co 21 May (Jon S. Feenstra). The following day (22 May) a Tufted Puffin, rare off Southern California, was in the same general area west southwest of Point Vicente (Marky J. Mutchler), and two more were in the Santa Barbara Channel north of Santa Cruz Island 24 May (Bob Perry).
Gulls through Terns
A flock of 15 Sabine’s Gulls well inland at Quail Lake, Los Angeles Co on the early date of 28 Mar (Richard Crossley) was unprecedented. A Laughing Gull near Imperial 13 Apr (Curtis A. Marantz) was likely wintering locally. Sixteen Franklin’s Gulls along the coast, along with only nine inland between 22 Apr and 24 May was far fewer than expected. Up to two Heermann’s Gulls, believed to be the same two present last year, were associating with nesting California Gulls at S.E.S.S. 17 Apr–31 May+ (Guy McCaskie). A Short-billed Gull in Bishop 18 Apr (Eric A. Smith Jr) was the only one reported inland. The known wintering Lesser Black-backed Gull in Coronado, San Diego Co remained to 14 Mar, one was at Batiquitos Lagoon, San Diego Co 21 Mar (Tito Gonzalez), and up to two second-cycle birds on the Los Angeles River in Vernon 21 Mar–16 Apr (Naresh Satyan) were joined by an adult there 16 Apr (Andrew Birch). A second-cycle Slaty-backed Gull was well photographed at Macarthur Park in downtown Los Angeles 19–21 May (Andrew Birch). The only Glaucous Gull was one on San Clemente Island 14 Mar (Matt D. Gould).
A Least Tern at Diaz Lake, Inyo Co 16 May (Russell D. Kokx), and another at S.E.S.S. (Rock Hill) 25 May (Nicole Koeltzow) were well inland where rare. A Gull-billed Tern at Seal Beach, Orange Co 23 May (Bob A. Schallmann) was the only one reported away from the Salton Sink and southern coastal San Diego County. Nine Elegant Terns at three locations in the Imperial Valley (Fig Lagoon, Sunbeam Lake, Sheldon Reservoir) 27 Apr (Guy McCaskie), and two more at Sheldon Reservoir 11 May (Guy McCaskie) were far inland where rare.
Loons through Herons
Two Pacific Loons photographed on Lake Isabella 13 Apr (fide Kelli K. Heindel) were well inland.
At least two Laysan Albatrosses were southwest of San Clemente Island 18 Mar (J. D. Paes). Birders on cruise ships traveling northward from San Diego and Los Angeles about 80 km off the coast to British Columbia during Apr and May encountered 16 more Laysan Albatrosses off Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo Cos between 12 Apr and 12 May. In addition about 90 Murphy’s Petrels, eleven Hawaiian Petrels and close to 60 Cook’s Petrels were seen off Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo Cos between 12 Apr and 12 May, indicating all three of these Pterodroma are to be expected over these waters in spring. A Manx Shearwater, rare over Southern California pelagic waters, was photographed from Point La Jolla, San Diego Co 20 Mar (Derek Hameister).
A long staying and widely wandering Wood Stork, present since at least May of 2020, was at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park near Escondido 27 Mar (Eric Lutomski), then moved north into the Prado Basin 29 Mar–31 May+ (James E. Pike).
A Masked Booby was at Cabrillo Beach, Los Angeles Co 9 Apr (Naresh Satyan). A Nazca Booby was off Dana Point, Orange Co 31 Mar (Ryan S. Winkleman), two were together over south San Diego Bay 1 May (Paul E. Lehman), one more was off Oceanside, San Diego Co 25 May (Carl Mitroff) and a fifth was photographed well off Orange Co 29 May (Mark A. Girardeau). In addition a Masked/Nazca Booby over the 9-Mile Bank off San Diego 24 Apr (Paul E. Lehman), another off Newport Beach, Orange Co 13 Apr (Thomas E. Wurster), and a third seen off Cayucos, San Luis Obispo Co 19 May (Tom M. Edell) could not be identified to species. The only Red-footed Booby was one over the San Pedro Channel off Los Angeles 3 Apr (Bernardo Alps). Neotropic Cormorants continue to expand their range northwestward as indicated by at least 20 in the coastal lowlands of Los Angeles County and one at the Ventura River Estuary 29 Apr–1 May (Spencer Seale) to the west, and up to five at Panorama Park, Kern Co 18 Apr–16 May (William L. Rockey) to the north.
The only Little Blue Heron known away from coastal southern San Diego County was one Huntington Beach, present since 5 Oct, remaining to 1 Apr (Cynthia K. Case). The Tricolored Heron first reported at Upper Newport Bay 23 Sep remained through 4 May (Scott Marnoy).
Hawks through Woodpeckers
A Common Black Hawk, rare in California, was photographed along the Colorado River at the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve, Riverside Co 13 Apr (fide Kurt Leuschner). At least five Harris’s Hawks were still present in Jacumba, at least three more remained at Anza Borrego Desert State Parks’ Shelter Valley through May, and one was much closer to the Colorado River near Ford Dry Lake, Riverside Co 13 May (Mark Chappell). Noteworthy numbers of migrant Swainson’s Hawks included 200 near Imperial, Imperial Co 6 Mar (Wendy Miller), over 3000 counted passing over Borrego Springs between 10 Mar and 3 Apr, with peak numbers of 500 on 13 Mar and 514 on 3 Apr (Hal Cohen), 250 at Perris, Riverside Co 13 Mar (Greg Cross), 150 over Grand Terrace, San Bernardino Co 20 Mar (Roger Woodruff,) and 2130 counted moving along the San Gabriel Mountain foothills between 5 and 15 Apr (Lance Benner). The latest of the wintering Zone-tailed Hawks in the coastal lowlands included one over Irvine 5 Mar (Rhonda L. Howard), up to two around Monrovia/Duarte, Los Angeles Co to 31 Mar (Karen Suarez), one over Long Beach 2 Apr (Joyce Brady) and a somewhat late staying individual at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park near Escondido on 3 May (Mike Wittmer). Single Zone-tailed Hawks at Horse Canyon, Kern Co 22 Mar (Craig O’Neill), over La Quinta, Riverside Co 12 Apr (fide Kurt Leuschner) and at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area near Lakeview, Riverside Co 26 May (Chet McGaugh) were well away from known wintering areas, while single birds at Bear Divide in the San Gabriel Mountains on 1 Apr (Ted Keyel) and 10 Apr (Ryan S. Terrill) were obvious migrants. Single Rough-legged Hawks at Timemaha Reservoir, Inyo County 15 Mar (Deborah J. House), at the Carrizo Plain National Monument 11 Mar (Will H. Knowlton), and at Piute Ponds 21 Mar (Jack Wickel) were the latest staying of the few wintering birds.
Four calling Flammulated Owls in the San Gabriel Mountains 30 Apr (Lance Benner) were recent spring arrivals.
An Acorn Woodpecker in Rancho Mirage, Riverside Co 13–14 Apr (Kurt Leuschner) and another at Cottonwood Springs in Joshua Tree National Park 14 May (Michele Reyes) were at desert locations east of this species’ range in California; up to two on San Clemente Island 23 Apr–4 Jun (Ben P. Crawford, Kandace L. Glanville) had crossed 95 km of open ocean.
Tyrant Flycatchers through Corvids
Brown-crested Flycatchers summer very locally in the se. portion of the region, but one at Vallecito, San Diego Co 27 May (Britta Lee Shain) was away from known nesting localities. A Thick-billed Kingbird at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve 29 Apr (Anthony Metcalf) was the first for San Bernardino Co and a very rare spring vagrant occurrence, as was one at Mayflower County Park in Blythe, Riverside Co 1 May (Kirk Hopkins). The only Eastern Kingbird reported was on San Clemente I. 25–28 May (Benjamin C. Stalheim). A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher near Bannister and Vendel Roads, S.E.S.S. 7 May (Adam Dudley) was also the only one reported. Just two Gray Flycatchers were noted in Santa Barbara Co (18 and 28 Apr), contrasting with the species’ status as a migrant farther south and east; for example, high counts in Los Angeles Co
included 11 in Juniper Hills 17 Apr (Kimball L. Garrett) and 16 at Rancho Sierra Golf Course east of Lancaster 16 Apr (David Bell), and at least 17 passing the Bear Divide migrant count in the western San Gabriel Mtns. 8 Apr–7 May (Ryan S. Terrill). The wintering Least Flycatcher
at the West San Gabriel River Parkway Nature Trail in Lakewood was last seen on 24 Apr (Becky Turley, Christine Jacobs, Kim Moore). A Vermilion Flycatcher pair fledged two chicks at Millpond Recreation Area west of Bishop, Inyo Co 5 May–18 Jun (Rosie Howard), establishing the northernmost nesting record ever in the region.
A migrant Bell’s Vireo was at Butterbredt Spring, Kern Co 20 Apr (Ted Keyel), an area with few records. A Yellow-throated Vireo was at Huntington Central Park, Orange Co 17–18 May (Brian E. Daniels); another found dead at Point Loma 26 May (Kris McMillan; *SDNHM) had likely expired a few days earlier. A singing vireo recorded at Bear Divide xx xxx matched Yellow-throated Vireo, but could not be visually confirmed (Ryan S. Terrill, Ted Keyel). A peak flight of 120 Warbling Vireos passed Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, San Diego Co in a three hour period 12 May (Paul E. Lehman). The only Red-eyed Vireos reported were at Butterbredt Spring 14 May (Ted Keyel) and Furnace Creek Inn at Death Valley, Inyo Co 28 May (Chris and Rosie Howard).
Yellow-billed Magpies have declined and retracted in much of the southern part of their range, so the presence of one at the Matilija Riparian area in Ventura Co 16 Mar (Lukas Le Grice) was a surprise; being only some 40 km east of the large magpie population in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara Co, this would appear to be a natural wanderer. An American Crow at Wilson Cove, San Clemente I. 12 Mar (Justyn T. Stahl) established only the third record for the island.
Titmice through Thrushes
An Oak Titmouse at Borrego Springs, San Diego Co 14–18 Mar (Blanche Ramswick) was at an unexpected desert location. A very early Bank Swallow was at Laguna Niguel, Orange Co 4 Mar (Robert B. McNab). A Purple Martin at Atascadero, San Luis Obispo Co 12 Mar was an early arrival at a breeding site (Steve and Janny Tillmann); an early migrant for Kern Co was at Butterbedt Spring 9 Apr (Loren Wright).
Several reports of Red-whiskered Bulbuls from Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach south to Irvine and Newport Beach show that this expanding naturalized species is becoming better established in Orange Co (fide Ryan S. WInkleman). Also in the expanding naturalized species department, two Swinhoe’s White-eyes at Oak Park 20 Mar (Bruce Henderson) established only the second Ventura Co record. Two adult White-breasted Nuthatches feeding fledglings at The Village Green in Los Angeles 15 May (Don Sterba) established the first confirmed breeding record in the lowlands of the western Los Angeles Basin.
Gray Catbirds are year round vagrants to the region, but show spring and fall peaks; five were found this spring, at Carlsbad, San Diego Co 17 Apr (Tito Gonzalez), Point Loma 27 Apr–6 May (Holly McMillan), Salt Creek Hills Area of Critical Environmental Concern (just south of Death Valley NP), San Bernardino Co 29 May (Bill Deppe), and Furnace Creek Ranch 29 May–4 Jun, (with two there on 1–2 Jun; Frank Fabbro). Brown Thrashers were at Irvine, Orange Co 5 Apr (Sasha Cahill), Seal Beach (San Gabriel River mouth), Orange Co 25 Apr–4 May (Jill M. Dale), and on the desert at Vallecito 21 May (Britta Lee Shain). A Bendire’s Thrasher at Clark Dry Lake, Anza-Borrego Desert SP 23 Mar–17 Apr (Dave and Gwen Dorn) was in an area with few recent records.
A Mountain Bluebird from the wintering flock near Calipatria, Imperial Co remained to 16 Mar, establishing the latest record for the Salton Sink (Guy McCaskie). Four Townsend’s Solitaires on San Clemente I. 19 Mar–7 May was an exceptional total (Justyn T. Stahl); one at San Timoteo Canyon in Redlands, San Bernardino Co 11–14 Apr (Matt Grube) was at an unexpected location.
The latest Varied Thrushes reported, after a poor winter showing for the species, were two at Cerro Alto, San Luis Obispo Co 8–9 Apr (Jeanette K. Stone).
New World Sparrows through Icterids
A coastal spring vagrant Black-throated Sparrow was at Huntington Central Park, Orange Co 16-23 May (Richard A. Cabe, Jasmine C. Kay). The wintering Clay-colored Sparrow at Shandon, San Luis Obispo Co remained from 24 Jan to 6 Apr (Nick L. Belardes); others not noted in winter were at Lake Forest, Orange Co 29 Mar–3 Apr (Diane O. Etchison), Rynerson Park in Lakewood, Los Angeles Co 14 Apr (John and Lindsay Fitch), and Apollo Park near Lancaster, Los Angeles Co 29 Apr (Jon L. Fisher). A rare lowland migrant Black-chinned Sparrow at Huntington Central Park 2–3 Apr (Ken Watanabe) was only the fourth ever for this well-worked location. Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco are now ubiquitous breeders in the lowlands of the coastal counties; the species has not yet been recorded breeding in the coastal slope lowlands of Riverside Co, but two singing males in the Canyon Crest area of Riverside in mid-May, with at least one still singing on 27 May (Chris Clark), suggest imminent colonization.
The latest remaining wintering White-throated Sparrow was at Los Oso, San Luis Obispo Co 1 May (Kevin Fistanic); some 13 others not known to be wintering were found on the coastal slope in Apr, along with five on the deserts 2 Apr–7 May and a late bird at Zzyzx, San Bernardino Co 21 May (Bill Deppe). The hybrid White-crowned Sparrow X Dark-eyed Junco remained at Sweet Springs in Los Osos 13 Mar+ (Kaaren L. Perry). Harris’s Sparrows not known to be wintering locally were at Lone Pine, Inyo Co 14 Mar (Chris and Rosie Howard), Furnace Creek Ranch 21 Mar–5 Apr (Gregory Smith), Atascadero, San Luis Obispo Co 22–23 Apr (Dale Ball), and Independence, Inyo Co 29 Apr (fide Chris and Rosie Howard). A Lincoln’s Sparrow
at Refugio Creek Canyon 9 May (Nick A. Lethaby) was record late in Santa Barbara Co by four days; a singing bird in a residential yard in Apple Valley 20 May–5 Jun was most unexpected in the desert lowlands (Bill Deppe).
The bizarre Yellow-breasted Chat X oriole hybrid returned to San Timoteo Canyon in Redlands for its third consecutive summer 10 Apr+ (Matt Grube). A male Bobolink was at Furnace Creek Ranch 21 May (Emmett Iverson), and a female was there 31 May (Derek Hameister); another female was at Primm Valley, San Bernardino Co 21 May (Emmett Iverson, Ethan Monk, Dessi Sieburth). The wintering Orchard Oriole at Carpinteria, Santa Barbara Co remained to 26 Apr (Noah Arthur); a spring vagrant was at Redlands 20 May (Robert L. McKernan).
A Baltimore Oriole at San Ysidro, San Diego Co 13–27 Mar (Paul E. Lehman) was likely the same bird that wintered there in 2019–2020, but it was missed during this past winter; an adult male was at El Dorado Park in Long Beach 19–20 May (Nancy Salem), and five additional spring vagrants were on the deserts 3–30 May. An adult male Red-winged Blackbird along the Los Angeles River at the Bette Davis Picnic Area near Glendale 27 Mar (Andrew Birch)
showed the characters of a “Bicolored Blackbird” (Agelaius phoeniceus californicus), normally restricted to the coastal counties north of the region. A Tricolored Blackbird at Borrego Springs 25 Apr (Paulette Ache) was at an unexpected desert location; with the continuing loss of breeding colonies in the region, it was reassuring that two large colonies in Los Angeles Co were active this springs, with some 1500 to 2000 birds at the Petersen Ranch Mitigation Bank in the Leona Valley 16 Apr–8 May (Becky Kitto, Mickey Dyke) and 1000 to 1500 birds at Quail Lake in the westernmost Antelope Valley (Naresh Satyan). Three Bronzed Cowbirds were at the northwestern extreme of their range at La Quinta, Riverside Co 4–26 May (Anne Cheung).
An Ovenbird was at Biola University in La Mirada, Los Angeles Co 14 Apr (Jonathan Rowley), with others on the deserts at Lake Tamarisk in Desert Center, Riverside Co 13 May (Nathan Mansor), Butterbredt Spring, Kern Co 20 May (Ted Keyel), California City, Kern Co 22 May (Ethan Monk), and Baker, San Bernardino Co 1 Jun (Loren Wright). A below average three Northern Waterthrushes were encountered as spring migrants — at Agua Caliente, San Diego Co 29 Apr (Nancy Christensen), Deep Springs College, Inyo Co 2 May (Chris Howard, Rosie Howard), and Furnace Creek Inn 24 May (Emmett Iverson).
Black-and-white Warblers at Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles Co 13 Mar–14 Apr (Janeen Simpson), Desert Center 6 Mar–17 Apr (Ben Stalheim), and the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve near Blythe, Riverside Co 20 Mar (male; Jason St. Pierre) and 4 Apr (female; Michelle Tobin) might have been wintering locally, but an additional 13 spring vagrants were on the coastal slope 16 Apr–27 May, singles were in the San Gabriel Mts. Near Buckhorn Campground 16 May (Becky Turley) and 4 Jun (Alan Brelsford), and eight were on the deserts 9–31 May. The spring’s only Prothonotary Warbler was at Robb Field in Ocean Beach, San Diego Co 29–30 May (Joe Alsadi). Early vagrant Tennessee Warblers were at Bishop 21 Apr (Chris Howard), the University of California Riverside Botanic Gardens 27 Apr (David Rankin), and Goleta 3 May (Guy Tingos); more in line with the late spring vagrant season were three others on the coastal slope and islands 21–23 May and two on the deserts 26-31 May. Lucy’s Warblers nested at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve (m. ob.), and a pair was observed with a juvenile at Twentynine Palms, San Bernardino Co 7 May (Alexander E. Koonce et al.). One of the few to be found in spring in recent years, a Mourning Warbler was banded and photographed in the Tijuana River Valley, San Diego Co 27 May (Suellyn Lynn). A Kentucky Warbler was at Butterbredt Spring, Kern Co 23 May (Ted Keyel), the site of many previous records; another was at Coronado, San Diego Co 24 May (Paul E. Lehman).
Hooded Warblers were at Wilson Cove, San Clemente I. 4 May (Nicole J. Desnoyers) and in Playa Vista, Los Angeles Co 19–22 May (Kevin Lapp); five others on the deserts were at Clark Dry Lake, Anza-Borrego Desert SP 1 Apr (Aedyn Loefke), Coyote Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert SP 16 Apr (Jeremy Cowan), Lake Tamarisk Golf Club, Desert Center RIV 16–17 Apr (Curtis A. Marantz), Furnace Creek Ranch 21 May (Ethan Monk), and Tinnemaha Creek INY 23 May (Lizzy Cattabriga). Four American Redstarts were on the coastal slope 1–18 Apr, with seven more on the deserts 8 May–5 Jun. A Cape May Warbler was seen by many on the Loyola Marymount University campus in Westchester, Los Angeles Co 19 Mar–4 Apr (Brennan Mulrooney); it had undoubtedly been present earlier in the winter. Ten Northern Parulas included four on the coast and islands 24 Apr+ and five on the deserts 21–30 May, plus an early bird at the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve 27 Mar (Jake Mohlmann) that might have wintered locally. The spring’s only Magnolia Warblers were at Barstow, San Bernardino Co 22 May (Ethan Monk, Dessi Sieburth) and Furnace Creek Ranch INY 28–29 May (Emilie Strauss). A Blackburnian Warbler at Carlsbad, San Diego Co 12–19 Apr (Tito Gonzalez) was exceptionally early and might have wintered locally. Two different Chestnut-sided Warblers were at Laguna Niguel, Orange Co 13-14 May and 19 May (Robert B. McNab). Though regular in small numbers in fall, Blackpoll Warblers are casual in spring, so birds at Lake Tamarisk, Desert Center 14 May (Chris Lindsey), Victorville, San Bernardino Co 22 May (Konshau Duman, Lynette Williams), and Furnace Creek Ranch 31 May (Derek Hameister) were of note. A singing Yellow-throated Warbler was at Polliwog Park in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles Co 24 May (Layton Pace). Fifteen Palm Warblers were on the coastal slope and islands 12 Mar–15 May, although the three first found in Mar might have been wintering locally; another eight were on the deserts 22 Mar–23 May. The lone
Black-throated Green Warbler encountered was along Little Rock Creek near Littlerock, Los Angeles Co 30 May (William Tyrer).
Tanagers through Buntings
Hepatic Tanagers were at traditional nesting areas in San Bernardino Co at Mid Hills Campground in the eastern part of the county 27 May (Lin Piest) and northeast of Baldwin Lake 28 May (Eric Tipton). Nearly fifty Summer Tanagers, in addition to known wintering birds, were scattered through the region, north to San Luis Obispo Co—Whale Rock Reservoir 30 May (Douglas A. Drynan) and Montana de Oro S.P. 10 Jun (Petra and Jack Clayton)—and Inyo Co where 14 were reported 6–31 May (m. ob.). A Scarlet Tanager was at Shoshone, Inyo Co 30 May–1 Jun (Curtis A. Marantz). A good showing of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks included 19 birds on the coastal slope 27 Mar–7 Jun and eight on the deserts 4 May–3 Jun. A Blue Grosbeak at
Mission Hills in San Diego 18 Mar–15 Apr (Jill Schmidt) probably wintered locally as the first spring migrants are not expected until mid-Apr. A male Blue Grosbeak x bunting sp. returned to Big Morongo Canyon Preserve for its third straight spring (Matt Grube). Indigo Buntings included a returning bird in the Tijuana River Valley 4–28 May (Marcie Mason) and birds at Rolling Hills Estates, Los Angeles Co 12 May (Randy Harwood), San Clemente I. 18 May (Sue T. Meiman), Vallecito 26 May (Britta Lee Shain), and Santa Ysabel, San Diego Co 28 May (Stacy McCline), as well as one at Lake Tamarisk, Desert Center RIV 20 May (Brian Sandstrom) and five in Inyo Co 21–31 May (m. ob.).
Report processed by José Ramírez-Garofalo, 24 Oct 2022.