WATERFOWL THROUGH SWIFTS
A Brant at inland at N.E.S.S. (Hayes Rd) 3 Jul (CHag) and up to 3 at S.E.S.S. (Poe Rd) 2–26 Jun (GMcC) were attempting to summer locally. A Wood Duck, most unusual at the Salton Sink, was at N.E.S.S. (Kent Seatech) 14 Jun (RMcK). A male Common Teal was at S.J.W.A. 18 Jun–9 Jul (AM), but not separable from the Green-winged Teal after acquiring “eclipse” plumage. The only Harlequin Duck known to be in the Region was at Cayucos, San Luis Obispo 26 May–6 Aug (TME). A Black Scoter, very rare in summer, was in San Simeon, San Luis Obispo 15–23 Jun (DRob). A Long-tailed Duck on Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo 4 Jun–10 Aug (TME) and another on the Los Angeles River in Long Beach, Los Angeles 23 Jul–27 Aug (JBo) were evidently summering locally. A Hooded Merganser at Estero Bluffs State Park, San Luis Obispo 1 May–25 Jun (TME) and another at S.J.W.L.A. 16 Jun–31 Jul (CMcG) are two of a very few ever found in S. California in summer.
Two Sooty Grouse were still present at the southern limit of this species’ current range near Alta Sierra, Kern 30 Jun (ASh). However, much of the preferred grouse habitat in this area was devoured by the 2016 Cedar Fire, suggesting to many that this species may soon be extirpated from Southern California.
Seven White-winged Doves where reported from along the coast in June and July where rare at any time of the year. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo at Scissors Crossing in eastern San Diego 7–12 Jul (GN, CAM) was in suitable breeding habitat, but single birds in Yucaipa, San Bernardino 20 Jun (MMcL), near Seeley (Lakeview Golf course), Imperial 2 Jul (SR), in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara 8 Jul (CF), at Navy housing in Coronado, San Diego 12 Jul (DJ), at Famosa Slough in Ocean Beach, San Diego 13–14 Jul (JR, MW), (recently dead) near N.E.S.S. (Dos Palmas) 13 Jul (KC), and in Montana de Oro State Park, San Luis Obispo 3 Aug (DW, BrC) were lost migrants. The few nesting birds remaining in Southern California are at S.F.K.R.P. and at the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve north of Blythe, Riverside.
About 75 Lesser Nighthawks at P.P. 6 Jul (JSF) is by far the largest number ever found anywhere in Los Angeles. Two vocal Mexican Whip-poor-wills were at Green Canyon in the San Bernardino Mountains 17 Jun–14 Jul (TAB); nesting has yet to be verified in California. A handful of Black Swifts at Monkeyface Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains (TAB) were the only ones known nesting in Southern California, and two over the west shore of Lake Isabella 26 Jul (NJS) provided one of a very few reports of this swift in Kern. Two Chimney Swifts, now only casual stragglers to Southern California, were over Grand Terrace 4 Jun (DG), and provided the 3rd record for San Bernardino. Three Vaux’s Swifts over Atascadero, San Luis Obispo 29 Jun (RHZ) were presumed breeding in the area, but nesting there has yet to be verified.
RAILS THROUGH TERNS
The earliest of the fall migrant Soras was one at the Sepulveda Basin, Los Angeles 29 Jul (MSt), so 1 or 2 at P.P. 26 Jun–30 Jul (JSF) were believed summering locally; this species apparently no longer breeds in this Region. A Sandhill Crane over California City 25 Jun (ASv) and what was likely the same bird remaining at the Kern River Preserve 29 Jun–15 Jul (NJS, RAB) provided the first mid-summer record of this crane in Southern California. For the first time in decades, Snowy Plovers successfully nested on the mainland coast of Los Angeles at Dockweiler Beach and Malibu Lagoon this summer (DSC, TPR).
A Ruddy Turnstone at S.E.S.S. (Poe Rd) 28 Jul (GMcC) was the only one found inland. A Stilt Sandpiper on the Los Angeles River in Long Beach, Los Angeles 23 Jul (KLG) was on the coast. An adult Red-necked Stint was at the Arroyo Laguna Creek mouth near San Simeon, San Luis Obispo 3 Jul (RHZ). Up to 4 Sanderlings at Kramer Junction, San Bernardino 28–30 Jul (TAB, SB) and one P.P. 23 Jul (MSc, JSc) were the only ones found inland away from the Salton Sea. A Dunlin on south San Diego Bay 17 Jun (PEL) is one of only a very few known summering in Southern California. The earliest of the fall juvenile Baird’s Sandpipers was one along the Los Angeles River in Paramount 31 Jul (RB). A Pectoral Sandpiper at P.P. 2–5 Jun (JSF) was an exceptionally late spring migrant, and one at the San Joaquin Marsh in Irvine, Orange 28 Jun (CHar) was an exceptionally early fall migrant. Single adult Semipalmated Sandpipers were at P.P. 7–8 Jul (JSF), on south San Diego Bay 9 Jul (GN), and at V.C.G.P. 7 Jul (LS); and the earliest of the juveniles were on the Los Angeles River in Long Beach, Los Angeles 22–24 Jul (JLF) and 23 Jul (DES), at V.C.G.P. 28 Jul (DPe), and at Goleta, Santa Barbara 31 Jul–1 Aug (MAH). Three Solitary Sandpipers in coastal Los Angeles after 15 Jul, followed by two more inland after 23 Jul, were the only ones reported before August. A Red Phalarope, unexpected in summer, was near Oceano, San Luis Obispo 10 Jul (RC).
The only South Polar Skuas reported were 3 over the open ocean south of Santa Cruz and west of San Nicolas Islands 16 Jul (DPe). Exceptional inland was a Pomarine Jaeger at P.P. 26 Jun (JSF). Up to 2 Common Murres a day at Pt. La Jolla in La Jolla, San Diego between 21 Jun and 15 Jul (PEL, GN), along with one at Point Loma, San Diego 2 Jul (ML) and another in Carlsbad, San Diego 10 Jul (SB), were unusually far south for this time of the year. Two Craveri’s Murrelets off San Diego 11 Jun (DPo) were the earliest this year; 19 18–43 km off San Diego 28 Jun (PEL) and an estimated 45 south of Santa Cruz and west of San Nicolas Islands 16 Jul (DPe) were impressive numbers for a species not found off California every year. Four Rhinoceros Auklets in alternate-plumage at Point Buchon 16 Jun (RHZ) and 7 in alternate-plumage at Pismo Beach 17 Jul (T & KB) were potentially nesting, even though breeding has never been confirmed in San Luis Obispo.
A first-summer Sabine’s Gull inland at N.E.S.S. (Ave 84) 9 Jul (CAM) was likely summering locally, and an adult 16 km off San Diego 17 Jul (PEL) was the earliest of the fall migrants. The number of post-breeding Laughing Gulls that moved north into the Salton Sink in June was noticeably less than in recent years, but about 250 estimated present along the entire north shore of the Salton Sea 28 Jun (RMcK) was by far the highest number ever recorded there; one in Cayucos 11 Jul (TME) then in Oceano the following day (RC) was the only one reported on the coast. The only Franklin’s Gull reported was one at S.E.S.S. (Lack & Lindsey) 29 Jul (GMcC). A Pair of Heermann’s Gulls at a nest with eggs on San Nicolas I. 24 May (AJS) was the 1st known nesting on the Channel Islands. After an absence of two years, small numbers of juvenile Heermann’s Gulls were present along the entire coast in July, indicating some successes at one or more of the nesting colonies in Mexico; single adults at Fig Lagoon near Seeley 23 Jun (GMcC), at N.E.S.S. (Ave 84) 9 Jul–16 Aug (CAM), at S.E.S.S. (Rock Hill) 28 Jul–2 Aug (GMcC) and on Lake Cuyamaca, San Diego 1 Jul (TH) were all far inland where unexpected. A first-cycle Glaucous-winged Gull far inland at N.E.S.S. 7 Jun–8 Sep (RMcK) was summering locally.
Three Least Terns at Puddingstone Reservoir in San Dimas, Los Angeles 12 Jun (ES), 3 adults at S.E.S.S. (Unit 1) 22–23 Jul (GMcC), and a hatch-year bird there 28 Jul–2 Aug (GMcC) were all well inland where rare. Up to 24 Gull-billed Terns attempted to nest at N.E.S.S. (Kent Fish Farm) but failed to fledge young (RMcK), and about 80 pairs at S.E.S.S. produced only a handful of young (KCM). An Arctic Tern, very rare inland, was at C.L. 11–13 Jun (SLS).
LOONS THROUGH WOODPECKERS
A Red-throated Loon, rare inland, was at N.E.S.S. (Salton Sea Rec Area) 28 Jun (RMcK). A Common Loon, unexpected at the Salton Sink in summer, was at S.E.S.S. (Refuge HQ) 30 Jun (GMcC).
A Laysan Albatross seen near the oil platform Eureka off Huntington Beach 21 Jul by a whale-watching party was unusually close to the coast. Three Cook’s Petrels were about 32 km south of Anacapa I. 10 Jun (MF) and 14 were found west of San Nicolas I. 16 Jul (DPe). A Flesh-footed Shearwater, rare in S. California waters, was over the Newport Canyons off Huntington Beach, Orange 22 Jul (TAB). A recently dead Sooty Shearwater at Sunbeam Lake near Seeley 29 Jul (JKe, *SDNHM 55221) provides the 4th record for Imperial and the 9th inland in southeastern California; along with two found in extreme southwestern Arizona, all no doubt originated in the Gulf of California. A Manx Shearwater was photographed over the Santa Barbara Channel 9 Jul (JBa). A Leach’s Storm-Petrel photographed in flight near Santee, San Diego 6 Jun (ASa) was about 25 km inland. A Least Storm-Petrel 48 km off San Diego 30 Jul (PEL) was the earliest in California waters this year.
Single Magnificent Frigatebirds were at Huntington Beach 2 Jul (JA), 3 km off San Onofre, San Diego 9 Jul (JKr) and at Redondo Beach, Los Angeles 12 Jul (DRoe). A sub-adult Masked Booby was photographed on the oil platform Ellen off Huntington Beach 10 Jun (TAB). An adult Nazca Booby was well photographed 32 km south of Anacapa I. 10 Jun (MF). A Blue-footed Booby was at La Jolla 29 Jul (JP). A Brown Booby n.e. of San Nicolas I. 16 Jul (DPe) was the northernmost of the few reported north of San Diego. An adult Neotropic Cormorant in the Riverside portion of the Prado Basin 26 Jun (JEP) was the only one reported away from extreme southeastern California, and this species successfully fledged young from at least 5 nests at Ramer Lake, Imperial in July (GMcC). The late summer dispersal of Brown Pelican from the Gulf of California saw some moving northward and westward from the Salton Sink as indicated by 7 on Lake Perris 22 Jun (CMcG), up to 7 Lake Elsinore 5–31 Jul+ (CHag), one at S.J.W.A. 16–23 Jul (TM) and one at Big River, San Bernardino 28 Jul (BM).
Reports of Reddish Egret north of Orange included single birds at Malibu, Los Angeles 20 Jun (LPl), another there 14–21 Jul (DSC), at Santa Ynez River mouth, Santa Barbara 24 Jun (NAL) and 23 Jul–20 Aug (NAL), in Goleta 6 Jul (LPa), and at Carpinteria 30 Jul–21 Aug (LRB). Yellow-crowned Night-Herons found away from the established populations in San Diego and Ventura included up to two at the Ballona Freshwater Marsh near Playa del Rey, Los Angeles 1 Jul–7 Oct (BJ, DSt) and one in Carpinteria 17 Jul (JC). An adult Glossy Ibis, a rare straggler to California, was photographed near Calipatria, Imperial 30 Jun (CAM).
White-tailed Kites appear to be declining throughout Southern California as indicated by only 3 seen in Los Angeles this summer. A pair of Northern Goshawks in the area around Alta Sierra in the Greenhorn Mountains in June and July successful fledged two young (CAM, MG). A pair of Bald Eagles that fledged two young at Lake Arrowhead (RE) provides the 1st breeding record for that location. A pair of Zone-tailed Hawks were again nesting in the Mid Hills/Cedar Canyon area of the Mojave National Preserve, San Bernardino in May–Jul (PU, LH), and one at Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains 22 Jul (BSi) was believed summering in that area. The presence of a Northern Pygmy-Owl feeding a juvenile at Lower Lamarck Lake west of Bishop 23 Jun (SLS) confirms nesting in that area. A pair of Elf Owls were again found nesting in Joshua Tree National Park (JD) after an absence there of about 50 years. A vocal Barred Owl at Alta Sierra in the Greenhorn Mountains 2 Jun (EAE) extends the known range of this owl in the Sierra Nevada from Sequoia National Park southward into Southern California. The presence of an adult Short-eared Owl with a juvenile near Cuyama (NM) in June provides the first ever evidence of nesting in Santa Barbara.
An Acorn Woodpecker on San Clemente I. 8 Jun (PRR) provides the 3rd June record for that island. An adult and juvenile Hairy Woodpecker in the Riverside portion of the Prado Basin 6 Jun (JEP) likely nested locally. Up to three Black-backed Woodpeckers in extreme northern Kern 18–29 Jul (WR, BED), attracted to trees burnt in the 2016 Cedar Fire, establish the 1st record for this woodpecker in Southern California.
FLYCATCHERS THROUGH ORIOLES
Halfway between spring and fall vagrant peaks for the species, an Eastern Kingbird was at Zzyzx, San Bernardino 3 Jul (JM). A female Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was once again present (from May) to 8 Jul at Rancho Penasquitos, San Diego, paired with a Western Kingbird; one hybrid young was observed 3–8 Jul (CAM, EM). Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (extimus) continue to blink out in the Region; only one was on the Santa Ynez R. w. of Buellton, Santa Barbara 23 Jul (JS); formerly up to 10 territories were found here.
In addition to the 4 White-eyed Vireos noted in the Spring report, one was at Talbert Nature Preserve in Costa Mesa, Orange 10 Jun–1 Aug (TEW). A Plumbeous Vireo was in the Laguna Mtns. 4 Jun (DDiT); there are no nesting records in San Diego. Late spring vagrant Red-eyed Vireos spanned much of the period, with birds at Goleta (Atascadero Ck.) 6 Jun (JEL) and nearby San Jose Ck. 22 Jul (MAH), Redlands, San Bernardino 12 Jun (MG), Sorrento Valley, San Diego 20 Jun (JKe), Encinitas, San Diego 2 Jul (JMcM), and The Village Green in Los Angeles 7 Jul (DPt). A Yellow-green Vireo at Redlands 13 Jul (MG) provided only the second record for San Bernardino and third for California in summer.
A Bank Swallow at Chuckwalla Valley State Prison well west of Blythe, Riverside 6 Jul (BM) was at an odd date and locality; the earliest fall migrants in the Imperial Valley were seen 22 Jul (2 at Ramer Lake; GMcC). A very late migrant (or post-breeding dispersing) House Wren was at Zzyzx 2 Jun (BD), complementing an early June record from there last year. A Marsh Wren singing at Playa Vista, Los Angeles 11 Jun (DSt) was at a site with several undocumented summer reports, but no known recent confirmed nesting of the scarce coastal breeding subspecies clarkae. Up to 5 Golden-crowned Kinglets were around Little Jimmy Campground, San Gabriel Mtns., Los Angeles 3–29 Jul (JW, BiC, DD); this is a scarce nesting species in these mountains. Up to 5 singing Hermit Thrushes in the Santa Ynez Mtns. (Kinevan Rd.), Santa Barbara 15–25 Jun (MAH) were in an area where breeding has rarely been documented; one at G.H.P. 14 Jun (K&BK) was a very late migrant. Cedar Waxwings are routinely found into early June most years, but one in Pasadena, Los Angeles 23 Jul (DD) was unseasonal.
Only a handful of Red Crossbills (flight calls of those recorded being Type 2) were detected in the mountains through the period; one at Branch Pond, E.A.F.B. 1 Jun (JSF) was in planted pines on the high desert. Following a winter in which very few Pine Siskins were recorded in the Region, only 8 individuals were reported all summer in the San Gabriel Mtns., Los Angeles; one was in Los Osos, San Luis Obispo 25 Jul (JSR), where always rare in summer.
A flock of 8 Black-chinned Sparrows, perhaps dispersing family groups, was at Lucerne Valley, San Bernardino 6 Jun, some 12+ km away from mountain slope breeding areas (RMacN). Black-throated Sparrows are rare in the immediate vicinity of the Salton Sea, so 3 at NESS (State Recreation Area) 7 Jul (RLMcK) and a juvenile at SESS (Rock Hill) 15 Jul (KLG) were of note. A (Gray-headed) Dark-eyed Junco at Schulman Grove in the White Mtns., Inyo 25 Jun (CH, RH) was in an area where this subspecies has become increasingly rare as a breeder. A gambelii White-crowned Sparrow remained at Carpinteria, Santa Barbara from 24 Apr until 15 Aug (LRB). Yellow-breasted Chats were found at 5 sites in the Imperial Valley (Brawley, Fig Lagoon, three sites around Niland), where few have nested (GMcC et al.). A late spring vagrant Baltimore Oriole was at Goleta, Santa Barbara 22 Jun (BSa).
WARBLERS THROUGH BUNTINGS
An Ovenbird in the Laguna Mtns., San Diego 4 Jun (DDiT) was in the expected time frame for a spring vagrant, but one at Madrona Marsh in Torrance, Los Angeles 28–30 Jul (TD, MSc) was an odd late summer occurrence. Black-and-white Warblers were at Oceanside, San Diego 3 Jun (EM) and Pt. Loma 8–10 Jun (BLC). A Tennessee Warbler in Exposition Park, Los Angeles 26–27 Jul (KLG) was midway between expected spring and fall windows of occurrence. Late vagrant American Redstarts were at Pt. Loma 1–2 Jun (MSa), The Village Green, Los Angeles 11 Jun (KLa), Montana de Oro, San Luis Obispo 17–23 Jun (JSR), and Montecito, Santa Barbara 18 Jun (BH), along with desert sightings at B.S. 5 Jun (MD), G.H.P. 9 Jun (SM), and Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, San Bernardino 19 Jul (JKy). Cape May Warblers, less than annual in spring, were on San Clemente I. 21 Jun (NJD; only the second island record and first for spring) and at Famosa Slough in San Diego 5 Jun (YL). Six Northern Parulas were found in coastal regions in June, with another at S.F.K.R.P. 21 Jun (ASt), and a male and female at Zzyzx 2 Jun (BD). A Bay-breasted Warbler, nearly annual as a late spring vagrant in June, was at Pt. Loma 4–8 Jun (ML). The only Palm Warbler was at Torrey Pines, San Diego 2 Jun (PR). A very late migrant Common Yellowthroat was at G.H.P. 14–15 Jun (K&BK).
Hepatic Tanagers went unreported from their known San Bernardino Mtn. breeding sites for the first time in 15+ years, but a male was at 6,600’ in the Kingston Mtns., San Bernardino in late May (LH). There was the usual scattering of Summer Tanagers away from known breeding areas, the northernmost being at Los Osos, San Luis Obispo 16 Jun (JCC), along with a pair with two fledglings at Prado Basin, Riverside (JEP) for the first documented nesting at this well-studied coastal-slope site.
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks found after the May and early June spate of migrants were at Whale Rock Reservoir near Cayucos, San Luis Obispo 21–26 Jun (P&JC; a male joined by an adult female on 25 Jun), Agua Hedionda, San Diego 01 Jul (TG), Aspendell, Inyo 4 Jul (TAB), Trona-Wildrose Rd., Death Valley N.P. 5 Jul (RDK), and near Weldon, Kern 28 Jul (DL). A very early fall migrant Black-headed Grosbeak was on San Clemente I. 9 Jul (JTS). Indigo Buntings were at Pt. Loma 1–2 Jun (MSa) and nearby Famosa Slough 6–7 Jun (3, with one male remaining to 8 Jun; DT), Frazier Mtn., Ventura 20 Jun–1 Jul (AJS), CSUSB campus in San Bernardino 20 Jul (TAB), and well inland at Aspendell 6 Jun (SLS), S.E.S.S. (Rock Hill) 17–23 Jun (KLG), near Lone Pine, Inyo 3–20 Jul (RDK), and at S.F.K.R.P. 15 Jul (RAB). A Lazuli x Indigo Bunting hybrid was at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve 10 Jun (DPe).
Cited observers (County coordinators in boldface): Jon Acampora, Larry R. Ballard, Robert A. Barnes, Joel Barrett (JBa), Richard Barth, Timothy and Kathy Becker (T&KB), Lance Benner, Thomas A. Benson, Jeff Boyd (JBo), Steve Brad, Brady Cabe (BrC), John Callender, Bin Cao (BiC), Barbara L. Carlson, Jay C. Carroll, Robert Chapman, Kevin Clark, Petra and Jack Clayton (P&JC), David M. Compton (Santa Barbara), Daniel S. Cooper, Brian E. Daniels, Jack Daynes, Bill Deppe, Dean DiTomasso, Darren Dowell, Tracy Drake, Mickey Dyke, Tom M. Edell (San Luis Obispo), Elias A. Elias, Robin Eliason, Jon S. Feenstra, Connie Ferrer, Jon L. Fisher, Michael Force, Kimball L. Garrett (Los Angeles), Dave Goodward, Tawni Gotbaum, Matthew Grube, Bradley Hacker, Charity Hagen (CHag), Calvin Hardcastle (CHar), Lori Hargrove, Tom & Jo Heindel (Inyo), Mark A. Holmgren, Terry Hurst, Barbara Johnson, Diego Johnson, Jay Keller (JKe), Russell D. Kokx, Alexander E. Koonce (San Bernardino), Janice Krause (JKr), James Kyle (JKy), Ken and Brenda Kyle (K&BK), Kevin Lapp (KLa), Denise LeBerteaux, Yonghee Lee, Paul E. Lehman, Joan E. Lentz, Nick A. Lethaby, Michael Lester, Kelli Levinson (Kern), Rachel MacNutt, Joshua Malbin, Curtis A. Marantz, Eve Martin, Guy McCaskie (San Diego and Imperial), Chet McGaugh (Riverside), Robert McKernan, Mindy McLarty, Jimmy McMorran, Nathan Mercy, Anthony Metcalf, Kathy C. Molina, Steve Morris, Brennan Mulrooney, Gary Nunn, Libby Patten (LPa), Jim Pawlicki, Devin Peipert (DPt), David Pereksta (DPe), James E. Pike, Lu Plauzoles (LPl), Dave Povey (DPo), Wendy Rannals, Shirley Reynolds, Pearl R. Rivers, Dave Roberts (DRob), Jim Roberts, Peter Roberts, Dave Roelen (DRoe), Jim S. Royer, Thomas P. Ryan, Matt Sadowski (MSa), Alison Sample (ASa), Brian Sandstrom (BSa), Larry Sansone, Mark Scheel (MSc), Janet Scheel (JSc), N. John Schmitt, Adam J. Searcy (Ventura), Alison Sheehey (ASh), Dessi E. Sieburth, Brad Singer (BSi), Eric Smith, Justyn T. Stahl (San Clemente Island), John Stanek, Susan L. Steele, Mike Stensvold (MSt), Andy Stepniewski (ASt), Don Sterba (DSt), Alexia Svejda (ASv), David Trissell, Philip Unitt, Douglas R. Willick (Orange), Mike Wittmer, David Wolfson, Jun Wu, Thomas E. Wurster, Roger H. Zachary. Many additional observers who could not be individually acknowledged submitted reports—all have our thanks.