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Nighthawk sp. at NAS North Island, San Diego

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  • HeraldPetrel@aol.com
    Birders This morning while crossing the parking lot at the North Island, Coronado air terminal, I flushed a Nighthawk from under a parked car. The bird
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 4, 2004
      Birders

      This morning while crossing the parking lot at the North Island, Coronado air
      terminal, I flushed a Nighthawk from under a parked car. The bird uttered a
      single gruff vocalization when spooked, like Caprimulgids often will do when
      handled, but did not give a flight call. I believe the bird was a Common
      Nighthawk based on shape and flight style, however, without hearing that species'
      distinctive vocalization I am hesitant to claim it as such. The bird flew
      around the air terminal and out toward the runway. It was only seen for a few
      seconds, but long enough for me to judge the bird's shape and flight style
      rather well. The wingbeats were quite deep and smooth, with lots of flight
      action from side to side, unlike the more fluttery, direct flight of Lesser
      Nighthawk. In any case, any Nighthawk on Coronado is a rarity, and I was quite
      surprised by the bird. I was not able to relocate the bird, but I don't have
      access to the runways. I assume this is at the early end of Common Nighthawk
      migration through SoCal, and well before Lesser Nighthawk's fall migration?
      I'm without my Garrett and Dunn at the moment, so any thoughts would be
      appreciated.

      thanks

      Brian L. Sullivan
      PRBO Conservation Science
      San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Recovery Project
      2515 Camino del Rio South
      Suite 334
      San Diego, CA
      92108

      bsullivan@...


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Kimball Garrett
      ... Brian: Certainly based on known status Lesser Nighthawk is the only nighthawk to be expected on the southern California coast in late summer (or, in fact,
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 4, 2004
        At 04:16 PM 8/4/2004 -0400, HeraldPetrel@... wrote:

        >This morning while crossing the parking lot at the North Island, Coronado air
        >terminal, I flushed a Nighthawk from under a parked car. The bird uttered a
        >single gruff vocalization when spooked, like Caprimulgids often will do when
        >handled, but did not give a flight call. I believe the bird was a Common
        >Nighthawk based on shape and flight style, however, without hearing that
        >species'
        >distinctive vocalization I am hesitant to claim it as such. The bird flew
        >around the air terminal and out toward the runway. It was only seen for
        >a few
        >seconds, but long enough for me to judge the bird's shape and flight style
        >rather well. The wingbeats were quite deep and smooth, with lots of flight
        >action from side to side, unlike the more fluttery, direct flight of Lesser
        >Nighthawk. In any case, any Nighthawk on Coronado is a rarity, and I was
        >quite
        >surprised by the bird. I was not able to relocate the bird, but I don't
        >have
        >access to the runways. I assume this is at the early end of Common
        >Nighthawk
        >migration through SoCal, and well before Lesser Nighthawk's fall migration?
        >I'm without my Garrett and Dunn at the moment, so any thoughts would be
        >appreciated.


        Brian:

        Certainly based on known status Lesser Nighthawk is the only nighthawk to
        be expected on the southern California coast in late summer (or, in fact,
        at any time of year). Although peak fall movement of Lesser (poorly known
        as it is) is probably later in August and in September, there is a good
        scattering of records from late July and early August along the coast --
        those of us participating in the Sea and Sage Audubon barbeque this past
        Saturday, 31 July, saw one at San Joaquin Marsh in Irvine.

        I don't think we can even speculate on what the "early end of Common
        Nighthawk migration" in southern California might be, since the species is
        virtually unknown here as a migrant. We know that birds arrive on the
        breeding grounds in late May or early June and have generally departed by
        early September. Garrett and Dunn cite a 3 Aug 1980 record for Ojai,
        Ventura Co., and there are a couple of odd late July records for the San
        Gabriel Mtns. where the species is not known to breed.

        All the above status information, of course, is unimportant of your bird
        really could be pinned down as a Common Nighthawk, but the odds would
        certainly favor Lesser. Maybe we'll be able to tell once we have the
        specimen -- I presume that since the Navy shot a Gull-billed Tern near the
        NAS North Island runway this spring (claiming it was an air strike hazard)
        they will also dispatch this intruding nighthawk!

        -- Kimball
        *****************************************************
        Kimball L. Garrett
        Ornithology Collections Manager
        Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
        900 Exposition Blvd.
        Los Angeles, CA 90007 USA
        213-763-3368
        213-746-2999 FAX
        kgarrett@...
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