- Hello California birders,
I will be birding your state in mid-August, and was hoping to get a
few tips for where to find these birds:
-Bell's Sage Sparrow
-Thick-billed Fox Sparrow
-Belding's Savannah Sparrow
-Large-billed Savannah Sparrow (i realize that mid-august isn't the
best time for this bird, but was just wondering if any stuck around
during the summer months ever).
Thank you very much in advance for any help you can provide me.
Sorry if you get a similar request from a couple other california
listserves by me.
Cumberland, BC, Canada
- Hi, Nathan!
Don't know if you'll be in the San Diego area at all, but if so, here are
<< -California Gnatcatcher: Best place is Lake Hodges: Take I-8 east to I-15
north to West Bernardo Drive (it's a ways) and go left. Just before the stop
light is a large parking area with a trailhead that takes you down to
Bernardo Bay. If you end up turning at the light and going into the park,
that's okay, too; there are trailheads here that go to the same place (and
potties in the main building, too); take the middle of the three trails that
head out from the parking lot.
-Tricolored Blackbird: Try Lindo Lake: take I-8 east to hwy 64 north; when
the freeway ends turn right on Mapleview. Make an immediate right onto
Maine, and go left on Lakeshore. You'll come to the lake shortly, but the
good reedy habitat is on the far side of the lake; you'll have to walk!
-Gray Vireo: Try Lost Valley Road: A long drive from San Diego, but it's the
most reliable place for Gray Vireo: from El Cajon take highway 67 north
through Ramona, where it changes to 78. Take this all the way to Santa
Ysabel, and make a left on highway 79. Follow this to Warner Springs, go
through town (which consists of a fire station, school, and resort,
basically), and start looking for Lost Valley Road off to the right (or a
sign for Indian Flats Campground). Take this road about four miles in, and
look for a "no campfires" sign (I think that's what it says) on your right;
this is the area the vireos are most often seen and heard.
If you want to try somewhere closer for the vireos (but not as reliable IMO),
try Kitchen Creek Road: Take I-8 east well out into east county (at least 40
miles), past the turnoff for Cuyamaca State Park, and exit Kitchen Creek
Road. Go north, and if you have a 4WD vehicle, pull into Cibbets Flats
campground and go up Fred Canyon Road for about a mile, where there will be a
BIG pulloff on the right with a big tree or two. The Pacific Crest Trail is
on the opposite side of the road, and I've usually found Gray Vireos along
the first quarter to half mile of this trail. If you DON'T have a 4WD car,
continue on Kitchen Creek Road past the campground, and on past a gate which
should be open. Vireos have historically been found anywhere along the main
road in this area.
-Bell's Sage Sparrow: The most reliable spot is Mt. Gower: From I-8, take
hwy 67 north to Ramona, and turn right on the intersection with hwy 78 (look
for a sign for San Diego Country Estates). Take this road all the way out to
a golf course, and go left on Stage Gunn (I think that's the name; there's a
little strip mall on the left so you really can't miss it). Follow this to
the very end where it dumps you into the preserve, and take the trail up from
the parking area. At the top of the hill bear right at the intersection;
there can be sparrows anywhere in here.
-Thick-billed Fox Sparrow: I've only seen them up in the San Bernardino
Mountains; hopefully someone with more experience can guide you on that one.
-Belding's Savannah Sparrow: The easiest place in San Diego is South Bay:
From Tijuana Slough, go north and turn right on Palm Avenue. Turn left on
Rainbow, then make another left onto the Silver Strand (highway 75). Follow
this road and keep an eye out for a tall heron-shaped sign on your right;
this is the entrance to the South Bay Marine Biological Study Area. (You
might get the Royal Tern here, too.) If you go up into Orange County, you'll
practically step on 'em at Bolsa Chica Lagoon!
-Large-billed Savannah Sparrow: Salton Sea seems to be the easiest place to
get this bird; I've had them at Johnson's Landing at Salton City along the
rocks by the dikes.
Hope this helps! Take care,
Mary Beth Stowe
San Diego, CA
- Dear Calbirders:
Many birders have taken part on a Monterey Bay pelagic trip, but there
are several other exciting destinations that far fewer birders have
experienced. The Cordell Bank is a little over 20 miles off of Bodega Bay,
and has produced some of the most spectacular rarities in CA, particularly
in the summer. Great-winged Petrel, Shy Albatross (3 records on Shearwater
Journey trips), Dark-rumped Petrel, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, and
Short-tailed Albatross have all been recorded in the summer season. While
most birders tend to take trips in the September to October period, Summer
often produces the best rarities, along with an excellent diversity of
species. There are trips to the Cordell Bank August 12, 20 and September 7,
29, all with space available.
Even less well known are scheduled trips from Fort Bragg. These trips are
a relatively new addition to the schedule, and there is still much to learn
about the distribution of pelagics in these waters, but early results are
encouraging. A Dark-rumped Petrel was found last August, along with a
Markham's storm-petrel, and these trips generally record high numbers of
albatross, so a rarity is a real possibility. Trips from Fort Bragg are
scheduled for Aug 18 and Sep 5 and 19. The Sept 19 trip needs some
additional participants in the next week or so to ensure its viability.
I hope to see some of you on a pelagic this summer!
For information about these and other trips, call Debi Shearwater at
831-637-8527 or visit the new website at www.ShearwaterJourneys.com
Marina Del Rey CA
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