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MoPOP at dusk, Seattle

Friday, April 22, 2016

Keep your eyes open

I get a lot of birding emails. Whenever an unusual bird shows up in Southern California, word gets around real fast.

I got this email this morning from the Yahoo birding group:
Date: Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 10:48 AM
Subject: Swallow-tailed Kite sighting 22 Apr. 2016
To: [snip]
Hi folks,
Daniel Driscoll is in the field, and just called me to let us know that he
watched a Swallow-tailed Kite this morning from 0934 - 0937 near the Navy
NOLS site at Tijuana Estuary. He told me that it was right in front of
him, so he had a positive and confirmed ID.
Great sighting Daniel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a great Earth Day memory!!

jeep

*Joel E. (jeep) Pagel, Ph.D.*
*Raptor Ecologist*
*National Raptor Program*
*Division of Migratory Bird Management*
*U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service*
*2105 Osuna Road*
*Albuquerque, NM 87113*

And then a follow up or two later:

Here's a little more info I've heard now second- and third-hand. A 
raptor biologist reported a Swallow-tailed Kite around 9:30 AM somewhere 
near/over/under Ream (Naval Outlying) Field bordering Imperial Beach and 
the Tijuana Estuary. He reported the bird to refuge staff, who passed on 
the news to local birder researchers working in the saltworks, as the 
report also said that the bird was last seen farther to the north 
somewhere over residential Imperial Beach. Matt Sadowski was in the 
saltworks so once he heard about it he then kept looking up, a lot (!), 
but saw nothing. News got out further (including my first hearing about 
it) when Gjon H. forwarded the report to CalBirds almost two hours 
later. We don't know any more details on what the bird was doing 
exactly or what it looked like, etc. From the sounds of it, it was 
moving north in mid-morning, after the thermals got going, but that is 
mostly conjecture. if one wanted to try for it, it would likely be a 
needle in a haystack, and whether one returns to the original site or 
perhaps to slightly better habitat for this species inland near 
Dairymart Pond, or literally they start driving north up the I-5 and 
hopes to maybe intersect with it somewhere between here and Los Angeles, 
is anyone's guess. At least one or two birders will be scanning the 
skies over the TRV and IB for the next couple hours. Or maybe try down 
there late in the day and see if the bird is still around and comes in 
to roost somewhere???

--Paul Lehman, San Diego

And finally this:

Reported to the Orange County listserve a few minutes ago:
I received word though the grapevine that the Swallow-tailed Kite was
spotted by base biologists at Camp Pendleton at roughly 1:30pm. This means
that if it keeps up its current flight path it should be flying somewhere
over Orange County right now where it should roost. Keep an eye out
overhead if you're out this afternoon!

Tom F-H
Irvine, CA

Guess I should have followed my own suggestion and driven north toward 
Los Angeles!!

--Paul Lehman, San Diego

What is odd is that when I looked up the bird it looked suspiciously like the strange raptor we saw near the Lake Hodges dam last week.

Lovely bird. Very unusual in these parts I think.

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