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first light © Robert Sommers 2019

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Birding San Luis Rey

I went out birding with Ken Weaver and four other birders including my friend Beth yesterday morning. Ken is one of the most expert birders around and a very nice man. He often helps me identify birds, as does Beth. A retired science teacher, he is both patient and helpful. It was an honor to be with him in his native element.

We birded the old and defunct San Luis Rey golf course property which is now owned by the County of San Diego. We met early in front of Major Market and piled into Ken's van. It was a gray morning, not real conducive to photography. I brought my slower zoom and it unfortunately needs light to operate.

I had wrenched my knee the day before trying to do something in my yard. While my knee felt okay on our excursion, due to compensation, my back was killing me. It got a little grueling in the end.

It was of course, lovely to be out in nature in the early morning, before things start to get really hot, which they eventually did on this four hour trek. Lots of nice oak, sycamore, cottonwood and riparian habitats.

All of the birders were far more expert than I. Beth and Ken have a remarkable auditory memory, they each know hundreds of bird calls and can quite easily identify an incredible number of species by sound and song. I can't begin to do that.


I was surprised how many birds we saw and heard, 54 species, according to Beth's Ebird report. Definitely helps to bird with the pros.

San Luis Rey River Park--Bonsall area, San Diego, California, US Jul 15, 2019 6:51 AM - 3:42 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.8 mile(s)
54 species

Mallard  10
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  13
Eurasian Collared-Dove  4
Mourning Dove  20
Anna's Hummingbird  3
Allen's Hummingbird  3
Virginia Rail  1
Great Egret  2
Snowy Egret  1
Cattle Egret  12
White-faced Ibis  4
Turkey Vulture  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  3
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Acorn Woodpecker  1
Nuttall's Woodpecker  8
Northern Flicker  2
American Kestrel  3
Pacific-slope Flycatcher  2
Black Phoebe  12
Vermilion Flycatcher  5
Ash-throated Flycatcher  3
Cassin's Kingbird  4
Bell's Vireo (Least)  6
Hutton's Vireo  1
California Scrub-Jay  1
American Crow  1
Common Raven  3
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  3
Cliff Swallow  25
Bushtit  10
White-breasted Nuthatch  4
House Wren  1
Bewick's Wren  5
Wrentit  4
Western Bluebird  19
Northern Mockingbird  10
European Starling  27
Phainopepla  3
House Finch  12
Lesser Goldfinch  14
Lark Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  13
California Towhee  3
Spotted Towhee  2
Yellow-breasted Chat  4
Hooded Oriole  22
Red-winged Blackbird  21
Common Yellowthroat  10
Yellow Warbler  2
Black-headed Grosbeak  3
Blue Grosbeak  6
Scaly-breasted Munia  4

I am used to shooting with my big lens and forgot the lesser quality of the 600mm in less than optimal light. Hard to get focus. Lots of dumb operator error too.

Not very happy with my pictures. The avian highlights for me were the vermilion flycatcher and the blue grosbeak. Lots of hooded orioles around but they have been everywhere this year.

Here's a few pictures of our excursion. Thanks to Beth and Ken for inviting me. Hope to go out again.









1 comment:

Ken Seals said...

Thanks, very interesting about all the species!