The Raven Lunatics
Nicole, Bob, Leslie, Mark, Kathie
The results are in!! The Lunatics had the most
FUN!! We Raven Lunatics wish to thank all of you, the
Lunatic Fringe, for supporting us in our endeavor to raise funds
for conservation and to heighten awareness of nature around
us. Below is our trip report, written up by Leslie, so sit
back for a minute and relive the lunatics wild ride!! Click
here for the Lunatics pics from the adventure!!
Bird list is below....168 species!!!
Our 24 hour birding day actually started the night before in the
mountains of Kathie's Julian home where the mountain regulars
(Pygmy and White-breasted Nuthatch, Dark-eyed Junco, Mountain
Chickadee, Steller's Jay, and Oak Titmouse were seen). Bob and
Kathie started owling around 7:30 p.m. Friday night, hoping to get
a N. Saw-whet Owl and Western Screech, as both had been
encountered there before. (One Thanksgiving the N. Saw-whet
literally hit Bob in the head while he was calling it - guess that
showed him who owned the territory.) The N. Saw-whet turned up as
predicted, but alas no Western Screech. Unexpectedly, a Barn Owl
responded to Bob’s mouse imitation, adding a new species to
Kathie’s yard list.
A surprise at Kathie’s hummingbird feeder, Saturday morning ,
was a Calliope. Heading down the hill early, serenaded by numerous
Western Meadowlarks, Kathie and Bob found an Osprey, Canvasback
and Ruddy Ducks at Lake Cuyamaca. Just past the Lake yielded two
Lewis’ Woodpeckers, Western Bluebirds and Lark Sparrows.
Leslie and Mark's yard and hill yielded typical backyard birds but
also CA Gnatcatcher, Hooded Oriole, Cedar Waxwing, Red-tailed
Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Cassin's Kingbird, Say's and Black Phoebe,
Bewick's Wren, CA Thrasher, and Spotted Towhee. En route to the
Polinskys, Nicole birded the San Diego River in Mission Valley.
She found migrants, Lesser Goldfinch, and several species of
swallows, among others.
The Lunatics teamed up at Mission Trails Park which was really
"hopping" : singing Yellow Warblers, Yellow-breasted
Chats, Common Yellow-throats and Black-headed Grosbeaks were
easily found as well as Bullock's Oriole, Lazuli Bunting, Blue
Grosbeak, Wrentit, White-tailed Kite, CA Quail, Costa's
Hummingbird, Savannah, Song, White-crowned and Grasshopper
Our species total hovered at about l00 before leaving Mission
Trails Park and heading for Lindo Lake. At Lindo we found nesting
wading birds and beautiful white pelicans. Laid-back Lunatic, Bob,
also found baby Black Phoebes and took digital photos of them and
other birds throughout the day.
The Lunatics planned to head over to the coast as the day heated
up and bird our way up the coast for the late afternoon low tide.
We knew we would keep going until we "dropped" or it got
dark. The next spot was Dairy Mart ponds near the Tijuana River
Valley. The birding at Dairy Mart was fabulous as always, despite
the heat of the day. New birds found there included a
Black-chinned Hummingbird female, Least Bell's Vireo, Warbling
Vireo, Green Heron, Common Moorhen, Vaux's Swift, Black-throated
Gray and Townsend's Warblers. Up the street in the Tijuana River
valley along the river, we found a Western Wood Pewee, American
Goldfinch, Hermit Warbler and several graceful Northern Harriers.
We also saw our first few shorebirds in the area and several
species of duck, then it was over to the coast on the other side
of the estuary.
We had not stopped to eat and were too excited to stop. All eating
and drinking was done "en route" in the car. Mark drove,
Bob scoped, Nicole and Leslie listened and pushed ahead. (Kathie
left us after Lindo Lake, needing to go home and tend a sick cat.)
At the west side boardwalk at the Tijuana Estuary, we scored two
super finds: Little Blue Heron, and the bird the estuary is known
for, the famed Clapper Rail.
We had already seen all of the diurnal raptors with the exception
of the Peregrine Falcon which eluded us. All six possible
hummingbird species and all expected western warblers had also
been found. As we hit the coast, many more shorebirds and ducks
were quickly added to our ever growing list. By the time we left
the Tijuana Estuary, it was late afternoon but our mounting total
kept us going – that and adrenaline. We went north up the Silver
Strand which proved to be "tern city" – Forster's,
Royal and Elegant Terns. The Elegant Terns were gorgeous lined up
together with their rosy tinged underparts, characterizing them as
early in the breeding stage. What a treat! Clark's, Eared and
Western Grebes were seen here as well as Brandts, Black Skimmers
and a variety of shorebirds.
We were REALLY excited and a bit giddy as we left the Strand and
realized just how well we were doing. We zipped over to the North
Island Naval Air Station golf course on the beach at Coronado to
find Burrowing Owls, then hopped into the car and crossed the
Coronado Bridge heading north toward Hospitality Point. That short
drive was the longest rest we had all day. At Hospitality Point,
we were amazed and delighted to find four Common Loons, one in
spectacular breeding plumage which we rarely get to see in San
Diego. Also at Hospitality Point: Red-breasted Mergansers, Caspian
Terns, several additional species of ducks and the reliable
It was getting late but the push was on and the Lunatics
persevered. Our day could not end until we found the rocky
shoreline birds of La Jolla before it got dark. We were lucky to
see the nesting Brandt's Cormorants with adorable babies on the
cliffs above the caves, Black and Ruddy Turnstones, Wandering
Tattler, and Surfbird, just before it got dark. Our total
astounded us - l68! We giggled and "high fived" in our
excitement and delirium.
As we left La Jolla, Lunatic Bob provided us with super
entertainment. He pulled out his laptop and downloaded the bird
photos he had taken that day. We ooohed and aaahed in appreciation
as we drove down the freeway. We finally ended our day with a
Chinese dinner together.
The Raven Lunatics hit a big day for migrants, many wintering
ducks and shorebirds remained, the weather cooperated. We were
afforded the extra daylight savings hour. This year’s total will
be tough to beat but there's always next year and we ARE Raven
Lunatics after all.
Leslie Loony Polinsky