Nicole Perretta renders the Raven Lunatics



The Raven Lunatics have done it again! 



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!!!

Raven Lunatics
Birdathon 2002

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 Sparrows.

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 "bridge" Kingfisher.

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

Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark’s Grebe
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Green-winged Teal
Northern Pintail
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Canvas Back
Lesser Scaup
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Swainson’s Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Wild Turkey
California Quail
Mountain Quail
Clapper Rail
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Snowy Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Wandering Tattler
Spotted Sandpiper
Marbled Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone
Black Turnstone
Surf Bird
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Heermann's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Elegant Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Dove
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl
Burrowing Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Vaux’s Swift
White-throated Swift
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Anna's Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Allen’s Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Lewis’ Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Western Wood-Peewee
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Say’s Phoebe
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Cassin's Kingbird
Western Kingbird
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
N. Rough-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Steller’s Jay
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Mountain Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Pygmy Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
California Gnatcatcher
Western Bluebird
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Bell's Vireo
Solitary Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Hermit Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Black-headed Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Lazuli Bunting
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Brewer’s Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Tri-colored Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Hooded Oriole
Bullock’s Oriole
Purple Finch
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow