Below are some recent images I have taken, I will be updating this section with miscellaneous photos from the field as they occur unless they warrant a full trip report. Additional images of the various species are linked here as well. – Thanks for looking! - Page last updated: 01-02-2013.
A nice bright male Prairie Warbler (a rare winter visitor to San Diego County) was discovered at Lower Otay Lakes in Chula Vista, California. I was able to capture several images of him including this one from January 2, 2013.
This Bay-breasted Warbler is an even rarer visitor to San Diego, also photographed in the same location as the warbler above at Otay Lakes on January 2, 2013.
This is a Nutting's Flycatcher, a very rare bird for the U.S., only a few have ever been recorded north of the border including this one from Bill William's National Wildlife Refuge along the Colorado River near Lake Havasu, Arizona. This bird was first discovered last year in the same location but I was not able to chase it down... When it reappeared for a second year a few weeks ago, I made plans to find it this time! This bird is indistinguishable in the field from the Ash-throated Flycatcher however it's call is unique, it makes a loud, squeaky "Wheep" call and that's how you can identify it (and find it). I spent over three hours with another birder from Arizona that was also looking for this bird. We heard it call many, many times but it took us a very long time to finally see it. It stayed very low in the tangled undergrowth of a riparian area and would stay quite still for long periods of time. This bird is classified by the ABA (American Birding Association) as a "class 5" species with 1 being considered extremely common and 6 being presumed extinct. This is only the third "class 5" bird I have seen in the U.S. and while it is actually not rare where it usually lives (Mexico and Central America) it is exceedingly rare where it was found.
A new life bird for me was this Barrow's Goldeneye (in the foreground), taken from the Bill William's National Wildlife Refuge at Lake Havasu, Arizona. For comparison, a Common Goldeneye is in the background. Key field marks include the crecent shaped patch behind the bill on the Barrow's (vs. a circular shaped on on the Common) and the black spur on the Barrow's shoulder as well as the different markings on the side of the Barrow's Goldeneye.
A female Phainopepla from Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
I visited the Salton Sea in mid-December and while I was photographing a large "raft" of Eared Grebes I saw a Great Blue Heron grab one by the neck and take off with it. I never thought of Herons as being bird predators before but apparently they are as is eveidenced by this shot I got of him with his soon to be meal... Nature is amazing and sometimes brutal!
Most Merlins I have seen in California are the dark phase variety, this one, photographed at Salton Sea on 12-15-2012 is the light color phase, a striking little falcon!
Northern Harriers are very common at the Salton Sea and you can often get eye-level views of them as they cruise low over the fields looking for a snack...
After about seven tries, I finally got this Nelson's Sparrow that has been hanging out at Kendell Frost Marsh in San Diego this winter.
This Fox Sparrow was lurking in the undergrowth of the "Eucalyptus Grove" at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetary on 12/3/2012
A couple of days later (12/5/12) I ran into a nice flock of Golden Crowned Sparrows at Fort Rosecrans as well.
Heermann's Gull from Seaport Villiage Marina, San Diego Harbor
This Red-necked Grebe in San Diego Harbor on 12/5/12 was a nice winter-time surprise! A thousand plus miles off course from it's normal wintering area...
I spent a lot of time looking for Red-throated Pipits this fall, all I found were thousands of American Pipits like this one...
California Ground Squirrel
- Fort Rosecrans National Cemetary
I watched as this magnificent Golden Eagle made a quick pass high overhead at the Bird and Butterfly Garden in the Tijuana River Valley in late October
Brewer's Sparrow - Fort Rosecrans National Cemetary - 9-17-2012
Ovenbird - Fort Rosecrans National Cemetary - 9-17-2012
Black Storm-Petrel from San Diego Pelagic Trip - 10-06-2012
Black-vented Shearwater from San Diego Pelagic Trip - 10-06-2012
Pink-footed Shearwater from San Diego Pelagic Trip - 10-06-2012
Pomarine Jaeger from San Diego Pelagic Trip - 10-06-2012
Red Phalarope from San Diego Pelagic Trip - 10-06-2012