Needless to say, the rushing river didn't have nearly as many birds as the (formerly) shallow lagoon puddle. I assume that within a week the lagoon will reform, though it may take a year or two for the cattails to return. I'll have to watch.
East (inland) of the Pacific Street bridge over the San Luis Rey River I heard both a Sora and Virginia Rail call in the heavy cattails that didn't get washed away. Both are uncommon winter visitors in the county, September-April, though Sora seems easier to find (or at least hear). Also here was the first two of four Black-crowned Night-Herons hunting the muddy river edges or resting in the cattails on the edge of the water.
Since the river mouth was a rushing torrent, I walked down to the beach where the gulls were gathered. It didn't take long to spot two adult Mew Gulls. Mew Gulls are a regular rare wintering species in San Diego County.
|Mew Gull. Oceanside, California. March 1, 2017. Greg Gillson.|
Most of the wintering gulls on the beach are the large resident Western Gulls and the smaller California Gulls. An adult California Gull is below. The bill of the adult has a red and black spot on the gonys. The chin is the feathered area between the right and left halves of the lower mandible. Where the two halves fuse together is the gonys. A red spot on the gonys is typical for adults of the larger gulls.
Black Skimmers were first recorded in California in 1962. By 1995 about 1200 pairs bred in the state each summer. That number was also an average number of breeding pairs from 2000-2005, but breeding success fluctuates widely from year-to-year. Most breed at the Salton Sea, San Diego Bay, and Bolsa Chica, Orange County.
There is a hint of patterning on the wing coverts, and old, worn, faded primaries on this individual. So I am guessing this is a one-year old bird.
|Western Gull, second-cycle|
|Northern Rough-winged Swallow|