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2202 S. Coast Highway Oceanside, CA 92054

Oceanside Christmas Bird Count Nets 196 Species

Many thanks to the 129 observers and 11 Buena Vista Audubon Society Nature Center volunteers who participated in the 2015 Oceanside CBC on December 27. Pending final review, the tally stands at 196 species. That would be the second-highest species total for the Oceanside count, surpassed only by a couple of 200-species counts recorded about 20 years ago.

Blue-headed Vireo —M. Stratton

Blue-headed Vireo —M. Stratton

There were plenty of highlights. As our Nature Center manager Annette arrived early on count day to begin preparing her famous chili, she was greeted by a noisy flock of red-headed parrots flying overhead. A greater white-fronted goose was spotted at Lake San Marcos. The team surveying the jetty and near-shore ocean waters off Oceanside Harbor added a brown booby and a black oystercatcher to the list. An owl trifecta was heard in the pre-dawn darkness at Dawson Creek Preserve in Vista, including a western screech owl. A lonely cactus wren was heard on Camp Pendleton, as this species struggles to hang on at the Base. A real surprise was the blue-headed vireo recorded in Bonsall. There had been only two earlier winter records of this species in the county, and almost all the blue-headed vireos in the county at any season had been near the coast (Unitt, 2004.) A golden-crowned kinglet was heard in Gopher Canyon. An oriole grand slam at the Seascape Apartments in Carlsbad included a hooded, orchard, Baltimore, and multiple Bullock’s orioles. The best family group, as far as unusual sightings were concerned, was the warblers. Two Tennessee warblers were found north of Batiquitos Lagoon. A magnolia warbler in Vista was another gift, with only two previously known wintering records of this species in the county. Other notable warblers seen on the count included a palm warbler in Carlsbad, a black-and-white at El Camino Country Club, a Wilson’s at Lake San Marcos, and three black-throated grays seen at different locations within the circle. Great job everyone!

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