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  1. Continuing Brant, Pacific Loon, Willow Flycatcher & more (San Pedro) LINK
    DATE: May 28, 2018 @ 11:13pm, 5 month(s) ago
    Yesterday and today (May 27-28) both a Black Brant, and a Pacific Loon in
    absolutely full breeding plumage, were at Cabrillo Youth Camp (during the
    late afternoon, at least, when I looked on both days). The Brant spent
    time both on water and on shore. Both birds can be seen from the boat
    launch dock which is southeast-adjacent to the salt marsh (Salinas de San
    On both May 23 and 25 a Willow Flycatcher showed up in my backyard,
    giving me a new yard bird. (It's possible they weren't even the same
    individual.) Other flycatchers have been especially abundant as well;
    Pacific-slope Flycatchers have been as numerous as I ever remember them
    being here, and Willow Flycatchers might be even more numerous than
    they've been before in my experience (i.e. since 2006). I saw an
    agonistic territorial encounter between two Willow Flycatchers for the
    first time (in my backyard) and one of them made an agonistic call
    sounding identical to a Say's Phoebe agonstic call (a call that many
    Northern Mockingbirds include in their song repertoire) a call which I
    think is most notable for its peculiar lack of
    "aggressive-soundingness" to human ears, in contrast to the
    agonistic calls of most other species. And I have found two Ash-throated
    Flycatchers recently at different local spots, one of them continuing,
    when Ash-throated Flycatchers have been mostly absent in my area for
    The Warbling Vireos are still present in force. I've had at least 6 at
    once in my backyard at times, and they often sing.
    I have observed proof of Orange-crowned Warbler nesting success in the
    Salt Marsh / Shoshonean Road area. An Orange-crowned Warbler, whose song
    I recognize from at least one year ago at the same location, fed a
    begging juvenile, and I recognized his identifying physical features from
    having filmed him singing earlier. And at another spot, an Orange-crowned
    Warbler sang for vast swaths of the day (also with a unique recognizable
    song), every day for weeks, and suddenly a few days ago stopped singing
    and started hanging out with a second Orange-crowned Warbler very
    suggestive that this pair are nesting as well.
    At least two "Japanese" White-eyes have been quite consipicuous
    in the area, with a Hutton's Vireo like call, showing up often in the
    Cabrillo Marine Aquarium parking lot... and today for the first time I'm
    aware of, in my backyard near Cabrillo Beach. (They usually show up as a
    pair together, which for a while made me think there are two in the area,
    but in retrospect the frequency with which I encounter them suggests
    there are quite a bit more than two.) I put "Japanese" in
    quotes because I don't understand why virtually everyone is identifying
    these as Japanese White-eyes. I looked at the various species of
    White-eye (they are numerous) and a large number of them look virtually
    identical I couldn't find any distinguishing characteristics by looking
    at photos. When listing to samples of a large subset of White-eye species
    on , I couldn't find
    any that actually matches the Hutton's Vireo like call I most often hear
    from the ones here and in Orange County. Certainly, the Japanese
    White-eye audio samples sound nothing like the ones here. So why do
    birders identify them as Japanese White-eye instead of
    White-eye sp.
    Black Skimmers have been sticking around every day lately at the Cabrillo
    Youth Camp shore. They're very vocal whenever another skimmer comes in to
    land with them, and each one has an audibly different voice. I got to see
    a behavior I'd never seen before from this species a fish display. A
    skimmer held the fish in his bill, as if to entice the other skimmers,
    but none of them proved worthy of it (all who tried to take it were
    denied) and eventually he ended up eating it himself.
    On May 24 I had my first-of-season Least Tern at Cabrillo Beach dive and
    catch a fish in the water just outside the salt marsh.
    A Heermann's Gull adult in breeding plumage was at Cabrillo Beach today
    at 5:33pm. I haven't even seen an immature one since May 12, and hadn't
    seen an adult since March 24.
    I will post photos later.
    David Ellsworth
    San Pedro, CA
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