Today I knew it was going to be a great Mother’s Day, when I heard a Yellow-breasted Chat singing to me from the back hedge in my garden! And I could see there were birds hopping in and out of the pond, but I got busy with a lot of stuff during the day, so it wasn’t until 5 pm that I sat down and watched from the deck.
And that’s when it happened!
These “jewels” of masses of Wilson’s and Yellow Warblers, a MacGillivray’s Warbler, Orange-crowned Warblers (some), Western Tanagers, Swainson’s Thrushes, you name it, a mini fall-out of western migrants visited my pond during this one hour.
The colorful warblers sported plumages of bright yellow, and soft gray. The Western Tanagers flaunted red heads, and black-and-yellow wings. Swainson’s Thrushes appeared in subdued brown. A splendid array of birds all came to my garden and drank or bathed in the pond or if they were grosbeaks, they were at the seed feeder.
I was simply blown away by the numbers! It was like having the famous puddle at the end of Coronado (known to Santa Barbara birders as a migrant trap in fall) in my backyard!
I didn’t attempt to count the Yellow and Wilson’s Warblers and sometimes they revisited because they were already wet from an earlier bath, but there must’ve been 20 Yellows at least, and maybe 10 Wilson’s, and about 15 Western Tanagers, and maybe 5 Swainson’s Thrushes. This is all within a period of an hour from 5-6 pm tonight.
We had strong northeast winds down canyon last night, and they are starting up again.
This spring has been so fantastic for land bird migration along the south coast. Unfortunately, the dry winds that bring us the birds aren’t helping the drought conditions, but they send these beautiful jewels our way!
Note: Later on in the week, when the Santa Ana winds shifted to be more southerly towards the San Diego area (and resulted in terrible fire damage) , a fall out of Western migrants was noted there and on San Clemente Island.