Mar 02 2013

The Birdiest County

Published by at 7:00 am under Beyond Bounds,Water and Shore

Brandt's cormorant (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

To my untrained East Coast eyes this bird looked like an odd double-crested cormorant, but it’s actually a Brandt’s cormorant, a common bird of the Pacific coast.

This weekend I’m in the bottom left corner of the United States at the San Diego Bird Festival held in one of the two “Birdiest Counties” in the continental U.S.  (Los Angeles County is the other.)

According to San Diego Audubon, “the County boasts the largest bird list of any similarly sized area in the United States at almost 500 species.”   With this honor also comes the distinction of having “the greatest number of endangered, threatened, and sensitive species than any comparable land area in the continental United States.”

San Diego is able to set these records because it has at least 11 habitat zones including coastal scrub, desert, mountains, salt marshes, wetlands and ocean, far outranking my land-locked home in Pittsburgh.

In my first hour of birding — just walking near the hotel — I saw long-billed curlew’s, marbled godwits, an orange-crowned warbler (singing!), Anna’s hummingbirds, black-crowned night-herons, and Heerman’s gulls.  By now I’ve seen 94 species including this life bird, Brandt’s cormorant.

When you compare San Diego’s checklist of 501 birds to Allegheny County’s 316 species (including vagrants), I know I’ll find a “lifer” around every corner.

 

(photo from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image to see the original.
Quotes are from the San Diego Audubon Society website.
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3 responses so far

3 Responses to “The Birdiest County”

  1. Steve-oon 02 Mar 2013 at 10:32 am

    That’s awesome!

  2. Anne Marieon 02 Mar 2013 at 11:51 am

    Sounds like a great trip! Enjoy Kate! Dorothy and E2 patiently await your return!

  3. Art from Hershey PAon 03 Mar 2013 at 11:48 am

    Kate,
    Why didn’t you take me along? Heh…………..sounds like you’re having a great trip! Be safe…..

    Art

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