August was a fairly uneventful month for bird watching at Lake Murray in San Diego. It was the end of “baby season” with the last ducklings and coots being hatched. The male mallards are in full molt and several juvenile ducks are in the area. It appears that many of the summer breeding breeds, such as orioles, have left when their young fledged. Other birds, such as yellow warblers and pacific slope flycatchers, are still in the vicinity and California and blue-gray gnatcatchers seem to be increasing in the area. August seems to be the time for resident, year-round birds, especially at the end of the month.
One unusual thing that has happened in August is the lack of killdeer or other shorebirds. There are two breeding pairs of killdeer in the lake’s vicinity, but none have been seen in the public areas for the last month. Two spotted sandpipers and a small flock of western sandpipers briefly visited the lake near the end of the month on their way to their winter flocking areas.
In August, no unusual duck species were seen, though a few domestic ducks were dumped at the lake, including one young duckling. Most of the ducks are mallards and the other waterfowl in the area include Canada and domestic geese, coots, and at least one common gallinule. There have been a few gadwalls seen in the area, including two that are native to the lake. Two male wood ducks were also present for some time during August.
As September starts up, expect coot, mallard, and killdeer populations to increase, first. More gadwalls and lesser scaup should appear by the end of the month. Wigeons and teal may or may not make their appearance by the end of the month. Terns should be leaving and cormorants should be increasing as they already had by the end of August. A bigger variety of hummingbirds, such as Allen’s and rufous, may also pass through the area. Yellowlegs generally arrive sometime in September and a few dowitchers, stilts and willets may also be possible.