The beginning of September 2013 at Lake Murray in San Diego didn’t start out with anything spectacular birding-wise. An increase in the number of coots began to be noticeable around the tenth of the month. New mallards also began to arrive. Many of the summer breeding birds such as yellow warblers and orioles were still around during this time. Killdeer and other shorebirds were sparse in the beginning of the month. But, by the end of the month, signs of migration were beginning to take place.
Several spotted sandpipers returned to the lake around mid-September, some stayed for more than a few days and may continue to stay at the lake throughout the winter. They are a bit people shy and will take off sooner than other birds if they feel they are being approached too close. Killdeer began to make more of an appearance towards the end of the month. At least three juvenile killdeers were seen with their parents. No signs of greater yellowlegs, so far, this month. A small flock of long-billed dowitchers were spotted flying around the lake near the end of the month, but only stayed a few minutes before flying off. An increase in snowy egrets was noted.
Mallards remain the main duck species at the lake with a few gadwalls spotted in the beginning of the month, possibly from a release by a wildlife rehabilitation center. At the end of the month, more gadwalls arrived along with a few green-winged teal. No signs of flocks of Canada geese migrating overhead, though there are five resident Canada geese there at the lake. So far, no other species of gulls, other than western gulls, have been seen. Usually, there are a few second or third year California gulls at this time along with a few ring-billed gulls, but they have not arrived. A couple of Forster’s terns still tour around the lake.
In October, look for more coots to fill the lake along with ruddy ducks. Lesser scaup should be arriving during this month. Yellow-rumped warblers and white-crowned sparrows usually arrive around the beginning of the month and are established by the end of October. Be on the lookout for yellow-headed blackbirds to move through the area. More ring-billed and California gulls should also be seen and all terns should disappear until next spring.