A bird from the eastern United States was spotted far from home recently, near Cottonwood Creek in Moonlight Beach State Park.
Jimmy McMorran of Leucadia observed a mourning warbler on Sept. 14 in the riparian area west of Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas and got photos of it.
He posted his find on a San Diego bird observation online site (http://birding.aba.org/mobiledigest/CA11#988900), and the next day a member of Cottonwood Creek Conservancy said he encountered eight birders there with cameras and large telephoto lenses looking for the warbler.
The conservancy has been restoring native habitat at that site since the early 1990s and has seen an increase in the numbers and species of birds there since then. Dr. Callyn Yorke, zoology professor at Antelope Valley College and UCLA, has been making bird observations at the site for over 10 years and has documented significant increases in both overall numbers of birds and species over that time. (See his website at http://avconline.avc.edu/cyorke/fieldnotes/Sandiego2014.html#ECNTSJan2.)
In an email about the mourning warbler sighting, he said, “Actually, I had been secretly predicting the area would eventually be famous when a rare bird showed up. Looks like it finally came true.”