As an aside, expects are being called in to assess the photos of the mystery warbler that I posted two days ago. This bird is clearly different from the putative Mourning warbler for which we searched today (comparisons of photos of each bird confirm this). There has been quite a bit of support for Connecticut warbler, but for right now I am leaving it as unidentified. Not only would CT warbler be a year bird for me, but it is incredibly rare to find one in California. Maybe 1 a year is found in the state! If all the experts say "this is certainly a CT warbler" then I would have to think about whether to add it to the list or not. I highly doubt there will be any form of definitive consensus, so I think this will render the decision to add it to the year list completely moot.
This is not the first episode of this sort from this year. In the first week of the year (Jan 6), I found the following gull on Revere Beach in Boston. These photos made the rounds to the experts, and the results were far from conclusive. Thayer's gull, Iceland gull, "Kumlien's" gull, Glaucous-winged gull, and "Nelson's" gull were all proposed. Discussing these confusing IDs is a great way to learn bird identification!
OK, before I get too wrapped up in old news, there was quite a bit of exciting bird news from today - especially for California birders. While we did not find the Mourning warbler, we did find 4 other eastern strays including American redstart (photo'd 2 days ago), Magnolia warbler, Blackpoll warbler, and Black-and-white warbler! This grouping shows what an incredible migrant trap that the Laguna Tams have become.
Townsend's warbler - lots of these today
Tomorrow I will finally head into LA to see Sonia, visit her family, and search for Spotted dove. Its gonna be about 80 miles, so I need to get some rest!
Just 21 miles today
Lastly, I want to give a special shout-out to John Mueller who hosted me during my time in Ventura/Oxnard/Camarillo. We had a good time birding and photographing together the last few days. He even unearthed a Philadelphia vireo near his house yesterday! He is actually a professional photographer (wedding, portrait) so if you're in SoCal and need some shots of whatever, check out his website. Here's one his wife, Jessica, took of us in his yard.
Me and John
Me (before I dropped ice cream on his loaner shirt!)