[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2014] – I thought I was imagining things early this morning when a solid dark gray bird flew between bushes just outside the perimeter fence of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. Could that really have been a catbird? A few minutes later an unmistakeable dark capped Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis popped into view allowing one awful photograph of itself obliquely through the fence! Not happy at all with that image I waited around for quite a while grumbling to myself how skulky this species can be. I was about to give up hope when the catbird hopped out on to the grass in front of me, just for a few minutes, allowing some distant photography as it hopped closer to the many Memorial Day flags stuck in the grass!
This species has been quite rare in the last few years with a well watched individual most recently noted in Borrego Springs in the fall of 2013. Most records of this species here in San Diego County occur in the fall but it has also been noted on occasion in spring. Remarkably enough, Richard Webster found one here in Point Loma on the exact same date 27 May 2002! And another was seen in Point Loma the year before on 28 May 2001. I am not sure what is going on with this date but it would seem to be a very opportune time to look for Gray Catbird in Point Loma!