[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2015] – I was shocked this morning when an adult male Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus flew overhead between tall Mexican Fan Palms near the west terminus of North Mission Bay Drive in Pacific Beach. Really? A Hooded Oriole in late November?! I don’t think I have seen one here since early October and they are downright rare wintering in Southern California. Checking eBird reports the last sighting seems to be around October 13th in San Diego County this year. The oriole weirdness continued when a few minutes later I noticed movement in some tall weeds beside the road and an immature male Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius popped out right in front of me! It took off flying behind some small trees but I played some “chack” calls of this species and sure enough it came flying right back making the same call. I tracked after this oriole as it flew to a superb looking Cape Honeysuckle that was just smothered in flowers. Playing some more “chack” calls I pulled out a second small oriole, this time a female, which seemed to be loosely traveling with the first bird. The tail seems a bit on the short side for Hooded Oriole and the bill a bit straighter and weaker looking to my eye. I only heard “chack” calls coming out of the bush so it seems likely this is a second Orchard Oriole. The pack of orioles continued to grow bigger when I then noticed a slightly larger bird moving around and a brightly colored immature male Bullock’s Oriole Icterus bullockii came into view in the same bush. I will be keeping my eye on this spot, who knows what other orioles could be in the neighborhood!
Boy, that female is a tough one. Hard to dispense with that question mark when considering the long, slim bill on that bird.
I agree with that sentiment Jim! This one is in my question mark pile really. I did go back the next day and confirmed a female Orchard Oriole in the area. It was calling frequently and alone, so relatively easy to isolate on call. But I think it may be a different bird from the one photographed here. Tricky when there are 3-4 orioles in one bush…
No pnoooooooo No photo but we’ve been hearing orioles in the past few weeks. Finally spotted one on Christmas Day. We think it’s different than our typical hooded but haven’t gotten a close enough look. We’re in Bay Ho.
No photo but we’ve been hearing orioles in the past few weeks. Finally spotted one on Christmas Day. We think it’s different than our typical hooded but haven’t gotten a close enough look. We’re in Bay Ho.