Tecolote Creek, 8 and 9 July 2020

Mark Holmgren

On 8 and 9 July I walked Tecolote Creek bottom covering more than 3 miles.  Where neighborhoods border the creek the streamside habitat is generally in excellent condition. Further upstream avocado orchards press against the banks of the creek and more exotic species bleed into the channel (Arundo, Bamboo, lots of Ivy). But the creek twists and turns more in the upstream section and that alone creates interesting niches not found in a straight channel.  Water flowed through all but the upstream most 150 meters.  The bottom is sediment filled, and not rocky, due to the periodic check dams that hold sediment in the channel.


As I went into the upstream sections I found more of the species that we consider special along the South Coast—more Yellow Warblers, Wilson’s Warblers, and Warbling Vireos. Also, House Wrens, Purple Finches, and American Robins, not present downstream, were present upstream.


Special finds were:

  • Western Wood-Pewee, now perilously uncommon along the South Coast, 2 adults feeding 3 short-tailed fledglings.
  • Western Tanager, singing at 75 meters (246 feet) elevation.
  • Common Ground-Doves at 2 different places.
  • Wilson Warbler singing males, breeding confirmed at one of 7 different sites.
  • 41 Pacific-slope Flycatchers was a lot.
  • 11 Yellow Warblers, mostly singing males.

 I did not find Swainson’s Thrush that was heard there in summer of either 2018 or 2019.  I was surprised to not detect Mallard, Black-chinned or Anna's hummingbird, California Quail.  Scarce were House Wrens, Orange-crowned Warblers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, and House Finches. 


My 6 checklists can be found at: 




Mark Holmgren

San Marcos Pass

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