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San Bernardino County

Number of species recorded: 474 (ABA), 459 (NIB)




Top Ten Birds (by Tom Benson and Sandy Koonce)


1.    Common Pochard, 11-17 Feb 1989, 17 Jan-23 Feb 1991, 14 Jan-8 Feb & 26-29 Nov  1992, Silver Lakes

         The first record for California, and still one of only five occurences for the state. There are few records for North America away                from Alaska.

2.    Blue-throated Hummingbird, 18 Sep 2014 Crestline

         The third record for California, with only three records for the state.

3.    American Woodcock, 3-9 Nov 1998, Iron Mountain

         The first record for California, and still one of only two for the state.

4.    Blue Jay, 30 Oct 1963-20 Apr 1964, Mountain Home Village

        Still the southernmost record in the state, and one of only two records for southern California (the other in Inyo County).

5.    Red-billed Tropicbird, 11 Sep 1976, Morongo Valley

         While this species occurs regularly off shore, this represents one of only four records for the interior of California (the other in                  Imperial County).

6.    Sedge Wren, 17-20 Oct 2009, Glen Helen Regional Park

         Twelve records for the state, with only one other record inland (Inyo County) and no other records in the tri-county area.

7.    Streak-backed Oriole, 9-18 Dec 1991, Gene Pumping Station & 9-16 Oct 2006, Zzyzx

         Two of the eleven California records have occurred here, with only one other record in the tri-county area (Riverside County).

8.    Red-necked Stint, 7-8 Aug 2013, Harper Dry Lake

         With only five inland records for California (including one other for the tri-county area), this species edges out a Little Stint                      (nine inland records, two in Imperial County and one in Riverside County) for a spot in the top ten.

9.    Gray-cheeked Thrush, 7 Jun 2014, Primm Valley Golf Club

         While there are 25 records in the state, there are only eight records away from Southeast Farallon Island and Point Reyes. It is              also one of only three spring records in the state.

10.  Black-billed Cuckoo, 24 Jun 2002, Pachalka Spring

         Although there are 17 records for California, this is one of only two for the tri-county area and remains the only spring record in              the state.


         Also considered: Black/Ashy/Leach’s Storm-Petrels, White Ibis, Little Stint, Veery, Nelson’s Sparrow, and Varied Bunting.



Tom Benson

1.     Nutting’s Flycatcher – a few pairs breed about five miles east of the county line in AZ; one of those birds will end up here                      eventually. Prediction: late summer/fall along the Colorado River.

2.     Thick-billed Kingbird – multiple records for San Dimas and Pomona just a few miles away; this one is long overdue. Prediction:            wintering on the coastal slope.

3.     Buff-breasted Sandpiper – possibly the only inland southern CA county without a record, though there are few such records.                 Prediction: fall in the Barstow-Newberry Springs area.  October, 2016

4.     Connecticut Warbler – there are multiple records for eastern Kern, and the Mojave Desert is good for vagrant warblers; one will             turn up eventually. Prediction: fall in the eastern Mojave.

5.     Black-bellied Whistling-Duck – this species is increasing in AZ, similar to Neotropic Cormorant. Prediction: spring/early summer           at Baker sewage ponds or along the Parker strip.

          Bonus:  Ancient Murrelet in spring at Lake Havasu.


Andrew Howe

  1. Thick-billed Kingbird – multiple records of wintering birds from southern California, several from just west of San Bernardino County; Michael Woodruff finds a wintering bird on a break between classes while birding residential Loma Linda.

  2. Wandering Tattler – multiple records from the Salton Sea and southeastern Kern County, the latter just a few miles away from San Bernardino County; on the way back from a rotation at the White Memorial in Los Angeles (July), Michael Woodruff stops by the Hellman mitigation ponds in Chino, finding one of these.

  3. Purple Gallinule – this long distance migrant has turned up in several locations in the desert west, including Inyo County (and nearby Nevada); choosing to walk around every pond at the Baker sewage ponds (even the dry ones), Michael Woodruff is rewarded when a fall migrant (late September) flushes from under a large mesquite.

  4. Trumpeter Swan – winter records from the Salton Sea, Antelope Valley, and just across the Colorado River from Needles; having just aced an exam (mid-January), Michael Woodruff rewards himself with a trip to Silver Lakes, finding a flock of three of these.

  5. Sooty Shearwater – records from the Salton Sea and lower Colorado River; while Michael Woodruff is taking a well-earned nap (having equaled his 2015 big county year mark already by September 4, 2016), Lauren Harter and David Vander Pluym brave the rains of Hurricane Joffrey, seeing one of these fly past Pittsburgh Point on Lake Havasu.

        Bonus:  Singing Carolina Wren at Fort Piute May 16-June 10, 2018.


Sandy Koonce 


1.   Nutting's Flycatcher – Now breeding just across the Colorado River; a dispersing immature is going to show up in late summer or       early fall somewhere on the Parker Strip, say at River Lodge Resort.

2.   Black-bellied Whistling-Duck – Increasing in Arizona. Not as many CA records in recent years as one might have thought,                   but still likely for the county. Late July at the Baker WTP.

3.   Connecticut Warbler – With four records for Death Valley and five for eastern Kern County, this species is overdue for eastern             SBE County. Late September at Zzyzx.

4.   Thick-billed Kingbird – Wintering birds have shown up in various locations in Southern CA. SBE is due for one, too.  Late                     October-early November at Glen Helen Regional Park.

5.   Curlew Sandpiper – Nearly 50 records for the state, including from Riverside (2), Inyo, Kern, and Kings Counties. Late April or             early May at Piute Road dairy ponds.

      Bonus: Bridled Titmouse, at Black Meadow Landing, MLK weekend.



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