This morning, Saturday March 5, five birders walked around the Dairy Mat Pond, Smuggler Gulch, and the Bird & Butterfly Garden. The weather was great for birding and we found 42 bird species. Just the usual suspects – nothing unusual.
If you haven’t been to Dairy Mart or the Bird & Butterfly Garden recently, you will be amazed and shocked at the huge loss of the trees (i.e. willows) caused by the attack of a beetle — the shot hole borer. Sally Sanderson who birded with us today (and saw the devastation), recently posted the email below to BirdingSanDiego. Her write-up sheds some light on what’s going on.
I forget who sent in the information about trees dying at Dairy Mart Pond area, but here goes. (If you haven’t already heard about this.) The culprit is most likely the polyphagous shot hole borer, a tiny beetle from Asia, Vietnam and Taiwan have been cited so far as the origin. This is a bad, bad beetle and there are no pesticides or biological controls to fight it as of now. The tiny beetle bores into the heart of the tree taking fungus spores in its mouth which are planted inside the tree. They grow into fungus which the beetle then eats and feeds to its young. This infestation can kill a tree very rapidly. Over 200 species of trees have been infected so far in S. Cal. Recently the local newspaper mentioned 50 or so species in San Diego have become victims. Not good news. This shot hole borer is not to be confused with the gold spotted oak borer or other bark beetles which have been devastating our mountain trees for the past few years.
Here’s our bird list for today: