Re: Vesper Sparrow @ Harriet Wieder Reg. Park and Blackburnian @ Laguna Niguel Reg. Park.

Joseph Bove

Baby starling found in Fountain Valley/Santa Ana area. Can anyone suggest a place to take it?

From: "canyon53ss@... [OrangeCountyBirding]" To: OrangeCountyBirding@...
Sent: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 5:25 PM
Subject: [OrangeCountyBirding] Vesper Sparrow @ Harriet Wieder Reg. Park and Blackburnian @ Laguna Niguel Reg. Park.

Yesterday, I searched the weedy stick patch west of Wider Park for several hours. Absolutely no sign of the Vesper after 5 hours or so. Lots of Savannah and both first winter and adult White-crowned Sparrow. I should mention that the bird has been a nemesis bird for me.

I went back today and bumped into Barbara B. who accompanied me to look for the bird. It was a life bird for Barbara, too.

We finally located and photographed the bird. You can see the first of five photos here: Untitled

Here are exact directions:  Head out to the weedy field from Harriet (or, if you park along Seapoint Dr.) towards Pacific Coast Highway. You destination is the wall at the end of the field bordering the gated housing. There are several paths through the field and one that follows two pipelines (closest to the oil fields), and of course the rather boring sidewalk along Seapoint.

If you go in the a.m. be mindful that the sun is at your back so I am giving you these directions just to orient you. From the end of the wall where it connects with the wrought iron fencing of the houses that face Bolsa Chica, walk along the wall about 50 feet toward Seapoint. Then look about 70 feet into the field, looking back towards Wieder Park. That's where we found the bird.

It was NOT associating with the many Savannah and White-crowned Sparrows.

After waiting a while silently to see if the bird would come out, I slowly and quietly moved through the field among the tumbleweed. I finally saw a hint of white in the tail of something flying off 10 feet from somewhere and was able to locate the bird tucked in between two tumbleweeds. We gently and slowly nudged the bird into a position where we could at least get documentary photos. The bird was not wanting to be in the open and the Cooper's Hawk that multiple times cruised over (eh hem right before the Northern Harrier) was no doubt part of it. Just know that unless you get a lot more lucky than we were, you have to work for this bird. Patience is a birdtue in this case.

I then went over to LNRP to search for the Blackburnian. I bumped into a birder that told me that she, and later she and two others, hadn't found it. I asked where she had been and started where she hadn't been.

While I was standing near the little creek on the tennis court side close to where it junctions with the main entry road (to be exact... I was standing at the first Willow tree on the tennis court side of the babbling creek on the right side of the roadway just before you turn off to get to the tennis courts) looking at the bird deep in the Willow, another birder, John, on his way to the Western Orn. meeting in SD, came in from the other side of the creek  and also spotted the bird. The bird then flew up to the first sycamore on the entry side of the creek away from the Willow. There was simply no chance to get photos. It was hard enough to track the bird with binoculars but we both saw the bird. We were not able to relocate the bird, and shortly after this (about 1:30 pm or so, everything stopped moving for a while).

I went back to the tennis court side moving toward my car right along the creek (literally along the bank) finding a foraging Hammond's Flycatcher, a Nashville Warbler and a Yellow Warbler on the way. John and I also saw my FOS Hermit Warbler roughly where I had first spied the Blackburnian.

Third time was a charm. The wind kicked up while there making matters more difficult as dry, brittle sycamore leaves rained down but a Red-tailed and juvi Red-shouldered Hawk were enjoying it a lot more.

Happy birding, 

Sherry Meddick

(PS... the Plano Trabuco fire started and was contained while I was birding. The message for me, I guess, is never leave home. Right. Like that will happen.)

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