Date   
Getting in touch with a local birder

Alex Tolkachev
 

On eBird, it is easy to see who top birders for the area or are. It is not easy getting in touch with them. eBird made an interesting choice to disallow following and contacting individual birders. Great for privacy, not great for community building.

Until we get a group going on Facebook (and I hope we do), is it appropriate to ask here for a specific birder to contact me, or for birders who knows him personally to pass him a message?

Thanks!

--
Alex Tolkachev, Irvine

Re: Getting in touch with a local birder

tgmiko@gmail.com
 

Alex,
People have been using their local bird lists for years for this purpose. It is totally legitimate.
Tom

On Wed, May 1, 2019, 10:06 AM Alex Tolkachev <atolkachev@...> wrote:
On eBird, it is easy to see who top birders for the area or are. It is not easy getting in touch with them. eBird made an interesting choice to disallow following and contacting individual birders. Great for privacy, not great for community building.

Until we get a group going on Facebook (and I hope we do), is it appropriate to ask here for a specific birder to contact me, or for birders who knows him personally to pass him a message?

Thanks!

--
Alex Tolkachev, Irvine

John Baca Park and trail

Dick Cabe
 

I birded with my granddaughter, Jasmine Kay, this morning and did not see the Solitary Sandpiper.  But it was certainly worth the trip (2 miles) as the birding along the trail yielded many species even though low in quantity.  Western Wood-Pewee, Lazuli Bunting, Cassins Vireo, Townsends Warbler and several regulars.
Dick Cabe
Huntington Beach

Orange County RBA: May 2, 2019

Jeff Bray
 

RBA

* California
* Orange County
* May 2, 2019
* CAOC19.05.02
 
This is the Orange County, CA weekly Rare Bird Alert (RBA) and local events summary. California Bird Records Committee (CBRC) review species are capitalized and marked with asterisks below. All documentation of review species should be forwarded to the CBRC secretary, Tom Benson, at secretary@....
 
BIRDS MENTIONED

Calliope Hummingbird
Solitary Sandpiper
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Evening Grosbeak
Green-tailed Towhee
Black-and-white Warbler

Two CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRDS were seen in Silverado Canyon on May 1. They were seen together at the end of the paved road.

A SOLITARY SANDPIPER was found at John Baca Park in Huntington Beach on April 28 and continued through May 1. It was seen in the drain basin, which is located near the north entrance to the park off of Ellis Ave. 

An adult YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was reported at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine on April 30. It was seen roosting with a Black-crowned Night-Heron. No other details provided by the observer.

An EVENING GROSBEAK was reported at a private residence in Westminster on April 29. The observer reported it was a male, seen at the water feature. There are only five accepted records of this species in Orange County: four in 1996 and one in 2009. The date of this report seems to fit a mid- to late spring time period when migrants occasionally pass through southern California (especially the deserts and mountains)—even in years when no significant irruption has otherwise occurred.

A GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE was reported from a private residence in Newport Beach on April 28.
 
A BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER was reported from Huntington Central Park in Huntington Beach on April 30. It was seen around the “island” area. Another one was seen at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Modjeska Canyon on April 25.


LOCAL EVENTS

ORANGE COUNTY SPRING COUNT 2019

What is the OCSC?

The OCSC (Orange County Spring Count) is part of a nationwide migration count, similar to a Christmas Bird Count, but timed to the opposite half of the migration cycle. Again this year the OCSC is being expanded to try to capture more of the birds that migrate through the county. Sea and Sage is encouraging birders to participate anytime during the months of April and May. This will allow us to see and count more of the species that migrate through the county. Again, this year we will try to focus on the best areas for birds since comprehensive coverage of the entire county is not a realistic goal.

How you can participate:

One of the objectives of Environment for the Americas (the sponsor of the hemisphere wide count) is to enter all of the data into eBird. This means that it is very simple to participate.

All of the regularly scheduled bird counts in April and May will be included in the OCSC. The dates do not need to change.

I will also include the checklists from all of the Sea and Sage field trips in Orange County held during April and May.

**Many of you already use eBird. You can enter your Spring Count data directly into eBird for any birding that you do during April and May. You don’t have to send tally sheets to anyone. All that is needed is to share the eBird check list with the Sea and Sage Audubon eBird account. (The eBird user name is sea_sage_aud).

If you don’t currently use eBird, you can sign up. It’s free! www.ebird.org

A goal for the OCSC is to count all the “Top 100 Hot Spots” shown in eBird. It does not matter how many times a particular spot is covered. Users of the eBird data can sort that out.


UPCOMING EVENTS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE ADVANCE RESERVATIONS

The monthly Nature Walk will take place at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine on May 4 from 9:00am to 10:30am. Meet at the Audubon House.

The monthly Bird Walk will take place at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine on May 12 from 8:00am to 12:00pm. Meet at the Audubon House.


UPCOMING EVENTS THAT REQUIRE ADVANCE RESERVATIONS

None taking place.

WORKSHOPS AND CLASSES

None taking place.

*****************************************************

The Orange County RBA and events summary is produced weekly by Ryan Winkleman and Jeff Bray in collaboration with Doug Willick. Sightings of rare birds can be posted to the OrangeCountyBirding listserv, emailed directly to Jeff Bray (jbray4913@...) and/or Ryan Winkleman (rswinkleman@...), and/or submitted to eBird (http://ebird.org/content/ebird). Any supporting details (descriptions, photos, audio recordings, etc.) of rare sightings that are not already disclosed on the listserv or on eBird should also be emailed to Ryan Winkleman separately for consideration to be mentioned in the current quarterly report for North American Birds.

Those sightings that are included in this summary generally include those that are considered rare (regionally or seasonally) for Orange County based on "The Birds of Orange County: Status and Distribution" (Hamilton and Willick), "Birds of Southern California" (Garrett and Dunn), and/or more contemporary changes in local or regional status and distribution. Rarities that regularly or seasonally occur at a particular location, such as annually wintering rarities on Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, may not be included in this digest, but reports of these same species occurring at other, atypical locations throughout the county may be included. We don't include hybrids, subspecies, introduced or exotic birds, or in most cases and for no real reason, geese. All bird reports are vetted to the extent possible prior to each publication, but in the interest of sharing information, the accuracy of any given report cannot always be guaranteed, nor can the presence of any given bird for those who choose to chase after them.

Information on upcoming local events is taken largely from the Sea and Sage Audubon website (http://www.seaandsageaudubon.org/). Sea and Sage Audubon is based out of the Audubon House at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine. They sponsor a number of public field trips, special birding events, conservation lectures, and social gatherings throughout the year. Information regarding upcoming local events should be considered accurate at the time of this posting. However, for the most current information please refer to the field trip list on the Sea and Sage Audubon website at http://www.seaandsageaudubon.org/FieldTrips/FieldTripSchedule.html. It is also recommended that you refer to that website immediately prior to engaging in any field trip to confirm that trips are still occurring. If you know of additional upcoming events that are not sponsored directly by Sea and Sage Audubon, please email Ryan Winkleman and/or Jeff Bray for inclusion. #RBA


--
Jeff Bray
Irvine, CA

Re: Plumbeous Vireo — Bommer Canyon, Irvine, CA

Ron Grabyan
 

Hi, Jim,

While color (almost all gray) and eyes (strong spectacles) argue for Plumbeous Vireo, I will defer to your knowledge and experience with Least Bell’s Vireo.  Thanks so much, Ron Grabyan

,
Ron Grabyan

On Apr 19, 2019, at 5:33 PM, James Pike <jimpike444@...> wrote:

Hi Ron,

Among the reasons why this bird is a Least Bell's Vireo and not a Plumbeous are the long tail and relatively small bill. Also, from a behavioral standpoint, "flitting around the brush" perfectly fits Least, but not so much Plumbeous.

regards, Jim Pike
HB 


On Fri, Apr 19, 2019 at 3:43 PM Ron Grabyan <rgrabyan@...> wrote:
While searching for Grasshopper Sparrows, I stumbled across this Plumbeous Vireo on Shady Canyon Trail, 200 yards from the beginning of the Bommer Canyon Nature Trail (33 37’ 45.2” N, 117 48’ 21.6” W—enter these coordinates into GoogleMaps for the exact location).

The bird was flitting around the brush and low branches of a tree on the right side (northeast) of the trail.

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/152140611
https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/152140621

Sat. pelagic trip has room

Nancy Kenyon
 

I just received a cancellation for this Saturday's May 4th Spring Pelagic Trip out of Dana Point. If you are interesting in going, please contact me right away.

Information on this trip can be found on the Sea & Sage Audubon webpage at:
 http://www.seaandsageaudubon.org/FieldTrips/Trips/Pelagic/PelagicTrips.html

Nancy Kenyon
Irvine


whimbrels in Placentia

Helen Higgins
 

Did a double take when I spotted unusual looking birds foraging in the grass at 9:30 AM today in George J Koch Park in Placentia while driving by.  Of course, I turned around & confirmed - 8 whimbrels in this tiny urban park.

Helen Higgins
Fullerton resident

Room for 1 more on Pelagic Trip

Nancy Kenyon
 

There is room for one more person on tomorrow's Spring Pelagic Trip out of Dana Point. Contact me if you want to go.

Nancy Kenyon
Irvine

Posted Photo

borodayko
 

Greetings,

I posted a photo in the Finches photos folder of a male Lawrence's Goldfinch that I got in Irvine Regional Park in early April. It took this long to get my slides back and then digitized. Location is identified in the photo description. Since then, I returned to the spot several times but did not see it again.

Enjoy, Al Borodayko
Cypress, CA

Sea & Sage pelagic trip - May 4

Tom Benson
 


Sea & Sage Audubon held their annual spring pelagic trip today (May 4) aboard the Ocean Institute's Millenium Falcon. We travelled out at a little less than light speed to Lausen Sea Mount, the deep water oil platforms off Huntington Beach, and then back to Dana Point. Highlights from the trip included great views of dozens of Black Storm-Petrels at Lausen Sea Mount coming into a slick of bantha oil (as well as numerous others scattered throughout the trip), and two fly-by Sabine's Gulls in alternate plumage also at Lausen Sea Mount. We also saw an incredible three (possibly four) Red-footed Boobies at the oil platforms. Two somewhat dark-billed birds were perched on the skiff moored off Platform Eureka, while a pink-billed bird (probably the same that was on the winter trip) and a dark-billed bird were perched on Platform Edith. Later a subadult Brown Booby flew by the boat off Newport Beach. An immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was perched on the jetty as we were departing the harbor in the morning. Other species observed included Red-necked Phalarope, Scripps's Murrelet, Cassin's Auklet, Parasitic Jaeger, Pink-footed Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Wilson's Warbler, and a late first cycle Glaucous-winged Gull at the oil platforms.

May the 4th be with you.

Tom Benson 
San Bernardino, CA 

Wrentits

Ryan Winkleman
 

All,

There has been an inordinately high number of recent Wrentit reports in eBird lately in north coastal Orange County. Many of these have been from birders visiting from out of town, but some have been local "known" birders. I have been following up on these over the last several days and as expected so far they have generally amounted to user input error, misidentifications, or just sightings with inadequate documentation to accept. 

There has never been a valid, properly-documented report of Wrentit from Orange County's northern coast. Wrentits are obligated to coastal sage scrub and chaparral and are sedentary; they do not wander around much. The dispersal distance from hatching grounds when birds leave the nest and are establishing their own territories averages less than 400 meters (0.25 mile). Once a territory is established, Wrentits essentially stay in the same territory year-round for life, only occasionally leaving when foraging as post-fledge family groups or during occasional winter movements. Even still, during these "long-distance" episodes movements are still restricted to only around 450 meters from established territories. As noted in Orange County's breeding bird atlas (available at the Audubon House at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary), under normal conditions even a standard roadway can present a formidable obstacle to dispersal movements. This absence coincides with a similar absence along the southern Los Angeles County coast.

Thus it is highly unlikely that Wrentits would occur along OC's northwest coast and into Huntington Beach where urban sprawl and habitat fragmentation has effectively eliminated any chances for birds to move up and down intact suitable coastal sage scrub habitat. Any eBird reports of Wrentits anywhere north of Upper Newport Bay should include solid documentation of photographs and/or audio recordings in order to be accepted. This also includes quite a few 2017 and 2018 (and now 2019) eBird reports of Wrentits in Fairview Park, Talbert Nature Preserve, and Canyon Park, all of which are in an isolated area about 2.5 to 3 miles away from intact/contiguous coastal sage scrub and none of which include any documentation. If you are one of these people who reported Wrentits in these areas in the last year or two, please consider including documentation if you have any. 

Remember: the best way to avoid getting an email asking for more details is to know the county's status and distribution and always include proper documentation when you find a species--and this includes local resident species--that is unexpected for the time and/or place. 
--
Ryan Winkleman
Rancho Santa Margarita

Re: Wrentits

Ryan Winkleman
 

All,

As a follow-up to my post this morning about Wrentit reports north of Upper Newport Bay in eBird, I received an email from Sylvia Gallagher saying that she was birding at Huntington Central Park yesterday and heard a Wrentit clearly singing. Upon tracking down where the song came from, she found it was another birder playing a tape, presumably trying to find the recent reports from this locale. For this reason, I would suggest that any birders (eBird or not) who think they hear a Wrentit anywhere north of Upper Newport Bay on the OC coast actually try to get a sight record and photograph, which would be unprecedented. 
--
Ryan Winkleman
Rancho Santa Margarita

Yellow-crowned Night Heron at Dana point

Marie Aufderheide
 

My niece Kimberly has sighted this bird at Dana point . Will try to post photo. Marie Aufderheide@Mission Viejo

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Marie Aufderheide
 

have put this photo in Waders file from Dana Point. Marie Aufderheide, Mission Viejo

Bird trap on Aliso and Wood Canyon Trail

Alex Tolkachev
 

There is a large bird trap operated, I assume, by OC Parks not far from the creek crossing where the dirt trail and paved trail originating at Awma Road and running on opposite sides of the creek meet. Today, it was inhabited by about six Brewer's Blackbirds (unless I am mistaken; I did take photos just in case). There is food and water inside. I started reading the sign, but the birds were getting agitated by my proximity, so I only gave it a very cursory reading before stepping back. I gathered from the sign that the purpose of the trap is to help endangered species breed more successfully, that the trap is checked daily, and that the public is asked in the strongest terms not to mess with it.

Does anyone know the details of this operation and can anyone explain to me what this trap is all about? I don't believe it is meant for blackbirds, they must have just chanced in. In fact, it is probably not targeted at any one bird? The rangers/ornithologists probably want to see who all get in and take it from there? Or maybe it IS intended for blackbirds in the sense that they are the ones bothering the endangered species, and therefore need to be removed? They will be treated humanely, the sign says, but I don't know what that means. Euthanized humanely? Relocated? Banded, checked and released? 

Next time I am there, if the trap is empty, I will read the sign fully. Until then, I am really curious about what others know and think about this trap. Are there many of these around?
--
Alex Tolkachev, Irvine

Re: Bird trap on Aliso and Wood Canyon Trail

Trude Hurd
 

Hi Alex,

An endangered species called Least Bell’s Vireo nests along creeks, and its nests can be parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds.  These type of traps are put up by licensed biological consulting firms to remove cowbirds from areas in Orange County where endangered songbirds nest.  We have them at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. The traps are only up during nesting season and any birds other than cowbirds are removed and released.  So those Brewer’s Blackbirds get a free meal and lodging for the day!

Trude Hurd, Project Director of Education, Sea and Sage Audubon Society.

Re: Bird trap on Aliso and Wood Canyon Trail

Tom Benson
 

Alex,

The trap is for Brown-headed Cowbirds (probably what you saw), which are a brood parasite on a number of species, but particularly on the endangered Least Bell's Vireo. The traps are meant to reduce the cowbirds in areas where vireos breed, and they have been incredibly successful in the recovery of the vireos in southern California.

Tom Benson
San Bernardino, CA


-----Original Message-----
From: Alex Tolkachev <atolkachev@...>
To: OrangeCountyBirding <OrangeCountyBirding@groups.io>
Sent: Tue, May 7, 2019 4:26 pm
Subject: [OrangeCountyBirding] Bird trap on Aliso and Wood Canyon Trail

There is a large bird trap operated, I assume, by OC Parks not far from the creek crossing where the dirt trail and paved trail originating at Awma Road and running on opposite sides of the creek meet. Today, it was inhabited by about six Brewer's Blackbirds (unless I am mistaken; I did take photos just in case). There is food and water inside. I started reading the sign, but the birds were getting agitated by my proximity, so I only gave it a very cursory reading before stepping back. I gathered from the sign that the purpose of the trap is to help endangered species breed more successfully, that the trap is checked daily, and that the public is asked in the strongest terms not to mess with it.

Does anyone know the details of this operation and can anyone explain to me what this trap is all about? I don't believe it is meant for blackbirds, they must have just chanced in. In fact, it is probably not targeted at any one bird? The rangers/ornithologists probably want to see who all get in and take it from there? Or maybe it IS intended for blackbirds in the sense that they are the ones bothering the endangered species, and therefore need to be removed? They will be treated humanely, the sign says, but I don't know what that means. Euthanized humanely? Relocated? Banded, checked and released? 

Next time I am there, if the trap is empty, I will read the sign fully. Until then, I am really curious about what others know and think about this trap. Are there many of these around?
--
Alex Tolkachev, Irvine

Re: Bird trap on Aliso and Wood Canyon Trail

Alex Tolkachev
 

Thanks, Trude and all who replied!

I heard Brewer's Blackbird's calls from the cage, but the birds I photographed for my own record and confirmation did not look like BRBL. They must have been cowbirds, with a BRBL mixed in. So the trap is working. "Treated humanely", as others have explained, means euthanized. I wonder what makes the traps specifically target the cowbirds. Other than, as Marcus mentioned, placing cowbirds inside as bait. Sounds about right? Is that what they do at SJWS?

--
Alex Tolkachev, Irvine

Re: Bird trap on Aliso and Wood Canyon Trail

tgmiko@gmail.com
 

I had a friend named Dharm Pellegrini who operated such traps, and he explained that BH Cowbirds have artificially increased in numbers during the last century or more, as humans populated the west, and introduced ranching (hence the name "cowbird") and farming to areas that were previously forested. This human caused increase in cowbird populations is one of the reasons that Brown headed Cowbirds were able to parasitize Yellow billed Cuckoo, Yellow Warbler, and Bell's Vireo nests, crashing their numbers.
Tom Miko 
300 West 3rd Ave
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
909.241.3300

On Tue, May 7, 2019, 3:26 PM Alex Tolkachev <atolkachev@...> wrote:
There is a large bird trap operated, I assume, by OC Parks not far from the creek crossing where the dirt trail and paved trail originating at Awma Road and running on opposite sides of the creek meet. Today, it was inhabited by about six Brewer's Blackbirds (unless I am mistaken; I did take photos just in case). There is food and water inside. I started reading the sign, but the birds were getting agitated by my proximity, so I only gave it a very cursory reading before stepping back. I gathered from the sign that the purpose of the trap is to help endangered species breed more successfully, that the trap is checked daily, and that the public is asked in the strongest terms not to mess with it.

Does anyone know the details of this operation and can anyone explain to me what this trap is all about? I don't believe it is meant for blackbirds, they must have just chanced in. In fact, it is probably not targeted at any one bird? The rangers/ornithologists probably want to see who all get in and take it from there? Or maybe it IS intended for blackbirds in the sense that they are the ones bothering the endangered species, and therefore need to be removed? They will be treated humanely, the sign says, but I don't know what that means. Euthanized humanely? Relocated? Banded, checked and released? 

Next time I am there, if the trap is empty, I will read the sign fully. Until then, I am really curious about what others know and think about this trap. Are there many of these around?
--
Alex Tolkachev, Irvine

Re: Bird trap on Aliso and Wood Canyon Trail

Joe Morlan
 

Alex,

My photo of a similar trap and an explanation is at

https://flic.kr/p/rJCV2f

On Tue, 07 May 2019 16:26:06 -0700, "Alex Tolkachev" <atolkachev@...>
wrote:

There is a large bird trap operated, I assume, by OC Parks not far from the creek crossing where the dirt trail and paved trail originating at Awma Road and running on opposite sides of the creek meet. Today, it was inhabited by about six Brewer's Blackbirds (unless I am mistaken; I did take photos just in case). There is food and
water inside. I started reading the sign, but the birds were getting agitated by my proximity, so I only gave it a very cursory reading before stepping back. I gathered from the sign that the purpose of the trap is to help endangered species breed more successfully, that the trap is checked daily, and that the public is asked in
the strongest terms not to mess with it.

Does anyone know the details of this operation and can anyone explain to me what this trap is all about? I don't believe it is meant for blackbirds, they must have just chanced in. In fact, it is probably not targeted at any one bird? The rangers/ornithologists probably want to see who all get in and take it from there? Or maybe
it IS intended for blackbirds in the sense that they are the ones bothering the endangered species, and therefore need to be removed? They will be treated humanely, the sign says, but I don't know what that means. Euthanized humanely? Relocated? Banded, checked and released? 

Next time I am there, if the trap is empty, I will read the sign fully. Until then, I am really curious about what others know and think about this trap. Are there many of these around?
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA