Orange County RBA: September 26, 2019

Ryan Winkleman


* California

* Orange County

* September 26, 2019

* CAOC19.09.26


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@....




Reddish Egret

Cattle Egret

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Swainson's Hawk

Cassin’s Vireo

Mountain Chickadee

Brewer’s Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow

Green-tailed Towhee

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Northern Waterthrush

Black-and-white Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Lucy’s Warbler


American Redstart

Blackpoll Warbler

Indigo Bunting

A RUFF continued on the upper Santa Ana River through September 21, where it has been continuing downstream of Lakeview Avenue again.

A *RED-FOOTED BOOBY* was photographed off of Dana Point on September 23. This is a review species, meaning documentation of any sightings should be forwarded to Tom Benson at secretary@....

An out-of-place, inland REDDISH EGRET continued in San Diego Creek in Irvine through September 19. It is usually seen somewhere along the creek between Main and Barranca.

At least one CATTLE EGRET continued at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine through September 22, with reports on the ponds and along San Diego Creek. A bird described at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach on September 24 could not be confirmed.

At least two YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS continued at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach through September 24 (usually around the "pocket pond" and the Wintersburg Channel), and at least two birds were at Dana Point Harbor through September 21 (usually near the Nordhavn building and in the large magnolia trees across the street).

Two SWAINSON'S HAWKS continued to be observed in Seal Beach along the I-405 right-of-way through September 25. They are typically found perching on lampposts, flying over Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, or flying over Old Ranch Golf Course/Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base and can be seen pretty reliably from the Seal Beach Tennis Club parking lot when they are around. Please note that we are in active fall migration for this species, and that observers and eBird reporters should be extremely careful to identify the individual birds on or around the base if seen. We are very interested in determining when our local birds leave, so if you cannot see a leg band or surmise from behavior that a given bird(s) is one of the summer 2019 birds, please do not assume that it is, and please make notes regarding as such. A third, intermediate (rufous morph) bird was also photographed over Russell Cook Park in San Juan Capistrano on September 21.

A likely bright male CASSIN'S VIREO was photographed along the west end of "the island" at Huntington Central Park in Huntington Beach on September 21. While initially identified as a candidate for Blue-headed Vireo, the non-unanimous consensus among experts (obviously not either of us!) was that the bird was probably a bright fall male Cassin's Vireo.

A MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE at a private residence in Laguna Niguel was quite coastal for this species, although a known location as well.

A BREWER'S SPARROW was photographed at Huntington Central Park in Huntington Beach on September 23 and continued through September 25. It has been found generally on the lawn east of "the island."

A BLACK-THROATED SPARROW was photographed at Fairview Park in Costa Mesa on September 21 at approximate coordinates 33.664826, -117.939434. 

A GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE continued in the desert section of the Nature Area in Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley on September 21, and another bird was found at Pond D of San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine on September 22.

A YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was seen at Anaheim Coves Park in Anaheim on September 20.

A NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH continued in Huntington Central Park in Huntington Beach through September 20, where it was most recently found by the bandstand on the south end of Talbert Lake.

A BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER was at a private residence in Laguna Niguel on September 21 (McNab has such a cool yard list).

A TENNESSEE WARBLER found at Gilman Park in Brea on September 19 continued through September 24 along the creek.

A LUCY'S WARBLER found at Gilman Park in Brea on September 22 continued through September 25 at the watering hole. 

A likely *MOURNING WARBLER* was at Huntington Central Park in Huntington Beach on September 21. The bird was seen on the southwest side of Talbert Lake, between the bandstand and the garden in the weedy understory below the fallen willow on the lawn. However, it has not been seen since it was first found. The unanimous consensus among all experts who have weighed in on the photos that were taken is that it is likely a Mourning Warbler. If accepted by the CBRC, it would be the first since 2000, and only the third record for OC ever. If the bird is refound, please send all documentation to Tom Benson at secretary@....

A female-type AMERICAN REDSTART found at Gilman Park in Brea on September 16 continued through September 25. Another female-type bird was reported on September 25 from somewhere at Huntington Central Park in Huntington Beach.

A BLACKPOLL WARBLER found at Gilman Park in Brea on September 22 continued through September 25. Just a note that if you are seeing a black and white bird it is probably a Black-throated Gray Warbler, NOT a Blackpoll Warbler. If you make this identification mistake, heaven help you if Jeff sees your eBird reports before I do, because he is ruthless once he gets upset about a bird ID.

An INDIGO BUNTING found at Gilman Park in Brea on September 19 continued through September 22.



The monthly Upper Newport Bay bird walk will take place on September 29 from 8:00am to 11:00am. Meet at the Big Canyon parking lot.

The monthly Nature Walk at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine will take place on October 5 from 9:00am to 10:30am. Meet at the Audubon House. 


None available at this time.


The introductory visual class Birds of Southern California with Sylvia Gallagher will take place this fall from October to December. Registration has begun. You can see more details here:


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 ( 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 or 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 ( 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 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

Ryan Winkleman
Rancho Santa Margarita