Orange County RBA: December 12, 2019

Jeff Bray


* California
* Orange County
* December 12, 2019
* CAOC19.12.12

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@....


Mountain Plover
Franklin’s Gull
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Plumbeous Vireo
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Brown Thrasher
Swamp Sparrow
Black-and-white Warbler
Pine Warbler

A MOUNTAIN PLOVER was found at Bolsa Chica Wetlands in Huntington Beach on December 6 and continued through December 11. It’s been seen most reliably inside the Least Tern nesting area at the end of the walkbridge coming from the PCH parking lot.

A FRANKLIN’S GULL continued at Centennial Park in Santa Ana through December 8.

A *RED-FOOTED BOOBY* continued on the jetty at Corona del Mar through December 9. This is a CBRC review species, meaning documentation of any sightings should be forwarded to Tom Benson at secretary@....

A *TRICOLORED HERON* continued in Upper Newport Bay in Newport Beach through December 10. This is a CBRC review species, meaning documentation of any sightings should be forwarded to Tom Benson at secretary@....

A *GREATER PEWEE* first found at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley on November 21 continued through December 10. Its favorite places seem to be along the red fence where the maintenance shed is in the southeast corner of the park, as well as up around the ballfields, essentially ranging mostly within the southeast area and thankfully at least mostly not out on the golf course. This is a CBRC review species, meaning documentation of any sightings should be forwarded to Tom Benson at secretary@.... If accepted, this would be only the fifth record for Orange County and the first in 28 years.

A PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER continued at Mile Square Regional park in Fountain Valley through December 8, in the vicinity of the maintenance shed in the southeast corner of the park.

A TROPICAL KINGBIRD was found at The Great Park in Irvine on December 9 and continued through December 11. Seen near the Reflecting Ponds.

A PLUMBEOUS VIREO was at Bart Spendlove Park in Mission Viejo on December 7. It was seen along the creek/wash. Another bird was reported from Yorba Regional Park in Anaheim on December 10 near the entrance to the park in the conifers.

A GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET was at Good Shepherd Cemetery in Huntington Beach on December 11.

A BROWN THRASHER was found at Aurora Park in Mission Viejo on December 2 and continued through December 11. The bird has been found pretty reliably in the southeast section of the park where the large Brazilian pepper tree is growing near the top of the windy trail down to the lower section. It hangs out in the tree and skulks through the acacia groundcover. This is the 7th record for Orange County and the first since 1993.

A SWAMP SPARROW was at Bart Spendlove Memorial Park in Mission Viejo from December 6-11. The bird is most reliably seen, if only for a few seconds at a time, in the south end of the wet ditch between the park and the railroad tracks. It particularly prefers the area around the tallest tree tobacco, closest to the cement apron.

A BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER continued at Aurora Park in Mission Viejo on December 6 near the west side of the park in the oak woodland.
A PINE WARBLER was found at Good Shepherd Cemetery in Huntington Beach on December 10 and continued through December 11.



Sea and Sage Audubon’s (three) Christmas Bird Counts are fast approaching. The Christmas Bird Counts are always held between Dec. 14th & Jan. 5th. This annual bird count encompasses the United States and Canada, as well as Central and South America, the Pacific Islands, West Indies, and Bermuda. The data collected helps scientists learn more about the status and distribution of our birds and played a key role in the recent study describing the loss of approximately 3 billion birds across North America over the last 50 years. Here in Orange County, we have three different Christmas Bird Counts. Please contact the Circle Compiler for more information and to sign up.
NE (Inland) CBC - Dec. 15, 2019 - Contact Doug Lithgow, DMLithgow@...

San Juan Capistrano (South County) CBC - Dec. 21, 2019 - Contact Darrell Wilson, Darrellwilson@...

Coastal CBC - Dec. 29, 2019 - Contact Bettina Eastman, bettinae24@...

All three of the Christmas Bird Counts are sponsored by Sea & Sage Audubon. Everyone is welcome to participate, from beginners to old hands. Those of you who are less experienced can help by tallying the birds. Most sections begin in the early morning and end as the sun sets. After each count, participants gather together for supper and do a general tally of the count.

For more information please go to the Sea and Sage website:


No more upcoming events in December due to Christmas Bird Counts.


The Upper Newport Bay pontoon boat trips are held on the third Wednesday of every month but are full until February. You can email Nancy Kenyon at nancykenyon@... to sign up for the January trip or later.

The Winter 2020 pelagic trip will take place on January 11 from 6:30am to 3:00pm. Email Nancy Kenyon at nancykenyon@... to sign up.

Sylvia Gallagher’s “Learning California Bird Sounds” class will run for 10 weeks beginning in early January. Enrollment opens on December 2. Highly recommended if you have difficulty with bird sounds. The course flyer is 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

Jeff Bray
Irvine, CA