Aurora Park updates


Greetings and Happy New Year to all!

Spent a bit of time yesterday Jan 1, 2020, about mid-day, at Aurora Park in Mission Viejo. My first visit to the park in a long time, which is rather embarrassing since I live just off of Via Aurora, across Alicia Parkway from the park!

Parked along Via Guadix, perhaps 20 meters NE of Via Aurora, and walked SW counter-clockwise along the main path. A parent visiting the park with his kids asked if I was with the 4 birders who were there earlier (Amin? Rick?). Sadly, they hadn’t invited me to join them.

Soon, I saw another birder at a distance on the east side of the park. I sat at a table under a palo verde tree to update eBird and saw a zone-tailed hawk soaring southward, above the other birder. Had good clear looks at it. Caught up to the birder, who turned out to be Lucy Lee; she had also observed the zone-tailed hawk. We followed the winding path down into the canyon, examining the slope where the brown thrasher has been seen, even by Lucy on a previous outing. 

The slope she showed me is primarily covered with cape honeysuckle (Tecoma [Tecomariacapensis), butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), Sycamores (Platanus spp.), and other assorted plants. Did find a noisy northern mockingbird in that vegetation.

After making the loop down into the canyon, and back up the tall stairway, we spied another birder, Mark Kincheloe. We headed down the winding path, in hopes of finding the brown thrasher, but no luck.

My list from eBird:

Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)
Nuttall's Woodpecker (Dryobates nuttallii)
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)
Cassin's Kingbird (Tyrannus vociferans)
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
Oak Titmouse (Baeolophus inornatus)
Bushtit (Pacific) (Psaltriparus minimus [minimus Group])
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)
California Towhee (Melozone crissalis)
Orange-crowned Warbler (Leiothlypis celata)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)


-Bob Allen
Mission Viejo, CA
Adjunct Professor of Biology, Santiago Canyon College & Orange Coast College
Research Associate in Entomology, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Research Associate, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Author, Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains