Highlights from the CBC Rarities Tour - 4 JAN

Jeff Bray

We had a fantastic day of birding, racking up around 126 species overall and seeing all but 1 of the expected rarities we planned for. Thanks to those that carpooled and stuck it out til the end. This was a long day of birding! Hope you all had fun. 

A Recap:

- We started off at San Joaquin Marsh, checking out Pond 1. Lots of birds were still roosting, including a continuing Greater White-fronted Goose. No luck with the adult male Phainopepla in the parking lot though.

- At Bolsa, we had the Mountain Plover on the spit of land at the observation point, giving good looks. Not many gulls at all were around, so we dipped on Iceland, Herring and Glaucous-winged. There was a distant Common Loon, as well as the Red-throated Loon that still showed a bit of oil on it's breast. It was preening heavily, trying to get it off. 

- At Carl Thornton Park, there were five Greater White-fronted Geese and two Snow Geese, at least one Red-breasted Nuthatch and three Vermilion Flycatcher. Quite a few gulls there as well, but nothing out of the ordinary. 

- On to Newport Back Bay, at the first pull out, we searched hard for the Tricolored Heron, but could not find it. We later found out from Shirley Reynolds, the she had it over by the Kayak rental place, so it was there, just not visible to the group. At the Big Canyon lot, I believe it was Bob Schallman that located the Little Blue Heron way off in the distance with three Snowy Egrets. We got scopes on the bird and I believe that everyone was able to see the bird well enough to accept it.

- North Lake in Irvine was next. The Laughing Gull wasn't seen when we first got there, but it later came flying out from around the corner and then made its way over close to us, where some other people were feeding the birds. It made some close passes and everyone was able to see the bird in flight and perched up close. 

- The Great Park was next, where we got on the Tropical Kingbird rather quickly after hearing it call when two American Kestrels were flying near by. Everyone got good looks at the bird, even though it was across the street (marine way) in a small tree. 

- After lunch, we were at La Paz Willows for the Brown-crested Flycatcher. It took about 30 minutes for the bird to make an appearance, but it came in directly over our heads, calling. Then it flew out to the middle of the creek and perched in the large sycamore tree, giving somewhat decent looks until it disappeared down into the brush. 

- Aurora Park was the next stop, and the Brown Thrasher was seen, very briefly, by only a few of us. We waited there another 20 minutes or so, but the bird would not come back out for all the others to get a look. We looked hard for Pine Siskin that had been previously reported, but only had Lesser Goldfinch and one American Goldfinch in the flock. 

- Irvine Lake was our last stop, and we got the Eastern Phoebe along the trail at it's usual location. We were also blessed with a semi-close flyby from one of the two adult Bald Eagles at the lake. 

**For those that are waiting on eBird list to be shared with you, I've created links below for each stop so you can just click the ones you need to add to your lists and it should allow you to add it that way, instead of me having to share them all individually with each of you. Please let me know if you have any trouble. 

San Joaquin: 

Bolsa Chica:

Carl Thornton Park:

Newport Back Bay:

North Lake:

Great Park:

La Paz Willows:

Aurora Park:

Irvine Lake:

Thanks again for all the help we had today. Much appreciated. 


Jeff Bray
Irvine, CA