Orange County RBA: January 9, 2020

Jeff Bray


* California
* Orange County
* January 9, 2020
* CAOC20.01.09

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@....


Eurasian Wigeon
Common Goldeneye
Mountain Plover
Laughing Gull
Mew Gull
Little Blue Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Lewis's Woodpecker
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Brown-crested Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Townsend’s Solitaire
Brown Thrasher
Sage Thrasher
White-throated Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Green-tailed Towhee
American Redstart
Pine Warbler

A EURASIAN WIGEON continued at Pearson Park in Anaheim through January 6.

Two COMMON GOLDENEYES continued in the river adjacent to Yorba Regional Park in Anaheim through January 8.

A MOUNTAIN PLOVER first found at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach on December 6 continued through January 8. 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 LAUGHING GULL was at North Lake in Irvine from December 27-January 5, presumably the same bird that was at this location last January.

A MEW GULL was along the Santa Ana River in Anaheim from January 5-January 8. Usually seen just upstream of the 91 freeway. This species is rare inland.

A *RED-FOOTED BOOBY* was photographed in Dana Point on the jetty off Puerto Pl on January 3. This is a CBRC review species, meaning documentation of any sightings should be forwarded to Tom Benson at secretary@....

A LITTLE BLUE HERON was at Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach on January 7. This is presumably the same bird that was seen last week, up-river, near La Bard Park. More sightings in Newport Back Bay at Big Canyon Parking Lot (January 4-January 5), still has us wondering if this is the same bird hopscotching between these two locations...

A *TRICOLORED HERON* continued in Upper Newport Bay in Newport Beach through January 6. This is a CBRC review species, meaning documentation of any sightings should be forwarded to Tom Benson at secretary@....

A YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was at Dana Point Harbor on January 4, where it was seen somewhere, as the observer didn’t give any information as to the location. Presumably near the Nordhavn building.

A LEWIS'S WOODPECKER continued at Caspers Wilderness Park off Ortega Highway, just past the entrance, through January 5. A second bird was reported from Irvine Lake in Orange on January 4, which was most likely the same bird described the day before by someone driving by, seeing a “dark acorn woodpecker” flying over Santiago Canyon Road.

A PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER continued at Mason Regional Park in Irvine on January 4.  Another “Western” Flycatcher was reported at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea on January 8.

An EASTERN PHOEBE was found at Irvine Lake in Orange on December 21 and continued through January 5. It was seen near GPS: 33.7737252,-117.7176476. The access to this lake is restricted to Friday through Sunday. Your OC Parks Pass will get you access, but if you don’t have one, it’s a $5 parking fee.

A BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER that was found in the willows off Chrisanta north of La Paz on December 27 continued through January 7. This patch of vegetation has had a near-mythical ability to draw in amazing birds, including the county's first Brown-crested Flycatcher, a Golden-winged Warbler, a Bay-breasted Warbler, a Broad-billed Hummingbird, and a Least Flycatcher.
A TROPICAL KINGBIRD found at The Great Park in Irvine on December 9 continued through January 8 near the Reflecting Ponds. A second bird was found at Fairview Park in Costa Mesa on January 7 and continued through January 8. It’s been seen around the large vernal pool.

A GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET continued at Good Shepherd Cemetery in Huntington Beach through January 3. A second bird continued at El Toro Memorial Park in Lake Forest through January 8.

Up to three TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRES were reported from Silverado Canyon through January 7, between the Maple Spring Truck Trail gate and the end of the pavement.  

A BROWN THRASHER that was found at Aurora Park in Mission Viejo on December 2 continued through January 7 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.

A SAGE THRASHER continued at Richard T. Steed Memorial Park in San Clemente on January 7, still near the entrance to the ball fields.

A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW continued at a private residence in Laguna Niguel through January 6.

A VESPER SPARROW was found at Irvine Regional Park in Orange on January 2 and continued through January 3. It was seen along the roadrunner loop trail.

A GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE continued at Harriett M. Wieder Regional Park in Huntington Beach on January 3, north of the playground. A second bird was at a private residence in Santa Ana through January 7.

An AMERICAN REDSTART was found at Gilman Park in Fullerton on January 4 and continued through January 5. A second bird was found at Te Winkle Park in Costa Mesa on January 6.

A PINE WARBLER continued at Good Shepherd Cemetery in Huntington Beach through January 3.



The monthly Bird Walk at San Joaquin Marsh will take place on January 12 from 8:00am to 12:00pm. Meet at the Audubon House.

The Bolsa Chica bird walk will take place on January 16 from 8:00am to noon. Meet at the playground in nearby Harriett Wieder Regional Park.


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 Dana Wharf 4 hour pelagic trip will take place tomorrow, January 10. See their site for more information:

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.  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