Orange County RBA: September 19, 2019

Jeff Bray


* California
* Orange County
* September 19, 2019
* CAOC19.09.19
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
Chestnut-collared Longspur
Green-tailed Towhee
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Northern Waterthrush
Tennessee Warbler
American Redstart
Magnolia Warbler
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

A RUFF continued on the upper Santa Ana River through September 18, where it has been continuing downstream of Lakeview Avenue again.

An out-of-place, inland REDDISH EGRET continued in San Diego Creek in Irvine through September 16. It is usually seen somewhere along the creek between Main and Barranca.

Up to two CATTLE EGRETS were seen at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine through September 18 and one bird was seen along the Santa Ana River in Anaheim on September 15.

At least five YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS continued at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach through September 18 (usually around the "pocket pond" and the Wintersburg Channel), and at least four birds were at Dana Point Harbor through September 18 (usually near the Nordhavn building and in the large magnolia trees across the street).

At least three SWAINSON'S HAWKS continued to be observed in Seal Beach along the I-405 right-of-way through September 18. 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 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 CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR was found at Fairview Park in Costa Mesa on September 14 and continued through September 18. It’s been found most easily by walking the narrow trails of tall, dead mustard. This is the earliest date on record, by almost a month, of this species occurring in the county. This species was formerly more commonly occurring in fall and winter, but has become all-but extirpated except as extremely rare vagrants due to extensive and widespread loss of suitable habitat in the county. Prior to a likely bird that was poorly photographed in fall 2017, the last record of this species in the county was in fall 2003!

A GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE was found at Fairview Park in Costa Mesa on September 14 and continued through September 18. It’s been seen on the north end of the park, where the asphalt walkway goes downhill towards the ponds. Another Green-tailed Towhee was found in the desert section of the Nature Area in Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley on September 16.

A YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was seen at the Los Alamitos Race Track in Cypress on September 14.

A NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH continued in Huntington Central Park in Huntington Beach through September 18. It has been seen along the northern and northwestern edges of Talbert Lake.

A TENNESSEE WARBLER was found at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley on September 18. According to the observer, it was seen in the southeast corner (of the nature center?) in a eucalyptus.

A female-type AMERICAN REDSTART was found at Gilman Park in Anaheim on September 16 and continued through September 18. The bird has been seen (and occasionally heard) in the sycamores and eucalyptus near where the creek begins in the "upper", or northeastern, end of the park, and from there downstream about 500 feet.

A MAGNOLIA WARBLER was at O’Neill Regional Park in Rancho Santa Margarita on September 14. It was seen near Shelter 2, by a watering hole along the creek.

A female ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK continued at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley on September 18. It was seen in the Nature Center.



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


The monthly trip up Newport Back Bay on a pontoon boat will take place on September 25. Please e-mail Nancy Kenyon if interested: nancykenyon@...


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 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