Coastal Orange County, CA

Bird Surveys


January 29, 2018 Seal Beach NWR

October 13-14, 2017  Bolsa Chica and Huntington Central Park

May 21, 2016 Upper Newport Bay and San Joaquin Marsh

January 25-28, 2016 Laguna Beach

January 26, 2016 Doheny State Beach

January 25, 2016 Upper Newport Bay and San Joaquin Marsh

April 18, 2015 Bolsa Chica

April 10, 2015 Bolsa Chica

February 13 2014  Bolsa Chica

March 29, 2013  Doheny State Beach

August 11, 2012  Bolsa Chica

March 24, 2012  Bolsa Chica

January 18, 2012  Doheny State Beach

July 12, 2011  Bolsa Chica

November 21, 2010 Upper Newport Bay

November 20, 2010 Laguna Beach

November 13, 2010 Bolsa Chica

July 8, 2010 Bolsa Chica and Huntington Central Park

May 9, 2010 Huntington Central Park

May 8, 2010 Bolsa Chica

November 13, 2009 Doheny, Dana Point, Newport Bay

July 5, 2009 Bolsa Chica


Shorebirds in the Newport Back Bay Ecological Reserve, November 15, 2009
Shorebirds in the Newport Back Bay Ecological Reserve, November 15, 2009

                                                                                                                                                                                              © 2009 Callyn Yorke






January 29, 2018   Seal Beach National Wildlife Reserve (68 Species)



Weather: Fair; 61F to 87F; light ESE breezes; high tide @ 0800 hrs.

Time: 0645 - 1200 hrs.

Observers: SWBSC: 14 participants, plus three USFWS biologists.

Area Covered: Initial registration for access to the naval base was handled by SWBSC and USFWS staff. Our birding group was escorted in two vans by three USFWS biologists, to several locations within the National Wildlife Refuge, covering a distance of about 10 miles. We were  occasionally allowed out of the vehicles to make observations of birds. Binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras were used to document our sightings. The NWR comprises about 900 acres of saltmarsh, dissected by a network of channels and sloughs, all within the highly secured naval base.


Lighting and distance were significant factors affecting our observations. Shorebirds, for example were present mainly in one area of the marsh where views were in excess of 100 yards and into the sun. Birds were sparsely distributed throughout the refuge and often difficult to locate without prior knowledge of their whereabouts, e.g. Pacific Golden Plover, Burrowing Owl and Nelson's Sparrow (the latter species was not found by our group). Additionally, our group was not allowed to wander freely in the refuge; we were instructed to remain together at all times and within small, designated viewing areas.


The USFWS biologists, however, provided excellent background information regarding the history and current conservation projects on the refuge. For example, we were informed that the Seal Beach NWR has the second largest population of Ridgway's Rails on the West Coast (about 200; exceeded only by Upper Newport Bay). Special nesting platforms for RIRA were scattered around the marsh; one of those had the only RIRA we found during our visit. USFWS biologists also conduct regular nighttime surveys for nocturnal raptors, such as Barn Owl and Great Horned Owl. It was clear from what the biologists were saying, that the refuge is very carefully monitored and managed for optimal ecological stability and longevity.






Canada Goose  35 flying over refuge; feeding in open fields.

Cackling Goose  1  noticably smaller (by 50%) than others it was flying with.

Brant   3  foraging in shallows and open water.

American Wigeon  20  (m,f) foraging in shallows at edges of the marsh; also in open water.

Mallard  10  pairs and individuals flying over the base.

Northern Pintail  25  (m,f) loose flocks foraging in shallows.

Northern Shoveler  (seen by others in our group).

Lesser Scaup  25  (m,f) pairs and individuals in open water main channels.

Surf Scoter  1  swimming in main channel.

Bufflehead  30 (m,f)  loose flocks in open water throughout.

Red-breasted Merganser 1 (f) swimming near edge of marsh in main channel.

Ruddy Duck  2    open water in main channel.

Pied-billed Grebe  2  in shallows at edge of main channel.

Eared Grebe  2   diving in open water.

Western Grebe  12  loose flocks in open water.

Clark's Grebe (seen by others in our group).

Feral Rock Pigeon  1  flying over base.

Eurasian Collared Dove  3  flying over base housing area.

Mourning Dove  4  in large trees at edge of base housing area.

Anna's Hummingbird  2  in shrubs near base headquarters.

Allen's Hummingbird  1  in shrubs along roadway near headquarters.

Ridgway's Rail  1  seen at great distance resting in shade of artificial rail shelter in open water.

American Coot 8   a loose flock foraging in shallows at edge of main channel.

American Avocet  18 (bsc. plmg.) a cohesive flock resting in shallows.

Black-bellied Plover  60 (conserv, estimate)  loose flocks foraging on mudflats, edge of marsh.


Pacific Golden Plover 1 -  bsc/ trans. alt. plmg. continuing  (others in the group reported seeing as many as four PAGP individuals). At one location, near a main roadway; one individual observed and photographed while foraging on the edge and within 6-10 inch high saltmarsh vegetation; seen in very harsh lighting and at too great of a distance for easy identification. Examination of my digital images showed key ID marks: broad, posteriorly elongated supercilium with dark auricular patch; dorsal yellowish and black speckling; bill relatively slender compared with nearby BBPL (photos).



         Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) same individual in both images; Seal Beach NWR, Orange County CA  29 January 2018


                                                                               © 2018 Callyn Yorke





Killdeer  3   mudflat at edge of marsh.

Long-billed Curlew  2  foraging on mudflats at edge of marsh.

Marbled Godwit  2  foraging on mudflats; resting at edge of marsh.

Ruddy Turnstone  1  foraging on mudflats with LESA and MAGO.

Dunlin  1  wading/ foraging in shallows of channel.

Least Sandpiper  16  a cohesive flock foraging and resting on mudflats.

Western Sandpiper  6  with LESA  on mudflats.

Dowitcher sp. (probably SBDO) 6    a cohesive flock foraging in shallows at edge of mudflats.

Willet  4   in marsh at edge of mudflats.

Ring-billed Gull 1 (ad) flying over marsh and ponds.

Western Gull  2 ad; C1  flying low over marsh;  one imm (C1) swimming in main channel at edge of marsh.

California Gull (seen by others in our group).

Pacific Loon (seen by others in our group).

Double-crested Cormorant  10  individuals scattered around edges of marsh in open water; flying.

Brown Pelican  1 resting on small island in marsh.

Great Blue Heron  8  individuals scattered around the marsh.

Great Egret  12  indviduals in the marsh; edge of channels, open fields.

Turkey Vulture  4  soaring over distant fields.

Osprey  1  circling above the marsh and open water.

White-tailed Kite  1 perched on aerial antenna at edge of field.

Northern Harrier  6  (at least four females) flying low over marsh and fields throughout.

Red-tailed Hawk  3 (ad, imm) circling above marsh and fields; one on ground at edge of field.

Ferruginous Hawk  1 (ad) on ground in field; flew south over developed area (photo).


     Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)  Seal Beach NWR  Orange County CA  29 January 2018


                                                                                                  © 2018 Callyn Yorke






Burrowing Owl  1 outside of burrow next to rr tracks (photo).


       Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)  Seal Beach NWR  Orange County CA  29 January 2018


                                                                                                                                   © 2018 Callyn Yorke





Belted Kingfisher  2  hovering over marsh and open water.

American Kestrel  5 (m,f)    flying; on utility wires and poles throughout.

Peregrine Falcon  2    one perched on a utility pole; another on an elevated bomb-drop platform.

Say's Phoebe  2  on or near fence lines in open fields and marsh.

Loggerhead Shrike  2  on chain-link fences next to roadway.

Horned Lark  1  in short-grass field next to rr tracks.

Rock Wren  1  on rr tracks  in same area with BUOW.

Marsh Wren  1  popped up in tall goldenbush (Ericameria sp.) at edge of marsh.

Northern Mockingbird  1  flying along fence line.

European Starling  30  vocal, gregarious; mostly in trees around base housing area.

House Finch  6  vocal, gregarious; base housing area with trees.

Common Yellowthroat  2 (m,f) active in tall goldenbush next to marsh.

Green-tailed Towhee  1 (seen by others in our group) brushy area on roadside.

Belding's Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi)   60  small flocks active in and around marsh, goldenbush.

Large-billed Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis rostratus)  1  popped up in goldenbush at edge of marsh.

White-crowned Sparrow  15 (ad, imm) small flocks in brushy areas throughout.

Red-winged Blackbird  20  (m,f) a cohesive flock in trees around base housing.

Brewer's Blackbird (seen by others in our group).

Western Meadowlark  16  small flocks moving across open fields.






























October 13 &14, 2017  Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and Huntington Central Park (95 Species)


                                     Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, viewing east from the central boardwalk, 13 Oct. 2017


                                                                                                                                              © 2017 Callyn Yorke




Weather: Fair; high overcast, clearing by mid-morning; 56F to 73F; wind NNW; WSW 2 - 5 mph; low tide @ 0930-1030 hrs.

Time (10/13): 0650- 1345 hrs.

Areas Covered:


(10/13): 1) Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve (BC). I walked the main paths and levees north and northeast from the central reserve parking lot (on PCH), returning on the same route. I covered a distance of about 1.5 miles (3 mi round-trip) visually and aurally surveying an area of about 200 acres: 0650-1100 hrs.The survey included the north chaparral hillsides, eucalyptus grove (mostly dead trees) and the old salt ponds in the northeast corner. The outgoing tide exposed mudflats that were used by increasing numbers of shorebirds during the second half of the survey. About 50 people were on the pathways during the survey; several in the north section with leashed and unleashed dogs (photo). I used a 10x40 binocular and DSLR camera for the survey.


(10/14): BC with the UCLA Extension Autumn Birds of Southern California class (7 students and I). We covered the same area noted above; low tide and exposed mudflats occurred at around 1030 hrs., when many shorebirds, previously hidden in the salt marsh, became active and visible. Binoculars, DSLR cameras and a 25x spotting scope was used for this survey. Fourteen additional bird species were found during the second survey of this area (0715-1200 hrs.).




                      Unleashed dogs in the north tidal channel of Bolsa Chica Reserve, Oct. 13 2017                                             


                                                                                                                          © 2017 Callyn Yorke


2) Huntington Beach Central Park (10/13, HCP): I walked a clockwise route on the perimeter and interior pathways, including the inundated grassland and swamp in the southern section. More than one hundred people were in the park; many with multiple leashed dogs. I focused my survey on the edges of riparian and swamp areas, where most of the birdlife occurred (1159-1345 hrs.). A total of about 60 acres was surveyed visually.


(10/14): HCP: Three students and I briefly surveyed the northwest section of the park (about 10 acres) during a lunch break (1300-1500 hrs.). Five additional bird species were found during the second survey.


Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found included, Tricolored Heron (1 - cont. BC), Reddish Egret (1- cont. BC), Yellow-crowned Night Heron (1- cont.) White-faced Ibis (1 - BC), Red Knot (25 - BC), California Gnatcatcher (2 - BC).


Note: Species entries combine both surveys (10/13 & 10/14).  The date in parentheses follows entries for bird species found only on one of the two surveys. Abundance values represent the highest number of individuals actually counted or estimated for a single survey.




Muscovy Duck (domestic) 1 edge of pond, w HCP.

Gadwall   6  (m,f)  north channel and ponds, BC; 4  pond and marsh, s HCP.

American Wigeon  40  (m,f) large ponds, and tidal channel, n BC;  6  pond and marsh with mallards, s HCP (photo).


         American Wigeon (Mareca americana) male   Huntington Central Park, Orange County CA  13 Oct. 2017


                                                                                                                      © 2017 Callyn Yorke



Mallard  30 (m,f) ponds, marsh and mudflats, BC;  80, edge of ponds and swamp, HCP.

Blue-winged Teal  14 (m,f) dabbling in shallows of channel and ponds, BC (photo).


 Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) male (lower) and two females, Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                                          © 2017 Callyn Yorke




Northern Shoveler  12 (m,f)  dabbling in shallows of nw ponds, BC.

Northern Pintail  4 (f)  swimming together in channel, n BC (10/13 - photo).



                           Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) female   Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                                              © 2017 Callyn Yorke




Green-winged Teal 4  (m,f)  swimming and flying together, n channel  BC (10/14).

Ring-necked Duck  2 (f) resting together on and near shore, n channel, BC (10/13).



                             Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) female     Bolsa Chica  Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                                                © 2017 Callyn Yorke





Lesser Scaup  7 (m,f)  swimming together in channel, n BC (photo).


           Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) male (l), female (r), Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                                          © 2017 Callyn Yorke




Ruddy Duck  50 (m,f - bsc. plmg.)  resting together in open water;  a few diving in channel; several swimming with WEGR in main channel, nw  BC.

Pied-billed Grebe  12 (ad, imm) individuals diving in channels, BC;  3 swimming in ponds choked with algae and pondweed, HCP.


Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) immature, Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA 13 October 2017

                                                                                                             © 2017 Callyn Yorke



Eared Grebe  10   (bsc. plmg.) ubiquitous in open water; individuals and pairs diving in mid channel and clear shallows near shore; one individual observed making several underwater forays with a torpedo-shaped, extended neck and body, darting in and out of bottom vegetation, but not seen obtaining prey..



Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 october 2017

                                                                                                                     © 2017 Callyn Yorke



Western Grebe  3   individuals resting, swimming and diving in open water, main channel, BC.

Feral Rock Pigeon  3  flying around boardwalk, BC.

Mourning Dove  4  in dead eucalyptus, n BC.

Anna's Hummingbird  2  vocal, hillside chaparral and eucalyptus grove, n BC.

Allen's Hummingbird  1  observed by students, hillside chaparral-dead eucalyptus, n BC (10/14).

Ridgway's Rail  3 (one very dark plumaged adult-size bird) walking, foraging at edge of salt marsh at high tide; boardwalk marsh area, and s-central, BC.

Common Moorhen  1  edge of pond and marsh, w HCP (photo).



Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) Huntington Central Park, Orange County CA  13 October 2017

                                                                                                            © 2017 Callyn Yorke



American Coot  80 gregarious, ubiquitous;  foraging in shallows; swimming in open water of main channel, BC;  20  ponds and marsh, HCP.

Black-necked Stilt  150-200;  loosely gregarious; foraging in shallow ponds, ne BC (photo).


                   Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                            © 2017 Callyn Yorke




American Avocet  20  foraging in shallows; swishing bill while walking; swimming between small islets; often amongst BNST, ne BC.

Black-bellied Plover  150 (bsc. plmg.) loose flocks scattered over mudflats, shoals and sandy areas throughout, BC (photo).


Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola), Dowitcher sp. and others, Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                                    © 2017 Callyn Yorke





Semipalmated Plover  5  individuals foraging on mudflats with LESA and other shorebirds, BC (10/14).

Killdeer   16 vocal; individuals and pairs on mudflats and shoreline throughout.

Whimbrel  2   flying low over marsh and channel, w BC.

Long-billed Curlew  12  individuals foraging in shallows, marsh and on mudflats throughout, BC (photo).



Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 October 2017

                                                                                                                © 2017 Callyn Yorke



Marbled Godwit   120  gregarious, esp. at high tide on edge of marsh; often with WILL and other shorebirds, BC.

Ruddy Turnstone  3  foraging on rocky shoals exposed at low tide, s-central, BC.

Red Knot  25 (bsc. plmg.) gregarious; on edge of marsh; foraging in shallows next to mudflats with other shorebirds, e.g. WILL, MAGO, DOW sp., BC.

Sanderling  300 (bsc. plmg.) gregarious; large flocks resting on edge of marsh; foraging on mudflats; changing foraging locations frequently in tight flocks, with the receding tide, BC (photo).



                                           Sanderling (Calidris alba) Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                                             © 2017 Callyn Yorke




Least Sandpiper  200   gregarious; foraging in small flocks on shore and mudflats throughout, BC (photo).


                      Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)  Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                                        © 2017 Callyn Yorke



Western Sandpiper   10  foraging in loose flocks on wide mudflats, often near LESA and other shorebirds, BC (10/14).

Dowitcher sp.   30  (bsc. plmg. - most appearing relatively short-billed); gregarious at edge of marsh and in shallows, BC.

Lesser Yellowlegs  1  foraging on mudflats and shallows in ponds, ne BC (10/14).

Willet   250   vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous; often with other shorebirds.

Greater Yellowlegs  4  individuals foraging on mudflats and shallows at edge of marsh, n BC (10/14).

Ring-billed Gull  25  (ad, imm) gregarious;  in flight over main channel; resting on edge of shore and mudflats with WEGU and CAGU, BC.

Western Gull  120 (est.)  90% ad; gregarious; many resting at edge of marsh and on mudflats, BC.

California Gull  16 (ad, imm) gregarious; with WEGU and RBGU; resting on mudflats and shore, BC.

Caspian Tern 4  (ad)  often vocal in flight; resting on mudflats and shoals with FOTE, n BC.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) ?  one seen briefly in flight, showing complete black cap, relatively uniform grayish upper wings; forked tail, n BC (10/13).

Forster's Tern  150 (ad, imm;  bsc., trans. plmg.)  gregarious; many diving for anchovies in large ponds and tidal channels; resting on shore and objects in water (photo).



                               Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                         © 2017 Callyn Yorke



Double-crested Cormorant  80 (ad, imm) gregarious; many resting on shore at high tide; diving in main channel with the outgoing tide.

American White Pelican  16 (ad, imm) gregarious; several scooping together in shallow ponds with small fish, in a feeding frenzy of egrets and herons (photo).




American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos); Great (Ardea alba), Snowy (Egretta thula) and Reddish Egret (E. rufescens) - far right.


                                                                                                                                         © 2017 Callyn Yorke





Brown Pelican   10  (ad, imm) flying over marsh; resting on shoal island at low tide, BC.

Great Blue Heron   8  individuals in and around marsh; foraging in shallows, BC.

Great Egret   30  individuals and small flocks in feeding frenzies; tidal channel, marsh and shallows, BC;  4 HCP.

Snowy Egret   80  individuals and small flocks in feeding frenzies; edge of tidal channel, shallows, BC;  8 HCP.


Tricolored Heron  1 (imm) flying low to and from concealed positions in marsh (photo); with WILL and MAGO on raised mound in marsh, n-central. One or two continuing individuals at BC.


            Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) immature, Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                                         © 2017 Callyn Yorke



Reddish Egret  1  foraging with AWPE, GREG, SNEG in feeding frenzy in shallow pond, ne (photo).

Black-crowned Night Heron  5  edge of pond in stand of dead eucalyptus; edge of levee at n crossover, n BC. An uncommon but regular post-breeding visitant at BC in recent years.


Yellow-crowned Night Heron 1 (imm) preening on low horizontal limb of a dead eucalyptus; ID: relatively long, thin tarsi;  small, white triangle markings on wing coverts, c.f. immature BCNH (photos). Reportedly a continuing bird at this location, possibly dispersing from a nearby colony at the Seal Beach Naval Base.


   Immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) (L); BCNH (Nycticorax nycticorax) (R)  Bolsa Chica ORCO CA  14 Oct 2017 


                           © 2017 Yvonne Burch-Hartley                                                                © 2017 Teresa Palos




White-faced Ibis  1  in  wading in shallows of ne ponds; flying over tidal channel, ne BC.

Turkey Vulture  2  flying over ne tidal channel and landing together on embankment, BC.

Osprey  1 (ad) perched atop a dead eucalyptus on an adjacent hillside, n BC.

Northern Harrier  1 (imm. fem.) capturing an unidentified bird in the marsh; standing with its prey for several minutes in the marsh, then flying low to the east.

Red-tailed Hawk  2  perched on dead eucalyptus on adjacent hillside, n BC.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1  vocal, swc of HCP.

Great Horned Owl  1  resting at 20 ft agl in ecalyptus, swc of HCP.

Belted Kingfisher  1-2  vocal; flying low over pond; perched on limb above shore, n BC.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1  vocal; foraging in willows at edge of inundated grassland, s HCP.

Northern (RS) Flicker  1  flying low through park, ne HCP (10/14).

American Kestrel  2 (m,f)  flying around dead eucalyptus; perching atop one of them, ne BC; 1 vocal; circling high (100 ft. agl) over park, sw, HCP.

Peregrine Falcon  1 seen briefly flying low over tidal channel and marsh, n.

Black Phoebe  3  BC;  6 HCP.

Say's Phoebe  2; one sallying to mudflat and shrubs from snag on shore,  BC (photo); 1 HCP.


       Say's Phoebe (Sayornis sayi) Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                                © 2017 Callyn Yorke




Cassin's Kingbird  4   vocal, gregarious; in grove of dead eucalyptus, ne BC; 1 atop tall, leafless tree, HCP.

Loggerhead Shrike  2  (ad., imm) perched on a dead snag; one on barbed top of chain-link fence surrounding protected LETE nest area, BC (photo).



          Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) immature   Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                                     © 2017 Callyn Yorke




American Crow   4  flying over PCH, BC;  2  in eucalyptus, HCP.

Horned Lark   10   gregarious;  foraging on ground in LETE/SNPL nesting area, BC (photo).


             Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                                                © 2017 Callyn Yorke



Tree Swallow  1  flying with BASW over the marsh, BC (10/13).

Barn Swallow   3  flying together, northward over the marsh,  BC (10/13).

Bushtit  8 vocal, gregarious; foraging in shrubs and trees, sw HCP.

House Wren  3  vocal; active on and near ground and shore in grove of dead eucalyptus, ne  BC.

California Gnatcatcher  2  ID: nasal call notes; relatively dark dorsum; mostly black tail with reduced white edgings   a pair interacting in saltbush and other chaparral shrubs on hillside; reportedly part of a small population that has colonized this area adjacent to a housing development, ne BC (10/13 - photo).



     California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica) Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 October 2017


                                                                                                              © 2017 Callyn Yorke



Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1  foraging in ornamental shrubs and trees with YRWA, HCP (10/13).

Western Bluebird  2  (m,f) in trees and on adjacent lawns, nw HCP (10/14).

Hermit Thrush  2   vocal; on ground and in shrubs with red berries, nw HCP (10/13).

European Starling   16   vocal, gregarious; in dead eucalyptus grove, BC.

Orange-crowned Warbler  3  vocal; active in ornamental shrubs; ecalyptus; often in msf with other warblers.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  vocal (calls) gregarious; in dead eucalyptus and adjacent vegetation, BC;  15, ubiquitous, HCP.

Black-throated Gray Warbler  1  foraging in outer foliage of silk oak and eucalyptus, HCP (10/14).

Townsend's Warbler  1  active in eucalyptus, sw HCP.

Common Yellowthroat  3 (m,f; imm)  vocal, edge of marsh (photo) , BC; 2  edge of marsh-riparian, HCP.


   Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) immature male, Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 Oct. 2017


                                                                                                                    © 2017 Callyn Yorke




Wilson's Warbler  1  in eucalyptus, sw HCP (YBH - 10/14)

California Towhee  1   on ground in saltbush hillside chaparral, BC (10/14).

Belding's Savannah Sparrow  20  gregarious; in Salicornia, mudflats, rocks, fence, and adjacent sand-gravel substrates, BC (photo).


 Belding's Savannah Sparrow (Passerulus sandwichensis beldingi) two individuals, Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 Oct. 2017


                                                                                © 2017 Callyn Yorke



Song Sparrow  1  vocal,  edge of marsh and dead eucalyptus, ne BC;  2 on pavement next to drainage ditch, sw HCP.

Lincoln's Sparrow  1  understory of dead eucalyptus grove, ne BC (YBH - 10/14).

White-crowned Sparrow  5  saltbush chaparral, n, ne BC.

Dark-eyed Junco  1   in tree in weedy border, sw HCP (10/14).

House Finch  10  (m,f) chaparral and edge of marsh, BC;  10 (m,f) ubiquitous, HCP.

Lesser Goldfinch  2  vocal; in alders, s HCP (10/13).

House Sparrow  1 around cafe, sw HCP (10/14).

Northern Red Bishop  1 (m) atop leafless tree at edge of swampy riparian pond, n HCP (10/13 - photo).


            Northern Red Bishop (Euplectes franciscanus) male  Huntington Central Park, Orange County CA  13 Oct. 2017


                                                                                                                           © 2017 Callyn Yorke












































































May 21 2016  Upper Newport Bay and San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Preserve (58 Species)




                        UCLA Extension Birds of Southern California  Upper Newport Bay, Orange County CA  21 May 2016

                                                                                                                                                                                  © 2016 Yvonne Burch-Hartley







Weather: Partly cloudy; 60F to 64F; wind SSW 10-15  mph.

Time: 0756-1215 hrs.

Observers: UCLA Extension Birds of Southern California class (11 students) and I.

Areas Covered:  1) Upper Newport Bay (UNB). Beginning on the Bayview Trail, adjacent to Bayview Way(very limited street parking), we walked along the riparian-coastal sage pathway overlooking UNB at the junction of San Diego Creek (SDC) and Jamboree Road. We continued southward across the bridge to the first bend in the bike path, returning the same route. We also included a brief visit to the mouth of SDC at the edge of tidal mudflats on the north side of SDC (0756-1017 hrs.).  2) San Joaquin Marsh Widlife Preserve (SJM). We walked a clockwise route on the levees immediately surrounding the Sea and Sage Audubon house, including freshwater marsh (most of the water in this location is from an adjacent waste water treatment facility), riparian and coastal sage communities. We spent about twenty minutes observing birds from a stationary position at the edge of large pond with a sandy island; the remainder of the time we walked slowly on the pathways, stopping frequently (1028-1215 hrs.).


Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, White Pelican (3), Sharp-shinned Hawk (1), Ridgway's Rail (1), California Least Tern (5), Black Skimmer (350), Hutton's Vireo (1), Warbling Vireo (2), and Belding's Savannah Sparrow (2).






Domestic Gray-Lag Goose 1 in marsh surrounded by mudflats, UNB.

Canada Goose   3, UNB.

Gadwall  4  (m,f)  SJM.

Mallard    3  (m,f) UNB;  4 (m,f) SJM.

Pied-billed Grebe  1  diving near shore, UNB.

Western Grebe   4  resting in open water, UNB;  2 diving, SJM.

Clark's Grebe   2   a pair in open water, UNB;  2  vocal, diving, SJM.

Double-crested Cormorant  4 (ad, imm) flying; resting on shore and snags, UNB;  1 (ad) on island shore, SJM.

American White Pelican  3 (bsc. plmg.) swimming and flying off together near island shore, SJM.

Great Blue Heron   1  flying low near island, SJM.

Great Egret  4 individuals on shore and in marsh, UNB;  3  on shore and edge of marsh, SJM.

Snowy Egret  3  edge of marsh in shallows;sometimes foraging near GREG, UNB; two interacting briefly on shore; one with raised crest chasing the other, which flew away;  2  edge of marsh and shore, SJM.

Green Heron  1 (ad) flushed from edge of marsh at end of trail, UNB.;  1 (ad) flushed from marsh; flew low around to other side, SJM.

Black-crowned Night Heron  1 flying low, n across hotel gardens, UNB;  4 (ad) at edge of pond in dense tules, SJM.

Turkey Vulture  4  soaring in a loose flock above the bay and adjacent bluffs and developed areas, UNB (photo); 1  soaring over marsh, SJM.



Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Upper Newport Bay, Orange County CA  21 May 2016


                                                                                                         © 2016 Callyn Yorke





Osprey  2  flying over bay and adjacent bluffs, UNB.

Sharp-shinned Hawk  1  flying low along levee near activeTRSW nest boxes; harassed by AMCR, SJM.

Ridgway's Rail  1  running across northern edge of mudflats and into adjacent marsh, UNB.

American Coot  1  swimming near island shore, SJM.

Killdeer  2  on w side of island, SJM.

Black-necked Stilt  10;  at least three sitting on nests in sand on island with AMAV, SJM.

American Avocet  2  (alt. plmg.) wading in shallows at edge of marsh-mudflats, UNB (photo); 2-3 on sandy island, sitting on nests.



American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) male, Upper Newport Bay, ORCO CA  21 May 2016


                                                                                                                         © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Willet  5  9bsc. and trans. alt. plmg.) on edge of mudflats, UNB.; 2  on island, SJM.

Marbled Godwit  5  on outer edge of mudflats next to bay, UNB.

Bonaparte's Gull  2  flying low over bay and mudflats, UNB.

Western Gull  2  (ad) flying with TUVU; soaring above bluffs and developed area, UNB;  1  alighting in pond near island, SJM.

California Least Tern  6 (ID: relatively small size, rapid wing beats, black cap and yellow bill)  flying with speed and agility over the bay and adjacent shore, UNB;  2  a pair diving and flying back and forth near shore, SJM (photo).



California Least Tern (Sterna antillarum browni) San Joaquin Marsh, ORCO CA 21 may 2016


                                                                                                             © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Forster's Tern  15  (ad, alt. plmg.) individuals and loose flocks flying low over marsh, mudflats and bay, UNB.

Black Skimmer  350  two large colonies on low, sandy islands on south side of bay, UNB (photo); a pair flying low over pond near island; skimming briefly, SJM (photo).



Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) same individual in both images; San Jose Marsh, Orange County CA  21 May 2016


                                                                             © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) colony on protected sand bar island, Upper Newport Bay, ORCO CA  21 May 2016

                                                                                                                                                                                 © 2016 Callyn Yorke





Eurasian Collared Dove  2  vocal; flying near hotel grounds, n, UNB.

Mourning Dove  4  vocal; flying around riparian and coastal sage, UNB.

Anna's Hummingbird  1 (m) perched on upper branch of a sycamore, SJM.

Allen's Hummingbird  3  (m) ID; relatively symmetrical R2 as seen in ventral view; green flecks on mantle and shoulder (photo); one sallying from perch in sycamore, UNB ; 4 (m,f) interactive in flowering garden and coastal sage scrub, SJM.




Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) Upper Newport Bay, ORCO CA  21 May 2016


                                                                                                               © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Belted Kingfisher  1 perched on post in marsh, s  UNB.

Western Wood Pewee  1  vocal; low perch in outer dead branch of tree, SJM.

Black Phoebe  1  vocal; sallying from wall, SJM.

Hutton's Vireo  1  foraging in shady interior of coast live oak, SJM.

Warbling Vireo  2 foraging in same oak as HUVI but in upper levels of outer foliage, SJM.

American Crow  4  flying over developed areas, UNB;  3 vocal; flying over marsh; harassing a SSHA that had alighted in a shrub near an active TRSW nest box.

Tree Swallow  60  ubiquitous; flying low over ponds and marsh; several alighting at nest box entrance holes around se catchment basin, SJM.

Cliff Swallow  6  flying low,  with TRSW, back and forth over pond and marsh, SJM.

Barn Swallow  1  flying low over bay and mudflats, UNB.

Bushtit  6  vocal, gregarious in mulefat and riparian patch at edge of marsh, UNB;  6 vocal, gregarious in coastal sage scrub, SJM.

Marsh Wren  1  repeated song (unseen) in dense marsh at edge of main pond, SJM.

Wrentit  1  repeated song (unseen) coastal sage, s-central, SJM.

Northern Mockingbird  3  vocal; active in and around coastal sage and developed areas, UNB.

Orange-crowned Warbler  1 repeated song while holding insect in beak, riparian edge, UNB;  2  active in young oaks, SJM.

Yellow Warbler  2  repeated song from tall shrubs and trees at edge of riparian patch, UNB.; 4  repeated song from sycamores, SJM.

Common Yellowthroat  3  repeated song (unseen) dense riparian-marsh, UNB.  4  repeated song from coastal sage-marsh, SJM.

Spotted Townee  1 repeated song (unseen) dense riparian patch, SJM; 1 repeated song from lower branch of pine, SJM.

California Towhee  2  vocal at edge of coastal sage-riparian, UNB;  2  on ground in coastal sage, SJM.

Belding's Salt Marsh Savannah Sparrow  2   a pair moving quickly and secretively through washed up debris and marsh near e shore of bay, UNB.

Song Sparrow  6  vocal, ubiquitous, UNB;  12  vocal, ubiquitous, SJM.

Great-tailed Grackle  1 (m) vocal; on island shore with AMAV, SJM.

Hooded Oriole 1 (m)  active in riparian patch, UNB (photo).




Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus) Upper Newport Bay, ORCO CA  21 May 2016


                                                                                                   © 2016 Callyn Yorke







House Finch 8 (m,f) vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous (often in pairs), UNB; 10 SJM.

Lesser Goldfinch  4  vocal, pairs; riparian patch, UNB.  6  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous in open  areas edged with trees, SJM.

House Sparrow  1 (f) edge of coastal sage and developed area, UNB.

























January 25-28, 2016 Laguna Beach (27 Species)




                                                                          Laguna Beach viewing northwest  27 January 2016


                                                                                                                                             © 2016 Merissa Mendez






Weather: Mostly fair with increasing clouds by 1/28. 56F to 70F; wind WNW 1 -5 mph; surf 2-3 ft.; surface mostly calm; high tide: 0800-1100 hrs. Note: Throughout the day (Jan. 25-28, 2016) and increasingly conspicuous by late afternoon, a broad band of brown smog clung to the horizon, viewing from Laguna Beach toward Catalina Island (see above photo). The source of this atmospheric pollution is presently unknown (and apparently omitted by local media weather reports) but possibly originated from a continuing and massive methane leak from an underground storage tank in Porter Ranch, Los Angeles County, CA.

Time: 0700-1800 hrs.

Area Covered: South and central (main) Laguna Beach, including adjacent suburbs. Shoreline and tidepools relatively uncrowded before 0730 hrs; increasing numbers of people (many with dogs - some unleashed) on the main beach 0800-1600 hrs. Offshore waters largely unoccupied by boats; a few surfers and paddleboarders were present each day. Numbers following each species entry represent the highest daily count over the four-day period.


Birds Noted


Surf Scoter  5  flying se, low offshore early AM; not seen near shore.

Common Loon  1  diving outside the surf zone.

Red-throated Loon  1  diving inside the surf zone.

Brandt's Cormorant  40  many on nearshore rocks in the late afternoon; several diving around tidepools.

Double-crested Cormorant  1  diving inside the surf zone.

Brown Pelican  25  most resting on nearshore rocks with cormorants; some flying low parallel to the shore.

Willet  2  foraging on shore.

Whimbrel  1 foraging in piles of kelp on shore near tidepools.

Sanderling  8    small flocks foraging on tidepool rocks and on shore.

Heermann's Gull   20 (90% ad.) in small flocks on shore, esp. drainage outflow on main beach.

Ring-billed Gull  4 (ad, C1)  on shore with other gulls.

Western Gull  30  (80% ad; C1, C2) ubiquitous; some on rooftops.

California Gull  3 (ad, C1) on shore with other gulls.

Caspian Tern  1 (ad)  on nearshore rocks.

Feral Rock Pigeon  60  ubiquitous, gregarious.

Eurasian Collared Dove  2  on utility lines.

Anna's Hummingbird  1  vocal, in garden with flowering plants.

Allen's Hummingbird   4  vocal; active in flowering proteus and other exotic plants near shore.

Black Phoebe  2  sallying at base of cliff over tidepools and shore.

American Crow  20  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1  vocal; active in tall garden shrubs.

Northern Mockingbird  1  flying into a garden.

Orange-crowned Warbler  2  vocal, active in flowering shrubs.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  5  vocal, gregarious; active in a variety of shrubs and trees.

Townsend's Warbler  2  vocal; active in garden trees and shrubs; often in msf with OCWA and YRWA.

Song Sparrow  1  vocal, in garden shrubs.

House Finch  4  (m,f) vocal, gregarious, in gardens.










January 26, 2016 Doheny State Beach (34 Species)



Weather: Fair; 64F; high tide @ 0930 hrs. surf  1-2 ft; surface smooth.

Time: 1026-1200 hrs.

Area Covered: North parking area adjacent to Doheny State Beach (DSB) and adjacent Dana Point harbor (DPH). I walked the shoreline to and including the paved bike path to about 0.25 mile upstream in San Juan Creek (SJC), and returned through the state park. Continuing westward, I walked along the breakwater overlooking the harbor. The beach and park were relatively quiet and undisturbed; the harbor relatively busy, including a construction project using a pile driver. San Juan Creek was reduced to a series of shallow pools upstream of the coast highway overpass.  A large sandbar blocked the creek outlet to the ocean. The beach had a nearly continuous band of kelp and associated microfauna, which attracted a few shorebirds. Hundreds of gulls (mostly CAGU), previously circling high above the shore, occupied the shoals and tidepools when exposed by the receding tide at 1145 hrs.


Birds Noted


American Wigeon  1 (m) swimming in upstream shallows of SJC.

Mallard  18  (m,f) edge of the mouth of SJC; drainage canal, w DSB.

Common Loon  1  swimming at edge of breakwater, DPH.

Eared Grebe  1  diving near shore, DSB.

Horned Grebe 1 diving in open water, DPH.

Brandt's Cormorant  40  most resting on the outer harbor breakwater, DPH.

Double-crested Cormorant  1  flying low near shore, DSB.

Brown Pelican  20  most resting with BRCO on the outer harbor breakwater, DPH.

Great Egret  1  in drainage canal, w DSB.

Snowy Egret  1 edge of lower SJC; 1  flying low over the harbor, DPH.

Osprey  1  flying back and forth over the shore, DSB.

American Coot  4  lower SJC.

Black-bellied Plover  2 on shore, DSB.

Black-necked Stilt  1 on sandbar, lower SJC.

Willet  3  on shore, DSB.

Whimbrel  1  on shore, DSB.

Marbled Godwit  1  on shore, DSB.

Sanderling  3 foraging together on shore, DSB.

Heermann's Gull  12 (90% ad)  together on beach, DSB.

Ring-billed Gull  10  (ad, imm) on shore and upper beach, DSB.

Western Gull  20 (85 % ad; C1, C2)  on shore, DSB.

California Gull 250  (90% ad) on shore and shoals at low tide.

Herring Gull  1 (C1) on shore with other gulls, DSB.

Glaucous-winged Gull  1 (C1) on shore with other gulls, DSB.

Feral Rock Pigeon  40  flying around park and shore, DSB; SJC.

Belted Kingfisher  fly, call, DPH.

Black Phoebe  2  edge of shore and lower SJC.

American Crow   30 vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous.

European Starling  20  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous, esp, in eucalyptus.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler   30  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous.

White-crowned Sparrow  15  foraging beneath shrubs in park, DSB.

Song Sparrow  2  vocal, shrubs bordering bike trail DSB/SJC.

House Finch 4  eucalyptus grove, DSB.

House Sparrow  2  edge of park and shore, DSB.
















January 25, 2016  Upper Newport Bay and San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary (67 Species)



Weather: Fair; 62F; no wind.

Time:  0930-1043 hrs. (UNB); 1054-1214 hrs. (SJM).

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Areas Covered:  1)  Upper Newport Bay Ecological Preserve (UNB). We parked about 0.1 mi west of Jamboree Rd. on East Bluff Dr. and walked on sidewalks and trails overlooking the upper bay at the junction of San Diego Creek. This route passes along Jamboree Rd. and leads northwest to Bayview Dr.; we returned the same route, visually surveying about 100 acres of open water, tidal marsh, riparian and coastal sage, and covering a linear distance of about 1.2 miles. Most of the waterbirds were observed on mudflats and in shallows near the San Diego Creek outlet adjacent to the Jamboree Rd. overpass. Much flotsam and other debris occurred along the edges of the bay in this area. A large sandbar near shore, adjacent to East Bluff Rd. appeared to be a  designated (marked) nesting site, e.g. California Least Tern and Snowy Plover, but was vacant during our survey. We also walked a short distance upstream under the Jamboree Rd. overpass, but found relatively few birds there.  2) We made a ten-minute drive to our second survey area by proceeding east on University Drive, turning left on Campus Drive and right  on Riparian View, which paralells San Diego Creek. Continuing past the IRWD water treatment facility, we turned left into the Sea and Sage Audubon House/ San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary parking area (SJM). We walked a roughly counter-clockwise route on trails through the preserve, surveying about 250 acres of riparian, freshwater marsh, ponds, mudflats, and coastal sage habitats for birds. Only a few other visitors were present during our survey; the entire preserve was quiet (except for the western section adjacent to Campus Drive). Before leaving, we reviewed the monthly bird checklist posted at Audubon House, signed the guest register and obtained  SJM Wildlife Sanctuary printed materials from a volunteer.





Gadwall  6  (m,f)  SJM.

American Wigeon  12 (m,f) dabbling in shallows, UNB.

Mallard  8  (m,f) UNB;  6 SJM.

Cinnamon Teal  12  (m,f) several resting on shore, SJM (photo).


Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera) San Joaquin Marsh, Orange County CA  25 January 2016

                                                                                                                         © 2016 Callyn Yorke





Northern Shoveler  35  (m,f)  swimming in ponds, SJM.

Northern Pintail  20  (m,f)  resting at edge of marsh, SJM.

Green-winged Teal  10 (m,f) in shallows, UNB;  20 on mudflats,  SJM (photo).



Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) San Joaquin Marsh, Orange County CA  25 January 2016

                                                                                                                                © 2016 Callyn Yorke






Redhead  8  (m,f) a cohesive flock swimming in channel, UNB (photo).



Redhead (Aythya americana) Upper Newport Bay, Orange County CA  25 January 2016

                                                                                                                              © 2016 Callyn Yorke






Greater Scaup  3  (m,f) in shallows near nesting island, UNB.

Lesser Scaup  6  (m,f) swimming in open water, UNB.

Surf Scoter  12  (m,f) a cohesive flock swimming in channel, UNB.

Bufflehead  10 (m,f) swimming in open water, UNB.

Ruddy Duck  20  (m,f) open water, UNB; 20 resting in ponds, SJM.

Pied-billed Grebe  1  swimming in shallows, UNB;  3  in ponds, SJM.

Eared Grebe  3  diving in shallows, UNB;  swimming/ diving in large ponds, SJM.

Western Grebe  40  a cohesive flock ; many resting in open water, UNB.

Clark's Grebe  1  open water in large pond, w, SJM.

Double-crested Cormorant  6  flying; resting on snags, UNB;  6  resting on edge of marsh, SJM.

American White Pelican  3  circling and gaining altitude above the marsh, w, SJM.

Brown Pelican  1  swimming in shallows, UNB.

Great Blue Heron  1 on shore, UNB; 2  on shore at edge of marsh, SJM.

Great Egret  3  edge of riparian patch and on mudflats and in distant (west) marsh, UNB.

Snowy Egret  2  in shallows, UNB; 4  edge of marsh and mudflats, SJM.

Black-crowned Night Heron  6 (ad, imm) individuals spaced 30-50m apart at edge of marsh, SJM.

White-faced Ibis  6  flew to mudflats of small pond, e, SJM.

Turkey Vulture  3  circling above SJ Creek, e  SJM.

Osprey  1  circling above the bay, UNB;  2  apparently a returning pair of birds constructing a nest on a platform, SJM (photo).



Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) San Joaquin Marsh, Orange CO CA  25 January 2016

                                                                                                           © 2016 Callyn Yorke





Red-tailed Hawk  1 (ad) circling above the bay, UNB;  1 perched in tall trees; circling over the marsh, SJM.

American Coot  20 in shallows, UNB;  30  ubiquitous in shallows and open water, SJM.

Black-bellied Plover  2  on shore littered with flotsam and debris, UNB.

Black-necked Stilt  15  a loose flock foraging in shallows, SJM.

American Avocet  12 resting onshore with MAGO and WILL at SDC outlet, UNB;  10 foraging in shallows, SJM.

Willet  30  resting with other shorebirds at SDC outlet, UNB.

Whimbrel  2 resting among MAGO and WILL on shore at SDC outlet, UNB.

Marbled Godwit  30  resting on shore among other shorebirds at SDC outlet, UNB.

Western Sandpiper  4  in a msf with LESA, flying around edge of bay; alighting on shore, UNB.

Least Sandpiper  20  flying around with WESA at edge of bay, alighting on shore, UNB.

Short-billed Dowitcher  3  (ID: relatively short bills; flight calls)  alighted on mudflats, SJM.

Dowitcher (Limnodromus sp.) 20  resting together with other shorebirds at SDC outlet, UNB.

Ring-billed Gull  20  flying around bay; alighting in open water, UNB.

Western Gull  2  flying around edge of bay and adjacent buildings, UNB.

California Gull  10  flying around bay and alighting in open water, UNB.

Mourning Dove  3  flying over roadway, UNB.

White-throated Swift  1  flying back and forth at about 300 ft. agl, nw UNB.

Anna's Hummingbird  1 (m)  edge of riparian patch, UNB;  10 (m,f) vocal, riparian and coastal sage, SJM.

Allen's Hummingbird  4  (m) vocal; riparian patch, UNB; 5 vocal (m) coastal sage and riparian, SJM (photo).



Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) San Joaquin Marsh, Orange CO CA 25 January 2016

                                                                                                                                     © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Belted Kingfisher  1  fly, call, UNB.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1  calls (unseen) riparian patch, SJM.

Black Phoebe 1  edge of marsh, UNB; 3  SJM.

Say's Phoebe  2  vocal; sallying from edge of ponds and coastal sage, SJM.

American Crow  4  vocal, flying, UNB.

Tree Swallow  4  flying low, back and forth over pond and marsh, SJM.

Bushtit  4  vocal in coastal sage-riparian, SJM.

House Wren  1  vocal in coastal sage-riparian, w, SJM.

Marsh Wren  3  vocal in marsh-riparian edge, SJM.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1  active in coastal sage at edge of pond, e, SJM.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2  vocal, active in riparian-coastal sage, SJM.

Wrentit  2   a pair quietly foraging in shrubs at edge of coastal sage and garden, s-central, SJM.

California Thrasher  1  vocal in coastal sage, w SJM.

American Pipit  2  vocal; flying low over shore, SJM.

Orange-crowned Warbler 1  vocal in riparian patch, UNB ; 1 vocal, riparian-coastal sage, SJM.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  12 (m,f)  vocal, active in a variety of vegetation types, UNB; 30  active, vocal, ubiquitous, SJM.

Common Yellowthroat   2  vocal, active at edge of marsh, UNB;  10  vocal, active in marsh and adjacent riparian, SJM.

Spotted Towhee  1  vocal in riparian patch, UNB;  1  vocal in coastal sage-riparian, SJM.

Song Sparrow  15  vocal, active near shore in dense vegetation, UNB. 30  vocal, active, ubiquitous near water, SJM.

House Finch  5 (m,f) vocal, gregarious; riparian patch and adjacent suburban garden, UNB; 4  (m,f) vocal, active in riparian patch, SJM.

Lesser Goldfinch  3  vocal, active in riparian patch, UNB.








April 18, 2015 Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve (53 Species)



Weather: Fair; 60F to 67F; wind WNW 2 -5 mph; high tide @ 0900 hrs.

Time:  0745 - 1140 hrs.

Observers: UCLA Extension Birds of Southern California class (16 students) and I.

Area Covered: Beginning and ending at the boardwalk and adjacent west parking lot, we walked the north-south levee trail to the tidal pipe levee, including a short levee section to the east of that point. Our survey included open water, tidal salt marsh, narrow mudflats (mostly inundated at high tide) and adjacent patches of saltbush scrub. We surveyed at total of about 120 acres, covering a distance of about 2 miles. Dozens of others, including joggers, hikers and dog owners were present on the boardwalk and levee trails during our survey.


Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Brant (2), Red-throated Loon (1), Horned Grebe (2), White Pelican (9), Ridgway's Rail (2), Long-billed Curlew (1 -cont.), Glaucous-winged Gull (1), and California Least Tern (6).






Canada Goose  4   individuals in the marsh, open water and foraging in the shallows at the base of the levee trail, n-central..

Brant  2   bathing, preening in the shallows at the end of a sandspit, e-central.

Gadwall  2 (m,f) flying over the boardwalk, w.

Mallard  10  (m,f) pairs in flight and at the edge of the tidal channel throughout.

Lesser Scaup  12  (m,f) diving in the main channel, nw.

Surf Scoter  10  (m,f) diving in the main channel, near LESC and RUDU, nw.

Bufflehead  1 (f) diving in the main channel with LESC, RUDU and SUSC, nw.

Red-breasted Merganser  1 (f) swimming, peering in the shallows next to the marsh in the main channel, w.

Ruddy Duck    20  (m,f; several in alt. plmg.) resting, diving throughout the main channel.

Red-throated Loon  1  swimming in the main channel near the wooden bridge (photo).



Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata) Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  April 18, 2015

                                                                                            © 2015 Callyn Yorke



Pied-billed Grebe   8 (ad, imm)  in pairs and small flocks of 4-5 individuals (adults and young) near shore, e-central (photo).


Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) adult (left); immature (r).  Bolsa Chica Orange County CA 18 April 2015


                                                                                                          © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Eared Grebe  10 (most in alt. plmg.) diving in main channel and open water, nw, e.

Horned Grebe  2   (early and advanced trans. alt. plmg.) individuals swimming in side channel, n-central.

Western Grebe   8  resting; swimming in open water throughout (photo - see following entry).

Clark's Grebe  1  swimming with a WEGR in the main channel near the boardwalk, sw (photo).



Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) above; Clark's Grebe (A. clarkii) below. Bolsa Chica ORCO CA  18 Apr 2015


                                                                                                             © 2015 Callyn Yorke






Double-crested Cormorant  8  swimming; one diving near the tidal levee; resting on a sandbar, e-central.

American White Pelican  9  (ad.; alt. and bsc. plmg.) together on a sandbar; flying in and leaving the area together, e-central.

Brown Pelican  2   a pair alighting in open water, e-central.

Great Blue Heron  6   ubiquitous; several individuals seen in flight and at edge of marsh; one fishing at base of tidal pipe levee with strong outgoing tidal flow.

Great Egret  1  flying low over marsh, ne.

Snowy Egret   14  ubiquitous; single and in flocks of 3-5 birds at edge of marsh; foraging in shallows.

Black-crowned Night Heron  1 (ad) at edge of marsh with SNEG, adjacent to the entrance parking lot, sw.

White-faced Ibis  4  seen earlier this morning by JH.

Peregrine Falcon 1 flew from perch on dead tree, low, to ne, flushing shorebirds, ne.

Ridgway's (Clapper)Rail  2   apparently two different individuals walking, preening, at the edge of the inundated marsh by the boardwalk entrance (photo) and sw levee trail (photo).



                      Ridgway's Rail (Rallus obsoletus) Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  18 April 2015

                                                                                                                 © 2015 Callyn Yorke









American Coot  2 (ad)  swimming near the marsh adjacent to the parking lot entrance, sw.

Semipalmated Plover  6   a loose flock of individuals foraging on exposed mudflats, ne.

Killdeer  6  vocal; pairs on mudflats, edge of marsh and sandy shores throughout.

Black-necked Stilt  2   near the boardwalk after the rest of the class had departed, (BK, JH).

Willet  10 (alt. plmg.) singles and pairs flying low over marsh; foraging in marsh and on adjacent mudflats throughout.

Whimbrel   5   a loose flock alighted in the marsh; foraging at the edge and within the marsh, ne.

Long-billed Curlew  1 (cont.) resting on a narrow marshy peninsula at a side-channel, e-central.

Marbled Godwit  20 flocks and individuals flying over marsh and shore throughout; foraging in shallows.

Ruddy Turnstone  1? (seen by others).

Western Sandpiper  20  foraging together on mudflats and edge of tidal channel, w, n, ne.

Least Sandpiper  40  foraging together on mudflats and shallows e-central.

Long-billed Dowitcher  60 (a few in alt. and trans. alt. plmg. most in bsc. plmg.)  small flocks foraging on narrow margins of exposed mudflats at the edge of tidal channels throughout.

Dowitcher sp.  10  possibly SBDO; individuals and pairs foraging near LBDO but maintaining their distance.

Western Gull  40   (ad, imm) flying over;  a flock resting with CAGU on sandbar and shoreline, e-central.

California Gull  10  (ad, imm) resting on a sandbar with WEGU, e-central.

Glaucous-winged Gull 1 (C1) alighted on sandbar with other gulls, e-central.

California Least Tern 5  vocal, flying in a loose flock above the main channel, s.

Caspian Tern  5  vocal; individuals flying over main channel; a pair on a sandbar, ne.

Forster's Tern  500 (conserv. est.)  alt. plmg. vocal, gregarious; many in marsh and diving for topsmelt in tidal channels.

Royal Tern  6  at edge of large ELTE flock on distant sandbar, se.

Elegant Tern  1,500 vocal, gregarious;  ubiquitous loose flocks over main channel; a huge flock of many hundreds showing courtship behavior on distant sandbar; frequent mass flights returning to the same place, se.

Feral Rock Pigeon  10  on and around the boardwalk, sw.

Allens/Rufous Hummingbird  2  seen by others, tidal pipe levee-saltbush scrub, n.

American Crow  8  vocal; pairs flying over marsh, w.

Tree Swallow  1  flying low over marsh adjacent to grove of dead eucalyptus trees.

Common Yellowthroat  1 repeated song, marsh-slatbush adjacent to parking entrance, sw.

Wilson's Warbler 1 repeated song (unseen) same area as COYE, sw.

Belding's Savannah Sparrow   20  ubiquitous; often in pairs in marsh and trailside; apparently habituated to pedestrians (photo).



Belding's Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi) Bolsa Chica ORCO CA  18 April 2015


                                                                                                 © 2015 Callyn Yorke






























April 10, 2015  Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve (56 Species)



Bolsa Chica:  a)  west-central boardwalk.    b)  w- central peninsula viewing south.   c) north levee trail at tidal pipe, viewing north.                                          


                                        © 2015 Merissa Mendez                                                                                                                   © 2015 Callyn Yorke





Weather: Fair; 63F; wind WSW 2 - 5 mph. Low tide.

Time:  0850-1110 hrs.

Area Covered: From the southwest entrance to the ecological preserve on CA -1 (PCH), I walked north on the main levee to the tidal pipe separating the north and south lagoons and continued about 200 yards east on the relatively new access levee. Low tide exposed extensive mudflats and salt marsh throughout the reserve. A small patch of riparian-coastal sage was surveyed at the junction of the north and east levees. Many joggers and others evidently uninterested in nature, were present on the levees; some with dogs (one unleashed).


Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Brant (6), Black Scoter (1), Reddish Egret (1) and Gull-billed Tern (1).





Canada Goose  3   on shore and in side channel, s, ne.

Brant  6 swimming in open water and near shore, e-central.

Mallard  3  (m,f) swimming at edge of marsh, n.

Gadwall   3  (m,f) swimming at edge of main channel, s.

Lesser Scaup   20  (m,f) swimming/diving in main channel, s, n.

Surf Scoter  10 (m,f)  diving throughout main channel.




Black Scoter  1 (f) diving around tidal pipe, n (photo).  An unusual inshore occurrence for this species.



Black Scoter (Melanitta americana) female  Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  10 April 2015

                                                                                                                               © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Bufflehead  1 (f) swimming in main tidal channel, nw.

Red-breasted Merganser  4  (f)  two pair, diving in open water; one pair preening on shore, nw.

Ruddy Duck   200 (m,f) gregarious, ubiquitous; resting in open water and near marsh.

Pied-billed Grebe  1 swimming side channel, nw.

Eared Grebe   3 (alt. plmg.) diving in side channel next to wooden bridge, s (photo).



           Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) Bolsa Chica Orange County CA 10 April 2015

                                                                                                                                        © 2015 Callyn Yorke







Western Grebe   10  pairs and individuals swimming (e), resting in open water and main channel, nw.

Double-crested Cormorant    20 (ad, imm) resting on shore, nw, e.

Great Blue Heron    10  on shore and in shallows throughout; one fishing from rocky levee at tidal pipe outlet, nw.

Great Egret   12  individuals on shore and in marsh throughout.

Snowy Egret   30 gregarious; foraging on shore and in shallows throughout.


Reddish Egret  1 (imm) foraging in shallows of side channel by running short distances and wing-flushing prior to probing/stabbing for small fish (photos). This species is a rare but nearly annual visitant to the Bolsa Chica marsh.



Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) same individual in all photos; Bolsa Chica Orange County CA 10 April 2015


                                                                                                                                              © 2015 Callyn Yorke






                            Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  10 April 2015

                                                                              © 2015 Callyn Yorke






American Coot   2   edge of main channel near wooden bridge, sw.

Black-bellied Plover  6  on mudflats with other shorebirds, se, n.

Killdeer  2  vocal; on mudflat at edge of main channel, nw.

Semipalmated Plover  80   loose flocks on mudflats throughout.

Greater Yellowlegs  2  (trans. alt. plmg.)   foraging in shallows of backwater areas, nw (photo).



Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  10 April 2015

                                                                                                                                                   © 2015 Callyn Yorke





Willet  30  (alt. and trans. plmg.) foraging on edges of marsh and mudflats throughout.

Whimbrel   60   two flocks foraging in SNPL/CLTE enclosure, mudflats and edge of marsh, s.

Long-billed Curlew  1  foraging at edge of marsh and mudflats in backwater area (photo).



Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  10 April 2015

                                                                                                                                         © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Marbled Godwit   40  foraging on mudflats and in marsh throughout.

Ruddy Turnstone  1 on shore at tidal pipe levee, n (photo).




Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  10 April 2015

                                                                                                                              © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Sanderling    60  a cohesive flock; flushed and returning to interior shoreline in backwater, nw.

Western Sandpiper    1,200 (conserv. est.) alt., trans. plmg.gregarious, ubiquitous; foraging on mudflats (photo).



Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  10 April 2015

                                                                                                                 © 2015 Callyn Yorke





Least Sandpiper  50 (alt., trans. plmg.)  foraging on algae-covered mudflats in backwater areas and on shore of main channel (photo).





Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  10 April 2015

                                                                                                               © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Dunlin   20 (trans. alt. plmg.)  foraging with WESA  in shallows, backwater areas; one with small crustacean (photo).




Dunlin (Calidris alpina) Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  10 April 2015

                                                                                                               © 2015 Callyn Yorke



Short-billed Dowitcher  10   (alt. trans. alt. plmg.) ID; bill wide at base; lack of broad white edges of scapulars, coverts and tertials;  foraging together on mudflats at edge of main channel.

Long-billed Dowitcher  50  (trans, alt, plmg,) ID  relatively long, slender and pointed bills; broad white edges of scapulars, coverts and tertials;  foraging and resting together on mudflats along main channel, (photo).



Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus)  Bolsa Chica Orange County CA

                                                                                                                  © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Ring-billed Gull  5 (ad, imm)  on mudflats and sandbars with CAGU ,ne.

Western Gull  30  (ad, imm).  on mudflats and sandbars; flying over marsh throughout.

California Gull  12  (ad, imm) gregarious on mudflats and sandbars.



Gull-billed Tern  1 (ad)  fitted with tracking device on back; flying low over main channel near tidal pipe levee, s (photo and addendum). This species is probably a rare but annual visitant to the Bolsa Chica area.




On 4/22/2015,  I received the following two email messages (a & b) from Kate Goodenough, the project director for research on Gull-billed Tern in California. The second message (b) was Kate's response to several of my questions regarding methodology, etc.



a)  Thanks so much for contacting the BBL with information on our Gull-billed Tern. This is Hendrix which spent the winter in southern Sonora. We captured him last year (June 25th) as a nesting adult at the South Bay Unit of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Hendrix is part of an ongoing project to track Gull-billed Tern migration from San Diego to Mexico. As you might be aware, GBTEs are state and federal species of concern due mainly to low population size. There are only 600 breeding pairs in the western population which includes San Diego, Salton Sea and seven colonies along Baja and the western coast of Mexico. The population has been declining over the last ten  years, and we hope to collect information on movements to document important stop over and winter locations which would be beneficial for protection and conservation here in California and Mexico.


b) The transmitters are solare-powered platform transmitting terminals with a lifespan so far of up to 18 months of consistent use. I did know that Hendrix was up there because Peter Knapp of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife sighted him up there and I have been checking the satellite data which gets downloaded to me every 3 days. You lucked out in your observations because he only spent 48 hours at BCER before heading south to San Diego. BCER is the farthest north we have tracked Hendrix. Unfortunately, we caught him as an adult so I can't tell you how far from his natal area he has travelled. I can say that many of the younger terns appear to visit BCER frequently before they head back to San Diego to nest. If you happen to sight any terns with a red or yellow flagband, let me know. The red flags are terns which are 3-4 years old and the yellow flags are younger terns from 2013-14 with the exception of Winehouse who has a yellow flag and transmitter who is 5 years old.

The refuge manager and I are big rock fans- Our terns so far have been named Lolo (started out Lola but ended up being male), Joplin, Hendrix, Winehouse, and Louisa. We are still planning the names for future terns should you have any good ideas.






    Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) with tracking device, Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  10 April 2015


                                                                                                                                                    © 2015 Callyn Yorke





Caspian Tern  2   (alt. plmg.)   togetheron shore, e; one flying over marsh, vocalizing.

Forster's Tern  30   (alt. plmg.) vocal, gregarious; pre-nesting behavior in marsh near wooden bridge; diving succesfully for small fish in side channels (photo).




           Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) Bolsa Chica Orange County CA  10 April 2015

                                                                                                                               © 2015 Callyn Yorke





Royal Tern  2  flying over main channel; alighting on shore, n.

Elegant Tern   150 (conserv. est.) vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous; courtship and pre-nesting behavior on distant sandbar, s.

Feral Rock Pigeon    4  flying over edge of main channel, n.

Mourning Dove  3  flying near dead trees, nw.

Allen's Hummingbird  2 (f) in saltbush at edge of tidal pipe levee, nw.

Cassin's Kingbird  1  vocal (unseen) dead trees, nw.

American Crow  6  vocal; gregarious; flying low over n end of marsh.

Tree Swallow  6  flying low, back and forth over levee and backwater near dead trees, nw.

Marsh Wren  1 repeated song (unseen) marsh near wooden bridge, sw.

American Pipit  calls (unseen)  near tidal pipe levee, n.

Common Yellowthroat  1 repeated song, marsh at wooden bridge entrance, sw.

House Wren  1 repeated song, dead trees-salt bush at edge of backwater, nw.

White-crowned Sparrow  2  around saltbush near tidal levee, nw.

Belding's Savannah Sparrow    10  song; calls; running on levee at edge of marsh, main channel.

House Finch  2  repeated song, tidal pipe levee area.

Song Sparrow  1  repeated song, woodedn bridge entrance, sw.




































February 13, 2014  Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve (45 Species)

Weather: Fair with patchy stratus clouds; 58F to 62 F. Wind SSE 2 mph; high tide @ 0800 hrs.

Time: 0820- 1000 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: From the southeast entrance off PCH, we walked over a wooden bridge and northwest on the main levee separating the north and south sections of the coastal salt marsh. Due to heavy construction equipment being operated at the north end of the levee, we walked to just beyond the first bend in the levee, returning the same route. A few other visitors were present during our survey. Habitats surveyed included coastal salt marsh, open water, mudflats and shoreline.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Brant (60), Greater Scaup (2), White Pelican (3), Reddish Egret (2), Red Knot (2) Caspian Tern (1), Belding's (8) and Large-billed Savannah Sparrow (2).


Canada Goose  4  edge of marsh, n.

Brant  60  scattered in open water, n.

American Wigeon   25 (m,f)  edge of marsh and open water throughout.

Northern Pintail  6 (m,f) in marsh and edge; open water, s.

Lesser Scaup 50 (m,f) ubiquitous; open water and diving near the marsh,

Greater Scaup  2 (m,f) noted round head with green gloss (m); large bill; diving in the main channel, s.

Surf Scoter   5 (m,f; ad, imm) diving in the main channel near the bridge (photo).

Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) male; Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 February 2014

                                                                                                          © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Bufflehead   60  (m,f) ubiquitous; diving in channel.

Red-breasted Merganser  3 (f) flying low over open water, n.

Ruddy Duck  200  (m,f) ubiquitous, esp, s; resting in open water and near the marsh.

Pied-billed Grebe   15  swimming, diving together in small flocks in the channel and open water.

Horned Grebe   4  diving near the bridge; seen swimming underwater in the shallows, covering 50-80 meters for several minutes.

Eared Grebe   8  diving near the bridge with HOGR.

Double-crested Cormorant  50  most resting on se shore; a few diving in open water.

American White Pelican  3   two swimming in main channel, se; one on shore, se.

Brown Pelican  20  (many in alt. plmg.) on shore, se.

Great Blue Heron  1(ad)  in dead tree, nw.

Great Egret   4  in marsh and on shore; s (photo).

Great Egret (Ardea alba) Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 February 2014

                                                                                          © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Snowy Egret  18  edge of marsh; 10 on northwest levee with tidal pipe.

Reddish Egret  2 (ad) one adult in alt. plmg. in the marsh near the wooden bridge (photo); another distant adult partially concealed at base of dead tree in marsh, nw.

Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) south-east Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 February 2014

                                                                                                        © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Osprey  1  flying low over the channel, s.

Cooper's Hawk  1 (imm) at the top of a dead tree at edge of marsh, near a REEG, nw.

American Coot  60  ubiquitous in and near the marsh.

Marbled Godwit  20  resting with WILL and SBDO in salt marsh near the wooden bridge.

Long-billed Curlew   6  individuals foraging in the marsh, s, sw.

Willet   60  ubiquitous; resting in marsh and on shore.

Sanderling  16  a tight flock flying low over open water, n.

Least Sandpiper  12  foraging on shore, ne.

Short-billed Dowitcher  30  resting in marsh near the wooden bridge, s.

Red Knot  2  bsc. plmg. (possibly several more) together, resting and well-concealed in marsh with SBDO, WILL and MAGO, near wooden bridge, s (photo).

Red Knot (Calidris canutus) south Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 February 2014

                                                                           © 2014 Callyn Yorke



Ring-billed Gull   3 (ad)  one with 6 inch bony fish on wooden bridge, s.

California Gull 2 (ad) flying over open water, n.

Western Gull   10  on shore; flying.

Glaucous-winged Gull 1 (C1) landed on small islet, se.

Caspian Tern  1 (ad) flying low over channel, s.

Forster's Tern  3 (one alt. plmg.) vocal; two on post in open water, n.

Domestic Rock Pigeon  6  flying low around parking area and wooden bridge, s.

Say's Phoebe  1  sallying between LETE nesting area and chain-link fence, s.

American Crow  calls, s.

Marsh Wren  2  calls; active at the edge of the marsh near the wooden bridge, s.

Common Yellowthroat  1  calls (unseen) marsh at the edge of the parking area, s.

Savannah Sparrow (6 Beldings; 2 Large-billed) in and around the salt marsh (Belding's); rocks on edge of levee (Large-billed), s (photos).


Belding's (left) and Large-billed (right) Savannah Sparrow  Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA  13 Feb 2014


                                                                      © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Song Sparrow   2  song, edge of marsh near parking area, s.

White-crowned Sparrow  3 (imm) edge of gravel path with shrubs and Salicornia, s.

House Finch  calls, parking area, s.









MARCH 29, 2013  Doheny State Beach (44 Species)

Weather: partly cloudy; 60F;  wind WNW 2 mph. Low tide @ 1330  hrs.

Time: 1215 - 1345 hrs.

Areas Covered:  1) Southwest parking area of Doheny State Beach, adjacent to a stagnant stream with a restored riparian-coastal sage border. I walked around the stream area, surveying a small marsh, lawns, eucalyptus, beach and breakwater. I continued walking south to the breakwater at the edge of the main harbor, surveying open ocean, harbor and tall eucalyptus trees with active Black-crowned Night Heron and Snowy Egret rookeries.  2) San Juan Creek (SJC): I walked to the mouth of  SJC, surveying shoreline and sandbars in the creek. There were many people in the park and on the outer shore of the main beach. I used a 10x42 binocular and DSLR camera for the survey.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Snowy Egret (several pairs nesting), Black-crowned Night Heron (several pairs nesting), a possible Glaucous Gull hybrid (1)  Royal Tern (mating), and Western Kingbird (1).


Gadwall 1 (m) resting in shallows, SJC.

Mallard  2 (m,f) dabbling in shallows, SJC.

Northern Shoveler  1 (m) dabbling in shallows, SJC.

Red-breasted Merganser  1 (f)  preening in the harbor with WEGR.

Ruddy Duck   3  in shallows, SJC.

Common Loon  1  flying low offshore,

Western Grebe  3   together in harbor.

Clark's Grebe  1  offshore about 100m.

Double-crested Cormorant   25 (many in alt. plmg.)   resting,  flying, swimming in and around harbor.

Brown Pelican .   300 (many in alt. plmg.)    ubiquitous; most on outer breakwater of harbor.

Great Blue Heron  2  on harbor breakwater.

Great Egret  2  foraging in shallows, SJC.

Snowy Egret   12 (alt. plmg.)   at least 4 pair nesting in tall eucalyptus along harbor roadway. One pair giving garbled ("Donald Duck"-like) calls next to partially built nest of sticks. Two on dock in harbor.

Black-crowned Night Heron  10 (alt, plmg)   at least six pairs nesting in a separate eucalyptus tree from nearby SNEG.

American Coot   25  in shallows, SJC.

Killdeer  calls, around harbor and edge of park.

Black-necked Stilt   11(alt. plmg.)   foraging in shallows, SJC.

American Avocet  2 (alt. plmg.) foraging together in shallows, SJC.

Willet   3  resting on sandbar, SJC.

Whimbrel   8   flying w over the shoreline.

Western Sandpiper   4  foraging at the edge of the creek, SJC.

Least Sandpiper   5  foraging near WESA, SJC.

Short-billed Dowitcher  1  foraging in shallows, SJC.

Bonaparte's Gull  2 (bsc. plmg.) resting on a sandbar, SJC.

Heermann's Gull  3  (imm) flying over shoreline and harbor.

California Gull     35  (ad, imm) resting on sandbar with WEGU, SJC.

Western Gull   85  (90% adult)  ubiquitous; most numerous in SJC.

Larus sp. (c.f. L. hyperboreas x argentatus ) 1 (C1) amongst WEGU and CAGU on gravel bar at the mouth of SJC. Took flight with other gulls and returned shortly with them to the same place. Noted pale, transluscent primaries in flight; sloping head and relatively long, bicolored bill. Legs pinkish. The size of the bird was estimated by comparison with nearby CAGU and WEGU to be intermediate between those two species, which, taken together with other features, would be consistent with a leucistic Herring Gull (photos A & B). A report of a first cycle Glaucous Gull was made yesterday (March 28, 2013) by observers at Dockweiler Beach, Los Angeles County.Photos of that particular bird indicate a typical C1 Glaucous Gull and distinctly different in appearance compared with the bird shown below in photos A & B.

Note: One CBRC member suggested that, because of its relatively dark bill, the bird shown below could be a "Nelson's Gull," a hybrid between Glaucous and Herring Gull. However, an F1 Nelson's Gull should have more dark pigment in the primaries than is evident in the bird shown in photos A & B.

(A) Larus sp.  Note shape of head, long bicolored bill and largely transluscent flight feathers showing very little pigmentation in the primaries. San Juan Creek, Doheny State Beach, Orange County, CA  29 March, 2013.

                                                                                                                                                 © 2013 Callyn Yorke

                                                 (B) Larus sp. Same individual as shown above; note pink orbital area, suggesting                                                                                               a leucistic Herring Gull  (L. argentatus). SJC, Doheny SB, ORCO, CA  29 March, 2013


                                                                                                                        © 2013 Callyn Yorke


Caspian Tern   3  (alt and bsc. plmg.) resting on gravel bar, SJC.

Elegant Tern  73  (alt, and bsc. plmg.)  vocal, courtship on sandbar, SJC.

Royal Tern  5  (alt. and bsc. plmg)  a pair copulating on sandbar near a large flock of ELTE, SJC (photo).

Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus)  San Juan Creek, Doheny State Beach, Orange County, CA  29 March 2013


                                                                                          © 2013  Callyn Yorke



Anna's Hummingbird  1  calls, roadside eucalyptus at park entrance.

Black Phoebe  1  low perch, sallying to insects on beach wrack from breakwater.

Western Kingbird  1  flying around and perching on a saltbush at the mouth of the stagnant creek.

American Crow    25  ubiquitous, most numerous at the beach and in eucalyptus.

Bushtit  2   calls; one carrying an egret feather in its beak; riparian-coastal sage area.

Marsh Wren  calls from dry marsh at edge of stagnant creek.

European Starling  20  vocal, in eucalyptus and flying around the park.

American Pipit   fly, calls, breakwater road.

Cedar Waxwing   calls from tall eucalyptus at park entrance.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  20  calls, active in a variety of vegetation at the park entrance.

Song Sparrow  1  singing in marsh alongside stagnant creek.

White-crowned Sparrow  5  foraging beneath shrubs in riparian area.

House Finch  5  vocal, active in riparian area.












Weather: Fair, coastal haze; relatively humid; 77F. Wind WNW  2 - 5 mph. Tide medium high, outgoing.

Time: 0938 - 1220 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: We walked from the south parking area across the wooden bridge and north to the tidal culvert. We continued up onto the narrow trail through coastal sage scrub, to about the midway point, stopping to use the scope on the bluff overlooking the north half of the channel. Hundreds of peeps and other shorebirds were foraging on the exposed mudflats. Between the parking area and the north channel, several narrow shoreline areas of the saltmarsh, islets and mudflats had fair numbers of birds; many more birds could be seen (most at distances too great for identification) to the east and south. Shallow areas of the lagoon and channel held many small fish (top minnow?), a few brown rays, crabs and other marine life (e.g. one sea hare (photo)). A few other birders and photographers were in the area during our survey, along with joggers, hikers and others folks chatting and texting incessantly, seemingly uninterested in nature. Hundreds of beachgoers were on the adjacent outer coast; heavy traffic on PCH.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Reddish Egret (3), Royal Tern (2), and Black Skimmer  (42).

California Sea Hare (Aplysia californica) west channel Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Orange County, CA 11 Aug 2012                                                            

                                                                                                                                            © 2012 Callyn Yorke



Pied-billed Grebe   2  swimming, diving in main channel.

Double-crested Cormorant   30  resting, diving in channel.

Brown Pelican  20  resting on islets, s.

Great Blue Heron  3  individuals separated by 100 m or more in saltmarsh.

Reddish Egret  3  invidivuals on edge of marsh and islets, n, s (photo).

Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA  11 Aug 2012   

                                                                                                                © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Great Egret   3  middle and edge of saltmarsh.

Snowy Egret   12  edge of saltmarsh; mudflats,  channel shoreline.

Turkey Vulture  1  flying, n.

American Kestrel  1  perched in a dead tree, n.

Black-bellied Plover   150 (probably an underestimate)  trans. bsc. plmg. foraging on mudflats, islets throughout (photo).

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)  Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA  11 Aug 2012

                                                                                                                                   © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Semipalmated Plover   40   foraging in loose flocks on mudflats and shorelines of islets throughout (photo).

Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) Bosla Chica, Orange County, CA  11 Aug 2012

                                                                                                                                  © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Killdeer   1  mudflat at edge of saltmarsh.

Lesser Yellowlegs  2  foraging in tall saltmarsh grass at edge of mudflat.

Willet   300  foraging on mudflats, shorelines, islets throughout.

Marbled Godwit   50  foraging on mudflats and shorelines throughout.

Whimbrel   4  foraging on mudflat.

Long-billed Curlew   10 (ad, imm) foraging on mudflats at edge of marsh and islets (photo).

Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) immature   Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA  11 August, 2012

                                                                                                                                                                                         © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Western Sandpiper  2,000 (ad, imm) trans. bsc. plmg.   ubiquitous on mudflats, shorelines and islets (photo).

Least Sandpiper   20  with WESA, nw mudflats (photo)

Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutila) top; WESA (C. mauri) bottom, Bolsa Chica, CA  11 Aug 2012

                                                                                                                               © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Short-billed Dowitcher   10   two separate flocks foraging on mudflats, n.

California Gull  8 (ad) resting on islet with WEGU.

Western Gull  120 (90% ad)  resting on islets; flying.

Caspian Tern  8  resting on islet, ne.

Elegant Tern  250   courtship displays using fish on crowded islet (photo); diving in channel.

Elegant Tern (Thalasseus elegans) Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA  August 11, 2012

                                                                                                © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Royal Tern   2  imm on islet among ELTE (photo).

Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus) center with ELTE   Bolsa Chica, Orange County CA 11 Aug 2012

                                                                                             © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Gull-billed Tern  1  diving amongst FOTE near the wooden bridge.

Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)  Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA  11 Aug 2012

                                                                                  © 2012 Callyn Yorke




Forster's Tern   80  diving in channel near the wooden bridge.

Black Skimmer  40-50  separate flocks resting on islets, nw (photo).

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)  nw Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA  11 Aug 2012

                                                                                                 © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Rock Pigeon   12 mostly around the wooden bridge.

Black Phoebe  2  edge of channel and saltmarsh; perched on fence.

Barn Swallow   4 flying low, back and forth over channel.

Belding's Savannah Sparrow  4  separate individuals foraging on mudflats at edge of saltmarsh (photo).

Belding's Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi ) Bolsa Chica, CA 11 Aug 2012

                                                                                             © 2012 Callyn Yorke


House Finch  4  fly, song, n.










Weather: Partly cloudy; 57F to 60F; winds ESE 5 -10 mph. Low tide about 1100 hrs. Seas choppy.

Time: 0905 - 1319 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I. Several other birders met along during our survey, including four gentlemen visiting from Scotland.

Area Covered: We walked from the south parking area across the wooden bridge and south along the levee separating the two main estuarine channels. Our survey included a path along the north fence line through coastal sage and ruderal fields, bordered by mature date palms and eucalyptus (many dead near the edge of the lagoon). Many shorebirds were foraging on the exposed, algae-covered mudflats and peninsulas. I scoped the eastern shoreline of the channel but birds there barely identifiable due to the great distance. The inlet at the northwest terminus of the levee trail attracted several piscivorous birds, actively foraging in the shallows for small fish (e.g.anchovies). The traditional California Least Tern and Snowy Plover nesting colony (fenced off between the wooden bridge and east channel) did not have any birds in it; a local biologist who was doing a nest survey inside the enclosure, mentioned that a pair of Snowy Plover eggs had been laid near the northeast border of the area and protected from predators (e.g. corvids) by a cage. However, no adult Snowy Plover or California Least Tern was found today during our survey. I also briefly scope the adjacent shore and nearshore waters on the southwest side of PCH.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Hybrid Teal sp. (1), Dunlin (1),   Lesser Yellowlegs (1), Semi-palmated Plover (2), European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argentatus) (1).


Canada Goose  2  calling, walking in the CALT - SNPL breeding area; later seen swimming in the estuary, s.

Gadwall  2 (m,f) swimming, foraging, shallows, n.

American Wigeon   20 (m,f) foraging at edge of e channel.

Mallard  2 (m,f)  edge of channel, n.

Blue-winged Teal  12  foraging in shallows near bridge, sw.

Green-winged Teal  8 (m,f) mudflats and shallows, sw.

Teal hybrid sp.  1 (m)  features intermediate between BWTE and GWTE or COTE? (i.e..posterior black and white color pattern; rusty-orange face with green head stripe; faint vertical white facial stripe) foraging with Blue-winged Teal near bridge, sw (photo).

Teal hybrid (m)  Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA  24 March, 2012 .

                                                                                        © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Cinnamon Teal  2 (m,f)  foraging in shallows, n.

Northern Shoveler   20 (m,f)  shallows and edge of channels, sw, n.

Northern Pintail   10 (m,f) foraging in shallows and deep water, sw and n.

Bufflehead   10   (m,f) diving in deeo water.

Lesser Scaup  120  (m,f) diving in main channel; resting in open water, esp. s. (photo).

Lesser Scaup  (male)  Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA  24 March, 2012

                                                                                           © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Surf Scoter  4 (m,f) diving in main channel; bathing in channel (photo).

Surf Scoter (female)  northwest Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA   24 March 2012

                                                                                         ©  2012 Callyn Yorke


Red-breasted Merganser  25 (f)   8 females showing cooperative foraging for anchovies at inlet (photo).

Red-breasted Merganser (females)  Northwest Bolsa Chica, Orange Co. CA  24 March, 2012

                                                                                                                       © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Ruddy Duck  250  (m,f; 50% m in alt. plmg.) flocks resting in open water throughout.

Pacific Loon  3  flying low over ocean 100 yards offshore, w.

Pied-billed Grebe 2  open water, main channel, w.

Eared Grebe  10   (bsc, and trans, alt. plumage), diving, main channel, w.

Horned Grebe   6  ( 6 in bsc; one in alt. plumage - photo), main channel, w.

Horned Grebe  Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA  24 March, 2012


                                                                         © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Western Grebe   80  nearshore, w.

Clark's Grebe  1 diving near inlet with other birds (photo).

Clark's Grebe   Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA   24 March, 2012

                                                                                               © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Brown Pelican   120   resting on sandbar; flying nearshore, s,w.

Double-crested Cormorant  60  resting on sandbar with BRPE; swimming, diving in main channel.

Brandt's Cormorant   2  flying low offshore, w.

Great Blue Heron  4  in field and marsh; a pair (alt. plmg.) possibly nesting in a date palm, n.

Great Egret  3  in mustard field and edge of marsh, n, nw.

Snowy Egret  40 (alt. plmg.)   one flock of 25 at edge of marsh near inlet, n.

Northern Harrier 1 (f) flying over flock of gulls on a peninsula, e.

Red-tailed Hawk  1 (ad) flying over eucalyptus snags, then landing on unused oil pump.

Peregrine Falcon  1  atop eucalyptus snag; flying s over marsh, ne.

American Coot  100 edge of channel throughout.

Black-bellied Plover  600  resting on shore, e.

Semi-palmated Plover  2  staying close on mudflat, nw.

Snowy Plover  2 eggs reported by a research biologist (no adults or chicks);protected by metal cage in fenced breeding area near bridge.

Killdeer  1 calls, shoreline near inlet, nw.

American Avocet   70 (bsc. plmg.)   foraging in shallows, n, w.

Greater Yellowlegs 2  foraging on mudflats and in shallows, n.

Lesser Yellowlegs  1 walking quickly, foraging on mudflats, n.

Willet  150 (bsc. and trans. alt plmg.)   foraging on shore and shallows of channel, w (photo); resting in marsh throughout.

Willet     southwest Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA  24 March, 2012

                                                                                                         © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Whimbrel  1  foraging on mudflat alongside channel, w.

Long-billed Curlew   6  foraging on shore of main channel, central, e.

Marbled Godwit   12 foraging on mudflats and edge of channel.

Dunlin  1  foraging at edge of main channel, w (photo).

Dunlin   central-west Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA   24 March, 2012

                                                                                                                             © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Western Sandpiper    250  (a few in trans. alt. plumage - photo)  foraging on mudflats throughout.

Western Sandpiper    Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA   24 March, 2012

                                                                                                             © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Least Sandpiper   60 (bsc. plmg.)  foraging in small flocks on mudflats and edge of marsh throughout.

Short-billed Dowitcher  200 (bsc. plmg.) foraging on mudflats and shallows; resting on narrow shore of channel, w.

Ruddy Turnstone  8  foraging on mudflats along e channel.

Heermann's Gull 1 (immature, C1) flying nw nearshore, w.

Ring-billed Gull  25 (ad, imm) on sandbars in main channel, n.

California Gull    150 (ad, imm) on sandbars, mudflats, main channel, n.

 American Herring Gull (Larus argentatus smithsonianus) 2 (imm C-1) with many CAGU on sandbar, n.

 European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argentatus ) 1 (imm - C1) striking and conspicuous dark barring on pale mantle , white head; heavy, largely blackish bill.  Resting with nearby American HEGU (L. a. smithsonianus)on peninsula n of fenced CALT-SNPL nesting area.allowed good comparison (observed by me and  4 experienced birders from Great Britain) with a scope from about 60 yards away on hilltop overlooking east channel - no photos).

Glaucous-winged Gull  2  (C1, ad)  on peninusula with CAGU, central-west.

Western Gull   30 (adult) pairs showing some courtship, mudflats and shoreline, n;  40 flying, resting offshore, w.

Caspian Tern   4  fly, call, over main channel, n.

Royal Tern   6  flying low over main channel, n.

Elegant Tern   300  vocal, flying low, resting on sandbars s, n.

Forster's Tern   20  diving in main channel near inlet; resting on fence with RBGU, n (photos).

Forster's Tern   northwest Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA  24 March 2012


                                                                         © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Rock Pigeon   10 around bridge and parking area, sw.

Mourning Dove  2  calls, eucalyptus woods, nw.

Anna's Hummingbird  2  fly, call around flowering eucalyptus, n.

Allen's Hummingbird  2  fly, call, perched atop tall shrubs (photo).

Allen's Hummingbird  central-north Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA 24 Mar, 2012

                                                                             © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Black Phoebe  1  calls, edge of coastal sage scrub and eucalyptus woods, n.

American Crow  8  fly, call, n.

Common Raven  1  flying, ne.

Tree Swallow  2  flying over eucalyptus snags, ne.

House Wren  2  song, calls,  edge of coastal sage -eucalyptus woods, n.

European Starling  2  atop eucalyptus snag, n.

California Towhee  2  on fence and ground, edge of coastal sage-eucalyptus, n.

Savannah Sparrow 20 (including at least 10 Belding's)   edge of marsh, several foraging close together, nw (photo).

Belding's Savannah Sparrow    Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA  24 March, 2012.

                                                                                                                        © 2012 Callyn Yorke

White-crowned Sparrow   5  edge of trail through coastal sage scrub, n.\

House Finch   8  ruderal fields, eucalyptus woodland, n.











JANUARY 18, 2012  Doheny State Beach (34 Species)

Weather: Fair; 60F; wind NE 2 - 5 mph. Low Tide.

Time: 1136 - 1342 hrs.

Area Covered: I walked the shoreline and into the exposed tidepool at the northwest corner of Doheny State Beach. I also covered the portions of the adjacent park with lawns, exotic shrubs (e.g. pyracantha), mature eucalyptus and a small, stagnant creek and narrow marshy border with a posted sign indicated "Contaminated Water." I walked to breakwater overlooking the harbor and nearshore waters (photo). A few beachgoers and fishermen were present; heavy equipment was being used in the park in several places, resulting in the closure of all the public restrooms. Except for the harsh mid-afternoon glare, conditions were good for finding and identifying birds. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Thayer's Gull (1), Glaucous-winged Gull (3), a possible Glaucous Gull (see photos below) and Black Skimmer (2). About 1,500 gulls were present on shore; most being California Gull (photo).

Doheny State Beach, viewing southeast from the breakwater.  January 18, 2012  

                                                                                                                                             © 2012 Callyn Yorke



Mallard  4  resting in and at the edge of the creek.

Red-breasted Merganser  1 (f) preening, near shore.

Pacific Loon  1  offshore.

Western Grebe  30  near shore.

Double-crested Cormorant   30  resting on rocks; diving near shore.

Brown Pelican    25  resting on water and on dock in harbor.

Snowy Egret   6  foraging in tidepool, creek and edge of breakwater

Black-crowned Night Heron   4 (imm)  in marsh at edge of creek.

Osprey  1 (ad) flying slowly over nearshore waters; chased by WEGU.

American Coot   2  in creek.

Black-bellied Plover  20  foraging in tidepool.

Sanderling   15  foraging at edge of tidepool.

Willet  2  foraging at edge of tidepool.

Heermann's Gull  12 (ad, imm; alt and bsc. plmg.)on beach and in creek (photos).

Heermann's Gull  (adult alternate plumage; adult basic plumage; immature, first cycle)  Doheny State Beach, Orange County, CA  Jan. 18, 2012


                                            © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Ring-billed Gull   5 (ad, imm)  on beach (photo).

Ring-billed Gull (adult, alternate plumage)  Doheny State Beach, Orange County, CA  January 18, 2012

                                                                                                          © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Herring Gull  2  (C2)  at outer edge of tidepool.

California Gull   1,500 (90% ad)   tidepools and adjacent beach (see above photo).

Larus sp.   I Initially thought to the bird photographed below to possibly be Thayer's, but it may actually be a hybrid Glaucous-winged x Herring; according to one authority (Jon Dunn), who noted the lack of vermiculation in wings 1 (C1)  on outer edge of tidepool (photo).

Larus sp. (first cycle): note dark centers of tertials and pale edges of primaries. Doheny State Beach, Orange County, CA  Jan. 18, 2012

                                                                                                                                            © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Glaucous-winged Gull   4  (adult; C1)  at edge of tidepool..  (C1)  foraging on offshore rocks; note relatively large size (cf  adjacent C1 WEGU); white primaries, partly bicolored bill, suggesting the rare Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) but some C1 Glaucous-winged Gulls may be "bleached out" by mid-winter (Jon Dunn).

Glaucous-winged Gull .  Note relatively large size, overall white upperparts, especially the white primaries. This bird is probably a pale, late-winter Glaucous-winged GulL  Doheny State Beach, Orange County, CA  Jan. 18, 2012.


                                                                                                         © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Western Gull   100   (ad, imm) tidepools and nearshore waters.

Black Skimmer  2  skimming at edge of tidepool; one resting on shore.

Rock Pigeon  10  flying over estuary bridge.

Anna's Hummingbird  2  calls; eucalyptus trees at edge of parking lot.

Allen's Hummingbird  1 (m)  vocalizations; display, edge of creek.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1  calls, inside park.

Black Phoebe   2  fly, call, low near creek and marsh.

Say's Phoebe  1  flying over lawn in picnic area.

American Crow  20  fly, call; foraging in tidepool.

Bushtit   18  foraging in ornamental shrubs next to creek.

Western Bluebird  1 (f) on handicap parking sign under eucalyptus grove (photo).

Western Bluebird (female) Doheny State Beach, Orange County, CA

                               January 18, 2012  @ Callyn Yorke

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  20 (m,f) foraging, calls, throughout park.

Common Yellowthroat   1  calls, saltbush next to creek.

Song Sparrow  2   two birds, singing alternately from top of leafless tree (photo);

Song Sparrow (adult) Doheny State Beach, Orange County, CA  Jan. 18, 2012

                                                                © 2012 Callyn Yorke

White-crowned Sparrow   2 calls, song, edge of creek.

House Finch  4  calls, song; eucalyptus grove near creek.






JULY 12, 2011  Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve (31 Species)

Weather: Overcast, clearing to partly cloudy. 63F to 70F; winds WSW  5 - 10 mph. Tide high, outgoing.

Time: 0855 - 1200 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: We walked from the south parking lot, across the boardwalk and to the tidal bridge dividing the north and south lagoons. Thousands of vocal terns (mostly Elegant Tern) were concentrated around the islands in the southern (inacessible) portion of the reserve. Elsewhere, small flocks of waterbirds were scattered on islands in the lagoon and mudflats with dense mats of Salicornia. We spent about 30 minutes observing and photographing terns diving in turbulent waters by the tidal bridge.  Brown rays and  pink Nudibranchs were conspicuous in shallow water around the boardwalk. A few other birders and photographers were present during our survey. We used a 10x42 binocular, DSLR camera and 35-55x scope for the survey.


Brown Pelican  80   on mudflats; flying; fishing at tidal bridge.

Double-crested Cormorant   25  on mudflats, flying, swimming near tidal bridge.

Great Blue Heron   8  (ad, imm)  edge of sloughs and marsh (photo).


                                                                                                                                                      © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Great Egret   2  in marsh.

Snowy Egret  10  in marsh, channel and edge of mudflats.

Reddish Egret  2 (ad)   edge of slough in marsh, n and n-central.

Green Heron  1 (ad)   edge of slough on mudflat, n (photo).

                                                                                                                                                © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Turkey Vulture  1  soaring over ne lagoon.

Black-bellied Plover  6  (bsc. plmg.) mudflats and islands in the lagoon and slough (photo).

                                                                                                           © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Semipalmated Plover   36  foraging on vegetated and bare mudflats, n-central.

Black-necked Stilt  2  edge of mudflats.

Western Sandpiper  20  mudflats at edge of marsh.

Least Sandpiper    300  mudflats at edge of slough, islands and marsh.

Red Knot    85  one flock crowded on small island at edge of lagoon, n-central.

Short-billed Dowitcher   40  mostly resting at edge of marsh; some foraging on mudflats.

Willet   200  tight flocks at edge of marsh; most resting, preening.

Long-billed Curlew  8  foraging on mudflats, edge of marsh and lagoon.

Whimbrel  3   foraging on mudflats.

California Gull  3   (ad, C2) resting on island, n-central.

Western Gull   60  (ad, C1) resting on island, n-central.

Heermann's Gull 1 (ad) flying over n lagoon.

Caspian Tern  20   resting on sandbar; fly, call.

Elegant Tern   1,200  active, vocal; several diving for top smelt on s side of tidal bridge (photos).


© 2011 Callyn Yorke                                                                                    © 2011 Callyn Yorke


                                                                      © 2011 Callyn Yorke                                                                                                        © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Sterna sp.   1 (imm) flying low over marsh at edge of ELTE colony at south end of preserve; Size and proportions suggesting Common Tern or Forster's; patchy- gray upper wings; squarish white tail; slow, sluggish wingbeats; bill medium - sized, mostly black (not seen clearly).

Forster's Tern   80  flying low over lagoons and channels.

California Least Tern  10 (ad, imm)  on islands at edge of marsh; flying; diving in slough.

Black Skimmer    60  at edge of ELTE colony at south end of preserve. Not seen skimming.

Rock Pigeon   20  around boardwalk.

Mourning Dove  1  in dead tree at edge of marsh.

Tree Swallow  2  flying low over marsh, n.

Belding's Savannah Sparrow   10  active in marsh (photo).

Belding's Savannah Sparrow. I Initially thought this to be a Large-billed Savannah Sparrow but this relatively large-billed individual shows heavy black streaking on underparts characteristic of Belding's (Jon Dunn). Bolsa Chica, Orange County, CA, July 12, 2011.

                                                                                                                                                      © 2011 Callyn Yorke








NOVEMBER 21, 2010  Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve (42 Species)

Weather: Partly cloudy, 55F; winds WNW 15-25 mph; tide low @ 1520 hrs.

Time: 1135-1300 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: We drove east on Back Bay Rd, stopping at the first street intersection for about 10 minutes, then at the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve parking area. At the second location, I walked along the edge of the mudflats and into an adjacent riparian area bordering coastal sage hillsides. I surveyed mudflats, tidal estuary, Salicornia - Scypha Marsh (photo), Willow-Alder riparian-fresh water marsh and adjacent Coastal Sage Scrub. Fairly heavy traffic of cyclists, joggers and people with dogs on leashes. I used a 10x42 binocular, 35-55x scope, monopod and DSLR camera. Conditions were fair to poor for finding and identifying birds. Many birds were on distant mudflats that were difficult to see in windy conditions.

  Snowy Egret, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal and Ruddy Duck                                   UNBER   November 21, 2010                                       

                                                                                                                                                  © 2010 Callyn Yorke


American Wigeon  60 (m,f)   on mudflats and swimming near shore.

Mallard  20 (m,f)  backwater areas.

Northern Pintail    5  (m,f) swimming in slough.

Green-winged Teal   10 (m,f)    resting on mudflats.

Cinnamon Teal  4  (m,f) resting on mudflats.

Bufflehead  2  open water in main channel.

Ruddy Duck    5  sloughs and edge of main channel.

Pied-billed Grebe    1  diving in slough.

Eared Grebe  1  open water in slough.

Horned Grebe  1  diving in main channel.

Western Grebe  1  edge of main channel.

Brown Pelican   1  resting on side of main channel.

Double-crested Cormorant  1  flying low over main channel.

Great Blue Heron  1  edge of marsh.

Great Egret   8   edge of marsh.

Snowy Egret  20   in marsh and along edge.

Osprey  1  flying over main channel.

Red-tailed Hawk  1  calls from coastal sage hillsides.

American Coot  120  edge of channel and on mudflats.

Greater Yellowlegs  2  foraging on mudflats in slough.

Western Sandpiper  40  edge of mudflats on main channel.

Least Sandpiper   30  edge of mudflats on sloughs and main channel.

Sanderling  20  edge of mudflats on main channel.

Short-billed Dowitcher   200 edge of mudflats on main channel and slough.

Long-billed Curlew  10  on mudflats along main channel.

Marbled Godwit   50  on mudflats along main channel.

Willet   100   on mudflats along main channel.

Bonaparte's Gull  20  circling above main channel.

Ring-billed Gull   4  on mudflats along main channel.

California Gull  2  flying over main channel.

Western Gull   3 (C1, 3; ad) on mudflat of main channel.

Elegant Tern   3  flying above main channel.

Forster's Tern   5  diving in main channel.

Royal Tern (?)  1  flying over main channel.

Anna's Hummingbird  1  riparian edge.

Allen's Hummingbird  1  calls in riparian strip along hillside.

Black Phoebe  2  hillside with cactus and coastal sage.

American Crow  2  flying over coastal sage.

Marsh Wren  2  edge of marsh.

Song Sparrow  3  marsh and riparian, calls.

Common Yellowthroat    2  marsh and riparian, calls.

House Finch  6  flying over coastal sage scrub.







NOVEMBER 20, 2010   Laguna Beach (27 Species)

Weather: Overcast with occasional sqalls with brief showers coming through from the west; Air 57F; Water 61F; Winds WSW, WNW  10-20 mph. Seas moderate to heavy; surf 1-2 ft. Low Tide @ 1520 hrs.

Time:  1300 - 1530 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered:  We walked from the 800 block of PCH along the beach to Laguna main beach and continuing northwest through the exposed tidepools to Shaw's Cove (photo). We returned along surface streets, surveying gardens and cliff areas. A few people were on the beach; some walking dogs with leashes. One person let their dog run freely, flushing gulls and other shorebirds with reckless abandon. Our survey was made using a 10x42 binocular and DSLR camera.



Shaw's Cove Laguna Beach, Orange County CA  20 November 2010

                                                                                                                                                                                               © 2010 Callyn Yorke




Brant  1  flying around shoreline near Laguna main beach.

Brown Pelican   20 (ad, imm)   flying over nearshore waters; on offshore rocks.

Brandt's Cormorant   3  flying low over nearshore waters; swimming near shore; on nearshore rocks wih DOCO.

Double-crested Cormorant  20  flying low over nearshore waters; on nearshore rocks with BRCO.

Black-bellied Plover   3  foraging among kelp on beach.

Willet   5  foraging on beach and in tidepools.

Surfbird  7  cohesive flocks foraging in mussel beds (photo).

                                                                                                                         © 2010 Callyn Yorke

Wandering Tattler  1  foraging on rocks nearshore.

Black Turnstone  6  foraging in shoreline tidepools (photo).

                                                                                              © 2010 Callyn Yorke

Black Oystercatcher     6 (ad, imm)  foraging in mussel beds and tidepools.

California Gull   3  (C2,3)  on main beach.

Western Gull     50  (C1, C2; ad - 85 %) on beach and on nearshore rocks.

Ring-billed Gull   4 (C1, ad).   on main beach (phot: RIGU  C1).

                                                                                                               © 2010 Callyn Yorke

Heermann's Gull    40  (ad, imm)  on beach and tidepools.

Elegant Tern  10  diving offshore.

Forster's Tern   1  diving offshore with ELTE.

Rock Pigeon   70  main beach and adjacent lawns.

Allen's Hummingbird   2  coastal gardens, cliffside; calls.

Anna's Hummingbird  1 (m, imm)   coastal garden.

Black Phoebe  2  base of cliffs at beach; sally-gleaning on beach with kelp; calls.

American Crow   10  coastal cliffs and gardens.

House Wren  1  suburban garden; calls.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1  suburban garden; calls.

European Starling   3  suburban gardens; calls.

Yellow-rumped Warbler  5  coastal cliffs and gardens; calls.

Orange-crowned Warbler  1  cliff-side garden; calls.

House Sparrow   20  suburban gardens.



NOVEMBER 13, 2010   Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Orange County, CA (51 Species)

Weather: Fair, 68F; winds WNW 2-5 mph. Tide medium high.

Time: 1038 - 1300 hrs.

Area Covered:   From the south parking lot, I walked across the boarwalk and north along the main levee, stopping about 100 yards short of the east-west levee separating the northern and southern sections of Bolsa Chica. Habitats surveyed included  marine tidal estuary (many small fish surfacing, attracting terns and other diving birds), mudflats, narrow shorelines, rocky embankments, alkaline scrub, pickleweed marsh, and coastal dunes. Several groups of birders and nature photographers were present, including Nick Freeman and friends. Conditions were good for photography and identifying bird vocalizations; distant concentrations of hundreds of shorebirds were difficult to assign identies, and were largely excluded from the counts. I used a 10x42 binocular, 35-55x scope and DSLR camera. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest included:  Snow Goose (1) , Greater Scaup ( 8), Reddish Egret (3) , and three subspecies of  Savannah Sparrow, including: Belding's (2) and Large-billed Savannah Sparrow (2).


Snow Goose  1 (imm) flew in and landed on ne mudflat.

Greater Scaup  8 (f - left: note rounded head, large bill) diving with LESC (male - right: note pointed head) in channel near wooden bridge (photo)

                                                                                                                                                                                            © 2010 Callyn Yorke

Lesser Scaup   1 (m)  diving near GRSC.

Surf Scoter  1  (m)  open water, ne.

Bufflehead  2 (m)   open water, e channel.

Red-breasted Merganser   2 (f) flying nw, low over channel.

Ruddy Duck   40  resting in open water throughout.

Pied-billed Grebe  3  edge of channel.

Eared Grebe  4  diving in w channel.

Horned Grebe   1  diving in channel near boardwalk (photo).

                                                                                                                                  © 2010 Callyn Yorke

Western Grebe  1  open channel, n.

Brown Pelican   300 (ad, imm)   mudflats, flying.

Double-crested Cormorant  150  mudflats, flying, swimming.

Great Blue Heron   5  edge of marsh.

Great Egret    30  feeding frenzy at edge of marsh-channel, s.

Reddish Egret  3   one at s end on mudflats; other two at north end, in marsh (photo) near boardwalk, and on mudflat; foraging, preening.

                                                                                                     © 2010 Callyn Yorke

Snowy Egret   30  feeding frenzy at edge of marsh and in channel, s.

Osprey  1  flying over w channel.

American Coot    40  edge of marsh and channel.

Black-bellied Plover   10  foraging on mudflats; resting in marsh.

Semipalmated Plover    6   foraging on mudflat, ne.

Snowy Plover   2  foraging on edge of sandy flat, e.

Killdeer   2  foraging on mudflats, n.

Western Sandpiper    300  foraging on mudflats throughout.

Least Sandpiper    60  foraging on mudflats throughout.

Sanderling    12  on mud-sandflats, e.

Dunlin   20  foraging on mudflats and in shallow water, n.

Short-billed Dowitcher     30  foraging in shallows and on edge of mudflats (photo).

                                                                                                                                                                                                © 2010 Callyn Yorke

Willet    20  edge of marsh and on mudflats.

Long-billed Curlew    10  on mudflats and edge of marsh.

Marbled Godwit    50  on mudflats and edge of marsh.

Elegant Tern   50  diving in channel, feeding frenzy with SNEG and GREG, s.

Royal Tern    30  diving in channel,  as above, s.

Forster's Tern   100  diving in channel.

California Gull   50 (85% ad)   resting on mud- sandbars.

Ring-billed Gull   20 (ad)  resting on mud- sandbars.

Herring Gull   4 (ad) resting on  mud-sandbar.

Glaucous-winged Gull   1 (C1)  in shallows and on mud-sandbar.

Western Gull   200 (ad, imm) resting on mud-sandbars.

Heermann's Gull    10  (ad, imm) resting on mud-sandbars.

Rock Dove   10  flying over adjacent fields, n.

Belted Kingfisher  1  in dead tree,  edge of e-central marsh.

Black Phoebe  1  fly, call  near s parking area.

Say's Phoebe  flying, w field-marsh.

Tree Swallow  2  flying over w channel.

American Crow   2  flying over w channel.

American Pipit   fly, call, w marsh.

Common Yellowthroat  1  calls from edge of marsh, w.

Savannah Sparrow   12-14 (l & r photos below): P. s. rostratus (2)                          P. s. anthinus (5) (photos). P.s. beldingi  2   (not shown);

all three subspecies active at edge of Salicornia; P.s. anthinus and  P.s. rostratus  foraging on ground amongst rocks; P.s. beldingi in marsh.


                                                                                                            © 2010 Callyn Yorke                                                                                                     


Song Sparrow  1  edge of marsh and levee, n-central.

House Finch   2  calls, near parking area, sw.









JULY 8, 2010  (51 Species)

Weather: Overcast, 62F; winds WNW 5-10 mph; tide low @ 0730 hrs.

Time: 0920 - 1100 hrs. (BC); 1120 - 1315 hrs (HCP).

Observers: Merissa Mendez, Ethan Yorke and I.

Area Covered: 1) Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve (BC), South Entrance: We walked east across the boardwalk, then north between the two estuaries and the fenced California Least Tern nesting area, returning to the parking lot along the same route. I also walked S along PCH about 0.25 miles to photograph a Sooty Tern within a large colony of Elegant Terns. Several other birders and photographers were present during the survey; two of them pointed out the location of the Sooty Tern, which was too distant from the boardwalk to be seen clearly with only a binocular. 2) Huntington Cental Park (HCP) ,  at the SEC of Goldenwest and Slater, Huntington Beach. We walked the perimeter of the park, surveying parkland, riparian, ponds and aerial zones above the park. Many leashed dogs, walkers, joggers and picnickers were in the park during our survey. We used binoculars and a DSLR camera for both surveys today.


1) Mallard (wild-type) 20 (m,f; imm) in and around ponds, HCP.

Domestic Mallard (white)  1  with Muscovy hybrid, HCP.

2) Muscovy Duck  1 (black) with domestic mallard, HCP.

3) Red-breasted Merganser  1 (f)  swimming S in open water, W, BC.

4) Pied-billed Grebe  1  swimming, west estuary; calls, BC.

5) Brown Pelican  4  flying N, BC.

6) Double-crested Cormorant   16 (ad, imm)   resting on sandbar; flying, BC.

7) Great Blue Heron  1 (ad) resting in marsh, N, BC.

8) Great Egret  2 edge of marsh BC; 2  edge of pond, HCP.

9) Snowy Egret  4 edge of estuary, BC;  3  edge of pond, HCP.

10) Reddish Egret  1  foraging on NE mudflat with Snowy Egret (photo).

                                           © 2010 Callyn Yorke

11) Cooper's Hawk   1-2 (imm)  calls  while perched above parking lot in Eucalyptus tree, HCP.

12) Red-shouldered Hawk  1  calls from perch in tree next to pond-riparian area, HCP.

13) American Coot    4  edge of pond, HCP.

14) Black-bellied Plover  2 (bp)   on E sandbar and mudflat, BC.

15) Snowy Plover  2  in sandy CLT fenced area, BC.

16) Black-necked Stilt  2  W edge of estuary, BC.

17) Greater Yellowlegs  1 foraging in shallow marsh, N, BC.

18) Willet  6  (bp; ad, imm)  edge of estuary and marsh, BC.

19) Long-billed Curlew  2  foraging on mudflat and edge of marsh, NW, BC.

20) Marbled Godwit   1  foraging at edge of marsh-estuary, BC.

21) Western Sandpiper   30  foraging on edges of mudflats, BC.

22) Short-billed Dowitcher   12  foraging at edge of marsh (photo).

                                                                                                                           © 2010 Callyn Yorke

23) Western Gull   15 (ad, imm)   on sandbar; flying, BC.

24) California Gull  2 (imm)  on sandbar, BC.

25) California Least Tern   12 (ad, imm)  in fenced nesting area (photo) feeding young; foraging in estuary, BC.

                                                                                                                                                 © 2010 Callyn Yorke

26) Elegant Tern    300 (conserv. est. ad, imm.)  mostly on sandbar at S end; many foraging in estuary, BC.

27) Forster's Tern   15  (ad, imm) flying over estuary; diving, BC.

28) Sooty Tern  1 (alt. plmg.)  next to wooden structure in Elegant Tern colony, south end, BC (photo). Reported here several days ago.


                                                                                                             © 2010 Callyn Yorke

29) Black Skimmer   60  flying together around south end of estuary; pairs skimming in NW estuary, BC.

30) Rock Pigeon    6  on and around boardwalk, BC.

31) Anna's Hummingbird  3  calling in riparian areas, HCP.

32) Downy Woodpecker  1 (m) foraging in tree, E; calls, HCP.

33) Black Phoebe   10  low perches at edges of riparian, HCP.

34) American Crow   8  on lawns; flying; calls, HCP.

35) Barn Swallow   1 flying low over estuary, BC;  15 flying around pond and riparian areas, HCP.

36) Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2  flying low over riparian area, SW, HCP.

37) House Wren  1  edge of riparian, E, HCP.

38) Bushtit   10  edge of riparian, HCP.

39) American Robin   2  flying W; calls, HCP.

40) Orange-crowned Warbler  1  edge of riparian, central, HCP.

41) Yellow Warbler  3   central riparian, calls and song, HCP.

42) Common Yellowthroat   4  central riparian, song, HCP.

43) House Finch   10 (m,f; ad, imm)  riparian, HCP.

44) California Towhee  2  woodland, central-west, calls, HCP

45) Belding's Saltmarsh Savannah Sparrow    6  edge of marsh, central, BC.

46) Song Sparrow  3  riparian areas, song, HCP.

47) Black-headed Grosbeak  2  riparian edge; calls and song; HCP.

48) Lesser Goldfinch  2  edge of riparian, central-west, HCP.

49) Scaly Munia (Lonchura punctulata)  4  ditch, edge of riparian, W, BC.

50) Hooded Oriole  3 (m,f; imm)  central riparian; foraging on ripe orange fruits in tree, HCP.

51) House Sparrow   10  western section around pond and cafe, HCP.










HUNTINGTON CENTRAL PARK,  SEC of Slater and Goldenwest, HB,CA

                    Main Pond of Huntington Central Park, viewing southeast   May 9, 2010


                                                                                                                                                                                                                © 2010  Callyn Yorke

MAY 9, 2010  (44 Species)


Weather:  Overcast , 61F; winds calm.

Time:  0730-0930 hrs.

Area Covered:  I walked from the parkinglot at the SEC of Slater and Goldenwest Ave, a counter-clockwise route around Huntington Central Park. I used a 10 x 42 binocular and DSLR camera, surveying lawns, riparian patches, freshwater marsh, ornamental shrubs and trees. An increasing number of people with dogs (most on a leash) appeared by 0900 hrs. The park was largely quiet otherwise, and conditions good for identifying bird vocalizations. The tall Eucalyptus trees on the west side were especially productive for warblers. The main pond, in many years a large, dry depression, was nearly full of water (a few inches deep in the middle) with an exposed muddy shoreline, attracting a number of waterbirds (e.g. Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Dowitcher, Black-necked Stilt) which are probably scarce in the park during draught years (photo). Adjacent low-lying areas grown to riparian vegetation were inundated and swampy, where few birds were found during my survey this morning.


1) Canada Goose  2  on shore of main pond.

2) Mallard  50 (m,f) including semi-domesticated individuals around the ponds.

3) Northern Pintail   2 (m,f) dabbling in the main pond.

4) Gadwall   2  (m,f)  edge of main pond.

5) Ruddy Duck  (m  alt. plmg.)   resting in main pond.

6) Pied-billed Grebe  1  calls near main pond.

7) Great Egret  1  shoreline of main pond.

8) American Coot  1  shallow N section of main pond.

9) Black-necked Stilt  1  foraging in main pond.

10) Short-billed Dowitcher   16  foraging in mud and shallows of main pond.

11) Long-billed Dowitcher  2  foraging separately from SBDW  at edge of main pond.

12) California Gull  5  (imm)  four flying W; one at edge of main pond.

13) Forster's Tern  1 (alt. plmg.) circling and diving into W pond; caught a small fish.

14) Red-shouldered Hawk  1 (ad) flew into W side of park; calls.

15) Cooper's Hawk  1 (ad) flew into tall Eucalyptus near parking lot at SEC of Slater and Goldenwest.

16) Great Horned Owl  2  (ad, fledgling) in Eucalyptus at SEC of park near library (photp).

                                                          Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)


                                                       HCP,  May 8, 2010            © 2010 Callyn Yorke


17) Anna's Hummingbird  8 (m,f)  calling and flying around trees and shrubs throughout the park.

18) Allen's Hummingbird  6   (m,f) calling and perched in trees.

19) Selasphorus sp.  1  (m)  perched on snag in poor light, central riparian area;

20) Downy Woodpecker   2  flying, calling and drumming in riparian and Eucalyptus woods.

21) Rock Dove  1 flying over Goldenwest Ave.

22) American Crow  10  flying around park; calls.

23) Barn Swallow   4  flying low over main pond and adjacent muddy areas.

24) Tree Swallow   1  flying around main pond and adjacent riparian.

25) Black Phoebe  4  riparian and edge of marsh; calls.

26) American Robin  2  flying S; song.

27) European Starling  2  landed on light pole, Goldenwest Ave.

28) House Wren   3  singing from exposed perches in ornamental shrubs.

29) Bushtit  20  small flocks of 3-5 birds in shrubby areas around the park.

30) Hutton's Vireo  1  foraging in subcanopy of broadleaf tree, W-central.

31) Warbling Vireo  4  foraging in Eucalyptus; calls.

32) Yellow Warbler  35  foraging in Eucalyptus; calls and song; chasing.

33) Townsend's Warbler   4  foraging in Eucalyptus; calls.

34) Wilson's Warbler   15  foraging in Eucalyptus; calls and song.

35) Common Yellowthroat    8  singing in marsh and riparian areas.

36) California Towhee   3  calls from edges of shrubby areas.

37) Song Sparrow   8  singing throughout the marsh-riparian areas.

38) Western Tanager  2 (m,f) foraging in Eucalyptus, W-central.

39) Black-headed Grosbeak   6  calls and song from Eucalyptus and riparian areas.

40) Lesser Goldfinch  2  calls and song from Eucalyptus, NE area.

41) American Goldfinch  1 (m) singing on decidous tree, riparian, W.

42) House Finch   2  (m,f)  riparian area, SW; calls and song.

43) Bullock's Oriole   3  (m,f) foraging in Eucalyptus; calls and song.

44) House Sparrow   8  around buildings, SW.








BOLSA CHICA ECOLOGICAL RESERVE, Pacific Coast Hwy; Orange County, CA




                                                                                                                                                 Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)

)                                    California Least Tern (Sterna antillarum) Bolsa Chica,  May 8, 2010                         May 8, 2010, Bolsa Chica        © 2010 Callyn Yorke                                                                                                                                     



MAY 8, 2010  (42 Species)

Weather: Fair, 70F; winds WNW  5 -7 mph. Tide low @ 1200 hrs.

Time:  0907 - 1118 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: We began walking at the south parking lot of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and crossed the boardwalk to the Least Tern fenced enclosure, then north on the main levee about 0.2 miles. We walked slowly, using binoculars, scope and a DSLR camera, surveying open water, shoreline, mudflats, marsh and adjacent weedy fields. The boardwalk and adjacent pathways were crowded with visitors, the majority of which were jogging, chatting, and carrying no binoculars. A few wildlife photographers, including Rick Lewis, were present along with some beginning birders from Colorado. The windy, and rather crowded, noisy conditions made observations slightly more difficult than usual on a typical weekend. Many shorebirds could be seen on the mudflats and sandbars in the southern portion of the reserve, but were not counted due to difficulties with identification at such  a great distance. Many fish, ranging in size from minnow to mullet and stingray, could be seen in the clear waters running under the boardwalk. Some of these were successfully captured by terns.


1) Canada Goose 2 flying low, N; calls.

2) Mallard  2 (m,f) in marsh, W.

3) Gadwall  2 (m,f)  near boardwalk, edge of marsh.

4) Ruddy Duck  3 (m,f  alt. plmg.)  open water.

5) Eared Grebe  1  (alt. plmg.) open water, S.

6) Brown Pelican  200 (consev. est.) mostly resting on sandbars, S and E.

7) Double-crested Cormorant  25  on sandbars, E, SE.

8) Great Blue Heron  1 on nest in bare tree at N end of reserve.

9) Great Egret  1 foraging at the edge of the marsh near the boardwalk.

10) Snowy Egret   3  foraging at the edge of the marsh.

11) Black-bellied Plover   12 (1 alt. plmg.) foraging on mudflats, N, S.

12) Pacific Golden Plover (?)   1  (bsc. plmg.) on distant mudflats, S; longer-legged and more robust profile than nearby BBPL's.

13) Semipalmated Plover  8  (bsc. and alt. plmg.) foraging on mudflats along levee, S. (photo).

14) Snowy Plover  1  (bsc. plmg.) on mudflats next to levee, central.

15) Killdeer   1  on mudflat, NE.

16) Black-necked Stilt  2  edge of marsh, W.

17) Lesser Yellowlegs  1  flew into W marsh.

18) Least Sandpiper  30 on sandbars and mudflats, central, S and N.

19) Western Sandpiper  2  (bsc. and alt. plmg.) on mudflats, central.

20) Sanderling  1  on sandbar and mudflat, N-central.

21) Dunlin  3  (bsc. and alt. plmg.) on mudflat, central, N (photo).

    Dunlin (Calidris alpina)  Bolsa Chica  May 8, 2010                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                   © 2010 Callyn Yorke


22) Whimbrel   2 foraging on mudflats and in marsh, N-central.

23) Long-billed Curlew   1    on distant sandbar, S.

24) Marbled Godwit   1  resting on one leg, N-central mudflat (photo).

                                                                             Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)  Bolsa Chica   May 8, 2010


                                                                                                                                                                                            © 2010 Callyn Yorke


25) Ruddy Turnstone  1 (alt. plmg.) on mudflat, E-central.

26) Willet   3  in marsh and foraging on mudflats.

27) Red Knot  1 (alt. plmg.)  edge of mudflat, N-central (photo).


  Red Knot (Calidris canutus)  Bolsa Chica   May 8, 2010                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                    © 2010 Callyn Yorke


28) California Gull   30 (imm)  on mudflats, sandbars and flying over marsh.

29) Western Gull  20  (imm)  on mudflats, sandbars and flying to and from outer coast.

30) Glaucous-winged Gull  (imm)  1  distant sandbar, S.

31) Heermann's Gull  4 (imm) resting on sandbar with pelicans, E.

32) Caspian Tern  3  flying over marsh; calls.

33) Elegant Tern    50  flying over marsh; diving; courtship feeding in marsh.

34) Forster's Tern   20  flying over marsh, diving; calls.

35) California Least Tern  30  flying over marsh, diving; calls. Several landing in fenced enclosure and mudflats (photo).

36) Black Skimmer   60  flying low over the marsh in flocks of 8-12 birds; many on sandbars at the S end of the reserve.

37) Rock Dove  16  resting on outside ledge of boardwalk.

38) Mourning Dove   2  flying low over W side of marsh.

39) American Crow   2 flying N over field.

40) Barn Swallow  1 flying low over marsh, central.

41) Common Yellowthroat   1 singing in W marsh.

42) Salt Marsh Savannah Sparrow    5  flying low over marsh; landing on fence; singing.







November 13, 2009 (80 Species)

Weather:  Partly cloudy, 60 to 68F; wind 5-10 mph. WNW. High Tide: 0700 hrs., surf 1-2 ft.

Time: 0640- 1230 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: (1) Dana Point (DP): Cycled to the Dana Point Marine Institute, surveying coastal sage-cactus srcub along the base of high cliffs overlooking Dana Point. harbor. Included nearshore waters of Dana Point, breakwater and harbor (0630-0815 hrs.). (2) Returned on Harbor Blvd. to Doheny State Beach (DSB), surveying a small, stagnant creek and marsh along the western border, the beach, Eucalyptus parkland and nearshore waters (0820-0910 hrs). (3) Drove via I-5 N to Jamboree Rd. S, then E on Michelson Dr., and S on Riparian View to the entrance of the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary (SJWS). Using a reference map provided by Eunice, a SJWS volunteer, walked along levees and trails through coastal sage scrub bordering several large ponds and fresh water marshes. We met two other birders in the sanctuary who reported seeing a bobcat at close range, stalking something. (4) We continued by car S on Jamboree Rd. to East Bluff, where we parked and cycled down to the Jamboree Rd. bridge over the San Diego Creek of Upper Newport Bay (UNB). The creek was flowing swiftly into upper Newport Bay attracting many waterbirds to the algae-covered rocks, including a Bar-tailed Godwit (see notes and photos below) (1120-1215 hrs.). (5) Back in Dana Point, I returned to the Dana Point Marine Institute, surveying the coastal cactus-sage base of the cliffs again, failing to re-find and photograph a Coastal Cactus Wren seen this morning. I then finished the evening survey at sunset, cycling through Doheny State Beach to the edge of San Juan Creek (SJC), where hundreds of gulls were resting on the beach and bathing in the lagoon.

Mouth of San Juan Creek, Viewing SE, Doheny State Beach, Orange County, CA. 13 Nov. 2009
Mouth of San Juan Creek, Viewing SE, Doheny State Beach, Orange County, CA. © 2009 Merissa Mendez

                                                                                                                                                                             © 2009  Merissa Mendez



1) Wood Duck  3 (2m, 1f)  Pond C, SJWS (see photo below).

2) Gadwall  3 (m,f)   NW edge of Pond D, SJWS.

3) American Wigeon  60 UNB, in rocky tidal flow area SW side of Jamboree Rd. bridge; muddy shore.

4) Mallard  40: in pairs or small flocks of 3-4 SJWS, in most ponds; 10 UNB; 25 SJC.

5) Blue-winged Teal  3 (m,f) UNB, tidal rocks.

6) Cinnamon Teal 4 (m,f) NW of Pond D SJWS; 4 UNB tidal mud flats.

7) Northern Shoveler  30 (m,f) NW of Pond D SJWS; 6 UNB edge of tidal mud flats; dabbling in small, tight groups.

8) Northern Pintail   1 (f) Pond C SJWS ; 3 (1 m, 2 f) UNB, tidal rocks.

9) Green-winged Teal 30 (est.) SJWS, ponds C, D; 20 25 UNB, tidal mud flats; resting and dabbling near shore.

10) Redhead  4 (m,f) UNB, east side of bridge, midwater flock.

11) Ruddy Duck  2 SJWS, in several ponds; 3 UNB open water.

12) Common Loon 1 DSB, in harbor; peering.

13) Pied-billed Grebe 2 SJC; 2 SJWS; 2 UNB.

14) Western Grebe  2  DSB; 4 SJWS; 2 UNB.

15) American White Pelican  55 (est.) SJWS, resting on island, Pond 3; flock circling overhead, some returning to island.

16) Brown Pelican  25 (ad, imm) DSB, resting on beach at mouth of SJC; 50 (est. - ad, imm) DP breakwater and harbor;  4 SJWS.

17) Double-crested Cormorant  10 DP, resting on breakwater in harbor; 3 SJWS, on islands in W ponds.

18) Pelagic Cormorant  1 DSB, diving near W breakwater.

19) Great Blue Heron  1 DSB, W marsh; 3 SJWS; 2 UNB.

20) Great Egret  2 SJWS;  2 UNB, tidal mudflats.

21) Snowy Egret  2 DP harbor; 3 DSB; 2 SJC; 2 SJWS.

22) Black-crowned Night Heron  4 (ad, imm) DSB a pair of imms. concealed in trees; 2 SJWS.

23) Turkey Vulture  4 UNB, circling over W side; one landing on N mudflat.

24) Red-shouldered Hawk  1 SJWS, fly, call.

25) Red-tailed Hawk  1 (imm) DP, perched on horizontal pole below yard at the top of a cliff; 1 SJWS, flying over W ponds; 2 UNB.

26) American Coot  30 DSB- SJC; 20 SJWS;  50 UNB.

27) Black-bellied Plover  1 UNB, on edge of W mudflat.

28) Killdeer  3 UNB, mudflats.

29) Black-necked Stilt  50 (est.) SJWS Pond D (photo).

30) American Avocet  5 SJWS; 3 UNB, edge of mudflats.

31) Spotted Sandpiper  1 SJWS, edge of Pond D.

32) Greater Yellowlegs  1 SJC.

33) Willet 10 DSB; 1 SJWS; 4 UNB, mudflats.

34) Whimbrel  1 UNB, near BTG, W side of bridge in tidal rocks.

35) Marbled Godwit  10  UNB, foraging among tidal rocks, W side of bridge.

36) Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica baueri) 1 UNB, foraging at edge of tidal rocks beneatth W side of Jamboree Rd. bridge; keeping distance from MG, and other shorebirds; Noted relatively short legs, horizontal posture when feeding; pale underparts (c.f. buffy underparts of nearby MG); bold supercilium (see photos below); The distance from me to the bird for observation with a 10x40 binocular and photographs with a Nikon D3X and 80-400 mm lens was about 50 yards. A BTG was reported at this location about two weeks ago.

 Bar-tailed Godwit at Upper Newport Bay, Orange County, CA  13 Nov. 2009. ©  2009 Callyn D. Yorke
Bar-tailed Godwit at Upper Newport Bay, Orange County, CA 13 Nov. 2009. © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke

Bar-tailed Godwit at Upper Newport Bay, Orange County, CA  November 13, 2009.  ©  2009  Callyn D. Yorke
Bar-tailed Godwit at Upper Newport Bay, Orange County, CA November 13, 2009. © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke

Bar-tailed Godwit at Upper Newport Bay, Orange County, Nov. 13, 2009.  © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke
Bar-tailed Godwit at Upper Newport Bay, Orange County, Nov. 13, 2009. © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke

37) Least Sandpiper  4 SJC; 1 SJWS, edge of Pond C.

38) Short-billed Dowitcher  35  SJWS, flew into Pond B.

39) Heermann's Gull   25 (ad, imm) DSB; 10 DP.

40) Mew Gull  2  DSB-SJC (imm), pair staying close.

41) Ring-billed Gull   16 (ad, imm) DSB-SJC; 2 SJWS.

42) California Gull   600 ( ad, imm. - est.) DSB-SJC; crowded on beach; many flushed by children while parents took photos.

43) Western Gull   700-900 ( ad, imm. -est.) DSB-SJC; as above, but staying together and largely separate from CG; several sick, dying and dead birds on beach.

44) Glaucous-winged Gull  1 (1st yr,) DSB-SJC, with WG.

45) Mourning Dove  4 DP, fly; 2 SJWS

46) Rock Pigeon   30 DP, flying around harbor and town.

47) Anna's hummingbird  5 DP-DSB, calls from Eucalyptus grove and parkland.

48) Allen's  Hummingbird   5 (m,f) DP, calls and active in cactus-sage scrub at base of cliffs.

49) Belted Kingfisher  1 SJWS, fly, call W side ponds.

50) Nuttall's Woodpecker   2 DP, in Eucalyptus, pines and other tall trees; calls.

51) Black Phoebe  5 DP, DSB, active in and around harbor and adjacent parkland; 2 UNB; 2 SJWS.

52) Say's Phoebe   1 SJC, on fence; 1 SJWS; 1 UNB.

53) Cassin's Kingbird  5 DP- DSB, active in Eucalytptus; highly vocal with intraspecific chasing.

54) American Crow   25  DP-DSB, active in trees and on ground; calls. Some individuals appeared significantly smaller than AC's in N. L.A. County.

55) Common Raven   2  DP, flying over toward harbor; calls.

56) Tree Swallow 5 SJWS, flying low over ponds.

57) Bushtit   30 DP-DSB; 20 SJWS, small, loose flocks in shrubby areas.

58) Coastal Cactus Wren  1 (ad) DP (0800 hrs) , silent, active in dense Opuntia ( 2 spp.) on hillside beneath steep cliff, opposite harbor with tall sailing ship ( The Pilgrim). Seen briefly (no photo) but clearly at a distance of about 30 yards. I did not refind CCW in the evening or the next morning at same time (0800 hrs), despite two focused searches in appropriate habitat along the cliffs.

59) House Wren  2  DP, active and slurred calls in cactus-coastal sage at base of cliffs.

60) Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4 DP-DSB; 3 SJWS, active in shrubs and trees; calls.

61) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher   3 SJWS, active but shy in coastal sage; calls.

62) Hermit Thrush  1 DP, flew into shady area at base of cliffs.

63) Northern Mockingbird   2 DP-DSB, active in coastal sage and parkland; calls.

64) California Thrasher  2 SJWS, singing and calls from conspicuous perch (photo).

66) European Starling   10 DP,  loud, squeaky calls in Eucalyptus.

67) American Pipit  1 SJWS  on lawn next to picnic area.

68) Orange-crowned Warbler   5 DP-DSB; active in inderstory and shrubs; calls.

69) Yellow-rumped Warbler (including 2 MW)   60 (est.) DP-DSB; 50 SJWS, ubiquitous, foraging at all levels.

70) Common Yellowthroat  10 DSB; SJC; 20 SJWS; 2 UNB, active in dense marsh-riparian; calls.

71) Spotted Towhee   2  SJWS, calls.

72) California Towhee   4  DP, active in coastal sage at base of cliffs; calls.

73) Song Sparrow   2 DSB; 5 SJWS; 1 UNB.

74) Lincoln's Sparrow  1 SJWS, low shrubs, Pond C.

75) Savannah Sparrow   2  UNB, calls (unseen).

76) White-crowned Sparrow  25 DP-DSB (calls and song) ; 10 SJWS; 3 UNB.

77) House Finch   10 DP-DSB; 5 SJWS.

78) Lesser Goldfinch   6  DP, foraging on dried shrubs at base of cliff; calls.

79) American Goldfinch   2-3  DP, calls (unseen) in same area as LGF.

80) House Sparrow   3  DP, around buildings and gardens.

Additional Birds found along East Bluff Drive in the southern section of Newport Back Bay (Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009: 0910-1045 hrs. fair, 57 to 65 F; no wind).

81) Bufflehead   5 (m,f) open water.

82) Forster's Tern   3, flying low over slough.

83) Black Skimmer    25, resting, drinking at edge of slough near Ecological Rerserve Display (photo).

84) Red Knot  3 , resting, foraging and preening with SBD and BS; one in transitional plumage showing reddish crown and breast and belly.

California Thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum) at SJWS, Orange County, CA
California Thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum) at SJWS, Orange County, CA

©   2009 Callyn D. Yorke

Short-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus griseus) and Black-necked Stilts (Himantopus mexicanus) in SJWS , Orange County, CA
Short-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus griseus) and Black-necked Stilts (Himantopus mexicanus) in SJWS , Orange County, CA

© 2009 Callyn D. Yorke

back to top