I don't know how common Great-Tailed Grackles are in OC, but I've been
watching one go between the Santa Ana River and the back part of my
housing tract over the last two or three days. The distinctive tail
caught my eye and I verified it in my Sibley's. It is being seen between
Lakeview and the large spillway east of Lakeview (halfway between
Lakeview and Imperial); the McKinnon Dr. housing tract ends about halfway
between that, and that is where it's being seen. I was able to further
confirm it by watching its profile, very slender and "long" compared to
that of a crow's profile.
Speaking of which, two days ago I was very surprised to see a Raven being
chased off by some smaller birds (not mockingbirds) around the Home Expo
building at the 91 and Tustin. The Raven's tail provided the ID.
Also being seen on that portion of the bike trail: a Western Bluebird
pair. The male is an uncommonly intense and dark shade of blue, with the
entire back being about as dark and rich a blue as a WB can get. Talk
about saturation! I checked to make sure it IS a bluebird (its bill
provided the necessary clue; it's not a bunting. The bill is the
empid-looking kind, not the finch-looking kind).
I saw a young oriole about three days ago, and its throat marking leads
me to (a) rule out male 1st year Bullock's as the marking doesn't appear
until October per Sibley, and (b) rule out male Hooded because the 1st
summer (Feb-Aug) markings go up to the bill. The marking didn't reach the
bill (I wish I could draw a picture of it here) and the head was not
bright; the body was very slender and "lanky." I concluded that it was a
first year going on adult female Scott's Oriole. The coloring was right
-- greyish yellow underbelly and the white coverts matched Sibley's. Now,
I could be totally wrong and it's a male 1st year Bullock's after all,
who's just happening to get his throat markings ahead of schedule. Any
input on that would be really appreciated. It was a lovely exercise in
ID'ing orioles, though!
For those of you who bird the riverbed, please be on the lookout for a
Snowy Egret that may have something caught on its leg. I saw it in flight
at a bit of a distance and something was dangling from its foot. Hope it
Walking along the riverbed has given me a welcome respite from editing
(and the dog is very happy, too, since she doesn't approve of me spending
hours at my computer). If I didn't live so close to the riverbed, which
gives me an opportunity for impromptu birding, I would go nuts from being
chained to my computer. :-) The American Avocets are back, as are the
Black Neck Stilts, and the American White Pelicans are gone now. I
encountered not one but *three* White Faced Ibis about a month or so ago
near the large spillway. They stayed for probably three weeks, tops.