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possible black rail in Orange County

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  • mjbbirds@aol.com
    Although no documented reports have been accepted, to my knowledge, for Black Rails at Upper Newport Bay in Newport Beach, I have been informed about
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 4, 2003
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      Although no documented reports have been accepted, to my knowledge, for Black
      Rails at Upper Newport Bay in Newport Beach, I have been informed about
      researchers and others who have caught glimpses over the years. Steve Dexter
      and I were extremely fortunate, therefore, to see what was almost certainly
      an adult individual there Sunday Feb. 2. It was at peak new-moon spring tide
      (over 6 feet), at about 9 AM, in Spartina habitat, just north of the
      footbridge that is reached after parking at the end of University Ave. and
      continuing northward, on the northwest side of the bay. A great blue heron
      flushed and appeared to momentarily chase a small black bird into a lone
      willow along the shore at this location (which is noted as a good spot to
      observe Nelson sharp-tailed sparrows as well as light-footed clapper rails).
      Not expecting a black rail, we were, alas, slow to raise our binoculars. I
      have only seen one other individual, years ago and very briefly, in flight,
      in Northern CA, so I am not familiar with the bird.
      At first the bird seemed starling-sized and appeared to have whitish
      speckling on the wings. But as it approached landing, feet first, in the
      dense vegetation below the willow, it was obviously a rail. The lone bird's
      size was smaller than a starling and it had a small bill. We were not able to
      see any other details. We did see numerous soras on the other side of the
      bay, whose flight, coloration and size were distinctly different.
      If you attempt to see this bird, be advised that walking off the berm into
      the sensitive habitat is strictly prohibited, and this lower wet area would
      likely not provide productive viewing anyway. We consider ourselves
      extremely lucky to have been at the right place at the right time, but would
      like to know if anyone else has made observations, documented or not, at this
      location or at UNB in general, of black rails here during the last decades.
      Martin Byhower
    • Charles Bragg
      ... I was taking Arnold Small s UCLA course in 1977, I think, and we went to UNB. A black rail ran across the road and was seen by about half the class. Talk
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 4, 2003
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        At 10:42 AM 2/4/2003 -0500, mjbbirds@... wrote:

        >We consider ourselves
        >extremely lucky to have been at the right place at the right time, but would
        >like to know if anyone else has made observations, documented or not, at this
        >location or at UNB in general, of black rails here during the last decades.

        I was taking Arnold Small's UCLA course in 1977, I think, and we went to UNB. A black rail ran across the road and was seen by about half the class. Talk about beginner's luck! It was a lifer for most of us, of course, and also for some of Arnold's assistants. The date is uncertain, because I didn't start a life list for some time thereafter. I put 12/31/77 in my list, but that is probably not the exact date.
        I haven't seen one since.


        ========
        Chuck Bragg, Pacific Palisades, CA
        Membership Chair
        Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society:
        http://smbas.cjb.net
        ========
      • Dameron, Wanda
        Recall a few sightings in the early 80 s when was just starting birding, but didn t have that luck! Had to go to Palo Alto Baylands for lifer! Cheers, Wanda
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 4, 2003
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          Recall a few sightings in the early 80's when was just starting birding,
          but didn't have that luck! Had to go to Palo Alto Baylands for lifer!
          Cheers, Wanda Dameron

          Charles Bragg wrote:
          > At 10:42 AM 2/4/2003 -0500, mjbbirds@... wrote:
          >
          > >We consider ourselves
          > >extremely lucky to have been at the right place at the right time,
          > but would
          > >like to know if anyone else has made observations, documented or not,
          > at this
          > >location or at UNB in general, of black rails here during the last
          > decades.
          >
          > I was taking Arnold Small's UCLA course in 1977, I think, and we
          > went to UNB. A black rail ran across the road and was seen by about half
          > the class. Talk about beginner's luck! It was a lifer for most of us, of
          > course, and also for some of Arnold's assistants. The date is uncertain,
          > because I didn't start a life list for some time thereafter. I put
          > 12/31/77 in my list, but that is probably not the exact date.
          > I haven't seen one since.
          >
          >
          > ========
          > Chuck Bragg, Pacific Palisades, CA
          > Membership Chair
          > Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society:
          > http://smbas.cjb.net
          > ========
          >
          >
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          --
          Wanda Dameron
          LAAS, SBC, Southwest Bird Study Club
          Flutterby Press, LA-NABA, LepSoc, ATL, Lorquin, Xerces
          23424 Jonathan St., Los Angeles, Ca. 91304
          818-340-0365 be496@...
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