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Bird observations around Irvine

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  • Istvan Katona
    Dear Orange County birders, My name is Istvan Katona, I have arrived a few weeks ago to Irvine as a visiting researcher working at UCI. I am quite keen on
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 22, 2011
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      Dear Orange County birders,

      My name is Istvan Katona, I have arrived a few weeks ago to Irvine as a visiting
      researcher working at UCI. I am quite keen on birding back at home in Hungary
      and had several trips earlier throughout the US, but I have never lived here
      before. Therefore I am now very excited by the opportunity to study Southern
      California’s birdlife more closely in my freetime. I am following this
      mailinglist for the last few months and now I am trying to figure out which of
      my observations would be interesting to be shared with you. Pls correct me if
      there are boring birds in my short summary below.


      Yesterday, I visited Mason Park. Most interesting species was the Eastern Phobe,
      still easy to see at the entrance. By standing at the wooden bridge, I could see
      three Phoebes within three minutes (Say’s and Black were the other too). Under
      the bridge, there was a Downy Woodpecker. I was happy to find two Violet-Green
      Swallows among the numerous Trees and the fewer Northern Rough-winged Swallows.
      For me it was surprising to find an early male Bullock’s Oriole by the
      southernmost playground, which moved quite intensively and appeared two hours
      later by the entrance kiosk. Among the numerous Audoboun’s warblers, there was
      one male Black-throated Gray Warbler by the small creek at the southern entrance
      of the park. In the dense thicket along the creek, a Hermit Thrush was
      interesting to see among the commoner species.

      At the campus, birdlife is really active compared to the European campuses I
      know of. Most interesting may be a pair of White-tailed Kite building a nest in
      the middle of the Aldrich Park. Two weeks ago on the large pine trees along West
      Peltason drive there was a male Townsend’s warbler, and I see Hutton’s Vireos
      nearly everyday while walking to work. A flock of 5 Oregon-type Juncos are also
      present always around the same group of bushes. I am not sure if it is
      interesting but the trees in the easternmost UCI parking lot was visited by a
      Red-breasted Sapsucker during the first days of February.

      I live with my family very close to the UCI Ecological Preserve, which is a very
      nice sagebrush habitat. Here we had some early morning and late afternoon walks.
      In the last two weeks of January, we saw a female American Northern Harrier on
      every occasion as well as could locate 4 -probably distinct- pairs of
      Californian Gnatcatchers at different sites of the Preserve. Though we searched
      actively, we found only 1 Cactus Wren (on the 9th of February), which I know is
      a distinct subspecies and vulnerable. Another interesting bird (at least for us)
      was a single Golden-crowned Sparrow on 27th of January at the highest point of
      the Preserve.

      Good birding,
      Istvan Katona
      Irvine




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jim
      Hi Istvan, It is clear that you are a keen observer and will be a welcome addition to the OC birding community. My only comment is that it is still a touch
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 22, 2011
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        Hi Istvan,

        It is clear that you are a keen observer and will be a welcome addition to the OC birding community. My only comment is that it is still a touch early for a migrant Bullock's Oriole. As Mason typically hosts one or more Bullock's every winter, I expect that this bird has been present for a while. Aldrich Park can be a fun birding spot in migration, but it is under-birded. San Joaquin marsh is worth a visit, but shorebird habitat is frustratingly scarce. And take your scope to Newport pier and jostle with the fishermen to get some life seabirds.

        See you out there,

        Jim Pike
        HB

        --- In OrangeCountyBirding@yahoogroups.com, Istvan Katona <ikatona73@...> wrote:
        >
        > Dear Orange County birders,
        >
        > My name is Istvan Katona, I have arrived a few weeks ago to Irvine as a visiting
        > researcher working at UCI. I am quite keen on birding back at home in Hungary
        > and had several trips earlier throughout the US, but I have never lived here
        > before. Therefore I am now very excited by the opportunity to study Southern
        > California’s birdlife more closely in my freetime. I am following this
        > mailinglist for the last few months and now I am trying to figure out which of
        > my observations would be interesting to be shared with you. Pls correct me if
        > there are boring birds in my short summary below.
        >
        >
        > Yesterday, I visited Mason Park. Most interesting species was the Eastern Phobe,
        > still easy to see at the entrance. By standing at the wooden bridge, I could see
        > three Phoebes within three minutes (Say’s and Black were the other too). Under
        > the bridge, there was a Downy Woodpecker. I was happy to find two Violet-Green
        > Swallows among the numerous Trees and the fewer Northern Rough-winged Swallows.
        > For me it was surprising to find an early male Bullock’s Oriole by the
        > southernmost playground, which moved quite intensively and appeared two hours
        > later by the entrance kiosk. Among the numerous Audoboun’s warblers, there was
        > one male Black-throated Gray Warbler by the small creek at the southern entrance
        > of the park. In the dense thicket along the creek, a Hermit Thrush was
        > interesting to see among the commoner species.
        >
        > At the campus, birdlife is really active compared to the European campuses I
        > know of. Most interesting may be a pair of White-tailed Kite building a nest in
        > the middle of the Aldrich Park. Two weeks ago on the large pine trees along West
        > Peltason drive there was a male Townsend’s warbler, and I see Hutton’s Vireos
        > nearly everyday while walking to work. A flock of 5 Oregon-type Juncos are also
        > present always around the same group of bushes. I am not sure if it is
        > interesting but the trees in the easternmost UCI parking lot was visited by a
        > Red-breasted Sapsucker during the first days of February.
        >
        > I live with my family very close to the UCI Ecological Preserve, which is a very
        > nice sagebrush habitat. Here we had some early morning and late afternoon walks.
        > In the last two weeks of January, we saw a female American Northern Harrier on
        > every occasion as well as could locate 4 -probably distinct- pairs of
        > Californian Gnatcatchers at different sites of the Preserve. Though we searched
        > actively, we found only 1 Cactus Wren (on the 9th of February), which I know is
        > a distinct subspecies and vulnerable. Another interesting bird (at least for us)
        > was a single Golden-crowned Sparrow on 27th of January at the highest point of
        > the Preserve.
        >
        > Good birding,
        > Istvan Katona
        > Irvine
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • Istvan Katona
        Dear OC birders, Thank you very much for the very friendly and stimulating replies to my first mail on this list. This week we visited only our local patches
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 27, 2011
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          Dear OC birders,

          Thank you very much for the very friendly and stimulating replies to my first
          mail on this list. This week we visited only our local patches and three raptor
          observations may be of interest. On Thursday morning at Aldrich Park in Irvine
          we saw the White-tailed Kites mating on the top of the nearby Eucalyptus tree
          next to the one where their nest is, it seems they have finished building it and
          are defending the territory. It was really spectacular how they were chasing
          away a pair of fly-by Ravens. We try to learn American bird calls and songs, and
          as usual it helps to compare with the ones we are familiar with. It was
          therefore very surprising for us to realize that the Eurasian Chaffinch-like
          contact call, we heard only in the Aldrich Park in fact derives from the Kites!

          Other birds of note were this afternoon an American Northern Harrier still
          hanging around the UCI Ecological Preserve and we also saw a Peregrine flying
          towards the direction of the city center.
          May be it is interesting that there was a small group of Long-billed Curlews
          (6), Whimbrels (4) and one Marbled Godwit feeding on the lawn of Mason Park on
          Tuesday (02/22).


          I would also have a question, I would like to ask for your help in private
          mails.


          We plan to have a car soon, and I hope I can visit other interesting habitats on
          the weekends. I would be very grateful if you could help me with some
          information on more difficult, mainly wintering species. I know that these are
          not easy (or even impossible), but any help with information about them either
          in Orange County or in the neighboring counties within a few hours of driving
          distance would be helpful, so I can organize the forthcoming weekend family
          excursions around them.


          1. Black Scoter
          2. White-winged Scoter
          3. Thayer's Gull
          4. Marbled Murrelet
          5. Cassin's Auklet
          6. Tufted Puffin
          7. Spotted Owl
          8. Northern Saw-whet Owl
          9. Northern Pygmy-Owl
          10. Lewis's Woodpecker
          11. Varied Thrush
          12. Yellow-headed Blackbird
          13. Evening Grosbeak
          14. Lawrence's Goldfinch

          Thank you very much in advance,

          Good birding,
          Istvan Katona
          Irvine




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jim
          Hi Istvan, I ll reply to you off-line in regards to some of your target birds. In the interim, I suggest visiting Audubon House at San Joaquin Marsh and
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 28, 2011
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            Hi Istvan,

            I'll reply to you off-line in regards to some of your target birds. In the interim, I suggest visiting Audubon House at San Joaquin Marsh and purchasing the Birder's Guide to Southern California by Brad Schram, and the Birds of Orange County book by Hamilton and Willick. You'll need to head further north for Tufted Puffin and Marbled Murrelet (Monterey). I suggest making inquiries on some of the northern CA birding sites.

            Jim Pike
            HB


            --- In OrangeCountyBirding@yahoogroups.com, Istvan Katona <ikatona73@...> wrote:
            >
            > Dear OC birders,
            >
            > Thank you very much for the very friendly and stimulating replies to my first
            > mail on this list. This week we visited only our local patches and three raptor
            > observations may be of interest. On Thursday morning at Aldrich Park in Irvine
            > we saw the White-tailed Kites mating on the top of the nearby Eucalyptus tree
            > next to the one where their nest is, it seems they have finished building it and
            > are defending the territory. It was really spectacular how they were chasing
            > away a pair of fly-by Ravens. We try to learn American bird calls and songs, and
            > as usual it helps to compare with the ones we are familiar with. It was
            > therefore very surprising for us to realize that the Eurasian Chaffinch-like
            > contact call, we heard only in the Aldrich Park in fact derives from the Kites!
            >
            > Other birds of note were this afternoon an American Northern Harrier still
            > hanging around the UCI Ecological Preserve and we also saw a Peregrine flying
            > towards the direction of the city center.
            > May be it is interesting that there was a small group of Long-billed Curlews
            > (6), Whimbrels (4) and one Marbled Godwit feeding on the lawn of Mason Park on
            > Tuesday (02/22).
            >
            >
            > I would also have a question, I would like to ask for your help in private
            > mails.
            >
            >
            > We plan to have a car soon, and I hope I can visit other interesting habitats on
            > the weekends. I would be very grateful if you could help me with some
            > information on more difficult, mainly wintering species. I know that these are
            > not easy (or even impossible), but any help with information about them either
            > in Orange County or in the neighboring counties within a few hours of driving
            > distance would be helpful, so I can organize the forthcoming weekend family
            > excursions around them.
            >
            >
            > 1. Black Scoter
            > 2. White-winged Scoter
            > 3. Thayer's Gull
            > 4. Marbled Murrelet
            > 5. Cassin's Auklet
            > 6. Tufted Puffin
            > 7. Spotted Owl
            > 8. Northern Saw-whet Owl
            > 9. Northern Pygmy-Owl
            > 10. Lewis's Woodpecker
            > 11. Varied Thrush
            > 12. Yellow-headed Blackbird
            > 13. Evening Grosbeak
            > 14. Lawrence's Goldfinch
            >
            > Thank you very much in advance,
            >
            > Good birding,
            > Istvan Katona
            > Irvine
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
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