Saturday, 10 January 2009

Orange County, California, 9 Jan 09

I've finally escaped the chill of the British winter and am out in Californ-I-A for some lovely winter-sun birding. Oh, yeah, and the conference that I'm going to in San Diego to. I drove down Hwy 1 from Los Angeles to San Diego today and stopped at a couple of sights on the way.
First stop was Bolsa Chica Conservancy Reserve. There were lots of waterfowl and waders around, many I hadn't seen since my last visit to the US nearly 9 years ago.
As I'm a bit jet-lagged and want to get to sleep, I'm going to be brief, but the better birds I saw were: 1st-year male White-winged Scoter; 4 Surf Scoter; 3 female Greater Scaup; c200 Lesser Scaup, 1 Horned, 20 Eared, 5 Western and 10 Pied-billed Grebes; 50 American Wigeon; 150 (mainly) Long-billed Dowitchers; 30 Least Sands; 500 Semi-p Sands; 100 Semi-p Plover; 50 American Avocet; 2 Greater Yellowlegs; 1 Lesser Yellowlegs; a few Red Knot; 5 Dunlin; Perigrine and lots of Belding's Savannah Sparrows.

Belding's Savannah Sparrow (left) and 1 of the 3 female Greater Scaup (right)

1st winter male White-winged Scoter

Further down the road at Dana Point there must have been at least 10,000 gulls roosting on the beaches and the mouth to the San Juan Creek. The best was a juvenile Glaucous Gull, but other birds included a couple of juvenile Thayer's Gulls, c4 Herring Gulls and some rather smart Heermann's Gulls.

Juvenile Glaucous Gull

2nd winter American Herring Gull

Juvenile Thayer's Gulls

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