A recent post of the Hooded Mergansers and the rare Swamp Sparrow in the Orange County Yahoo group in Aliso Viejo on November 20 showed both species were continuing at the same location. I had arrived at approximately 2:30 pm and spotted the Hooded Mergansers (2 male and 2 female) just underneath the bridge at Aliso Creek and Alicia Parkway. All 4 were together and at the top of the spillway. This location was ideal for close viewing and photos. All 4 Hooded Mergansers were in the open and not obscured. I also noted a male and female Gadwall in the same vicinity along with a Snowy Egret, American Coots and a few Mallards.
Further on down the asphalt pathway I then met up briefly with Amin Khalifa who was on the opposite side of the channel. Amin had claimed to have seen the Swamp Sparrow during his stay between the soccer field and skate park perimeter but in the channel though at times flying across back and forth into the trees beyond the chained link fence (aspahlt side). Mike Sanders met up with me around 3:15 and we continuously and meticulously searched for the Swamp Sparrow. At approximately 3:55 pm in an open path of trees where soil was visible, appeared the Swamp Sparrow for a brief moment on a trimmed branch directly across from the skate park and over the chain linked fence. With binoculars and at fairly close range (about 30 feet), I caught a nice glimpse of the Swamp Sparrow. A moment later the sparrow flew into the base of the channel and behind a patch of tall green grass which obscured any further view. Mike and I waited for it to move out of the grassy patch in which it did onto some rocks briefly then through the chain linked fence on the opposite side of the channel and off into a Lantana tree. At around 4:03 p.m. the sparrow flew back over the channel about 25 yards NE of us and back into the thick dense tree area that sits just behind the chained link fence. We patiently waited but the Swamp Sparrow did not reappear during the rest of our stay. Unfortunately,, no photos were taken however my detailed report is on eBird which can be found here
A few photos from today are shown below..enjoy!