Birding Weekend Tally for February 13, 14, and 15 Orange County, California

Late Friday afternoon, February 13, I did a solo return to Village Pond Park in Lake Forest hoping to catch a glimpse of the Cackling Goose, a rarity in Orange County, southern California.  I had previously reviewed the date I had seen them last year which was February 4, 2015 and since these Geese were likely to return, I thought the timing would be right.  I was able to locate both at the back end of the park on the lawn this time feeding in the grassy area.  GPS coordinates are:  33.6256, -117.7070.  For those unfamiliar in determining a Canada Goose from a Cackling Goose there are typically 3 was:  a distinct white ring around the neck is bold and visible, a stubbier shorter bill and overall size is noticeably smaller.  This is not to say you won’t find a Canada Goose the same size.  I’ve been taught to always try and acquire 3 distinct ID points on any species when possible to rule out any overlap.  If interested, here’s the ebird checklist for February 13 2015 at Village Pond Park. (Photos below).  More Cackling Goose photos.

On Saturday, February 14, Mike Sanders and I headed up to San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine.  A fairly accurate head count was produced of 59 unique species in all (meaning in some cases especially with Tree Swallows flying continuously and estimate was used) a total of 59 species were accounted for.  Here’s the eBird checklist for February 14, 2015.  Having two birders join forces truly helps as Mike does the counts for each species along the way, I’m able to input into eBird Log, add GPS locations and update species counts as needed.  Preparedness to take a photo for unidentifiable species say due to rear view only visibility or simply a rarity sighting is key for completion of the day’s journey. (Photos below)

Finally, a casual walk at the Oso Creek trail in Sunday, February 15, offered good views of a male Belted Kingfisher racing back and fort between La Paz and Marguerite parkway. A fairly high observance of Black Phoebes was rather interesting.  I counted a total of 9 in a one mile stretch of the creek.  Here’s the checklist for Oso Creek Trail.  Unfortunately, no sign of the Bay-breasted Warbler that was seen at the bridge a few weeks ago.

Cackling Goose (22088)
Cackling Goose (22088)

Taken at Village Pond Park, lake Forest on February 13, 2015

Cackling Goose (22090)
Cackling Goose (22090)

Taken at Village Pond Park, lake Forest on February 13, 2015

Osprey (head shot) (22114)
Osprey (head shot) (22114)

Taken at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary on February 14, 2015

Osprey with prey
Osprey with prey

Taken at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary on February 14, 2015

Hutton's Vireo rear view
Hutton’s Vireo rear view

Taken at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary on February 14, 2015

Green-winged Teal (male)
Green-winged Teal (male)

Taken at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary on February 14, 2015

Western Grebe (22120).  Note in comparing with a Clark's Grebe, the line of demarcation is below eye and the bill color for Western Grebe is correct.
Western Grebe (22120). Note in comparing with a Clark’s Grebe, the line of demarcation is below eye and the bill color for Western Grebe is correct.

Taken at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary on February 14, 2015

2 Responses

  1. Lois & Stuart Halbert

    We just saw a large bird the size of a pigeon in our feeder and has a white ring around neck. Do you know off hand the name of this bird. By the way, we see both the males and female of the California Thatcher quite regularly now at home which backs up to Wilderness Glen. Love your site and pictures.

  2. Yes, this is a band-tailed Pigeon. They are typically found at the foothills of our local Saddleback Mountains such as Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary or O’Neill Regional Park.

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