The image below of the Painted Redstart was taken at Irvine Lake on January 28th, 2016. It has remained in the same immediate location next to the Bait and Tackle Shop for well over a month and is a good species to add to anyone’s life list in the Orange County / southern California area area.
It’s quite easy to find. When at the gate for Irvine Lake, mentioned you’re a birder (there’s a nominal $5 fee), bear left and park to pay the fee inside the store. As you walk out of the shop, bear left. Just past the canopy there’s a patio. The Painted Redstart visits this area often. During this particular visit I had noticed it was content high up in the adjacent pine tree for 10-20 minute intervals after which it would forage in a few of the barren trees as well as the patio floor. It’s quite swift and agile as compared to the Yellow-rumped Warblers in the same vicinity. It was visible both in the a.m., mid afternoon and the image below was taken close to 5pm.
Also seen this day of note were two Bald Eagles. Normally I’ve been able to spot them in the 2:30-4 pm time frame. If you follow the dirt road toward the dam, scan the upper ridge which is on your left. Of final interest was a Red-tailed Hawk however this was the dark morph variation. See the image below. I’ve posted also a typical Red-tailed Hawk alongside which offers more of the common appearance found in Orange County.
The staff has informed me that Irvine Lake will be closing permanently at the end of February.