An uncommon visitor to Orange County (Eurasia origins) and considered rare in this area and all throughout all of North America. The Ruff does not migrate, winter or summer anywhere in the US. Its reappearance this year and in the past has typically been along the Upper Santa Ana River on the border of Anaheim and Yorba linda. This location is perhaps the most reliable in recent years to find this species. The Ruff has also been found at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine and Harriet Wieder Park in Huntington Beach in the past. Its initial appearance at the Santa Ana River in 2016 was found by Jeff Bray on August 13th.
This species can be found associating with Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper and Dowitchers to name a few. Its appearance is rather similar in non breeding plumage to the Dowitcher except for a few notations such as the shorter bicolored bill (non-breeding), orange legs and plain drab breast. The Ruff forages solo and its foraging behavior is quite different as compared to the dowitcher which show a repetitive and rapid sowing machine like behavior. The Ruff is more relaxed in its feeding approach with just a single drill stroke here and there usually a second or two apart or longer. The Ruff spends its time in shallow water along grassy edges. (Sources: Sibley’s and Wikipedia)
I’ve included a few images below should you opt to seek out this species in Anaheim.