Orange County 
June 16, 2001

Guide: Bruce Aird
Client: Hwi-Yol Suh
80 species total


The trip was a roaring success. We got started at around 6:20 in the morning and finished up just before 2:00. In that time, I found Hwi 80 species of birds, of which 38 or so were life birds. My strategy was similar to that of a birdathon, only at a much slower pace, concentrating on picking up western specialties and California endemics. Some extraordinary good luck made for a wonderful day. Hwi told me that I so vastly exceeded his expectations that it was laughable - he came hoping to see 30-40 species, some of which might be new to him.  

Among the highlights were 6 Black-vented and 1 Sooty Shearwater, attracted to an apparent cold water upwelling off the coast from Reef Point. Also there were great views of a male and female California Gnatcatcher, and a posted-up California Thrasher. The pod of more than 200 common dolphins was a very uncommon treat. I showed him Brandt's Cormorants and California Sea Lions at Crescent Bay overlook. We got wonderful looks at Least Bell's and Hutton's Vireos, Wrentits, White-tailed Kite and Yellow-breasted Chats at upper Mason Park. Laguna Niguel Park yielded Tricolored Blackbirds, Great-tailed Grackles, Cassin's Kingbirds, and many of both Bullock's and Hooded Orioles. Modjeska Canyon gave us Band-tailed Pigeons, and good close looks at Black-chinned and Anna's Hummingbirds. Limestone Canyon got us Rufous-crowned and Black-chinned Sparrows, Costa's Hummingbird, Lazuli Bunting, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Violet-green Swallows. Completely unpredictable but very welcome were a Greater Roadrunner, sunning itself on a fencepost along the 405 freeway (birding at 75 mph!) and a pair of Barn Owls roosting under a highway bridge along Aliso Creek.

Bruce & Hwi

Birds Observed


LATIN BINOMIAL Comments & Location
Pied-billed Grebe Podylimbus podiceps Laguna Niguel  Park
Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus off Reef Point unit of Crystal Cove SP
Black-vented Shearwater Puffinus opisthomelas off Reef Point unit of Crystal Cove SP
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis off Reef Point unit of Crystal Cove SP
Double-crested Cormorant Phelacrocorax auritas Crescent Bay overlook, then Laguna Niguel Park
Brandt's Cormorant Phelacrocorax penicillatus Crescent Bay overlook
Great Egret Casmerodias alba Upper Mason Park
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis along Aliso Creek, driving to Laguna Niguel
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Laguna Niguel Park
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis Laguna Niguel Park
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura many locations
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus Upper Mason Park
Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii Laguna Niguel Park
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus Upper Mason Park
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis many locations
American Kestrel Falco sparverius at El Moro Canyon, Crystal Cove SP
California Quail Callipepla californica Upper Mason Park (heard only)
American Coot Fulica americana Laguna Niguel Park
Heermann's Gull Larus heermani off Reef Point unit of Crystal Cove SP
California Gull Larus californicus off Reef Point unit of Crystal Cove SP
Western Gull Larus occidentalis off Reef Point unit of Crystal Cove SP
Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri over San Diego Creek
Black Skimmer Rynchops niger off Reef Point unit of Crystal Cove SP
Rock Dove Columba livia in Laguna Beach
Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata Modjeska Canyon Sanctuary
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura everywhere!
Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californicus on fence post along Interstate 405
Barn Owl Tyto alba 2 under bridge along Aliso Creek
White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatalis nesting under bridge along Aliso Creek
Black-chinned Hummingbird Archilochus alexandri first Crescent Bay, best at Modjeska Canyon
Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna best at Modjeska Canyon
Costa's Hummingbird Calypte costae best at Limeston Canyon
Allen's Hummingbird Selasphorus sasin Laguna Niguel Park
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus Modjeska Canyon Sanctuary
Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii first at Mason Park, then many locations
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens Upper Mason Park
Pacific-slope Flycatcher Empidonax difficilis Upper Mason Park (heard only)
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans at Crescent Bay overlook
Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens Limestone Canyon
Cassin's Kingbird Tyrannus vociferans Laguna Niguel Park
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor Upper Mason Park
Violet-green Swallow Tachycineta thalassina Limestone Canyon
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota off Reef Point unit of Crystal Cove SP
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Laguna Niguel Park
Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica Modjeska Canyon Sanctuary
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos everywhere! first at Reef Point
Common Raven Corvus corax everywhere! first at Reef Point
Oak (Plain) Titmouse Baelophus inornatus Modjeska Canyon Sanctuary
Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus Upper Mason Park
SPECIES LATIN BINOMIAL Comments, Location, #s etc.
House Wren Troglodytes aedon first at Reef Point, elsewhere as well
California Gnatcatcher Polioptila californica at Reef Point
Wrentit Chamaea fasciata Upper Mason Park
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos first at Reef Point, elsewhere as well
California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum at Reef Point
Phainopepla Phainopepla nitens Limestone Canyon
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris Laguna Niguel Park
Least Bell's Vireo Vireo bellii Upper Mason Park
Hutton's Vireo Vireo huttoni Upper Mason Park
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas first at Reef Point, elsewhere as well
Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens Upper Mason Park
Lazuli Bunting Passerina amoena Limestone Canyon (heard only)
Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus at El Moro Canyon, Crystal Cove SP
California Towhee Pipilo crissalis at Reef Point
Rufous-crowned Sparrow Aimophila ruficeps Limestone Canyon
Black-chinned Sparrow Spizella atrogularis Limestone Canyon
Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus Limestone Canyon
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis at Reef Point
Grasshopper Sparrow Ammodramus savannarum at El Moro Canyon, Crystal Cove SP
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia at Reef Point, many other places
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus fields off Interstate 405
Tricolored Blackbird Agelaius tricolor Laguna Niguel Park
Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus Laguna Niguel Park
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus Laguna Niguel Park
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater Laguna Niguel Park
Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus first at El Moro Canyon Crystal Cove SP
Bullock's Oriole Icterus bullockii Laguna Niguel Park
House Finch Carduelis mexicanus everywhere!
Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria everywhere!
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis Upper Mason Park
House Sparrow Passer domesticus Laguna Niguel Park