On Wednesday (the 2nd), I did more birding by bike. Before I set out on my bike I took a quick walk around the neighborhood, and found a few new year birds, including Red-crowned Parrot, Yellow Warbler, and House Sparrow (yippee!). Then I headed to the Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, birding for about two hours from 8:00-10:00 a.m. It was very birdy! I easily found several Mountain Chickadees and one Red-breasted Nuthatch, along with a Red-naped Sapsucker, some Western Meadowlarks, Lark Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, Cassin's Kingbirds, and more. Next I headed to Irvine Regional Park, where I spent the next hour or so. The Lewis's Woodpecker cooperated nicely, sitting atop his favorite snag. I was glad to see him after missing him the last couple times I've been there. As I was watching him, I noticed some small birds zipping around in the sky behind the woodpecker - White-throated Swifts! Late in the afternoon (3:15-4:15 p.m.) I biked over to Peters Canyon Regional Park with my scope on my back, in hopes of finding some new waterbirds for my Bigby list. I spotted some Cinnamon Teal, which were new, but frustratingly I could not find any Redheads or Hooded Mergansers. Other interesting birds that I saw that were new for my Bigby list included Common Moorhen, Spotted Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, and Wilson's Snipe (a new Peters Canyon bird for me).
The next day (the 3rd), I finally found a Barn Owl - dead. I was biking around some neighborhoods in Orange Park Acres when I found it lying on the side of the road. It was in very fresh condition - I think it must have been hit the night before. Very sad! Hopefully I'll be able to find a live one...
On a happier note, I saw some more interesting birds that day. I started at Santiago Oaks Regional Park, and found a flock of American Robins (year bird), as well as a gorgeous male Red-naped Sapsucker. I didn't venture too far back on the trails, since the area right along the entrance road and the nature center was very birdy. I found the Barn Owl while I was biking home - see above. I also found another Red-naped Sapsucker in a pepper tree by where I found the Barn Owl. I decided to check Santiago Hills Park, a small park located on White Oak Ridge near Peters Canyon. I haven't been there in awhile, and I was surprised to find it hopping with birds. I found yet another Red-naped Sapsucker working the couple pine trees near the parking lot, and lots of Savannah Sparrows, Pine Siskins, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Chipping Sparrows, and more. I checked all the Chipping Sparrows, hoping for something rarer, but no such luck.
After lunch at home, I set out again to Irvine Regional Park, hoping to see the (live) Barn Owl. I didn't, but I did find singles of Phainopepla and the ever-elusive Hutton's Vireo. I also saw the continuing female Red-naped Sapsucker, making a total of four (!) for the day. On the way home I found this nice young Red-shouldered Hawk sitting atop a lamp post along the road.
Later in the afternoon I again biked to Peters Canyon with my scope. The Wilson's Snipe was in the exact same place as yesterday. By biking around to the south end of the lake with my scope, I was able to find three female Redheads amongst the large flock of Ring-necked Ducks. Still no Hooded Mergansers, however.
I didn't do any birding yesterday, since it was threatening rain all day. I'm not planning on going anywhere today on my bike, either, since we got a ton of rain last night and everything is flooded and muddy. I hate rainy Saturdays - maybe I should don rain gear and go for a walk.