Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Few things sting as much as a text about a rare bird at one of your local patches. The sting isn't softened by several thousand miles, either. About a month ago, I seethed with rage when I received word about a male Hooded Warbler at Irvine Regional Park, a mere mile or so from my house. I consoled myself with that thought that, given the date, the bird would probably winter, allowing me to see it over Christmas break.
My prophecy came to pass. Twelve hours hadn't passed since my plane touched down in Orange County before I was admiring this golden knight of the underbrush. Despite its bright colors, the bird was surprisingly elusive--it took me a good hour to locate it, and it would have taken much longer had the bird not started calling. Its metallic chip is the easiest way find it.
The bird apparently wanders a bit, but its favorite area seems to be the low oak brush within the train track loop just east of the ampitheter and the large bronze statue of Mr. Irvine. Here's a map of the location.
Not a bad way to begin break! I've followed it up with sightings of Masked Booby, White-throated Sparrow, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and Vermilion Flycatcher. Hopefully this trend will continue for the next two weeks of break.