Male Wood Duck--Aix sponsa swimming in the lake at Irvine Regional Park in Orange, California
Decided to take off a few days to bird. Joined the Sea and Sage Audubon field trip to Irvine Regional Park in Orange, California. I like to join field trips to learn from the leader and other members about the birds we see and about the place we are going. Sometimes even places I have gone many times before like Irvine Regional Park, has places I haven't gone or there are facts I haven't learned before.
There is a small population of Peacocks that are in Orange and go between Irvine Regional Park in Orange, California and Santiago Oaks Regional Park.
The Ring-necked Duck has a thin cinnamon ring around its neck that can't always be seem. I do almost always see Ring-necked Ducks in the lake at Irvine Regional Park.
The great thing about Irvine Regional Park in Orange, California is the oak woodlands and the large areas of grass. It is that combination that attracts some great birds like the Acorn Woodpecker--Melanerpes formicivorus, Western Bluebird--Sialia mexicana, Wood Duck--Aix sponsa, Red-Shouldered Hawk, and the American Robin--Turdus migratorius.
In the picnic area across the railroad tracks from the lake, there was an American Robin--Turdus migratorius couple foraging in the grass.
It was nice to see the American Robins--Turdus migratorius. I don't see them that much any more. The leader of the field trip had studied with Sea and Sage leader Sylvia Gallagher who teaches several classes including "Birding by Ear." American Robins evidently have several songs.
Unfortunately, there were lots of European Starlings competing with the cavity nesters at the park. European Starlings are very aggressive alien birds that will kill birds and puncture their eggs if they are in a cavity they want or even in a nearby cavity.
Male Western Bluebird--Sialia mexicana on the lawn searching for a meal at Irvine Regional Park in Orange, California.
There didn't seem to be as many Western Bluebirds--Sialia mexicana as usual and I wondered if the presence of so many European Starlings had anything to do with it.
We also went up into the hills and had a nice walk with great views of the park.
Hilly terrain above the more developed Irvine Regional Park in Orange, California proper. There are several natural wilderness-type areas that are part of the park, but provide great hiking and birding.
We saw a lot of wildflowers.
Gooseberry--lots of animals like the flower and the berries.
And a large group of Turkey Vultures--Cathartes aura soaring below us.
And above us at times.
Turkey Vulture--Cathartes aura from the ridge looking down a about 7 circling Turkey Vultures--Cathartes aura. This is the only vulture we have in Orange County.
We also saw an American Kestrel--Falco sparverius and several wrens.
And of course, we saw a Black Phoebe--Sayornis nigricans. It is a very common bird in Orange County.
Red-tailed Hawk soars above.
A Red-Tailed Hawk--Buteo jamaicensis and a fast moving Red-Shouldered Hawk after the trip.
The most unexpected, but not unusual sighting was of a flock of American White Pelicans. I stayed after the field trip and took a lot of pictures. It was a great field trip with the leader knowing the park well and knowing how to identify birds by their song as well as their appearance. I learned a lot birding with Sea and Sage Audubon.
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