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Seal Beach NWR Field Trip - Dec. 3
Report on Trip by Ryan Winkleman —
Yesterday morning (December 3) Jeff Bray and I led the Sea and Sage Audubon field trip to the Seal Beach NWR, with Slader Buck and Carolyn Vance escorting our group of 20 attendants. While we missed some hit-or-miss great birds for the county, it was still a fabulous morning. We started at the Nature Center, where we found three continuing and cooperative Pacific Golden-Plovers, which gave quite close looks for those who opted to walk a ways down the railroad tracks to where they were (otherwise they were viewable through scopes from a distance). >From here we also had a distant look at a Reddish Egret, and Long-billed Curlews were in abundance throughout the trip, with an estimated trip total of 150, many of which were at our first stop at the Nature Center. We next went out to the bare dirt fields, where we had five species of geese (hundreds of Canada, five Cackling, 14 Snow, one Ross’s, and four Greater White-fronted), two Ferruginous Hawks (both light and dark morphs), and a distant Lapland Longspur (mixed in with a large-ish flock of Horned Larks). The dark morph Ferruginous gave excellent looks to all in attendance as it lifted off from the field in front of us and then made several passes circling directly overhead. On our way to Hog Island we spotted our sixth goose species, a quartet of Brant. On Hog Island, we had a single Large-billed Savannah Sparrow as well as a single Nelson’s Sparrow, the latter of which gave us easily the best look I’ve ever had of this species on the base, sitting up at the top of bare vegetation, in the open, for a good 20-30 seconds. Loggerhead Shrikes and Belted Kingfishers were in good supply throughout the trip, with trip counts of five shrikes and seven kingfishers. Raptors seen during the trip included Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, American Kestrel, and Peregrine Falcon. We ended the trip at noon with a total count of 87 distinct species. 


Sea & Sage Audubon Society
PO Box 5447 • Irvine, CA 92616 • 949-261-7963