Cynthia and I were planning to donate tons (it seemed like) of birding books and magazines to the Sea and Sage Audubon Center at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine. I thought that that would be a good opportunity to say goodbye to our two best birding buddies, both of whom are frequent visitors to that area.
At our appointed time of 9 am, Pat Thelen (whom I have been advising on choosing camera gears and encouraging to go deeper into birding) and Tom Starcic (whom I have birded with several times and is a fellow bird photographer) were already there to meet us. In the relatively short time that my wife and I have befriended this two very nice gentlemen, we have formed some sort of a kindred spirit with them and it is with a certain sadness that we have to say our goodbyes to them. We will be retiring to our native Philippines next month, hence the farewells.
Then there were the birds. It wasn't particularly very birdy that morning, still we were able to see a Downy Woodpecker - the first time we've seen it at San Joaquin, I think.
Spring must be near (although it doesn't feel like it) because Tree Swallows were already checking out possible nesting sites.
From San Joaquin, we did a drive by at Upper Newport Bay and got a Green-winged Teal standing on land (we always see them swimming.)
Continuing at Bolsa Chica, we witnessed a feeding frenzy of a group of (we counted nine) Red-breasted Mergansers - much to the consternation of the Snowy Egrets nearby and the Forster's Terns hovering overhead.
It had been a while since we last visited these places and as we were having lunch we reminisced of the wonderful times we have had birding Orange County and the lovely people we have met along the way. We will certainly miss them and we will miss the birds of that small patch in Southern California. But we will come back someday and experience once more these wonderful soon-to-be memories.
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19 hours ago