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Back Bay Newport Rail Trip: Sat. 14 December, 8:00 AM

December 4, 2019

Despite what you may have read elsewhere, start time is 8 am.

Lesser (L) & Greater (R) Yellowlegs on the pickleweed
(R. Juncosa, Upper Newport Bay 12-8-18)

Back Bay Newport (or Upper Newport Bay) can provide great birding when the tides are right. It’s a bit of a drive for us (see below) and the difficulty of finding a Saturday with a high tide often keeps us from going. This year, the full moon falls on Dec. 12. Our Saturday trip two days later gets a good high tide of +6.21 feet at 9:37 AM. The rising tide will bring shorebirds close to shore and (we hope) rails up out of the inundated reeds. We hope to see Sora, Virginia Rail and Ridgway’s Rail, but we will of course keep our eyes open for Black Rail, which some of our members swear on a stack of bibles they have seen there. There should be plenty of ducks, grebes, waders, sandpipers, gulls, terns and skimmers on the bay and shore, raptors overhead and miscellaneous migrants in the brush. I saw my life Short-eared Owl here, decades ago, standing on a post among the reeds, so you never know what will be around. We will also search for the endangered California Gnatcatcher at one particular location along the route.

A new species for California - Ridgway's Rail!!! (formerly known as Clapper Rail) (Kirsten Wahlquist 10/11/14)

Ridgway’s Rail (Kirsten Wahlquist 10/11/14)

We’ll have lunch at nearby San Joaquin freshwater marsh, and those who wish can do some more birding. In 2017 we saw a Red-throated Pipit here, a Very Good bird.

Sora seen from 1st footbridge (C.Almdale 11/09)

Sora (C. Almdale 11/09)

Family guide: We begin with a half-mile round-trip stroll on a bay-side bike path. After that we drive to a few more spots near Jamboree Rd., then to lunch. Morning temps. start cool. Dress in layers, weather may be cool.
For future reference: Link to tide chart.

Driving Time: 50-60 minutes – 48 miles.
Meeting time: 8 am, 14 December, 2019.
Sign-up Requested:
No fee, but the leader wants to know who is coming. The drive is long: no signups, no trip.
Contact: Chuck, no later than Thursday 8 PM 12 December. (818-894-2541) or email misclists [AT] verizon [DOT] net
Food: Bring munchies & liquids and/or lunch. No services next to the bay.
Directions: From the Santa Monica Fwy (I-10)Take San Diego Fwy (I-405) 46 miles south to CA-73. CA-73 south for 2.5 miles [Do not get onto I-55 Costa Mesa Fwy] and exit at CAMPUS DR / IRVINE AVE. Right on IRVINE AVE., drive southwest 1.1 miles, turn left onto UNIVERSITY DRIVE, and then turn right at the first driveway into the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve parking lot.

There’s good birding around the parking lot where you can walk around or use the bathroom in the nature center (accessible from outside on the bay side bottom floor). It doesn’t hurt to get there early.

Link to December 2018 report.

For coffee or snacks: There are several fast food places along one-way Bristol St. just past Irvine Ave. To get back to IRVINE AVE. go right on Birch or Cypress St, south to Orchard Dr., right on Orchard and back to Irvine Ave. where you turn left and drive about 1 mile southwest as described above  Meet there. Allow at least 60 minutes travel time from Santa Monica.
Bathrooms in the interpretive Center open at 6am (entrance from outside, bayside, bottom floor).
Meet at 8:00 a.m. in the parking lot. Leaders: Chuck & Lillian Almdale (818-894-2541).
Map to Meeting Place: Back Bay Newport – NW meeting area
Use + and to zoom in or out, left click and mouse drag to reposition the map.
[Chuck Almdale]

Black Skimmer with the giant schnozz (Grace Murayama)

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