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Back Bay Newport Trip is a go: Sat. 10 December, 8:00 AM

December 7, 2022

The trip is on.
Sufficient people signed up to run the trip,

but there’s room for more.
Send me an email if you want to come.
That way I’ll know to expect you.

Email Chuck before Friday 3 PM 9 Dec.: misclists [AT] verizon [DOT] net
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 (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. 7, and the monthly high tide(s) are 6.6 ft. on both Dec. 6th & 7th. Our Saturday trip three days later has a good high tide of +5.74 feet at 9:22 AM, giving us a good 90 minutes of rising tide. The rising tide will (we hope) bring shorebirds close to shore and flush the 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 chapter members swear on a stack of bibles (an as-yet-unverified claim) 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 things 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 or two particular locations along the route.

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

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

We’ll have lunch (so bring one!) probably at nearby & birdy San Joaquin freshwater marsh, and those who wish can do some more birding there. In 2017 we saw a Red-throated Pipit here, a Very Good Bird, and a Virginia Rail showed up recently However, we also make sure to look for anything around; they usually keep a nice stock of interesting birds on hand, scattered around the many birder-sized ponds. They keep a list of sightings outside the bookshop door, AND if you’re looking for a particular bird book (say…Field Guide to Galapagos Birds) they might have it. You could call them: 949-378-6501.

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.
Link to December 2019 report.

Driving Time: 50-60 minutes – 48 miles. While there are gas stations in the area (especially right where you get off the freeway) you could get hung up there while everyone else drives on the the next birding spot to find that uber-rariety. Don’t let this happen to you! Gas up in advance.

Carpooling Drivers & Riders: If you’re willing to drive others or ride with others, send me a reply including your contact info and approx. location and I’ll circulate it to any others similarly interested. If you’re riding, the polite thing is to get yourself to the driver’s starting location rather than try to get them to drive to your house to pick you up. They’re already in for a 2-4 hour drive time for the trip – don’t add to it. And riders should inquire of drivers about their masking requirements, if any.

Meeting time: 8 am, 10 December, 2022. Get there early and find California Gnatcatchers!

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 8 December. 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 not-terrifically-well-marked UNIVERSITY DRIVE (NOT Campus Drive or University Drive alongside the UC-Irvine campus, NOT, NOT!!!), and then turn right at the first driveway into the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve parking lot. Write down these directions and look at the map linked to below!!! There are certain people who get themselves lost every year! You know who you are!

If you’re late, walk downhill from the parking lot onto the bike/walk path until you see us. We’re the ones with the binoculars.

If you get there early, 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 and find all the birds for the rest of us.

Link to December 2019 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.
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.

Directions to lunch @ San Joaquin Marsh
We’ll finish birding Back Bay near the corner of the Mountains-to-the-Trail and Eastbluff Drive. East on Eastbluff Dr. across Jamboree Rd. and under Fwy. #73 and about 1 mile more to Campus Dr. Turn left on Campus Dr. & cross the creek to the first right, Riparian Drive. Turn right & continue north about 1/2 mile to the entrance of San Joachin. Turn left and down the little hill to the parking lot. You’ll pass the bookstore on your right and the picnic tables are just beyond the bathroom block.
[Chuck Almdale]

Black Skimmer with the giant schnozzola. (Grace Murayama)

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