I birded with Frances Oliver, Oscar Johnson, and Alex Thomas in and around Orange County today. We were targeting specific rarities, and county birds needed by Oscar and Frances. I got to SJWS before they did, and ran into Janet and Art Cupples in the parking lot =) They told me about the Vermilion Flycatcher around the first couple ponds, much closer than the VEFLs had been earlier in the season. I saw the bird a few times, it would flush out past pond E, then return when it felt safe. I finally was in the right place, and got amazing looks at him.
When they arrived, he was nowhere in sight, and stayed that way, darn. We did see the Clay-colored Sparrow that's been wintering, I'm getting pretty comfortable with picking that bird out of a flock now. Oscar tried digiscoping the CCSP with my camera, the result was out of focus, but identifiable.
We tried for a few birds with no success, before going to Aurora Park in Mission Viejo to get the Hooded Warbler that I'd missed a few times before. Luck was on our side there, we got great looks at this bird, but I learned a valuable lesson, use manual focus when shooting a small bird in grass, because auto-focus does not give crisp images when there are so many points it can focus on, boo. From there, we tried for the YTWA at Teawinkle with no luck, but they got their county Eurasian Wigeon. Finally, we went to the boardwalk at UNB to get the Short-eared Owl, my third time seeing it there, and a good way to end the day =)
and just for laughs...