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Environment : Notes about your surroundings.

MIGRATION NEWS: This fall’s land bird migration has brought bad news and good news for bird enthusiasts in the county. The bad news is the disappointingly low number and variety of species that typically migrate into the county; the good news is the surprising number of rare vagrants (birds who stray from their normal migration paths).

Two species have been recorded in the county for the first time, Doug Willick of the local Sea and Sage Audubon Society reports. A cerulean warbler was spotted on the UC Irvine campus on Oct. 1 and 2, and a mourning warbler was seen in Huntington Beach’s Central Park Sept. 5 through 12. Both birds are usually seen in the northeastern United States.

A second sighting was recorded in the county for a male golden-winged warbler. One was spotted Sept. 30 in Newport Beach and on Oct. 26 and 27 at Turtle Rock Nature Center in Irvine. The species was first spotted in the county in the early ‘80s but has not been seen here since then.

Other rare vagrants have included a yellow-green vireo at UC Irvine, a vermilion flycatcher at Mason Regional Park in Irvine, a northern parula in Seal Beach, a magnolia warbler at Seacliff Country Club in Huntington Beach, and a clay-colored sparrow and a black-footed green warbler at Huntington Central Park.

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There have been multiple sightings of Tennessee warblers, blackpoll warblers, American redstarts, black-and-white warblers, indigo buntings, rose-breasted grosbeaks and green-tailed towhees.

“It’s reaching the tail end of fall migration,” Willick said. Huntington Central Park is the best place in the county to observe migrating land birds. TIDE POOLS: The Orange County Marine Institute will offer a new series of tide pool workshops in coming weeks. The first will be offered next Saturday and Sunday and is intended for children 3 to 6 years old. The workshops will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 1 p.m.

A program for teen-agers will be offered Nov. 19 and 20. In addition to guiding exploration of tide pools, the instructor will screen clips from vintage science fiction films illustrating misconceptions about the ocean. A special program for senior citizens will be offered Dec. 3 and for the handicapped Dec. 4. These workshops will meet from 10 a.m. to noon.

Call the institute at (714) 496-2274 for information on the series.

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