|Anthony Gliozzo searches for the Lincoln sparrow along the Barano Walk Trail in Mission Viejo where the species has recently been spotted. Photo by J.J. Meyer|
In case you missed my column in today's O.C. Register, here it is:
Professional photographer Anthony Gliozzo calls himself an avid birder. But until a few years ago, the native New Yorker’s focus was rock bands instead of rock wrens.
After moving to South Orange County his interest in photography changed. He purchased a 400mm f/5.6 Canon L series lens and captured a close-up image of a merlin—a small, fast-flying falcon—along the Barano Walk Trail in Mission Viejo.
“My eyes were opened that day,” Gliozzo said. “I realized that I was missing out on one of the more beautiful and dynamic creatures in our environment: birds. Since then, I’ve been continuously researching the various avian species that visit Orange County.”
He combined more than 30 years of photography experience with a background in IT to develop ocbirds.com. He started the site a year ago to help new and intermediate birders identify both common and rare species found in the area and to list the hotspots for locating these birds.
With a life list that’s approaching 300 different species, Gliozzo’s favorites include the Lincoln’s sparrow, which is similar to the song sparrow but not here year-round, the hard to find but sociable rock wren, the California thrasher because of its unique bill, the hermit thrush for its call and the phainopepla for its beauty and song.
As a birder, he uses tools of the trade including eBird and follows the rare bird reports that are emailed to him daily. These allow him to chase sightings of rare vagrants, those species found out of their normal range, and unusual migratory birds, which can be found in our area seasonally as they fly north and south along the Pacific Flyway.
Among these was a zone-tailed hawk spotted recently in Limestone Canyon. This rare winter visitor flies remarkably similar to a turkey vulture, which keeps prey from recognizing it. Other reports sent him in search of a bay-breasted warbler near the Oso Creek Trail in Mission Viejo and a winter wren in Huntington Beach Central Park. He was also among the 400 birders who flocked to Yorba Regional Park in Anaheim last fall to see an extremely rare olive-backed pipit.
He recommends the following hot spots for birding in Orange County: The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach Central Park and the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. Birding tips and details of each location are described on his website.
And he offers the following tips for better bird identification: “Don’t just rely on color, look at the size of the bird. Listen to its call. Watch the bird’s behavior—was it erratic or did it fly back and forth to the same place? Consider the location and the time of year. Note the size and shape of the bill. Was it on the ground or in a tree low or high? Then determine what birds would normally be present.”
When he’s not birding, Gliozzo runs an Internet technology and photography business. For more birding and photography tips, go to www.ocbirds.com.