Two Birds of Kells  LbNA # 8651 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateJun 12 2004
LocationNewport Beach, CA
Planted ByPeriwinkle    
Found By The 4 Splinters
Last Found Jul 8 2005
Hike Distance?

The Two Birds of Kells

(**Updated 8/7/05**)


The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve is normally a good place to see egrets, terns, herons and the like. But recently, three unusual celtic birds have been sighted in the area…

To find the birds, go to the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center, located at 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660, at the corner of University and Irvine Ave. Visit for directions and the hours the Center is open. Enter the parking lot from University Avenue. The parking lot and trails are open from sunrise to sunset, so you can find the birds even if the Center is closed.

The walk to Box #2 is short, just a few minutes.

Box #3 is located perhaps 3/4 of a mile from the parking lot (I’m making a VERY rough estimate, but according to the trail signs, it is less than one mile). Most of the walk is on a paved path which is suitable for bicycles, strollers and horses. When you near the box, you will travel for a short distance off the path on dirt, over and under tree branches & roots. There is no shade on the paved path, and no water beyond the interpretive center.

Bird #1:

MIA--I only mention it because the other 2 boxes are labeled as 2 & 3, so don't want anyone to go looking for a #1 box.

Bird #2:

As you look out over the estuary from the location of front door of the Center, you’ll see a bridge on your left. You want to head towards the bridge. To reach it, go north from the Center to the paved bike path. The path runs downhill in an easterly direction. Follow the path down the hill and across the bridge over the stream. Not far ahead, a second bridge or raised walkway curves around the hill. As you approach the second bridge, there is a white rock, a few feet tall, located on your left next to the path among the bushes. The rock is 4 paces (counted as one pace for each time your right foot touches the ground) before the wooden fence/rail of the 2nd bridge begins on the left side of the path.

At the base of the rock you will see several smaller rocks piled. The box is under the large rock, behind the smaller ones. Use a stick or some other implement to pull the box out—rattlesnakes do live in this area, so I DON’T recommend putting your hand under the rock.

This part of the trail is well traveled. Be prepared to wait for the “right moment” to retrieve the box unseen, and to replace the box and the smaller rocks.

Bird #3:

**Updated 3/5/05--Box TEMPORARILY REMOVED for renovation. Should be replaced soon.**

From the location of Bird #2, continue in an easterly direction along the path. On your right, looking downhill, you will see the estuary. On your left you’ll look uphill to see the hillside topped by a line of trees and some houses.

I’m guess-timating the distance from the 1st bridge to the 3rd box to be roughly one-half mile. (If you pass the sign that says the distance back to Irvine Ave is one mile, you’ve gone too far.)

You’ll come to a place, just before the path follows the curve of the hill round to the north, where a large, lone pepper tree (looks like a willow, but I'm told it's a pepper) is located on the right (downhill) side of the path. On the left side of the path, across from the pepper tree, is a “Trail Courtesy” sign that faces east (so you will see only the back of the sign as you approach). The view ahead to the east now opens up so you can see where the bay extends inland to the north (a great bird watching area).

Leaving the path, go to the trunk of the pepper tree. On the west side of the trunk, a large branch extends from trunk towards the west. It branches off from the trunk about four feet off the ground, then curves down to touch the ground. The branch forks when it touches the ground, splitting so that one portion rises again, and the other portion continues along the ground, giving it the appearance of a large root. Approximately six feet along the "root-branch" from the fork, the box is buried on the uphill side of the "root-branch" under leaves and sticks.