California 2005

    A short trip to Los Angeles, California in February by Kelli and I yielded 75 species of birds, plus a few mammals.

    We only had two days to bird. We decided on one trip along the coast and one inland and up in the mountains.


Palos Verdes

    The first day we visited Palos Verdes Peninsula. This lies just south of LA and juts out into the ocean with views of Santa Catalina Island. Our first stop was Point Vincente. We were greeted by a whale counter, a volunteer counting whales as they start to move north between the coast and Catalina in the San Pedro Channel. Only one whale was spotted during our time, the spout was seen a couple of times as it headed away northbound. A Harbor Seal made a brief appearance latter.

    Our first interesting birds were Western Gull and Western Grebe. Three Black Oystercatchers then flew from around the point to land with some Double-crested Cormorants on the rocks below us. They were joined later by a couple of Pelagic Cormorants. A few Brown Pelicans started to fly by, followed by a movement of Black-vented Shearwaters off shore. About 100 moved by in the span of a half hour when they suddenly stopped appearing as quickly as they had started.

    We made our way south, picking up White-crowned Sparrow and were informed by a local (who thought we had British accents) about the glass chapel near by. We visited its beautiful gardens and landscaping and were rewarded by a Townsendís Warbler, plus Western Scrub Jay, Common Raven and Annaís Hummingbird.

    Our next major stop was Forrestel Canyon.  This area was saved at the last minute from development and is now a refuge. We walked up the paved road, laid out in anticipation of home building. We quickly added Sayís Phoebe, a Red-tailed Hawk tearing apart a mouse, Bushtits, California Towhee, and heard California Gnatcatcher.

Red-tailed Hawk California Towhee

    At Royal Palms State Park we added Black Turnstone, Heermannís Gull, Whimbrel, California Gull and Glaucous-winged Gull.

Heermannís Gull Glaucous-winged Gull

    The rain had started back up so we ended the day by visiting El Dorado Park in Long Beach and found Black Phoebe, White Pelican, and Allenís Hummingbird.

    The next day called for heavy rain. We headed north towards Mount Pinos. The road leading to it eventually became too snowy and we had to turn back. Stopping in the town of Frazier Park, a feeder brought us looks at California Quail, Oregon Junco, Stellarís Jay and Lark Sparrow.

    We headed down the other side of the mountain along I-5 and were greeted to a rainbow in the San Joaquin Valley below us. It would be one of six rainbows we would see that day!

    The valley below us held many Western Meadowlarks, Brewers Blackbird, Greater Roadrunner, singing Lark Sparrows and White-throated Swifts. An adult Golden Eagle came by over our heads and was later harassed by a couple of ravens and a Red-tailed Hawk. Ground-squirrel and Desert Cottontail Rabbit were also seen.

    We missed LeConteís Thrasher in Maricopa but we got a good look at a Black-tailed Jack Rabbit.

    Our last stop was Soda Lake. The lake is up in the mountains and lies in the Carrizo Plain. We found a few California Ground Squirrels along the road to it. Although quiet, we did see the western race of Horned Lark, Savannah Sparrow, American Avocets, and three Mountain Bluebirds. We then headed back to rainy LA

Michael Bochnik and Kelli Jewell

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