After birding the Antelope Valley this morning, my year list for Los Angeles County now stands at 242 species.
April 4, Coastal Los Angeles County
BBI has a project site on the coast that I am surveying for birds for a full day, twice per month. While the site is heavily disturbed, it is surrounded by tidal wetlands and mudflats, and a given visit invariably results in a list of 50+ species. On this site visit, I found the following new species for the year:
- Cliff Swallow
- Caspian Tern
- Semipalmated Plover
- Snowy Plover
April 11, Charlton Flat, Angeles National Forest
While performing trailwork in the Angeles National Forest (a requirement to run the Angeles Crest 100 trail race), I heard the following two new species:
- Black-chinned Sparrow
- Ash-throated Flycatcher
April 12, Run to the Top of Mt. Wilson and Back
I can see Mt. Wilson from my neighborhood. I run there all the time, always driving to some trailhead. As I am a distance runner, I wondered why I don’t just run to the top from house and run back home? On this day, I did just that. Over the course of the 43 miles round-trip, I observed the following new species for the year:
- Nashville Warbler (in a residential neighborhood)
- Hammond’s Flycatcher (Mt. Wilson Toll Road at about 4,000 feet)
In addition, as this does not merit it’s own subject heading, I picked up my first Brown-headed Cowbird of the year at my home the next day.
April 14-20, Santa Clara River
While conducting riparian bird surveys, I observed the following new species over several days:
- Bullock’s Oriole
- Lazuli Bunting
- Warbling Vireo
- Bell’s Vireo
- Black-chinned Hummingbird
- Yellow-breasted Chat
- Western Tanager
- Marsh Wren
- Wood Duck
- Blue Grosbeak
April 22, Verdugo Mountains
While on a ten mile loop run in the Verdugo Mountains, I observed the following new species:
- MacGillivray’s Warbler
- Violet-green Swallow
- Western Wood-Pewee
April 23, Elyria Canyon Park
Elyria Canyon Park is next to my house. I bird there frequently. On this morning, I closely observed my first definitive Rufous Hummingbird of 2015. Note that this species is difficult to separate from the abundant Allen’s Hummingbird unless you get a good look at the tail. The bird was preening over my head.
April 24, Legg Lake and Montebello Hills
I stopped at Legg Lake to see what I could find. The only new species was Vaux’s Swift. The Montebello Hills Oilfield is nearby. This oilfield supports a large California Gnatcatcher population (I was the lead biologist on the gnatcatcher habitat project there for many years). While I no longer have access to the oilfield directly, I probed the streets surrounding it until I finally heard one calling.
April 26, Angeles Crest 100 Training Run (22 miles from Chilao Flat to Chantry Flat)
There were a lot of birds on this run. Because this was a group run, I didn’t keep a full species list, but I did make mental note of the new things I heard and saw during the run, all of which were present on the climb up the Edison Road to Newcomb Pass.
- Hermit Warbler
- Townsend’s Warbler
- Hutton’s Vireo
- Cassin’s Vireo
- Olive-sided Flycatcher
April 28, Santa Clara River
Again conducting riparian bird surveys for work, I managed to find some new species:
- Bank Swallow
- White-tailed Kite
May 2, Running/Hiking/Birding Mash-up in the Angeles National Forest High Country
I spent the day with a heavy, but runnable, backpack with binoculars and my good camera. This was the first time I ever carried binoculars on a run. The entirety of the run, between Lightning Ridge and Vincent Gap, was above 7,000 feet. These sorts of high mountain areas are my favorite place to spend time in. I observed the following new species:
- Green-tailed Towhee
- Red-breasted Sapsucker
- Calliope Hummingbird
- Costa’s Hummingbird
May 3, Targeted Birding at Madrona Marsh, Ballona Wetlands, and Alondra Park
Headed to Madrona Marsh to search for Red-necked Phalorope, Bonaparte’s Gull, and Clay-colored Sparrow, and ended up just getting Bonaparte’s Gull. Then, I headed to Ballona Freshwater Marsh for Least Bittern and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, getting neither, but picking up a Sora (a rail) for the first time this year. Then, to the Ballona Channel near the beach where I hoped to get Least Tern, Elegant Tern, and Wandering Tattler. I got the second two of those in about five minutes, then left because of the crowd. Finally, I headed to Alondra Park, where a Canvasback was reported the previous day.
May 4, Targeted Birding in the Antelope Valley
Since I had no fieldwork this morning, but a conference call that I just listen in on, I decided to chase more new species in the Antelope Valley. Went to the Lancaster Water Treatment Plant for a reported White-winged Scoter, and picked up both that species and Black Tern (not expected) in about ten minutes. I then went to a spot where a pair of Swainson’s Hawks was observed a week ago. I went there, got out of my Jeep, and one was above me on a utility pole. I then headed to Holiday Lake near Neenach where 6 Yellow-headed Blackbirds were reported two days ago. The number of Tricolored Blackbirds was ridiculous (thousands). I spent about 30 fruitless minutes looking around, then finally found a female Yellow-headed Blackbird in a tree near the lake. 242 for the year.