I want to thank all of you that replied to me last month regarding certain questions, and also all of the information that I was able to glean from posts from the various lists in southern and central California. We flew into LA on the 20th, and returned home on March 1st.
In addition to the superb LA Audubon winter pelagic (which was the impetus for the trip), we also birded various locations in San Diego, Anza-Borrego Desert SP, the Salton Sea (with Bob Miller), San Jacinto and San Bernardino Mnts, Carrizo Plain, Cuyama Valley, coastal San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, and a few other locations here and there.
Brad Schram's guide was our main tool, along with correspondence from several CA birders, and information I picked up from posts. Our trip total was 232 species, more than I expected. I picked up 42 ABA or Life birds (hoping for 35), with Don Manning picking up 52.
I have a more in-depth trip report, and full species list if anyone is interested. Among the highlights were the following:
Northern Fulmars of all 3 general color morphs (LA Audubon pelagic)
Pink-footed Shearwaters: (pelagic)
Short-tailed Shearwater: (pelagic)
Black-vented Shearwaters: (great look on pelagic, others seen from La Jolla)
Eurasian Wigeon: (2 males in separate groups of dabblers, in channel along dunes from Seacoast out to Tijuana River Mouth)
Ferruginous Hawk: two birds along Soda Lake Rd on Carrizo Plain, south of Soda Lake; one bird in ag land south of Santa Maria on 101
Prairie Falcon: Hwy 79, south of Warner Springs; one bird along Branch Mountain Rd on the Carrizo Plain
Pacific Golden-Plover : three birds with a group of Black-bellies, which came off the grass at the airfield bordering Tijuana River NWR off 5th Street
Mountain Plover: burned field south of Calipatria State Prison, near Longspur field
Wandering Tattler: one each at La Jolla and breakwater at Marina del Rey
Surfbird: La Jolla, breakwater at Marina del Rey(50+), San Simeon Coast
Mew Gull: one adult at Red Hill at Salton Sea; Morro Rock area, several areas along San Simeon coast
Glaucous-winged Gull: Royal Palms SP, one bird on pelagic, several around Morro Rock area and San Simeon coast, three on lawn at Oceano Campground
Glaucous Gull: 1st-winter bird on pelagic trip
Pigeon Guillemot : near-breeding plumage bird on water from cliffs at Montana de Oro
Ancient Murrelet, Cassin's Auklet, Rhino Auklet: all on pelagic trip
Spotted Dove : Sand Dune Park, and one heard calling in Santa Monica, off Santa Monica Boulevard
Ruddy Ground-Dove : Eddins & Sperry at Salton Sea (heard)
Calliope Hummingbird : surprise bird see briefly but well at Thurman Flats Picnic Area in the San Bernardino's. Female bird with very short bill, short tail with limited rufous, very dull sides
Williamson's Sapsucker : near Ranger Station at trailheads from San Jacinto Aerial Tramway, male and female
Red-naped Sapsucker : Covington Park at Big Morongo Nature Preserve
Red-breasted Sapsucker : Canada Largo Rd, female bird in pepper trees at 2.0 mile marker
White-headed Woodpecker : near Ranger Station at trailheads from San Jacinto Aerial Tramway, at least two males and a female
Gray Flycatcher : Cattle Call Park in Brawley (Salton Sea area)
Eastern Phoebe : Canada Largo Rd, in same location that the bird has been being present
Vermilion Flycatcher : Cattle Call Park in Brawley (Salton Sea area), Big Morongo Nature Preserve
Thick-billed Kingbird : Lake Hodges at Hernandez Hideaway Restaurant location
Yellow-billed Magpie : 1st seen along Pozo Rd, just off of Hwy 58 south of the Carrizo Plain. Also seen along Hwy 58 near Santa Margarita. Other birds seen from hwy 101 south of Santa Maria, and also along Alisal Canyon Rd, on and near the golf course.
Violet-green Swallow : good numbers at several locations
Cliff Swallow : Machado Lake on the PV Peninsula
Chestnut-backed Chickadee : Montana de Oro SP, willows around campground below headquarters; we didn�t look elsewhere for it
California Gnatcatcher : we arrived late in day at Ocean Trails on PV Peninsula, but had quick looks at a female bird. We had at least 4 at San Dieguito River Park on Lake Hodges, including great looks at a male
Mountain Bluebird : 50+ birds on the Carrizo Plain
Sage Thrasher : two birds seen at LeConte�s Thrasher site on Old Springs Rd near Borrego Springs
LeConte�s Thrasher : Old Springs Rd near Borrego Springs, and at least two at traditional site near Maricopa on Petroleum Club Rd. Great looks both places
Black-throated Gray Warbler : near residence of ranger�s house at Tamarisk Grove Campground at Anza-Borrego SP
Rufous-crowned Sparrow : East Camino Cielo Rd
Brewer�s Sparrow : good numbers around Anza-Borrego Desert SP, and at Black Rock Canyon Campground in Joshua Tree National Monument
Vesper Sparrow : Carrizo Plain
Sage Sparrow : LeConte�s Thrasher spot near Maricopa, and several around Carrizo Plain
Golden-crowned Sparrow : farthest south we had them was Ocean Trails on the PV Peninsula, common farther north on coast, for us from about Santa Barbara north
McCown�s Longspur : longspur field at Calipatria, male seen in flight and good looks at female on ground
Lapland Longspur : one Lap heard giving �teuw� note in longspur flock
Chestnut-collared Longspur : majority of Calipatria longspur flock are Chestnut-collared�s, with males wearing nicely into breeding plumage
Tricolored Blackbird : Charles Wilson Park in Torrance, and also around the dairy on Foothills Rd in the Cuyama Valley
Yellow-headed Blackbird : Salton Sea area
Scott�s Oriole : at least two, and probably three, at Black Rock Canyon Campground in Joshua Tree National Monument
Cassin�s Finch : only seen in the vicinity of the trailheads and visitor building at summit of Aerial Tramway in San Jacinto�s
Red Crossbill : only seen in the vicinity of the trailheads and visitor building at summit of Aerial Tramway in San Jacinto�s
Lawrence�s Goldfinch : several in the trees on the grounds of the Santa Ysabel Mission, and a group also in the Cuyama Valley along Foothills Rd
While there were a few other target birds we could have seen (such as Varied Thrush, Townsend�s Solitaire), the only birds that we missed that I really thought we had a decent shot at were Mountain Quail, Yellow-footed Gull, and Pinyon Jay. The Jay especially we looked for extensively, spending at least 6 hours in three different known locations for them. Yellow-footed Gull was seen at the Salton Sea within a few days either direction of when we were there.
I enjoyed CA as much as any trip I've been on, thanks in no small part to the incredibly amount of information available to help in planning the trip. Be glad to answer any questions anyone might have. Thanks again, and can't wait to get back!
I will have quite a few photos posted from the trip within a few days, for anyone interested. I will make a quick post to this effect.
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