San Fernando Valley Condors
- A suggestion about searching for condors above the east San Fernando
Instead of birding from the valley floor or in the lower foothills
as did Miko & Co., I'd advise heading up Little Tujunga Canyon Road
to the Dillon Divide. Just before you reach the divide itself, there
is a forest service dirt road that climbs up from the left side of
the road. If memory serves me correctly, this is the road the the
hang glider enthusiasts use to reach their launch site. By driving
to the end of this road (a couple miles I think) you have panoramic
views of the Kagel Canyon and Pacoima Wash areas, as well as the
whole of the San Fernando Valley, especially the likely condor
approaches to the north and west. Watch and listen for arriving
Black-chinned Sparrows up there as well.
For those who don't want to drive up to this lookout point, the
eastern edge of Veterans Park in Sylmar provides the best low
elevation views of the area in question. It might well be that the
view for condor watching is from the ridge above Veterans Park, but
it is a relatively steep 3 mile hike up the Wilson Canyon Motorway
to this ridge. This road runs up the west side of the park. I don't
remember if there are good views of Kagel Canyon from up there, but
this ridge really overlooks the approaches to the north and east San
Fernando Valley. The trail can be quite productive for migrants this
time of year.
Finally, a third option is to hike up to the same ridge that is
above Veterans Park, but from the north side. This hike is the Los
Pinetos Trail that starts at Walker Ranch.
Good luck to all.
Dustin's suggestion is great. That is where I saw California Condors
in the mid 1970's. Much easier than viewing from the valley floor.