Happy New Year 2008! May your year be full of Happy & Productive Birding,
I was perusing www.birdingonthe.net last evening and noticed on the
Los Angeles County list serv reports that Kimball Garrett matched Bob
and Susan Steele's Isabella Reservoir Six Grebe Slam in Kern County.
Kimball's Slam was had in Los Angeles County at Castaic Lagoon north
of Santa Clarita. Kimball's sightings were made during the Santa
Clarita Christmas Bird Count held this past Saturday, December 29,
2007. Kimball had several other "good" sightings at Castaic Lagoon.
Castaic Lake is a relatively short drive south from Kern County. The
growing legions of Kerncobirding birders who are participating in
California counties birding might wish to take advantage of adding
one or more species to their Los Angeles County list via a visit to
Castaic Lake. Kimball's report follows...
During coverage of Castaic Lagoon for the Santa Clarita CBC this morning I saw
a juvenile Red-necked Grebe. It was more or less in the center of the lagoon,
and spending a lot of time underwater. This bird capped off a grebe slam, with
all six species recorded in the County present on Castaic Lagoon
Also present was a female White-winged Scoter, a first-cycle Mew Gull, 2
first-cycle Thayer's Gulls, a first-cycle Glaucous-winged Gull a male Common
Goldeneye, a Cackling Goose (with ~120 Canadas), and plenty of other
waterbirds. Landbirds (in the park on the west side of the lagoon) included a
Red-breasted Nuthatch and Mountain Chickadee,
Lake Hughes Drive north of Castaic Lake was noteworthy for its almost complete
lack of sparrows (compared to the abundance of sparrows last year) -- a very
real effect of last winter's record low rainfall (and, hence, no crop of
annuals last spring to produce seed).
Castaic Lagoon is reached from I-5 by taking Lake Hughes Road east. The best
viewing is from the west side (entrance is halfway up, off Castaic Lake Rd.).
There is a ridiculous $10.00 entrance fee, but no convenient outside parking.
For those with a total aversion to paying, you might be able to scope the
lagoon from a pullout along Lake Hughes Rd., but the distance will be great.
Kimball L. Garrett
Section of Ornithology
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
kgarrett AT nhm.org
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