October 28, 2023 [LINK / comment]

Birding out west, Part II: Los Angeles

(NOTE: The previous installment in this series of blog pieces on my birding activities out west last June was on August 1.)

June 16, Los Angeles: It was surprisingly cool and overcast on the day that I arrived! To resume the narrative of my birding adventures out west last month, the next major stop after Houston was Los Angeles, my very first time there. Right outside Union Station near downtown, I soon saw a Black Phoebe and a Cooper's Hawk. While walking through a plaza on the way to my hotel I heard a familiar but hard-to-pinpoint song, and was soon stunned to see a Dark-eyed Junco, with the blackish head and rufous back characteristic of the west coast subspecies.I checked my Audubon app, and sure enough, Juncos do breed in southern California. Weird!! Later in the day I took the Metro train to Santa Monica pier, where Western Gulls abounded. Outside of Memorial Coliseum I spotted a couple Western Kingbirds jostling for control of a tree. In a residential neighborhood later in the afternoon I saw my first-ever Allen's Hummingbird!

Birds 2023 June 16

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Cooper's Hawk, Western Gull, Dark-eyed Junco, Western Kingbird, Allen's Hummingbird. (June 16, Los Angeles)

June 17, Los Angeles: On my second day in Los Angeles (a Saturday), I did my laundry, checked out of the hotel, left my backpack at Union Station, and then took the Metro to the Hollywood and Vine station. After seeing some of the stars embedded in the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Doris Day, James Dean, Katherine Hepburn, Boris Karloff, et al.) I walked a few blocks past some very posh houses to Griffith Park, where the trail leading up to the famous Griffith Observatory begins. Along the trail I saw quite a few House Finches, Lesser Goldfinches, and Acorn Woodpeckers, which are quite amusing in both appearance and behavior. Unlike the day before, it was sunny and quite warm the whole day, and having walked nearly 20 days during my two days in L.A., I decided to turn back before reaching the observatory. On the way down I saw FOUR (4) life birds: California Towhee, Western Scrub-Jay, Oak Titmice, and Chestnut-backed Chickadees. There were also some Black Phoebes and Dark-eyed Juncos. A very good day!

Birds 2023 June 17

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Lesser Goldfinch (M), Black Phoebe, California Towhee, Oak Titmouse, Western Scrub-Jay, Dark-eyed Junco, Acorn Woodpecker. (June 17, Hollywood)

As usual, the above photo montages, including some closeup images and additional photos, can be seen on the Wild Birds chronological photo gallery page.

NEXT: Birding in the San Francisco Bay Area, California!