But I identified my first white-crowned sparrow in my backyard in the suburbs of Los Angeles. You can travel all over the world looking for exotic bird species, but sometimes the places close to home can offer even greater diversity.
|great blue heron|
The sod farm is gone and now native scrub surrounds a pond and riparian habitat. The refuge has become an amazing location to see a wide variety of southern California's bird life and a major stopover for migrating birds. Recently on a Saturday morning in early October, I spotted 37 bird species during a short 2-hour walk. There were the locals: California and spotted towhees, lesser goldfinch, Anna's hummingbird and black phoebe. The pond provides feeding areas for five species of herons and egrets, and now a belted kingfisher pair. There was even a lone white-faced ibis hanging out with some mallards.
The travelers have begun to pass through and the wildlife area provides important refuge, food and water for migrating species. A beautiful adult male yellow warbler came within a few feet; close enough that I could see the red streaking on his breast without my binoculars. The first of the white-crowned sparrows were in the underbrush, while double-crested cormorants were sizing up the island for nesting and three species of grebe were patrolling the water.
Birds of prey are numerous here as well. I can't think of too many locations where in two hours time you can see an osprey, red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk and an American kestrel.
Sepulveda Basin never disappoints me. Whether it is the osprey diving for fish or a family of 22 bushtits making their way through the underbrush, there is always something to thrill and amaze. Take a Mini Birdwalk with video. This birding jewel in the middle of Los Angeles offers numerous bird species anytime of the year and provides easy access to some of California's unique species. Sepulveda Wildlife Refuge in Feb.
Oct. 8, 2011 Species List
great blue heron
black-crowned night heron
Other So. Cal birding areas: Bolsa Chica, Malibu Lagoon, Serrania Park