Monday, 19 January 2009

18 Jan 09 – Los Angeles, California

As I had 5.30pm flight out of LAX, I had plenty of time to do some birding during the day. Andy Birch had kindly offered to take me birding for the morning, despite having quite a hectic home life with his 3-month-old baby girl. He picked me up from my motel and we headed down to Marina del Rey to look for gulls. There’d been a couple of Thayer’s Gulls around, but they were not on show and the only gull of any note was nice 3rd-winter F1-looking hybrid Glaucous-winged x Western Gull. There were a few nice birds around the marina area though, in the way of a couple of Pacific Divers, Horned (Slavonian) Grebe, Royal Tern, c30 Surfbirds and a single Black Turnstone.

Next we headed off to the South Coast Botanic Gardens, where a Thick-billed Kingbird had been seen regularly recently. We headed down to the lake where the bird had been seen and were soon watching it perched on an exposed branch at the top of a dead tree overlooking the lake. The bird moved around and we bumped into it a couple of times as we birded other areas around the lake. There had been a couple of Varied Thrushes reported in the more overgrown areas, but investigations of scratching noises produced only a couple of Hermit Thrushes and a Pacific Fox Sparrow. There were a few other birds of interest around the gardens though. Bell’s Vireo was probably the best bird we bumped into, but Red-shafted Flickers, Red-shouldered Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk all added to a nice ‘red’ theme and Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Robin and Townsend Warbler all added to the variation.

And that’s the end of my California ‘business’ trip. I love California. It’s a great place, with great weather and great birds. I look forward to my next visit.

Hybird 3rd winter Glaucous-winged x Western Gull

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