California 10/2 – 19/2/2010

Published by Frank Hemmings (70frankus AT

Participants: Frank Hemmings



My partner Matt and I had a short holiday on our way back from Costa Rica, stopping in to stay with a friend of ours in Long Beach, out from Los Angeles, for four nights, then up to San Francisco for five nights. Even given that some of the birding was incidental only, it was nevertheless impressive, and many of the species I saw were new to me, since this was my first trip to the mainland US. I ended up seeing 130 species, with 82 of these being lifers (underlined in the text below). Fog in San Francisco, apparently uncommon in winter, meant that seeing birds at any distance at times was tricky, but it did add to the general ambience of the place

Sites – Los Angeles area

Long Beach

Since we were staying in Long Beach I birded around here to see what was around; it’s not likely to be on many birders lists of places to see but there was a decent selection, especially near the water. We stopped in for a late lunch at the beach on our first day, but I had a long walk through the area the following morning seeing many more birds. Many of these were seen elsewhere in the trip, but this was the only area where I saw Black Skimmer (on the beach) and Western Bluebird (in parkland near the marina). A number of gulls were present including the beautiful Heermann’s Gull, California Gull, the abundant Western and Ring-billed Gulls, and individual Herring and Glaucous-winged Gulls. I may have missed some other adult gulls, and I avoided ‘brown’ gull identification, as I did for most of the trip. On the water, Western Grebes were common, but there were a few Clark’s Grebes mixed in with these. Large flocks of Surf Scoters loafed generally a little too far out to see well, but several were in close enough to allow great views. Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron and Mallard were all seen in the area, especially near the harbour. A single Osprey hunted overhead when we stopped for lunch near Belmont Pier on our first day. Most of the land birds were of the more common species, such as Black Phoebe, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Anna’s Hummingbird and House Finch, but a single Black-throated Grey Warbler in trees near the harbour was an unexpected sight.

Bolsa Chica

This was a great site, with large numbers of waterbirds, along with a few interesting land birds. Winter of course is the main season for ducks and geese, and there were large numbers of these here. Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck and Lesser Scaup were particularly abundant, and Green-winged Teal and American Wigeon were common. Less common though still in moderate numbers were Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler and Northern Pintail. A small group of Red-breasted Mergansers were present on one lake, and Surf Scoter was represented by a single bird, although there were flocks of these out in the surf, and individuals to small groups on waterways nearby. A small flock of Brant were the only geese at the site. Eared Grebe were probably the most commonly seen grebes, followed by Pied-billed Grebe, but a few Horned Grebes and a flock of several Western Grebes. Several Great Blue Herons were seen, including a couple of nesting pairs, but surprisingly 2 Little Blue Herons were also present on the ponds – an uncommon species for the west coast. Snowy Egrets were moderately common, but individuals of Great Egret, Green Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron were also present. Double-crested Cormorants were common resting mostly on a sandbank within a fenced area, and small numbers of Brown Pelicans were present throughout.

The waders were impressive. Although hard to identify due to distance, even with the scope, at some spots, at others they were obligingly close. Dowitchers were particularly frustrating – in general these were abundant, and based on calls when a few flew away, both Long-billed and Short-billed Dowitchers were present but for the most part it was too difficult to identify these to species level. Western and Least Sandpipers were both present, with the latter outnumbered by the former; Dunlins probed into the mud in large numbers, as did Marbled Godwits, and Long-billed Curlew and Willets were both common. A small flock of Sanderling were present, as were a few Greater Yellowlegs, Killdeer, Semipalmated Plovers, and both American Avocet and Black-necked Stilt were also foraging in the shallows. Gulls were fairly common, but I confess to being a little stumped. Western and Ring-billed Gulls were abundant; a few Herring Gulls were also seen, along with single adult and immature Glaucous-winged Gulls. I’m pretty sure I missed some other adult gulls, and again I generally avoided ‘brown’ gull identification. A flock of 10 or so Forster’s Terns rested on a sandbank, and a few Royal Terns flew over.

A few American Kestrels hunted over the low vegetation, with more perched on roadside wires nearby, and three Northern Harriers gliding in low flight were very impressive. Other land bird highlights from here included Say’s Phoebe, Cassin’s Kingbird, Northern Mockingbird, Belted Kingfisher, California Towhee, Savannah Sparrow and Anna’s Hummingbird (the first of many).

El Dorado Nature Reserve

After Bolsa Chica, we drove around a little aimlessly, looking for a site my friend Dave had gone for a run through one day and thought would be good but couldn’t find it, so we then ended up at El Dorado Nature Reserve. Unfortunately half of the tracks were closed due to lake maintenance, and hunger was kicking in so we only stayed for a short while. On one of the ponds we saw a few waterbirds, which included Gadwall, Mallard, American Wigeon and American Coot. I saw my only Red-shouldered Hawk here; I heard some at Golden Gate Park but couldn’t see them. Land bird highlights from here included the first Allen’s Hummingbirds, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Black-throated Grey Warbler and Bushtit. On the drive nearby were Red-tailed Hawk, Turkey Vulture and, surprisingly, Spotted Towhee.

Griffith Park- Bronson Canyon

Griffith Park is a huge area near Hollywood, and we walked on the Bronson Canyon trail, sometimes referred to as Brush Canyon. The vegetation was largely chaparral, but with some oak woodland growing in the canyon. Despite being warm and in the middle of the day, and being thronged with people, the birding here was excellent. Nuttall’s Woodpecker and Oak Titmouse foraged in the oaks in the lower canyon, and Lincoln’s Sparrow and Lesser Goldfinch were in the nearby brush. In the chaparral were Wrentit, California Thrasher, California Quail, Spotted and California Towhees, the thick-billed race of the Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Say’s Phoebe and Northern Flicker. Both Anna’s and Allen’s Hummingbirds buzzed throughout, and Yellow-rumped Warblers were abundant everywhere. Overhead were Common Ravens and Red-tailed Hawk, along with a single Sharp-shinned Hawk. This was a great introduction to California birds, and the views from the top were good, although they would have been much improved if there was less smog (as there was on the previous and following days when we saw the snow-capped mountains in the distance).

Sites - San Francisco

Buena Vista Park

Staying in the Castro, this was the closest park to our hotel. Over the course of a few visits I clocked up a number of sightings, although it was difficult to see birds at times due to the fog which was present each day and obscuring visibility. Some highlights from here not seen elsewhere during the trip, such as Red-breasted Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler and Golden-crowned Kinglet. Mixed flocks moving through the trees contained Townsend’s Warbler, along with a few Yellow-rumped Warblers (outnumbered by the previous species), Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Bushtit and Chestnut-backed Chickadee. On one visit a flock was moving through a flowering plum tree at eye height barely more than a metre away and the Townsend’s Warblers in particular were stunning. Golden-crowned Sparrows were numerous, but Song Sparrows were also present, as were Fox Sparrows (dark north-western race). A small flock of Cedar Waxwings fed in the upper levels on one visit. Other common birds included Northern Flicker, Western Scrub-Jay, Dark-eyed Junco, California Towhee and American Robin.

San Francisco city sights and beside

We did the usual tourist thing one day and caught a cable car down through to near Fisherman’s Wharf, walking out along Hyde St Pier, then back along the bay shore; a day of sightseeing it nevertheless provided some incidental birding. A few Clark’s Grebes were mixed in with the more numerous Western Grebes. Gulls were confusing as usual, with many Western and Mew Gulls, and a number of adult birds which appeared to be Western x Glaucous-winged Gulls; I ignored most of the younger gulls out of sheer frustration. A single Red-throated Loon and a few Greater Scaup were also noteworthy. As we started to walk uphill again, a single young Peregrine Falcon flew over. The trees around Coit Tower held a mixed group of Yellow-rumped Warblers and Pygmy Nuthatches, and Red-masked Parakeets screeched in some eucalypts (attractive but not tickable). A single Cooper’s Hawk flying over near Alamo Park was an unexpected highlight.

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is huge, and in a morning it’s really only possible to bird selected areas. I had planned to possibly go back on another afternoon but just didn’t find the time. The vegetation in parts of the park, as in other timbered parts of San Francisco, includes Blue Gum [Eucalyptus globulus] and Sydney Golden Wattles [Acacia longifolia]. These created a landscape that was at times reminiscent of home, especially the wattles which were flowering at the time. I started at the Botanic Gardens, which incorporates the Strybing Arboretum. This is supposed to be one of the best places for birding in the park, and some of the more common species were present such as Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Bushtit, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Highlights from here were Steller’s Jay, and small flocks of both Band-tailed Pigeons and Cedar Waxwings flying nearby. I moved on through both Elk Glen and Mallard Lakes, where Pygmy Nuthatches were foraging in cypresses at the former, and a mixed sparrow flock with Song and White-crowned Sparrows on the ground. The latter held a few birds around the edges of the lake, including a secretive Green Heron, and a few Red-tailed Hawks flying overhead. Waterfowl were conspicuously absent from these lakes other than a few Mallards.

At Chain of Lakes, South Lake appeared overgrown, and Middle Lake was also thick with rushes and only a little open water; neither appeared to harbour any waterbirds. The vegetation around Middle Lake and then through to North Lake was particularly good for birds, with Golden-crowned Sparrow, California Towhee, Townsend’s and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Northern Flicker, Pygmy Nuthatch, Cedar Waxwing, an overhead (?early) sighting of a Violet-green Swallow, and Hairy Woodpecker. On North Lake itself were Mallard, Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead and Lesser Scaup. Lloyd’s Lake was almost overflowing with waterfowl, with Canada Goose, a single Cackling Goose, Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead, American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, and perhaps the most beautiful of all the waterfowl I saw, Hooded Merganser. Stow Lake was very crowded but did hold a pair of Northern Pintail, and a large number of gulls, with Western, California and Ring-billed Gulls. A number of the more common species were fairly widespread throughout the park, such as American Robin, Allen’s and Anna’s Hummingbirds, Common Raven, Townsend’s Warbler, Song Sparrow and Pied-billed Grebe, which was found on most ponds. I only scratched the surface of this park, but any visit is preferable to none.

Crissy Field

Crissy Field was an airfield which had been long disused before it was redeveloped sometime in the last decade, with a lagoon and dunes. There was a small selection of waders present on the lagoon including Killdeer, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit and Willet. Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Greater Scaup were also present on the lagoon, along with Double-crested Cormorant, Brown Pelican, Snowy Egret and Great Blue Heron. Song and White-crowned Sparrows moved through the low heath, with Anna’s Hummingbirds buzzing nearby. Red-winged and Brewer’s Blackbirds were both found on the grassy area to the west of the lagoon. The thick fog prevented seeing very far out onto the bay, but I had excellent views of a Common Loon. The usual bewildering array of gulls hovered around, and I managed to pick out including the abundant Western Gull, along with Ring-billed, California, two Thayer’s Gulls, and some Glaucous-winged x Western Gull hybrids.

Sutro Baths to Land’s End

This is a pretty stretch of coast, with picture perfect views along the way, and the added bonus of being a great area for birds. Seal Rock and several other rock stacks sit just off the coast from here. On the stack nearest to the baths (which I don’t think was Seal Rock) were some Surfbirds and Black Turnstones together. Further along the coast towards Land’s End, a few Surf Scoters loafed on the ocean surface along with Western Grebe, Red-throated Loon and Pacific Loon. None of these birds were in large numbers (probably because they were all over near Bonita Cove, in Marin County). Pelagic Cormorants were joined by Brown Pelicans and at least one Brandt’s Cormorant, showing its distinctive breeding-season white flank patch. White-crowned, Golden-crowned and Song Sparrows were all present, along with Dark-eyed Junco and California Towhee. Other common birds included both Anna’s and Allen’s Hummingbirds, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Black Phoebe, American Robin and House Finch. In addition to the last species, a couple of Purple Finches fed in the top of some cypresses, this being the only site where I saw this species.

Marin Headlands and Muir Woods

Having planned to visit Muir Woods after Land’s End, I thought it might be a nice idea to drop in to Marin Headlands along the way. Stopping in for obligatory viewing of the city and the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge, a single Common Loon was the highlight here. We then passed under the highway through to the headlands, stopping in at Rodeo Beach, where Red-winged and Brewer’s Blackbirds foraged in the car park. Near Point Bonita a single White-throated Swift flew overhead. We started walking toward the lighthouse but gave up since we needed to find lunch and ere running out of time. Off nearby Bonita Cove were the bulk of all those ocean ducks, loons and grebes I had looked for earlier in the day; a massive mixed flock it was largely comprised of Surf Scoters and Western Grebes, but also held smaller numbers of Brandt’s Cormorants and Brown Pelicans, and several Red-throated Loons. Some of the less common scoter species may have been present but many were resting such that any distinctive features were hidden, and of those I saw well, these were all Surf Scoters. The surrounding low grassy heathland held many White-crowned Sparrows, and Red-tailed Hawks circled overhead and perched on power lines offering excellent views. In retrospect there was not enough time to do this area justice, we should have left a day aside for this, but even a brief visit was worth it.

Next stop after lunch at Sausalito was Muir Woods. This heritage site is famous for its grove of old growth redwoods, and any birds seen here are generally seen easier elsewhere. Overall I only saw a few species here, mostly on the edges of the forest with common species such as Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk and Yellow-rumped Warbler. Having said this, the avian highlight of this site was a Varied Thrush; this colourful bird foraged in leaf litter only a metre or so from the track it was oblivious of (or very much habituated to) the many people walking past. Also in the forest itself a couple of flocks of Dark-eyed Juncos moved through the lower levels and over the leaf litter. It goes without saying that the redwoods are awe-inspiring, and regardless of any birds this is worth a visit to see these ancient giants.

Species Lists

1) Red-throated Loon: 1 near Hyde St Pier (15/2), several off Land’s End and moderate numbers off Point Bonita in massive mixed flock (17/2).
2) Pacific Loon: 2 offshore near Land’s End (17/2).
3) Common Loon: 1 at Venice Beach (13/2), 1 near viewing area looking back towards the city from Marin side of Golden Gate Bridge (17/2), and great views of 1 off Crissy Field (18/2).
4) Horned Grebe: Few at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
5) Eared (Black-necked) Grebe: Moderately common at Bolsa Chica (11/2) and several in Long Beach harbour (13/2).
6) Pied-billed Grebe: Several at Bolsa Chica (11/2) and singles on most ponds at Golden Gate Park (16/2).
7) Western Grebe: Widespread and abundant at some locations; several seen at Bolsa Chica and on drive through Long Beach and Seal Beach (11/2), common at Long Beach harbour and in flocks off the beach (13/2), common around Hyde St Pier area and nearby (15/2), fairly common off Sutro Baths to Land’s End, and abundant off Bonita Cove, Marin Co (17/2).
8) Clark’s Grebe: Couple with Western Grebes at Long Beach (13/2) and near Hyde St Pier, SF (15/2).
9) Brown Pelican: Small numbers at Bolsa Chica (11/2), around Long Beach (11/2, 13/2), near Hyde St Pier (15/2), off Sutro Baths to Land’s End, and off Bonita Cove, Marin Co (17/2), and off Crissy Field (18/2) .
10) Brandt’s Cormorant: Seen offshore both near Land’s End and Bonita Cove, Marin Co (17/2).
11) Pelagic Cormorant: At least 1 seen in flight with diagnostic breeding-season white patch on flank, Land’s End (17/2).
12) Double-crested Cormorant: Common at Bolsa Chica and 1 at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), several at harbour, Long Beach (13/2), Hyde St Pier (15/2), 1 on Mallard Lake and few at Spreckel’s Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2), and 3 off Crissy Field (18/2).
13) Great Blue Heron: Several, including nesting pairs, at Bolsa Chica (11/2), 1 at harbour, Long Beach (13/2), few at Hyde St Pier (15/2), 1 on Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2), 1 on Rodeo Lagoon, Marin headlands (17/2), and on lagoon at Crissy Field (18/2).
14) Great Egret: 1 at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
15) Snowy Egret: Moderately common at Bolsa Chica (11/2), and a few on lagoon at Crissy Field (18/2).
16) Little Blue Heron: 2 at Bolsa Chica – apparently rare on the west coast, but unmistakable, especially having seen them throughout Costa Rica only weeks before.
17) Green Heron: 1 on Mallard Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2).
18) Black-crowned Night Heron: 1 in palm at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
19) Canada Goose: Several at both Lloyd’s and Stow Lakes, Golden Gate Park (16/2) and c. 10 on lagoon at Crissy Field (18/2).
20) Cackling Goose: 1 at Lloyd’s Lake, Golden Gate Park, with Canada Geese (18/2); seemed tiny next to the latter, and from appearances it was probably the Aleutian race (leucoparia).
21) Brant: Small flock at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
22) Mallard: Several at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), on river and harbour, Long Beach (13/2), common in Golden Gate park, where seen at all lakes except for South & Middles Lakes (16/2), few at Sutro Baths (17/2) and at lagoon, Crissy Field (18/2).
23) Northern Pintail: Bolsa Chica (11/2) and a pair on Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2).
24) Gadwall: Pair at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2).
25) American Wigeon: Common at Bolsa Chica and few at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2) and many on Lloyd Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2).
26) Northern Shoveler: Few at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
27) Blue-winged Teal: Moderately common at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
28) Green-winged Teal: Common at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
29) Lesser Scaup: Abundant at Bolsa Chica, and also seen near Seal Beach on drive (11/2), and 2 on North Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2).
30) Ring-necked Duck: Abundant on Lloyd Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2).
31) Greater Scaup: Few on bay near Hyde St Pier (15/2) and 3 at Crissy Field (18/2).
32) Surf Scoter: 1 at Bolsa Chica, and several seen on drive near Seal Beach (11/2), rafts of birds off Long Beach (13/2), few near Land’s End, and abundant off Bonita Cove (17/2), and distant view of 1 off Crissy Field (18/2).
33) Bufflehead: Abundant at Bolsa Chica (11/2), few on North and Lloyd’s Lakes, Golden Gate Park (16/2), few at Sutro Baths (17/2), and at lagoon, Crissy Field (18/2).
34) Red-breasted Merganser: Few at Bolsa Chica (11/2), and 1 male and 2 females on lagoon, Crissy Field (18/2).
35) Hooded Merganser: 2 males and 1 female on Lloyd Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2) – a truly spectacular species.
36) Ruddy Duck: Abundant at Bolsa Chica and few at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), several on North Lake and moderate numbers on Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2) and c. 20 on lagoon at Crissy Field (18/2).
37) Turkey Vulture: A few flying near El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), seen from near Land’s End and at Muir Woods (17/2).
38) Northern Harrier: 3 at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
39) Cooper’s Hawk: 1 flying over Alamo Square, SF (16/2).
40) Sharp-shinned Hawk: 1 at Griffith Park (12/2).
41) Red-shouldered Hawk: 1 at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), and heard only at Golden Gate Park, Botanic Gardens (16/2).
42) Red-tailed Hawk: Widespread, singles to 3’s seen driving near El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), Griffith Park (12/2), near Coit Tower, SF (15/2), Golden Gate Park, near Mallard Lake (16/2), near Land’s End, at Point Bonita, Marin Co, and near Muir Woods (17/2).
43) Osprey: 1 at Long Beach (11/2).
44) American Kestrel: Few at Bolsa Chica, with more nearby on roadside wires (11/2).
45) Peregrine Falcon: 1 immature in flight near Fisherman’s Wharf (15/2).
46) California Quail: Small covey of several birds on track edge near lookout, Griffith Park (12/2).
47) American Coot: Common at Bolsa Chica and few at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2) and a few at Sutro Baths (17/2).
48) Semipalmated Plover: Few at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
49) Killdeer: Few at Bolsa Chica (11/2) and 5 at lagoon, Crissy Field (18/2).
50) Black-necked Stilt: Bolsa Chica (11/2).
51) American Avocet: Bolsa Chica (11/2).
52) Greater Yellowlegs: Few at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
53) Spotted Sandpiper: 1 at harbour, Long Beach (11/2).
54) Long-billed Curlew: Common at Bolsa Chica (11/2) and 1 at lagoon, Crissy Field (18/2).
55) Marbled Godwit: Abundant at Bolsa Chica (11/2) and 4 at lagoon, Crissy Field (18/2).
56) Willet: Common at Bolsa Chica (11/2), individuals at Long Beach & Venice Beach (13/2), and 5 at lagoon, Crissy Field (18/2).
57) Surfbird: 5 on Seal Rock, with Black Turnstones (17/2).
58) Black Turnstone: 8 on Seal Rock, with Surfbirds (17/2).
59) Sanderling: Moderately common at Bolsa Chica (11/2) individuals at Venice Beach (13/2) and Crissy Field (18/2).
60) Dunlin: Common at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
61) Western Sandpiper: Abundant at Bolsa Chica (11/2), and 1 at lagoon, Crissy Field (18/2).
62) Least Sandpiper: Moderately common at Bolsa Chica (11/2) and 15 at lagoon, Crissy Field (18/2).
63) Long-billed Dowitcher: Bolsa Chica (11/2).
64) Short-billed Dowitcher: Bolsa Chica (11/2) – few of both species heard, but otherwise too hard to distinguish between the two species, and overall abundant.
65) Mew Gull: Fairly common in SF, common near Hyde St Pier through Fisherman’s Wharf but also in the middle of the city (16/2), moderately common in Golden Gate Park (16/2).
66) Ring-billed Gull: Abundant at Bolsa Chica and few at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), abundant at Long Beach (11/2, 13/2), moderately common in Golden Gate Park, at Stow, Spreckel’s and Lloyd’s Lakes (16/2) and Crissy Field (18/2).
67) California Gull: Common at Long Beach (11/2, 13/2), and also seen at Crissy Field (18/2).
68) Herring Gull: Few at Bolsa Chica (11/2), individuals at Long Beach (11/2, 13/2).
69) Thayer’s Gull: Singles near Hyde St Wharf (15/2) and off Crissy Field (18/2).
70) Glaucous-winged Gull: 1 adult and 1 immature at Bolsa Chica (11/2), and 1 adult at Long Beach (13/2). Birds which were probably hybrids with Western Gulls were seen near Hyde Street Pier (15/2), and that’s only taking adults into account.
71) Western Gull: Perhaps the most frequently seen gull of the trip; abundant at Bolsa Chica (11/2), at and around Long Beach (11/2, 13/2), Hyde St Pier (15/2), common in Golden Gate Park (16/2), near Land’s End and Marin headlands (17/2) and abundant at Crissy Field (18/2).
72) Heermann’s Gull: Moderately common at Long Beach (11/2, 13/2) – easily one of the most beautiful gulls.
73) Royal Tern: Few at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
74) Forster’s Tern: Flock of 10 at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
75) Black Skimmer: Flocks of c. 20 at Long Beach (11/2, 13/2).
76) Feral Pigeon: Generally common and ubiquitous – probably under-recorded. Seen at Bolsa Chica (11/2), Long Beach (11/2, 13/2), generally around SF (15/2), Golden Gate Park (16/2), near Sutro Baths (17/2) and Crissy Field (18/2).
77) Band-tailed Pigeon: A few flying near Griffith Park (12/2), and a small flock at Botanic Gardens, Golden Gate Park (16/2).
78) Mourning Dove: Around Long Beach (11/2, 13/2), Golden Gate Park (16/2) and near Sutro Baths (17/2).
79) Belted Kingfisher: Single birds at Bolsa Chica (11/2) and near Hyde St Pier (15/2).
80) White-throated Swift: 1 flying over Marin headlands, near Point Bonita (17/2).
81) Anna’s Hummingbird: More numerous and more widespread than Allen’s – seen at Bolsa Chica and El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), Long Beach (11/2, 13/2), Griffith Park (12/2), Buena Vista Park (15/2, 18/2), Golden Gate Park (16/2), Sutro Baths to Land’s End and Marin headlands (17/2), and Crissy Field (18/2).
82) Allen’s Hummingbird: Fairly common, although generally less so than Anna’s and seen at fewer locations; seen at El Dorado’s Nature Reserve (11/2), Griffith Park (12/2), Long Beach (13/2), Golden Gate Park (16/2), and in coastal vegetation near Sutro Baths and Land’s End, (17/2).
83) Northern Flicker: Individuals in Griffith Park (12/2), Buena Vista Park (15/2) and Golden Gate Park, near Chain of Lakes (16/2).
84) Hairy Woodpecker: 1 female in eucalypts near North Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2).
85) Nuttall’s Woodpecker: 1 in oak near car park, Griffith Park (12/2).
86) Red-breasted Sapsucker: 1 male in Buena Vista Park (16/2).
87) Black Phoebe: Individuals at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), Griffith Park (12/2), Long Beach (13/2), Golden Gate Park (16/2), and near Sutro Baths (17/2).
88) Say’s Phoebe: 1 in coastal sagebrush scrub at Bolsa Chica (11/2) and 1 in chaparral at Griffith Park (12/2).
89) Cassin’s Kingbird: 1 at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
90) Steller’s Jay: Several individuals at Botanic Gardens, Lloyd Lake and North Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2) and heard only at Muir Woods(17/2).
91) Western Scrub-Jay: Several in Griffith Park (12/2), individuals in Buena Vista Park (15/2, 18/2), Golden Gate Park, near Botanic gardens (16/2), and near Land’s End (17/2).
92) American Crow: Widespread and common, seen at Bolsa Chica and El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), Griffith Park (12/2), Long Beach (13/2), generally in SF (15/2), Golden Gate Park (16/2), and Crissy Field (18/2).
93) Common Raven: Widespread and fairly common; 2 at Bolsa Chica (11/2), Griffith Park (12/2), Buena Vista Park (15/2, 18/2), near Coit Tower, SF (15/2), Golden Gate Park, where common, and Twin Peaks (16/2), near Land’s End, Marin headlands and Muir Woods (17/2), and Crissy Field (18/2).
94) Violet-green Swallow: 1 female overhead near Chain of Lakes, Golden Gate Park (16/2); not sure if this is unusual for this time of year but views were diagnostic.
95) Oak Titmouse: 1 in oaks not far from car park, Griffith Park (12/2).
96) Chestnut-backed Chickadee: Flocks common at Buena Vista Park (15/2, 18/2), Golden Gate Park (16/2), near Land’s End and at Muir Woods (17/2).
97) Bushtit: Flocks seen at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), Griffith Park (12/2), Golden Gate Park, especially in Botanic Gardens (16/2), and Buena Vista Park (18/2).
98) Pygmy Nuthatch: Flock at park, Coit Tower (15/2) and flocks at Golden Gate Park in eucalypts near Elk Glen Lake and Middle to North Lakes (16/2).
99) Wrentit: Few in low chaparral, Griffith Park (12/2).
100) Golden-crowned Kinglet: 3 seen whilst briefly foraging in shrub layer, Buena Vista Park (15/2).
101) Ruby-crowned Kinglet: Singles to small groups fairly widespread; seen at Buena Vista Park (15/2, 18/2), in Botanic Gardens and near North Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2), near Land’s End and at Muir Woods (17/2).
102) Blue-grey Gnatcatcher: 1 at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2).
103) Western Bluebird: 3 in open parkland near marina, Long Beach (13/2).
104) Varied Thrush: 1 in Muir Woods (17/2).
105) American Robin: Individuals in Griffith Park (12/2), Buena Vista Park (15/2, 18/2), Golden Gate Park (16/2), and Sutro Baths to Land’s End (17/2).
106) Hermit Thrush: 1 in undergrowth in Buena Vista Park (15/2).
107) Northern Mockingbird: 1 at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
108) California Thrasher: Pair seen briefly but very well as they perched in the tops of shrubs in chaparral, Griffith Park (12/2).
109) American Pipit: Small flock on grassy airfield seen whilst taxiing for take-off, LA airport (14/2).
110) Cedar Waxwing: Flocks of c. 10 in Botanic Gardens and c. 50 in eucalypts near North Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2), and small flock in Buena Vista Park (18/2).
111) European (Common) Starling: Common and ubiquitous – seen daily and across at all sites except for Muir Woods.
112) Orange-crowned Warbler: Single birds with flocks of other warblers at Buena Vista Park (15/2, 18/2).
113) Townsend’s Warbler: Not seen in LA, but otherwise fairly common in SF; few at Buena Vista Park (15/2), and several again at same location in a flock moving through a flowering plum tree at very close range (18/2), and common in Golden Gate Park (16/2).
114) Black-throated Grey Warbler: Individuals at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), and in park near harbour, Long Beach (13/2).
115) Yellow-rumped Warbler: Common around LA, less so in SF; several at El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2) common around Long Beach (11/2, 13/2) and abundant at Griffith Park (12/2), few in Buena Vista Park and near Coit Tower (15/2) Golden Gate Park (16/2) and Muir Woods (17/2).
116) California Towhee: 2 at Bolsa Chica (11/2), several in chaparral at Griffith Park (12/2), individuals at Buena Vista Park (15/2, 18/2), Golden Gate Park, near Middle Lake (16/2), and near Sutro Baths (17/2).
117) Spotted Towhee: 1 seen roadside near El Dorado Nature Reserve (11/2), and 1 seen close at Griffith Park (12/2).
118) Savannah Sparrow: Few in saltmarsh at Bolsa Chica (11/2).
119) Fox Sparrow: 2 individuals of locally breeding thick-billed race in chaparral, Griffith Park (12/2), and small numbers of darker spotted race in Buena Vista Park (15/2, 18/2),
120) Song Sparrow: Individuals seen at Griffith Park (12/2) Buena Vista Park (15/2), near Land’s End (17/2), Crissy Field (18/2), and abundant in Golden Gate Park (16/2).
121) Lincoln’s Sparrow: 2 at Griffith Park (12/2).
122) Dark-eyed Junco: Small flocks fairly common foraging across all levels, at Buena Vista Park and nearby (15/2, 18/2), Golden Gate Park (16/2) near Land’s End, and Muir Woods (17/2).
123) White-crowned Sparrow: 2 at Bolsa Chica (11/2), a few flocks in Golden Gate Park at Elk Glen lake and Botanic Gardens, and at Twin Peaks (16/2), abundant around Sutro Baths to Land’s End and also seen around Marin headlands (17/2) and Crissy Field (18/2).
124) Golden-crowned Sparrow: Common in Buena Vista Park (15/2, 18/2), few near North Lake, Golden Gate Park (16/2) and near Land’s End (17/2).
125) Red-winged Blackbird: Single ‘bicoloured’ male behind Sutro Baths, and behind Rodeo Beach, Marin headlands (17/2), and small numbers with Brewer’s Blackbirds on Crissy Field (18/2).
126) Brewer’s Blackbird: Almost all sightings at car parks or roadsides – near Fisherman’s Wharf (15/2), Twin Peaks (16/2), near Sutro Baths and car park behind Rodeo Beach, Marin headlands (17/2) and Crissy Field, where foraging over grass, not asphalt! (18/2).
127) House Finch: Widespread and common, even in urban environments; seen at Bolsa Chica (11/2), around Long Beach (11/2, 13/2), Griffith Park (12/2), Buena Vista Park (15/2, 18/2), near Coit Tower, SF (15/2), Golden Gate Park (16/2), and Sutro Baths to Land’s End and Marin headlands (17/2).
128) Purple Finch: 2 in cypresses near Land’s End (17/2).
129) Lesser Goldfinch: Few in scrub at Griffith Park (12/2), 1 in roadside overgrown garden, Long Beach (13/2), and 1 near Land’s End (17/2).
130) House Sparrow: Widespread, possibly under-recorded – seen around Long Beach (11/2, 13/2), Buena Vista Park and SF generally (15/2), and near Land’s End (17/2).