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Solstice Canyon Trip Report: 5/12/12

June 1, 2012

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We had a great attendance of eighteen people, including some students from Cindy’s birding class.   People in the parking lot were greeted by a Red-tailed Hawk sitting in one of the trees, as well as a puffed-out Olive-sided Flycatcher.

Olive-sided Flycatcher displaying his ‘tufts’ for all to see (J. Kenney 5/12/12)

At the entrance to the trail, there was a tree with a nest of Nuttall’s Woodpeckers.   Everyone got a good look because the parents were feeding them often.   Later on we stood and watched a Common Raven gathering nesting material.   We kept waiting to see where it was nesting and finally the bird landed at the site but it was not visible like the Nuttall’s nest.   All along the trail, Black-headed Grosbeaks were serenading us but it was some time before anyone saw one of them.   Later, at the granary tree we saw just a few Acorn Woodpeckers.

Yellow-breasted Chat – not easy to find in western L.A. County (J. Kenney 5/12/12)

The area was not as active with families of woodpeckers as we are used to seeing.   Sound-wise, besides the Black-headed Grosbeaks, we could hear the Hutton’s Vireo, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Lesser Goldfinch, and Purple Finch and could find all of the birds except the Purple Finch.   Chuck Almdale called the Canyon Wren in but it took a lot of coaxing to get it to quit hiding behind the leaves.   Finally we could see a silhouette as it stood on a snag one third of the way up the slope.   It really gave us a chance to see how the long bill is.   On the horizon there was another Red-tailed Hawk and a Turkey Vulture.   Our trip was also a good day for hummingbirds since we found 3 species: Allen’s, Anna’s, & Black-chinned.

California Wild Rose in magnificent bloom (J. Kenney 5/12/12)

The flowers were quite good for a year that was short on rain.   This walk always offers a chance to compare the Bush Sunflower we see along the roadside (brown center) and the canyon sunflower (yellow center) which likes a little more protection.   This year the Deer Weed seemed to have formed larger and very good looking bushes whereas the Hummingbird Sage was much more modest from the lack of rain.  [Jean Garrett]

Her cryptically-colored fawn is close behind (J. Kenney 5/12/12)

Birds
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Common Raven Corvus corax
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formieivorus
Nuttall’s Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii
Bewick’s Wren Thryomanes bewickii
Canyon Wren Catherpes mexicanus
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
Yellow-breasted Chat Icterria virens
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata
Townsend’s Warbler Setophaga townsendi
California Towhee Melozone crissalis
Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus
Black-hooded Parakeet Nandayus nenday
Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria
House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
Purple Finch Carpodacus purpureus
Black-chinned Humingbird Archilochus alexandri
Allen’s Hummingbird Selasphorus sasin
Anna’s Hummingbird Calypte anna
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi
Pacific-slope Flycatcher Empidonax difficilis
Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus
Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
Hutton’s Vireo Vireo huttoni
Oak Titmouse Baeolophus inornatus
Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula

Flowers
Golden Yarrow (Sunflower Family)
Cheeseweed (Mallow Family)
Hedge Nettle (Mint Family)
Humingbird Sage (Mint Family)
Caterpillar Phacelia (Waterleaf Family)
Deer Weed (Pea Family)
Wild Rose
Sticky Phacelia
California Everlasting (Sunflower Family)
Canyon Sunflower
Bush Sunflower


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