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Field Trip Report: Ballona Creek, del Rey Lagoon & Ballona Fresh Water Marsh, 9 Feb., 2013

February 13, 2013
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It was a bright and clear morning, starting with a chill in the air and warming by noon. We were all pleased that the snow and ice of wider L.A. County had retreated and we could see colorful birds. We started in the lagoon and checked out the Buffleheads, Lesser Scaups and egrets. We peered hopefully for the Burrowing Owl, but it was huddled in its burrow (or gone to some place warmer). We could not go on the north jetty as the work t0 upgrade the fishing platforms was not completed. We went out on the shorter south jetty which meant that we could not see as well into the main channel or out to the breakwater.  High tide meant that many of the shore birds could not snack on all the wondrous things found on the rocks at lowers tides and were eating elsewhere. However…. we did see lots of good birds. We had a trifecta of cormorants: Double Crested – with double crests!, Pelagic, and Brandt’s. We had three kinds of loons, three of grebes,  two of turnstones and many more.

Black Turnstone on mussels (C.Almdale)

Black Turnstone on mussels (C.Almdale)

On to the marsh…. we had another grebe – Pied-billed- and even more ducks: Ruddy Ducks, Green-Winged Teal and a really stunning glowing Cinnamon Teal with a bright eye. Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, Common Yellowthroats and Yellow-Rumped Warblers bounced in the bushes. There were glorious vibrant Allen’s and Anna’s hummingbirds. We decided that there was a Right-Wing Red-Winged Blackbird as you could only see the red patch on…… It is interesting that while the marsh and the jetty are so close together the birds are rarely the same as one is salt water and the other fresh.

It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning in February.   [Ellen Vahan]

Birds seen – J =Jetty & del Rey Lagoon, F =Freshwater marsh.

Ballona Jetty, Fresh Water    
Marsh & del Rey Lagoon    
Gadwall   F
Mallard J F
Cinnamon Teal   F
Northern Shoveler   F
Green-winged Teal   F
Lesser Scaup J F
Surf Scoter J  
Bufflehead J  
Red-breasted Merganser J  
Ruddy Duck   F
Red-throated Loon J  
Pacific Loon J  
Common Loon J  
Pied-billed Grebe   F
Horned Grebe J  
Eared Grebe J  
Western Grebe J  
Brandt’s Cormorant J  
Double-crested Cormorant J  
Pelagic Cormorant J  
Brown Pelican J  
Great Blue Heron J  
Great Egret J F
Snowy Egret J  
White-tailed Kite   F
Red-tailed Hawk   F
American Coot J F
Black Oystercatcher J  
Willet J  
Ruddy Turnstone J  
Black Turnstone J  
Sanderling J  
Western Sandpiper   F
Least Sandpiper J  
Heermann’s Gull J  
Ring-billed Gull J  
Western Gull J  
California Gull J  
Rock Pigeon J  
Mourning Dove J  
Anna’s Hummingbird   F
Allen’s Hummingbird J F
Northern Flicker   F
American Kestrel   F
Black Phoebe J F
Say’s Phoebe   F
American Crow J  
Common Raven   F
Tree Swallow   F
Bushtit   F
House Wren J  
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher   F
Ruby-crowned Kinglet J F
Hermit Thrush J F
Common Yellowthroat   F
Yellow-rumped Warbler J F
Savannah Sparrow J  
Song Sparrow   F
White-crowned Sparrow J F
Red-winged Blackbird   F
House Finch J F
Lesser Goldfinch   F

Total Trip Birds – 62

41

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