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Los Angeles River Field Trip Report: August 24, 2013

August 27, 2013

Years ago, when no one thought of the L.A. River as anything but a concrete ditch we would have been derided for trying to see birds in the area. Luckily for us, there are a number of serious “full-time” birders like our leader Richard Barth, who have made sure we all know what a large number of species are present in the riparian corridor, especially during fall migration. These birds are remarkable. Take, for example the Dowitchers, Short billed and Long-billed, who migrate at the end of summer from the southern and northern shores of Alaska. Quite a trip! Luckily for us they make the Los Angeles River–concrete or not—a regular stopping place during their southward flight to Central America. Since there has been little heavy rain and the Corps of Engineers has relented in their brush-clearing efforts, there is a considerable amount of greenery in the channel, and we are able to make a multi-stop trip along the banks of the river starting at Willow Street in Long Beach and working up to Paramount at the Alondra crossing. Half the group even followed Dick up to Vernon at the Slauson crossing and further to Huntington Park’s Salt Lake Park to see the remnants of a once-thriving population of Spotted Doves. The weather was kind to the 20-plus who showed up this year with intermittent cloud cover most of the morning. Our list of species closely matches last year’s, and in an effort to see different birds, we plan to hold this walk a week later next year, on August 30th in order to see later migrant species.  Our thanks to Dick who was so patient in explaining variations of plumage of juvenile birds just weeks from the nest. If you subscribe to the Yahoo Groups page LA County Birds, you will be alerted to upcoming rarities at the sites we visited on Saturday.          Lu Plauzoles

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Dick Barth (black cap) explaining as we look.

Locations we birded: LA River: Willow St. (Long Beach); 34th Street Greenbelt; DeForest Park (Long Beach); Alondra Blvd. (Paramount); Slauson Avenue (Vernon); Salt Lake Park (Huntington Park).

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Text & photos by LuPlauzoles
Mallard Greater Yellowlegs American Crow
Cinnamon Teal Lesser Yellowlegs Western Scrub-Jay
Ruddy Duck Western Sandpiper No. Rough-winged Swallow
Pied-billed Grebe Least Sandpiper Cliff Swallow
Dble-Crested Cormorant Solitary Sandpiper Barn Swallow
Brown Pelican Short-billed Dowitcher Bushtit
Great Blue Heron Long-billed Dowitcher House Wren
Great Egret Wilson’s Phalarope Northern Mockingbird
Snowy Egret Red-necked Phalarope European Starling
Green Heron Ring-billed Gull Orange-crowned Warbler
Turkey Vulture Western Gull Yellow-rumped Warbler
Cooper’s Hawk California Gull Common Yellowthroat
Red-tailed hawk Elegant Tern California Towhee
American Coot Mourning Dove Brewer’s Blackbird
Peregrine Falcon Spotted Dove Red-winged Blackbird
American Kestrel Eur. Collared-Dove House Finch
Semipalmated Plover Rock Pigeon House Sparrow
Killdeer Mourning Dove Orange Bishop
Black-necked Stilt Allen’s Hummingbird Nutmeg Mannikin
American Avocet Acorn Woodpecker
Spotted Sandpiper Black Phoebe Total: 61
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