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B – San Gabriel Mtns


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MAP OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY BIRDING REGIONS
Blue – Antelope Valley        Green – San Gabriel Mountains
Orange – San Fernando Valley          Violet – Northern Santa Monica Bay
Yellow – Central & Eastern L.A. County     Aqua – South Bay & Palos Verdes Penn.
Airplane – LAX International Airport          Anchor – Harbor for boat to see Island Scrub-Jay

Adjust map size to see all locations.   Click markers for site description.

Region B – San Gabriel Mountains

Adjust map size to see all locations.  Click markers for site description.

B1.  PYRAMID LAKE WATER INFLOW CHANNEL

Highlights: Winter ducks, including possible rarities such as Tufted Duck
Habitat: View downward from roadside to the concrete channel with rushing water.
Best Season/Time: Winter months
Facilities: None.  Free parking, unless you enter the Pyramid Lake park.
General Location: 65 miles NW of downtown LA.
Directions: From intersection #10 & 405 Fwys, 53.4 miles north via #405 to 5 to Pyramid Lake north side turnoff, 1.4 mi back to channel.

B2.  CASTAIC LAGOON
Highlights: Wintering birds: ducks, loons, grebes, raptors, gulls, owls, woodpeckers, passerines.
Habitat: Large freshwater lagoon below the big dam, surrounded by grassy lawns and undeveloped areas.
Best Season/Time: Winter months
Facilities: Restrooms, picnic areas, boating, fishing.
General Location: 40 miles NW of downtown LA.
Directions: From intersection #10 & 405 Fwys, about 36 miles north via #405 to 5 to Lake Hughes Rd.  Go east to Ridge Rte. Rd. and turn left.  Go to Stop sign, turn right, then right again at the entry kiosk.  After paying fee, drive left to last parking lot for access to the undeveloped areas.  You can also go back out the exit, return to Lake Hughes Rd., turn left and go about 1/2 mile to the east side entrance. You won’t have to pay again to enter.

B3.  PLACERITA CANYON STATE PARK & WALKER RANCH
Highlights: Raptors, chaparral & riparian birds, migrants in season. Orioles, warblers & flycatchers in migration.  Resident woodpeckers.  Walker Ranch additionally has:  Mountain Quail about 1 mile along streambed uphill,  Lazuli Buntings on grassy slopes.
Habitat: Riparian, chaparral hillsides, creek.
Best Season/time: Spring.  Morning and early PM.  Group camping at Walker Ranch.
Monthly Birdwalk: 2nd Saturday 9 am in lower park.  Children with responsible adults welcome.
Facilities: Paved road, miles of dirt trails.  Lower park: interpretive center, injured bird care, flush toilets, picnic tables, phone.  Walker Ranch:  pit toilets, water, group camping.
Parking: $3 in lower lot on weekends.  Lot can be crowded.  Free at upper (Walker Ranch) section.
Disabled Access: Paved walk in interpretive center; hard packed but uneven dirt paths.
General Location: 30 miles NW of downtown LA, a few miles off Fwy #14.
Directions: From intersection #10 & 405 Fwys, #10 Fwy north 19.3 miles, #5 Fwy north 3.9 miles, #14 Fwy east 3.2 miles to Placerita Canyon Rd, 2 miles to lower park, 1.5 miles further to Walker Ranch.

ANGELES CREST HIGHWAY – SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS LOCATIONS
Link to Angeles Crest Highway Road Guide
with mileages to all locations.
Note:
You may need to purchase a “Mountain Fun Pass”, approximately $7.  If you don’t, you may be ticketed.  They are available at various sports stores and some ranger stations.  The NPS Golden Age pass substitutes.
Highlights: Mountain birds such as Mountain Quail, Williamson’s Sapsucker, White-headed Woodpecker, Clark’s Nutcracker, Dipper, Green-tailed Towhee, Large-billed Fox Sparrow.  Also raptors, owls, nuthatches; warblers and sparrows, particularly in migration.  Also Black-chinned Sparrow.
Habitat: Mountains 5000-9000 ft.  Chaparral, riparian, coniferous, rocky peaks, meadows, creeks & cliffs.
Best Season/time: June through Oct.  All day.  Winter snows close portion of road.  Occasional rarities in winter.
Monthly Birdwalk: None
Facilities: Paved & dirt roads, interpretive center, camping, flush toilets, port-a-potties, picnic tables, phones, hundreds of miles of trails, high mountains.
Parking: Free, except possible Mountain Recreation Fee.  Some lot can be crowded on weekends.
Disabled Access: Paved access roads; boardwalk near bird feeders at Chilao Interpretive Center.
General Location: Highway starts 20 miles N of downtown LA, via La Canada-Flintridge.
Directions: From intersection #10 & 405 Fwys, #405 east 9.5 miles, #110 Fwy north 4.3 miles, #5 Fwy west 2.1 miles, #2 Fwy north 7.9 miles,  #210 Fwy east 1 mile east to Angeles Crest Hwy exit in La Canada-Flintridge, north (left) uphill.  Road continues for 68 miles to Wrightwood.  Many places to visit along the way, including:

B4.  SWITZER PICNIC AREA: 10 miles from #210 Fwy.  Permanent creek & waterfall.  Can be very crowded on weekends.

B5.  RED BOX: 14 miles from #210 Fwy.  Parking lot, drop toilets, views, birds in trees & overhead.

B6.  Mt. WILSON OBSERVATORY: A few miles down the turnoff from Red Box.  Birds in trees & overhead.  Owls at night.  Check for visiting hours if you want to see the observatory.

B7.  CHARLTON FLAT PICNIC AREA:  About 7 miles past Red Box.  Nice trails with typical mtn. birds available.

B8.  CHILAO CAMPGROUND:   3 miles past Charlton.  Feeders (when tended) and water seep at the visitor center bring in Mtn. Quail, Band-tailed Pigeons, woodpeckers, flycatchers, chickadees, finches and sparrows.  Good birding near streambed and on hillsides.

B9.  CLOUDBURST SUMMIT: 5 miles past Chilao.  7018 ft, the high point on road.  Scan for raptors, Clark’s Nutcracker, birds in conifers.

B10.  BUCKHORN FLAT CAMPGROUND: About 1 mile past Cloudburst.  Good birding above and below campground.  Flammulated Owl nests here, but is difficult to view.  Dipper along stream late spring to early fall:  drive to trailhead below campground, walk about 1/5th mile down trail, descend to stream wherever possible, walk or wait quietly along streamside.

B11.  VINCENT GAP/BIG ROCK CREEK ROAD: Various mountain birds, including owls.  About 16.5 miles past Buckhorn, turn left (north) on dirt road, 2.8 miles to Big Rock Campground (no water), then about 8 paved miles further to Valyermo in the Antelope Valley.  Species change as you drop from mountain conifers to high desert Joshua Tree & Cottonwoods.

B12.  GRASSY HOLLOW VISITOR CENTER: Various mountain birds.  About 2.5 miles past Vincent Gap.  Feeders behind the visitor center attracts birds.  Cross road and find the Pacific Crest Trail about 100 yds. away.  Hike to left to reach Canada, right to Mexico.

B13.  GUFFY CAMPGROUND: Williamson’s Sapsucker, other mountain birds.  Shortly after Grassy Hollow, turn onto paved road on right (east) (61.5 miles from La Canada-Flintridge). 5.4 miles to campground.  One of the highest spots in the county accessible by road.
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[Chuck Almdale]

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