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Connor Cochrane
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Sense we really haven't had a trip report in a long time, I'm glad to announce that I can finally give one. It's not really to an exotic destination, but still nice to be out. We woke up at 2:45 and started the drive down to LA. After many hours of driving, we got there around 9 in the morning. We immediately went to Lacy Park to see the Greater Pewee. Because we were only in LA for one day, we had to chase birds. This was a great addition to the California List.

Greater Pewee

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Also at the park were some of LA's resident Bulbuls. A Red-naped Sapsucker was also a nice treat.

Red-whiskered Bulbul

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Red-naped Sapsucker

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After that we headed to our next spot, a random park in Long Beach. There, a Dusky-capped Flycatcher was continuing. Luckily, we were able to locate it checking the surrounding neighborhoods.

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After this we went to @IKLland's. home territory, we headed into Orange County. There we got the continuing Mexican Duck in a little park. Surprisingly it was the hardest bird to find today. It was hidden in a little island in the middle.

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After that, we checked a park in Huntington. There was a lot of activity all about, including possibly the weirdest bird of the day, a Common Yellowthroat in the flowering eucs. Also there I located a sordida Orange-crowned Warbler, which was a nice surprise.

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We checked a few small parks after that, but nothing real interesting showed up then. We quickly stopped at Bolsa Chica, and I got great looks at a Belding's Savanah Sparrow, a bird I've never really seen before.

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We headed back up to LA to finish off the day. We went to a Continuing Black-throated Green Warbler back up in Long Beach. It is astonishing that it was even found, it was in a group of a couple trees infant of an office building on a side of a busy street.

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To end of the day, we decided to do a seawatch in the Long Beach Harbor. We actually managed to find two flagged birds, White-winged Scoter and Long-tailed Duck. There were also incredible numbers of Black Skimmer moving.

White-winged Scoter

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Long-tailed

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Overall, a great day to start the trip. Now off to the Salton Sea.

 

 

Edited by Connor Cochrane
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Finally getting around to start writing this out. Day 2, Saturday, the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea is a large salty sea in the far southern parts of California. During migration it can hold lots of birds, but we did this whole trip for one thing specifically, a Purple Sandpiper, only a second state record that showed up. The only problem, it hadn't been seen in over a week. We still decided to make the 9 hour drive down to give it a shot, and made a trip out of it. Day 1 (outlined above) was a great day, where we didn't dip on any of the rarities sticking around in LA. We got to the north shore marina where the Purple Sand was last seen, and started rigorously scoping the shores for anything. After picking through a thousand shorebirds, we saw nothing. We decided to make the treck north, and walked the one and a half miles through the Salton Sea mud and fish bones. While we didn't find the purple sandpiper up north, we managed to find a Red Phalarope, a 5th county record. That might not seem to crazy to people in the midwest or back east, but California has very large and heavily birded counties, which makes it very difficult to find birds seen that few times in a county, especially in such a frequently birded place like Riverside. Here's my horrible digi of it, other in the group might have slightly better images. 

2400?__hstc=264660688.fd8e575f7f2fb710f6

On the way back we had some Northern Rough-winged Swallows and Vioet-green Swallows. They are Both expected there, but were flagged due to low wintering numbers. After checking many flyby gulls to no success, we finally picked up on something interesting, a Glaucous-winged Gull flying S.

2400?__hstc=264660688.fd8e575f7f2fb710f6

We were about to leave when we saw a large duck land by us in the water. It was a Surf Scoter, not a half-bad bird this far inland.

2400?__hstc=264660688.fd8e575f7f2fb710f6

Additionaly, it was nice to finally start to see some desert birds. It's been awhile (a year and a half) since I've been down in the desert, so it was nice to see birds like Verdin again. One that many people wouldn't care about, but that are cool in my opinion are Fallax Song Sparrow, so different then our gouldii birds.

2400?__hstc=264660688.fd8e575f7f2fb710f6

After that we headed to the SRA headquarters, and didn't really see anything too interesting, but we did get our first Abert's Towhee of the trip. We didn't really bird any of the songbird spots there, just checked for the Purple Sand. We then headed to Salt Creek Beach, where a Bell's Sparrow quickly hopped into view. This might have been one of my favorite birds of the trip.

2400?__hstc=264660688.fd8e575f7f2fb710f6

Next, we headed through the whistler unit, and onto the town of Niland, where there is a very productive road (or two yards really). There, we picked up more our desert species, such as Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Inca Dover, Phainopepla, and a rare Lawrence's Goldfinch (heard only). Here's a photo of a Inca Dove, a surprise that it didn't immediately fly away.

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It was then onto driving the back roads of the northern imperial valley. While we really wanted to get down south by the boarder, we couldn't due to time restraints. That'll be something for next time. While driving and stopping at certain area, we did pick up a Ferruginous Hawk, fairly unusual for down that far south. 

2400?__hstc=264660688.fd8e575f7f2fb710f6

We noticed how we were running out of time, and eventually bombed back up to the shoreline to quickly stop at the Sony Bono visitor center, where we picked up Snow and Ross's Goose, but missed Common Ground Dove, something we've all had every time we've previously been down there. We quickly then went to Obsidian Butte to pick up Neotropic Cormorant, always a nice bird for California.

2400#_ga=2.246773636.1458565955.16126690

Instead of taking a safe option of looking at the wintering Stilt Sandpipers at unit one, we took a Hail Mary and headed up to look at a Sabine's gull report an hour north from a few days ago. While a Sabine's gull in winter is unheard of, the description of the bird sounded a lot like Little Gull, which got our hopes up. The sun was about to set when we got there, so we hopped the fence and birded these random ponds in the town of Indio. The flock of Bonapartes Gulls that it seemed to be hanging out with seemed to have moved on. However, it was still good birding, and we found lots of Cliff Swallows (still looking through photos to see if a Cave snuck in there), and an oriantha White-crowned Sparrow after it was dark. Overall a great and active day, that made the mediocre Denny's Hamburger taste a lot better. (After this we went bowling, but we couldn't find anything due to the 30 MPH winds).

 

 

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21 hours ago, Connor Cochrane said:

Finally getting around to start writing this out. Day 2, Saturday, the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea is a large salty sea in the far southern parts of California. During migration it can hold lots of birds, but we did this whole trip for one thing specifically, a Purple Sandpiper, only a second state record that showed up. The only problem, it hadn't been seen in over a week. We still decided to make the 9 hour drive down to give it a shot, and made a trip out of it. Day 1 (outlined above) was a great day, where we didn't dip on any of the rarities sticking around in LA. We got to the north shore marina where the Purple Sand was last seen, and started rigorously scoping the shores for anything. After picking through a thousand shorebirds, we saw nothing. We decided to make the treck north, and walked the one and a half miles through the Salton Sea mud and fish bones. While we didn't find the purple sandpiper up north, we managed to find a Red Phalarope, a 5th county record. That might not seem to crazy to people in the midwest or back east, but California has very large and heavily birded counties, which makes it very difficult to find birds seen that few times in a county, especially in such a frequently birded place like Riverside. Here's my horrible digi of it, other in the group might have slightly better images. 

2400?__hstc=264660688.fd8e575f7f2fb710f6

On the way back we had some Northern Rough-winged Swallows and Vioet-green Swallows. They are Both expected there, but were flagged due to low wintering numbers. After checking many flyby gulls to no success, we finally picked up on something interesting, a Glaucous-winged Gull flying S.

2400?__hstc=264660688.fd8e575f7f2fb710f6

We were about to leave when we saw a large duck land by us in the water. It was a Surf Scoter, not a half-bad bird this far inland.

2400?__hstc=264660688.fd8e575f7f2fb710f6

Additionaly, it was nice to finally start to see some desert birds. It's been awhile (a year and a half) since I've been down in the desert, so it was nice to see birds like Verdin again. One that many people wouldn't care about, but that are cool in my opinion are Fallax Song Sparrow, so different then our gouldii birds.

2400?__hstc=264660688.fd8e575f7f2fb710f6

After that we headed to the SRA headquarters, and didn't really see anything too interesting, but we did get our first Abert's Towhee of the trip. We didn't really bird any of the songbird spots there, just checked for the Purple Sand. We then headed to Salt Creek Beach, where a Bell's Sparrow quickly hopped into view. This might have been one of my favorite birds of the trip.

2400?__hstc=264660688.fd8e575f7f2fb710f6

Next, we headed through the whistler unit, and onto the town of Niland, where there is a very productive road (or two yards really). There, we picked up more our desert species, such as Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Inca Dover, Phainopepla, and a rare Lawrence's Goldfinch (heard only). Here's a photo of a Inca Dove, a surprise that it didn't immediately fly away.

2400

It was then onto driving the back roads of the northern imperial valley. While we really wanted to get down south by the boarder, we couldn't due to time restraints. That'll be something for next time. While driving and stopping at certain area, we did pick up a Ferruginous Hawk, fairly unusual for down that far south. 

2400?__hstc=264660688.fd8e575f7f2fb710f6

We noticed how we were running out of time, and eventually bombed back up to the shoreline to quickly stop at the Sony Bono visitor center, where we picked up Snow and Ross's Goose, but missed Common Ground Dove, something we've all had every time we've previously been down there. We quickly then went to Obsidian Butte to pick up Neotropic Cormorant, always a nice bird for California.

2400#_ga=2.246773636.1458565955.16126690

Instead of taking a safe option of looking at the wintering Stilt Sandpipers at unit one, we took a Hail Mary and headed up to look at a Sabine's gull report an hour north from a few days ago. While a Sabine's gull in winter is unheard of, the description of the bird sounded a lot like Little Gull, which got our hopes up. The sun was about to set when we got there, so we hopped the fence and birded these random ponds in the town of Indio. The flock of Bonapartes Gulls that it seemed to be hanging out with seemed to have moved on. However, it was still good birding, and we found lots of Cliff Swallows (still looking through photos to see if a Cave snuck in there), and an oriantha White-crowned Sparrow after it was dark. Overall a great and active day, that made the mediocre Denny's Hamburger taste a lot better. (After this we went bowling, but we couldn't find anything due to the 30 MPH winds).

 

 

Great list!

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