I took visiting birders, Mark and Kay Clayton, to some of the local hot spots near their hotel at LAX. This was their first time visiting the Americas so they were excited to go just about anywhere. We started off at Del Rey Lagoon and Ballona Creek where they tallied over 25 new birds including Green Heron, Black Turnstone, California Gull, Western Gull, Heermann’s Gull, Western Sandpiper, Willet, Whimbrel, Ruddy Duck, Savannah Sparrow, Great Egret, Snowy Egret and much more. Unfortunately we never saw the Little Blue Heron that has been hanging around Del Rey Lagoon this summer.
Since we were still missing a few key target shorebird specialties we hit Bolsa Chica in Huntington Beach first thing Saturday morning. We immediately ticked off Least Tern, Black Skimmer, Forster’s Tern, Long-billed Curlew, Light-footed Clapper Rail and Osprey.
Light-footed Clapper Rail
Least Terns were in great quantity with adults still feeding the almost fully grown fledglings. I was actually surprised to see adults feeding young birds that had almost lost all juvenal plumage.
After Bolsa Chica we hit the LA River in Long Beach to look for migrating sandpipers. Bumped into Steve and Becky Turley upon our arrival who informed us of a Solitary Sandpiper and Semipalmated Sandpiper along with Chimney Swifts they had seen. It didn’t take long to spot two Chimney Swifts flying over us among all the Cliff Swallows and White-throated Swifts. Also scored a nice immature Cooper’s Hawk chasing a Green Heron around. A few minutes later I found the Solitary Sandpiper just below us on the east side of the river. Other new birds for the Aussie’s included Black-necked Stilt, Canada Goose, American Avocet, Hooded Oriole, Short-billed Dowitcher and Killdeer.
After a great morning we ended our day at Ken Malloy Harbor Park. Things were a little slow but Ken ticked his 2,000th bird – unfortunately it was a Brewer’s Blackbird! We also picked up Lesser Goldfinch and Black Phoebe. We dipped on any Vireos and Orange-crowned Warbler. However, we did find a pretty neat exotic Saffron Finch: