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Evening Meeting, Tuesday May 3rd, 7:30 p.m: Grunion and their Avian Predators

May 2, 2016


[photo credit Dan Harding]

Out-of-staters and even most Californians don’t know about the California Grunion, a nocturnal beach-spawning fish. Like sea turtles, grunion come ashore to lay eggs at night but only at certain times. Dr. Karen Martin of Pepperdine University made a study of the grunion and the birds that change from daytime behavior to nighttime when the grunion are spawning. How do they know? How do the grunion know? Please come to our program to find out the answers to these conundrums.

Karen Martin is a Professor of Biology and holds the Frank R. Seaver Chair in Natural Science at Pepperdine.

Our meetings return to Christine Emerson Reed Park, 1133 7th Street. (between 7th St. & Lincoln Blvd., California Ave. & Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica. Previously known as Lincoln Park. If you’re coming from outside Santa Monica, exit the #10 Fwy at Lincoln Blvd., turn north  and drive 5 blocks north to Wilshire Blvd.

Link to Google Map
Meeting Room:
Mid-park in Joslyn Hall, accessible from Lincoln Blvd, California Ave. and 7th St.  Its glass wall faces north towards St. Monica Church on California St.  If you’re walking from Lincoln Blvd., it’s located directly behind (west) of the large Miles Playhouse building. Not accessible directly from Wilshire Blvd.

Meetings begin at 7:30 sharp with a little business, and then our main presentation. Refreshments are served afterward. 

Parking: The entire block between Wilshire and California Ave, 7th and Lincoln, on the sides closest to the park, is metered. Meter enforcement ends at 6PM, so free parking for the meeting!  We had almost 50 attendees in February and we know of only two people who couldn’t find parking. However, the local natives are engaged in a survival-of-the-fittest scramble for free parking, so the after-6pm free parking spaces disappear quickly.  We suggest that you arrive no later than 7:15 pm.

If all those spaces are filled, go south of Wilshire, not north of the park, as resident-only permit parking zones abound to the north. The east side of Lincoln Blvd. is also by permit parking only. We found plenty of spaces on 7th St. or Lincoln south of Wilshire. Most of those seem to be “until 6PM” meters also. Wherever you park, please read parking signs carefully and avoid a big fat $40+ parking ticket. 

A Cotillion* of Elegant Terns: Malibu Lagoon Apr. 24, 2016

April 29, 2016

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The creaking calls of the large flock of Elegant Terns nearly drowned out the sounds of traffic from Pacific Coast Highway, and a few of the thirty birders present wondered if such numbers were unusual. Well, yes – and no. Forty years ago they were uncommon north of San Diego and, once or twice a year, you might see a few birds at the lagoon.

Elegant Terns in flight, Pepperdine University in distance (R. Ehler 4/24/16)

Elegant Terns in flight, Pepperdine University in distance (R. Ehler 4/24/16)

On 10-21-79, I found three Elegants on my very first Malibu Lagoon census.  Twenty-two years later, on 3-25-01, they finally hit double digits with 10 whole birds.  Only two years later, on 4-27-03, they hit triple digits at 250 birds. Then 700 birds on 4-26-09, and a whopping 3,100 birds on 4-26-15. To date, we’ve seen 12,423 terns of all species at the lagoon, of which 79% (9,795) have been Elegant. And 67% (6,585) of those were in April. Today’s count of 1,800 Elegant Terns is unusual, but considering the progression over time, not unexpected.

Thirteen photos were stitched together to make this panorama of Elegant Terns (C. Bragg 4/24/16)

One of three islands covered with Elegant Terns – a thirteen photo panorama
(C. Bragg 4/24/16)

Elegant Terns have long nested primarily on Isla Rasa in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, but in May 1959, 31 pairs were found nesting in the salt works area of southern San Diego Bay. They began nesting at Bolsa Chica in Orange County in 1987, and in Los Angeles Harbor in 1988. Post-breeding, in late summer and fall, they migrate up the coast as far as northern California, with irregular appearances as far north as southwest Washington. All these migrants spend the winter in Mexico, but, as made apparent by their appearances at the lagoon, they do a lot of springtime moving around before settling down to breed. Since 1979, our lagoon records show the following winter totals: Nov. 16 birds, Dec. 0, Jan. 1, Feb. 1, Mar. 391. The single bird(s) recorded Jan & Feb 2010 could have been a misidentified Royal Tern, a wintering species which was present on both dates.

Lucky tern, unlucky fish (R. Juncosa 4/24/16)

Lucky tern, unlucky fish (R. Juncosa 4/24/16)

We don’t get a lot of Black-necked Stilts at the lagoon: 29 total birds in 7 sightings, including today’s 19 birds. Ray Juncosa captured them with some very interesting effects of lighting. Stilts, along with Avocets, are in their own family, Recurvirostridae (Latin – bent backwards bill). Our stilt ranges from the U.S. to the West Indies, Peru & Brazil, plus Hawaii, where it used to be considered a separate species, the Hawaiian Stilt. The five other Stilt species and ranges are: Black-winged – Eurasia & Africa; Pied – Indonesia to New Zealand; the critically endangered Black – South Island of New Zealand; White-backed – so. South America; Banded – Australia.

Black-necked Stilts, a study (R. Juncosa 4/24/16)

Black-necked Stilts, a study (R. Juncosa 4/24/16)

The “semipalmated” foot is partially webbed between the toes. The Semipalmated Plover is a regular Spring & Fall migrant visitor at the lagoon, but no one ever actually sees the webbing. Of the “stints” or “peeps” in the Calidris genus, two are also semipalmated – the Western (Calidris mauri) (Greek – “a gray speckled sandpiper” + mauri [Ernesto Mauri, Italian naturalist])  and the aptly named Semipalmated Sandpiper (C. pusilla) ( Latin – very small).

Somehow the semipalmated foot moved from the Semipalmated Plover to the Western Sandpiper (J. Waterman 4/24/16)

Somehow the semipalmated foot moved from the Semipalmated Plover (left) to the Western Sandpiper (J. Waterman 4/24/16)

I could find nothing in book or on web about differences in webbing between the Western and Semipalmated Sandpipers (SeSa), so I checked with Kimball Garrett of the L.A. Co. Museum of Natural History. He replied, in short, “No difference.” “Then why,” you (dear reader) may inquire, “is one called semipalmated and the other isn’t?” The answer, I believe, is (as with “unusual” Elegant Tern presence) time-dependent. The SeSa was first described in 1766 by Linnaeus himself, based on a specimen from Santo Domingo, which he named Tringa (changed much later to Calidris) pusilla. The Western was described a century later in 1857, from a specimen from South Carolina. [Many Westerns winter on the SE U.S. coast.] The name Semipalmated was already taken, so Western it became.

If you don't know what this is, come birding with us (J. Waterman 4/24/16)

If you don’t know what this is, come birding with us. No, it’s not a plover or sandpiper foot.
(J. Waterman 4/24/16)

So what about the rarely seen webbed feet of the Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)? I’ll spare you the gruesome details and say simply that it has visible –  but short – webbing between all three toes. The very similar Ringed Plover (C. hiaticula) of Eurasia & Africa has visible webbing between middle and outer toe, and nearly invisible webbing between middle and inner toe. 10,000 Birds gives a great description, but the pictures of feet aren’t so hot. [Beware  (!!) of Google Images – I’ve seen many misidentifications there.]

Many people mistake the female Red-winged Blackbird for a sparrow (R. Ehler 4/24/16)

Many people mistake the female Red-winged Blackbird for a sparrow
(R. Ehler 4/24/16)

We didn’t have any Snowy Plovers; probably all have left for their various breeding grounds farther north. Grace Murayama snapped this nice photo of an adult Snowy on 4/13.

The last Snowy Plover of Springtime (G. Murayama 4/13/16)

The last Snowy Plover of Springtime (G. Murayama 4/13/16)

Bonaparte’s Gull is another species whose lagoon presence has changed significantly over the years. We used to get them in large numbers: 3-15-80 1,600 birds, 11-29-80 530, 12-12-82 1,095. Our last triple-digit count was 632 birds on 1-8-83, shortly after the first lagoon reconfiguration in late 1982. Since then, out of 180 census days, their numbers have reached double-digits only 6 times out of 62 sightings. I don’t know if their overall population has plummeted, or they just didn’t like the new (in 1983) lagoon and stopped coming.

Bonaparte's Gull - basic & alternate plumages (J. Waterman 4/24/16)

Bonaparte’s Gull – basic & alternate plumages (J. Waterman 4/24/16)

Birds new for the season were: Black-necked Stilt, Semipalmated Plover, Common Murre (by Malibu Pier), Belted Kingfisher, Violet-green Swallow, Black-headed Grosbeak, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Brewer’s Blackbird, and Brown-headed Cowbird.

The foremast is about 170 ft high on this giganto-yacht (G. Murayama 4/24/16)

The foremast is about 170 ft high on this giganto-yacht moored off Malibu Pier
(G. Murayama 4/13/16)

As always, many thanks to our photographers: Chuck Bragg, Randy Ehler, Ray Juncosa, Grace Murayama and Joyce Waterman.

*Cotillion of Elegant Terns is the official collective noun for this species.

Least Sandpiper, like Narcissus, admires his reflection (C. Bragg 4/24/16)

Least Sandpiper, like Narcissus, admires his own reflection (C. Bragg 4/24/16)

Our next four scheduled field trips: To be announced, 14 May; Malibu Lagoon 8:30 & 10am, 22 May; Mt. Piños, 11-12 June 8am; Malibu Lagoon 8:30 & 10am, 26 Jun.

American Robins infrequent the lagoon (R. Ehler 4/24/16)

American Robins infrequent the lagoon
(R. Ehler 4/24/16)

Our next program: Grunion,  Tuesday, 3 May, 7:30 pm, at [note location change] Chris Reed Park, 1133 7th St., NE corner of 7th and Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.

NOTE: Our 10 a.m. Parent’s & Kids Birdwalk meets at the shaded viewing area. Watch for Willie the Weasel. He’ll be watching for you and your big floppy feet.

Links: Unusual birds at Malibu Lagoon
9/23/02 Aerial photo of Malibu Lagoon
Prior checklists:
2015:   Jan-May,    July-Dec    2014:   Jan-July,    July-Dec

2013:   Jan-June,   July-Dec   2012:   Jan-June,   July-Dec
2011:   Jan-June,   July-Dec   2010:  Jan-June,   July-Dec
  Jan-June  July-Dec

The 10-year comparison summaries created during the project period, despite numerous complaints, remain available on our Lagoon Project Bird Census Page. Very briefly summarized, the results unexpectedly indicate that avian species diversification and numbers improved slightly during the period Jun’12-June’14.     [Chuck Almdale]

Malibu Census 2016 11/22 12/27 1/24 2/28 3/27 4/24
Temperature 64-80 48-61 48-64 57-70 55-65 60-67
Tide Lo/Hi Height L+0.24 H+6.07 H+5.90 L+1.38 H+3.43 H+3.63
Tide Time 1241 0945 0855 0654 1228 1143
Brant 3 2
Canada Goose 11 7
Gadwall 4 13 3 20 14 4
American Wigeon 2 10 16 10
Mallard 25 2 15 22 16 18
Northern Shoveler 8 2 16 12 14
Northern Pintail 2 4
Green-winged Teal 11 8 8
Lesser Scaup 5
Surf Scoter 1 2 17 16
Bufflehead 4 1 2 2
Hooded Merganser 2
Red-brstd Merganser 2 17 3 3 2
Ruddy Duck 110 1 10
Red-throated Loon 1 2
Pacific Loon 2 1 2
Common Loon 2 1 1
Pied-billed Grebe 3 2 3 8 3
Horned Grebe 1 1
Eared Grebe 10 2 2 5 2
Western Grebe 15 4 1 1
Blk-vented Shearwater 1
Brandt’s Cormorant 2 1 4 2
Dble-crstd Cormorant 45 15 24 19 6 23
Pelagic Cormorant 2 1 2
Brown Pelican 11 10 30 43 28 77
Great Blue Heron 3 2 3 4 3
Great Egret 1 2 2 1 5 2
Snowy Egret 8 30 21 7 7 4
Blk-crwnd N-Heron 1
Osprey 1 1 1 3 1
Cooper’s Hawk 1 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Sora 1 2
American Coot 60 10 40 65 53 4
Black-necked Stilt 19
Blk-bellied Plover 33 30 12 32 8 20
Snowy Plover 28 12 4 3
Semipalmated Plover 8
Killdeer 4 14 2 4 3 2
Spotted Sandpiper 2 5 1 1 1
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Willet 18 13 8 8 12 10
Whimbrel 5 1 3 4 21 2
Marbled Godwit 8 11 13 22 15 6
Ruddy Turnstone 9 2 5 1
Surfbird 1
Sanderling 6
Least Sandpiper 4 13 7
Western Sandpiper 4 35 1
Long-billed Dowitcher 2 2
Common Murre 1 3
Bonaparte’s Gull 2 1 3
Heermann’s Gull 11 4 1 2
Mew Gull 1
Ring-billed Gull 95 60 30 90 15 1
Western Gull 140 80 13 160 45 60
California Gull 1430 620 400 650 130 15
Thayer’s Gull 1
Glaucous-wingd Gull 1 1 4 1
Caspian Tern 3 19
Forster’s Tern 3
Royal Tern 23 11 25 31 18 2
Elegant Tern 5 1800
Rock Pigeon 20 2 2 6 6 6
Mourning Dove 1 2 2 2 1
Anna’s Hummingbird 2 3 1 2 1
Allen’s Hummingbird 5 2 3 3 4 4
Belted Kingfisher 1 1
American Kestrel 1 1
Merlin 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Nanday Parakeet 8 2
Black Phoebe 10 12 3 8 6 4
Say’s Phoebe 1 2 1 1
Cassin’s Kingbird 1
Western Scrub-Jay 1
American Crow 3 1 6 23 6 4
Common Raven 1 1
Violet-green Swallow 1
Rough-wingd Swallow 10 10
Cliff Swallow 1 6
Barn Swallow 6 4
Oak Titmouse 1 1
Bushtit 28 40 4 5 4
House Wren 2 1 1
Marsh Wren 1
Bewick’s Wren 1 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 9 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10 6 1
Western Bluebird 1
Hermit Thrush 1 3 1
American Robin 2 1
Northern Mockingbird 6 2 1 3 4 6
European Starling 21 10 110 90 1 2
Ornge-crwnd Warbler 5
Common Yellowthroat 7 1 1 5 5
Yellow-rumpd Warbler 40 40 9
Townsend’s Warbler 1
Spotted Towhee 2 1
California Towhee 1 1 2 5 3
Savannah Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 3 6 3 3 12 14
Lincoln’s Sparrow 1
White-crwnd Sparrow 4 15 20 5 5
Black-headed Grosbeak 1
Red-winged Blackbird 5
Western Meadowlark 5 4 2
Brewer’s Blackbird 6
Great-tailed Grackle 4 3 2 1 9 3
Brwn-headed Cowbird 2
Hooded Oriole 1
House Finch 4 3 1 6 21 16
Lesser Goldfinch 1
Totals by Type Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr
Waterfowl 169 58 61 118 74 22
Water Birds – Other 152 48 104 146 100 106
Herons, Egrets & Ibis 13 34 26 12 15 6
Quail & Raptors 2 4 2 4 2 1
Shorebirds 113 83 50 86 113 76
Gulls & Terns 1703 775 472 939 219 1903
Doves 21 2 4 8 8 7
Other Non-Passerines 7 6 4 13 7 5
Passerines 164 156 150 168 105 95
Totals Birds 2344 1166 873 1494 643 2221
Total Species Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr
Waterfowl 10 10 8 11 7 2
Water Birds – Other 11 9 9 10 9 4
Herons, Egrets & Ibis 4 3 3 3 3 2
Quail & Raptors 2 4 2 2 2 1
Shorebirds 9 10 6 10 11 10
Gulls & Terns 7 7 5 9 8 8
Doves 2 1 2 2 2 2
Other Non-Passerines 2 3 2 3 3 2
Passerines 20 21 12 19 22 20
Totals Species 67 68 49 69 67 51


Butterbredt Spring Weekend Campout Reminder: 30 April – 1 May, 2016, 8:00 a.m.

April 28, 2016
Hoary Bat (R. Seidner 4/27/12)

Hoary Bat in repose (R. Seidner 4/27/12)

On Saturday and Sunday, 30 April – l May, we will hold our annual spring camping weekend at the Butterbredt Spring Wildlife Sanctuary and the riparian habitat of Kelso Creek, surrounded by the high desert.   Birds we will see are desert residents – hummingbirds, roadrunners, owls, thrashers, and orioles for example – spring migrants (some years we see all eleven western warblers at the spring –  nine were recently reported), and specialties such as Piñon Jays and Golden Eagles.   Our host reports getting a lot of rain this winter and has some very interesting birds nesting on his property, plus plenty of butterflies, green grass and wildflowers.   Travel will be on graded dirt roads, passable by almost any car. We will camp in a spot close to Kelso Creek and north of Kelso Valley.   Refill your gas tank in Mojave and bring water for cooking and washing.

Family guide: A great camping trip. In fact, we encourage families to attend this camping trip.  This is the desert, so please be careful of common desert hazards and equipment: driving off-road, thorny cacti, loose rock and sand, insufficient water, basic camping and emergency supplies.  We are invited to stay at Sageland Ranch, home of one of our long-time chapter members.   There will be camping space for all, but in order to reduce demands on our host, please bring water for cooking and washing. Plus your own food, of course, assuming that you wish to eat. Some firewood would be greatly appreciated too.   You can cook on the main campfire or on one of the barbecues.

Sphinx Moth at Beavertail Cactus flower (R. Seidner 4/27/13)

Sphinx Moth at Beavertail Cactus flower
(R. Seidner 4/27/13)

Participants must phone or email the leader to sign-up for this trip.
Leader:  Mary Prismon   (310-457-2240)   <goldcrownking [AT]>

They will need to sign a release form which will be available at the beginning of the trip.   Leave your name and telephone number with the contact person in case of cancellation due to bad weather.

Links to Trip Reports: April 2015, April 2013, April, 2012, May 2010

The rock admiration society (R. Seidner 11/3/12)

The rock admiration society, Kelso Valley Chapter
(R. Seidner 11/3/12)

[Directions] From Santa Monica:
San Diego Freeway north to Highway 14 which goes east and north through the Antelope Valley to the town of Mojave, where you should refill your gas tank. From Mojave continue on Highway 14 about 20 miles to the Jawbone Canyon turnoff. Take Jawbone Rd. for 6.2 miles and take the right fork. Go another 5.7 miles to the Butterbredt Sign, turn right and go another 0.9 miles to the spring. Travel time is about 2½ – 3 hours from Santa Monica. If you have an FRS radio, bring it along tuned to Channel 11, privacy channel 22.
Meet at the spring at 8:00 a.m.
Late-comers should be able to find us in the vicinity of the main grove until at least 8:30.
[Chuck Almdale]
Link to Google Map of probably route

Butterbredt Spring gate (L. Johnson 4/26/13)

In those halcyon days of yore, this was the Butterbredt Spring gate
(L. Johnson 4/26/13)

Flowers Galore: Paramount to Malibu Creek Walk, 2 April, 2016

April 25, 2016

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another perfect day in paradise. This is tough, dirty, thankless, grinding work, sauntering through fields of flowers and grass waving in the breeze, snapping pictures, sniffing blossoms, spotting and identifying birds, chatting with friends and new companions, but, whatever the personal cost, someone has to do it, and you can thank your lucky stars you weren’t volunteered for this duty. Even worse, temperatures started at the frigid 58°F before soaring to a scorching 70°F, it didn’t rain and there were no bothersome insects.

Doug suffers for his art (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Doug suffers for his art (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

We wandered, as usual, around the western town movie set of Paramount Ranch (free parking!), then set off up the remnant of the devil’s racecourse (3 deaths in 18 months of operation). The lupines were a bit scarce, but the still-to-be-identified feral Onion (see slideshow) was doing fine.

Field of grass, Goldfields and Owl's Clover (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Field of grass, Goldfields and Owl’s Clover (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

There were large spreads of Owl’s Clover and Goldfields in the grassy fields at the intersection of Cornell and Mulholland, where we cross kitty-corner to the Reagan Ranch portion of Malibu Creek State Park. Anna’s Hummingbirds, Acorn Woodpeckers, Black and Say’s Phoebes, Bushtits, Yellow-rumped Warblers in various stages of

California Towhee mid-skulk (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

California Towhee mid-skulk (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

plumage molt, California and Spotted Towhees, Song Sparrows, House Finches and Lesser Goldfinches kept us company. Several American Kestrels were hawking the larger insects from treetop perches, and small flocks of Mourning Dove and Nanday Parakeet flew overhead. Even after several years of seeing and hearing this last species ever more frequently, my ear still initially identifies their calls as those of woodpeckers, or small children yelling in the distance. Eventually some portion of my brain protests loudly enough, and I realize it’s those parakeets.

Western Kingbird (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Western Kingbird
(J. Waterman 4-2-16)

We avoid the tall grass surrounding the Reagan Ranch driveway – deer tick country – but spot Bullock’s Orioles, Cassin’s and Western Kingbirds, and Ash-throated Flycatchers in the sycamores, while Ravens and Red-tailed Hawks stick closer to Mulholland Drive, searching for flattened fauna.

As we reach the Yearling Trail beginning at the back of the ranch house area, and back on the ground, we find more and more flowers: Elderberry, Horehound, Wild Cucumber, sunflowers, fiddlenecks, Johnny-Jump-Up, Blue Dick, and the always aromatic SagesWhite, Purple and Black. Miner’s Lettuce was in the shady damp area near the matates (First American acorn-grinding holes in rock). All along the trail, plenty of bees worked the flowers.

Miner's Lettuce - delicious! (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Miner’s Lettuce – delicious! (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Peggy points out an epistemological error to Chuck (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Peggy points out an epistemological error to Chuck
(J. Waterman 4-2-16)

For once we managed to avoid the mystery detour not-a-trail down the rocky escarpment, and found the true Cage Creek Trail. Sage and nightshade love this area, as do various phacelias, Fiesta Flower, Golden Current, Green-bark Ceanothus, Toyon, and everyone’s favorite plant to I.D., Poison Oak. As usual, we discussed this plant’s effects on human skin. It’s an allergy, people! Most people have this allergy, but some fortunate ones (myself included) do not.

Fiesta Flower (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Fiesta Flower (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Near the bottom of Cage Creek Trail lies the eponymous cage, now almost unrecognizable, a relic of the time when humans were mute and uncivilized, easily captured and domesticated by the apes who ruled the world. [The film Planet of the Apes documents in depth this era.] And then we were on Crag’s Road, the main route to the M.A.S.H. film site and common destination for the hikers, bikers, runners and outdoor classes who frequent this area.

Male Red-winged Blackbird at Century Lake displays his epaulets (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Male Red-winged Blackbird at Century Lake displays his epaulets (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Johnny Jump-up (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Johnny Jump-up (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

A short stop at Century Lake, from which swallows sip on the wing and Red-winged Blackbirds live among the Cattails, then up and over the hump and down towards Malibu Creek, which flows out of the dam which created the lake. Water in the creek was so low that only a few Mallards could survive among the stones. From here we usually dead-head – hot and thirsty – through the line of Live Oaks which border the road to the parking area, stopping for the occasional flower and the hillside chia patch. No chia pets here – all the chia is thoroughly wild and one may approach them only with caution.

We successfully car-shuttled back to Paramount Ranch via Mulholland Drive, got out our lunches and talked until it was time to go our various ways.

Alligator Lizard [prob. Southern] (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Hungry camouflaged alligators prowl the forest! [Lizards, that is] (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

If you check out the map link, our trail route runs generally SE from Paramount Ranch.
Links to previous trips:  April 2014, April 2013, April 2012, April 2011, April 2010, March 2009

California Poppy (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

California Poppy
(D. Waterman 4-2-16)

As always, the hike was led by Peggy Burhenn, Calif. State Parks docent specializing in native plants and wildflowers. I’ve also been advised – rather insistently – to mention that there are actually “several” small up and down slopes along our route.

Unknown blue flower (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Unknown blue flower (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Western Swallow half-a-tail on Blue Dick (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Western Swallow half-a-tail on Blue Dick (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Many thanks to our photographers: Lillian Johnson, Doug Waterman and Joyce Waterman.

The lists below give a seven-year comparison of what we’ve seen on this hike. There are significant differences from year-to-year, both in what we find and what is in bloom.
[Chuck Almdale]

X – Seen     NB – Not in Bloom     * – Introduced Species
  2016 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
WHITE 4/2 4/12 4/6 4/15 4/9 4/10 3/29
Ashy-leafed Buckwheat X NB X
Big Pod Ceanothus X X X NB X X
California Buckwheat NB NB X X NB
California Everlasting X X
Catalina Maraposa Lily X
Cliff Aster X X X
Coyote Brush NB X X X NB NB NB
Dodder X NB X X X
Dudleaya NB NB X
Elderberry X X X X NB X X
Horehound* NB NB NB X X X X
Lace Pod (green) X X X X
Lanceleaf Dudleaya NB
Linanthus X
Miner’s Lettuce X X X X X
Morning Glory X X X X
Mulefat X NB X X X X
Narrow-leafed Bedstraw X X X
Narrow-leafed Milkweed NB
Onion – not specified X X X
Poison Hemlock NB NB NB X
Poison Oak X X X
Popcorn Flower X X X X X X
Soap Plant NB NB NB X X
Western Ragweed* X
White Nightshade X X
White Sage NB NB NB X X X X
Wild Cucumber X X X X X X X
Yucca NB NB X X NB X X
Burr Clover* X
Canyon Sunflower NB X
Collarless California Poppy X
Common Fiddleneck X X X X X X X
Common Goldfields X X
Deerweed X X
Golden Currant X X NB X X X X
Golden Yarrow X X X
Johnny Jump-up X X X X X X
Lomatium X X
Microseris X
Mountain Dandelion X X X
Mustard* X X X X X X X
Oriental Mustard X
Pacific Sanicle NB
Pineapple Weed* X X X X X X X
Prickly Pear Cactus NB
Small-Flowered Lotus X
Stringose Lotus X X X
Western Wallflower X X X
Bush/sticky Monkeyflower X X X X X NB
California Poppy X X X X X
Scarlet Pimpernel* X X
Chalk Live-forever X
Crimson Pitcher (Hummingbird) Sage NB NB X X X X NB
Heart-leaved Penstemon NB NB
Indian Paintbrush X NB X
Bush Mallow X
Chinese Houses X X X X X
Milk Thistle* X NB X X NB NB
Prickly Phlox X X
Purple Clarkia X
Purple Owl’s Clover X X X X
Purple Sage NB NB X X X X X
Red-stem Filaree* X X X X X X X
Spring Vetch* X X X X X X
Purple vetch X
Tom Cat Clover X X
Wild Radish* X X X X X X
Wild Sweet Pea X X X
Wooly Aster X
Baby Blue Eyes X X
Bajada Lupine X X
Black Sage NB NB X X X
Blue Dicks X X X X X X X
Blue Larkspur X X
Bull Thistle X
Bush Lupine X X X X X X
California Peony X
Caterpillar Phacelia X X X X X X
Chia X X X X X X
Common Vervain X X X X
Danny’s Skullcap X X
Dove Lupine X X X X
Fern-leaf Phacelia X X X X X
Fiesta Flower X X X X X X
Green Bark Ceanothus X NB X X N X X
Henbit* X
Italian Thistle* X
Parry’s Phacelia X X X X X
Purple Nightshade X X X X X X X
Sticky Phacelia X X
Tansy Leaf Phacelia X
Winter Vetch* X X X
Wooly Blue Curls NB
Curly Dock X X X
English Plantain* NB NB X
Arroyo Willow X X X X X X X
California Bay Laurel NB X X X
California Bickelbush X
California Sagebrush NB X X X X X
Chamise X X X X X
Coast Live Oak X X X X X X X
Coffee Berry X X X
Gum Plant X
Hog Fennel X X X
Laurel Sumac X X X X X X X
Mistletoe X X X X X X
Mugwort X X X X X X X
Poison Oak X X X X X
Scrub Oak X X X X
Squaw Bush X X X
Stinging Nettle X
Sugarbush X X X X X X
Toyon X X X X X X
Valley Oak X X X X X
Western Sycamore X X X X X X X
Whitethorn X
Wild Rose X X X X X X
Total Plants – 118 75 52 66 73 60 70 56



Sugar Bush blossom head (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Sugar Bush blossom head (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Paramount – Malibu Creek SP 2016 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Bird Name 4/2 4/12 4/6 4/15 4/9 4/10 3/29
Canada Goose 6 3 2 4 2
Gadwall 3 X
American Wigeon X
Mallard 8 3 6 8 7 10 X
Ring-necked Duck 6
Bufflehead X
Ruddy Duck X
California Quail 3H 3H 20 6 4H
Pied-billed Grebe 1 X
Great Blue Heron 1 3 1 2
Turkey Vulture 8 4 4 3 4 2 X
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 1 1
Cooper’s Hawk 2 1 1 X
Red-shouldered Hawk 1+2H 3 1 6 2 X
Red-tailed Hawk 3 3 2 3 3 5 X
American Coot 2 2 9 4 4 X
Spotted Sandpiper 1
California Gull 20
Band-tailed Pigeon 3 3 3 9
Mourning Dove 20 6 1 4 8 12
Barn Owl 1
Vaux’s Swift 20
White-throated Swift 4 4 2 4 12 X
Black-chinned Hummingbird 1 1 1 1
Anna’s Hummingbird 7 1 5 1 2 4 X
Rufous Hummingbird 1
Allen’s Hummingbird 2 1 1 X
Belted Kingfisher 1 1 X
Acorn Woodpecker 18 14 12 9 8 11 X
Nuttall’s Woodpecker 6 2+3H 4 5 2 2H X
Downy Woodpecker 2+1H X
Northern Flicker 2 3 2 X
American Kestrel 2 X
Black-hooded Parakeet 8 7 5+4H 3 1
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 2 3 1 1 2 X
Black Phoebe 5 3 4 4 8 8 X
Say’s Phoebe 3 1 3 1
Ash-throated Flycatcher 6 6+3H 3+2H
Cassin’s Kingbird 8 1 9 3 4 2 X
Western Kingbird 1 1 1 4 3 X
Hutton’s Vireo 1H 1
Warbling Vireo 2 X
Western Scrub-Jay 15 17 6+4H 10+20H 12 14 X
American Crow 20 19 12 15 20 6 X
Common Raven 5 8 9 2 4 5 X
Tree Swallow 10 6 4
Violet-green Swallow 4 20 20 12
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 12 15 25 35 24 X
Cliff Swallow 3 1 3 1 20 X
Barn Swallow 1 2 X
Oak Titmouse 3 4 4+15H 2+20H 9 4 X
Bushtit 6 10 5 8 8 4 X
White-breasted Nuthatch 1 3 2 2 2 X
Canyon Wren 1 1H H
House Wren 1+15H 4+18H 4+30H 4+40H 25 32 X
Bewick’s Wren 2H 4 12 2 X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1 3H 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1 1 2 2 X
Wrentit 3 1+5H 14H 20H 7H H X
Western Bluebird 9 3 10 10 13 10 X
Hermit Thrush 1 X
American Robin 4 2 1
Northern Mockingbird 2 6 6+3H 2 X
California Thrasher 1 1+3H 4H H
European Starling 8 11 10 1 6 12 X
Phainopepla 1H
Orange-crowned Warbler 3+5H 1+2H 1H 5 6 X
Common Yellowthroat 1H 1+4H 2 1H 6 2 X
Yellow Warbler 1 1+6H H
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4 1 4+2H 6 6 10 X
Black-throated Gray Warbler 1 X
Townsend’s Warbler X
Spotted Towhee 3+6H 3 4+6H 5+5H 8 5 X
California Towhee 7 9 4+4H 10 20 6 X
Savannah Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 4 3+5H 5+4H 7+6H 13 7 X
Lincoln’s Sparrow X
White-crowned Sparrow 10 1 X
Golden-crowned Sparrow 4 2
Dark-eyed Junco 7 10 X
Black-headed Grosbeak 1+1H 10 4H 8 3 4
Red-winged Blackbird 8 5 12 20 X
Western Meadowlark 5 X
Brown-headed Cowbird 2 1
Hooded Oriole 4 4 6
Bullock’s Oriole 2 5 5+3H 6 3 6
Purple Finch 6H H
House Finch 30+20H 16+26H 20+30H 90 60 20 X
Lesser Goldfinch 9 6+6H 6+6H 8 12 16 X
American Goldfinch 30
House Sparrow X
Total – 93 species 47 50 59 62 52 60 58

No giant festival this year in Woodley Park!

April 22, 2016

No giant festival this year.

Dawn at the Sepulveda Wildlife Reserve (Joe Doherty)

Dawn at the Sepulveda Wildlife Reserve (Joe Doherty)

[A message from our compatriot, San Fernando Valley Audubon]

Good news. Sepulveda Wildlife Reserve gets a reprieve. Plans for Angelfest have been scrapped for October 2016. The marketing company that hoped to bring 65,000 people a day to the area surrounding the Sepulveda Wildlife Reserve has announced plans to try again next year, but of course none of the environmental concerns will be any different then. We will not resist future mega-festivals that are located in appropriate venues — but we will continue to vigorously defend the Sepulveda Reserve and the verdant ecosystem that nurtures it.

While the decision to cancel Angelfest 2016 was no doubt based on a number of considerations, there’s little doubt that the public outcry — that would be you — was an important one. If you signed & shared the petition, if you wrote or called your elected representatives, if you submitted comments to the Army Corps, if you urged your friends and neighbors to join the fight, we are enormously grateful to you. Please stay in touch with San Fernando Valley Audubon Society through our website (new one coming!) and Facebook. We’ll need you again.

We are dedicated to a better future — and more funding — for L.A.’s natural spaces. The San Fernando Valley Audubon Society will work with the community and L.A. Recreation & Parks Department to find solutions that work for everyone – including the wildlife that can’t speak for itself.

So, yes, there is still much to do. But for today, let’s rejoice. And what better way to celebrate than a bird walk at the Sepulveda Wildlife Reserve? Join SFVAS every 1st Sunday.

Thank you all for your cards, letters, calls, texts, emails, tweets, postings and whatnot against this ill-considered event.


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