July-August 2019 Field Trips Listings (compiled)

July–August Western Tanager Trip Listings 

By Nick Freeman, Field Trip Chairman for Los Angeles Audubon Society 

Field trips often require more driving and time in the field than do LAAS bird walks. If you do not have convenient email to reserve a trip, you may always substitute a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE) and provide your daytime phone number. We do not sell, trade, or re-use contact information; cell and email simply improve our chances of contacting you at home and in the field. No pets or unapproved small children (under 12), please. Bird walks are better-suited for most children. Contact information WILL BE released to others inquiring about carpooling unless requested otherwise. Envelopes for donations to support Los Angeles Audubon and its field trips will be distributed on some non-fee trips. Please support your LAAS field trips. Mail reservation fees to: L.A. Audubon–Field Trips, PO Box 411301, Los Angeles CA 90041. Send email reservation requests to: membership@laaudubon.org. For more information about LAAS field trips call: (323) 876-0202, and leave a voice message if there is no answer. When carpooling, remember to offer compensation for gas to your driver.

Thursday thru Sunday, July 4–7

Owls & other Birds of the Southern Sierra

$140 FEE, LIMITED SIGN-UP: MAX 10, MIN 6. (Trip is sold-out, but you may be added to a wait-list.)

Leaders: Mary and Nick Freeman. We will be renting a different summer home this year, which should be just as nice as last years’. Flammulated and Spotted Owls have been seen in multiples almost every year. Saw-whet (adult & juv.) and Pygmy Owl are less reliable, but we will look hard! Saw-whet was very obliging last year! During days, we will search out Pileated Woodpecker, Pacific Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and perhaps Goshawk, Dipper or Evening Grosbeak! Meeting time and location in Ponderosa is still being firmed up. Couples will probably be prioritized, and singles in sleeping bags will be wait-listed. Once confirmed, please coordinate your contribution for the Thursday potluck with Mary (mnfreeman@earthlink.net). LAAS will provide a weenie roast one other night, and we always have plenty of leftovers for a third dinner! For more information email: (membership@laaudubon.org) or call (323) 876-0202, and leave a voice message if no answer.

Saturday, July 20

Big Bear Area


Leaders: Mary and Nick Freeman. Get a hotel room for July 20 (or wake up really early), and a room for July 21 if you plan to dine and owl with the Freemans. Target birds include Williamson’s and Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Calliope and Rufous Hummers, mountain finches, Dusky Flycatcher, White-headed Woodpecker, and Mountain Quail. MEET in the Aspen Glen Picnic Area parking lot in Big Bear at 7:30 a.m. DIRECTIONS: Take Hwy 18 or 38 to Big Bear Lake, then proceed about half way along the south side of the lake on Hwy 18 (Big Bear Blvd.) and turn south on Tulip Lane. The lot will be on the south side of this short street. Bring lunch for a full day, and a Forest Service Adventure Pass.
Email sign-up mandatory. Send email to: (membership@laaudubon.org.)  Provide • name(s) • email addresses, & • cell phone #s and wait for email confirmation.

Sunday, July 28

Lower LA River Shorebird Migration


Leader: Larry Allen. Shorebirds frequently stage in droves on this stretch of the river, with some exciting finds here in the past. Do you want to find out how to tell Least from Western Sandpipers? Or help Larry in his annual quest for a Semipalmated Sandpiper (yes, they turn up somewhere every year!)
DIRECTIONS: Take the 710 (Long Beach) Fwy S to the Willow Street offramp, head E over the LA River, and take the first left on Golden Ave, the first left on 26th, and follow this past the pump station onto DeForest Ave. Park near the river access by the bridge, meet along the river at 8:00 a.m., and bird until noon.

Saturday, August 17

San Gabriel Mountains / Mt. Wilson Observatory

TOUR FEE: $15/head ($12 over 62) payable at Mt. Wilson, SIGN-UP MAX: 16

Leaders: Mary and Nick Freeman. We will bird the morning away up in the conifers, buy lunch at Newcomb’s Ranch (the Biker Bar) and end up at Mount Wilson Observatory after noon, to take the 1 p.m. guided 2-hour tour around the grounds and facility, including the 100-inch telescope. The one-mile walking tour is unsuitable for individuals with respiratory and heart problems or with limited mobility. It will be hot, but not as hot as L.A! Please visit the observatory website at www.mtwilson.edu for more exciting and cautionary details before the trip. Forest Service Adventure Pass is required ($5/day or $30/yr. at sporting goods stores).
MEET at 7:00 a.m. along the frontage road for Angeles Crest Hwy just north of the 210 Fwy in La Canada. Turn N on ACH, take the second right (Milmada Dr.), and a quick left (Flanders Rd.). Meet along the first 50-yard stretch, fed and gassed up, and we will carpool from here. Plan to stay out until 3 or 4 p.m.

August 21–25

Western Field Ornithologists Annual Conference

Albuquerque, New Mexico this year!

A great way to hear about the latest in regional ornithology from the most active and knowledgeable in the field! Whether you are a beginner birder or field biologist, this event and the many field trips / workshops / lectures / quiz sessions are not to be missed. This is where birders of a feather find each other! https://www.westernfieldornithologists.org/conference.php

Saturday, August 31

Piute Ponds, Edwards AFB

NO FEE, 20 MAX SIGN UP, PERSONAL EAFB PASS REQUIRED, register with base before Aug. 15th!

Leader: Jim Moore. A good mix of shorebirds, with a chance at LeConte’s Thrasher, and Pectoral and Baird’s sandpipers. Some of the finest desert birding in LA County! Some amazing birds have been seen here over the years, including a pair of Hudsonian Godwits and a Little Stint just five years ago, and an adult (unheard of!) Sharp-tailed Sandpiper this May!!

***Talk with EAFB base biologist Misty Hailstone by phone at (661) 275-2435 between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. before Aug. 15 to register with the base***. Tell Misty your personal information (•legal name, •driver's license number and state issued, •social security number, •date of birth, •email address, and •phone number). If you must e-mail your information, send it in a password-protected document to: (misty.hailstone.1@US.AF.MIL)

After you have registered with Misty, send an email to LAAS at: (membership@laaudubon.org.) We need •names, •email address, •cell phone #, & •Zip Code.  LA Audubon will request access permission for all registered/signed-up participants a few days before the trip.  Participants will pick up passes at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 31, at the Rosamond Base entrance at the West Gate Building, NOT the nearby Visitor Control Center.

TO GET HERE: Take Hwy 14 N past Lancaster to Rosamond, and head east for 10.3 miles on Rosamond Blvd. to the West Gate Building at 1004 Rosamond Blvd, Edwards AFB. Jim will NOT be here, just pick-up your pass. Retrace your path back 8.1 miles towards Rosamond with pass in hand, and head south on the dirt road following the big power lines. This is Division St., which starts at 34°51'52.2”N, 118°07'53.1"W.  Proceed to the first dike on the left (Ave. C), and take this left (E) to the Port-a-Potty, where Jim will be waiting with open arms! If you wish to call Jim on your approach, his cell is (661) 317-1600. Lunch and finish at Apollo Park, so bring lunch, sunblock, 'scopes and lots of water. Likely hot weather and high clearance vehicles may be a plus.

Sunday, September 8

Salton Sea


Leaders: Nick and Mary Freeman. Anticipate 95-105°F, and bring plenty of water. We will see Yellow-footed (only place in the U.S.) and Laughing gulls, Black Tern, Abert's Towhee, and Gila Woodpecker. We may also see Lesser Nighthawk, Vermilion Flycatcher and Stilt Sandpiper. The up side of visiting in August, is a slight but real possibility of mind-numbing rarities like Mag. Frigatebird, Boobies, Piping Plover, Ross’ Gull, etc., etc., etc.!! Lots of driving, so come with a friend, as singles will be bumped if we fill up the trip.

Signup: by email sent to: (membership@laaudubon.org.)  Provide, •cell phone # and •your address. Mail reservation fee check for $15 to: Los Angeles Audubon Society, PO Box 411301, Los Angeles CA 90041-8301.

Where to stay: Brawley Inn - (760) 344-1199 offers a better continental breakfast, $80, and there is a decent restaurant next door.  America’s Best Value Inn in Westmorland (760) 351-7100 is $70. Ask for AAA discount. Continental breakfast.

Meet at Cattle Call Park at 5:30 a.m., and bird until about 3 p.m. Bring lunch, FRS radios, scope, sunblock, minimum 1 gallon of water each, and a big hat. Those wishing to dine with leaders Saturday, contact leaders to coordinate meeting at Christine’s in Brawley.  Other lodging suggestions and dinner contact information in confirmation emailer/flyer.

Sunday, September 22

Bolsa Chica Wetlands and Harriet Weider Park


Leader: Irwin Woldman. At Bolsa Chica, flocks of shorebirds should be heading south, mixing with post-breeding terns and Skimmers, and a chance for American Bittern and Ridgeway’s Rail. We will caravan to nearby Harriet Weider Park next, for passerines, flycatchers and such. For those wishing to picnic lunch, we will do so afterwards at the tables near the library about 1.5 miles north on PCH and one block toward the ocean. MEET at 8:00 a.m. in the Bolsa Chica parking lot on the north side of PCH, a block southeast of Warner Avenue. Bring a scope if you have one!

Sunday, September 29

California City & Galileo Hills


Leaders: Nick and Mary Freeman. Yes, birding groups are once again welcome at Galileo Hills on the weekend!! Mind-boggling birds have shown up here at all seasons, and late fall is the best time for both south-bound migrants and California rarities at these prime migrant traps. Painted Bunting, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Golden-winged, Red-faced, Mourning Warblers and many others extremely rare (individually), but all have been seen by your leaders! Western and eastern warblers and other songbirds, as well as flycatchers, should headline. Reptiles may be encountered! Nick will try to spot herps for show and tell.

Dine out (then herp?) with leaders Saturday evening if you wish at Gloria’s, 7027 CA City Blvd, 93505. Contact leaders if you plan to dine. Bird California City after Galileo Hills.

To meet, take Hwy 14 about 4 miles past Mojave, then turn right on California City Blvd. Drive through town about a mile past the shops, turn left into the golf course parking lot past the huge, fenced driving range. Meet here at 7:30 a.m. To reserve, either call or email LAAS to email: (membership@laaudubon.org.)  Provide •name(s), •cell phone #, and •email address (for confirmation). Reserve a room at Motel 6 or other in Mojave, or the Best Western in CA City (across the street from the meeting spot). Bring lunches, FRS radios, and sunblock, bird and reptile books.

 Saturday, October 5

Coastal Santa Monica Hot Spots


Leaders: Local docents and LAAS members, Read Howarth and Ella Pennington. Late passerines and shorebirds should be moving through coastal migration spots, mixed with early wintering birds. This is a window of great vagrant possibilities; there’s a Red-eyed Vireo along this stretch as we go to press, and fall is typically better! Possibly 80 species. Directions: Take PCH N over the bridge in Malibu to the stoplight, and park on PCH, or turn left into the fee lot, or turn right onto Cross Creek Road for free parking along the road adjacent to Starbucks. Cross PCH, and meet at the kiosk by the lagoon at 8 a.m. for a full day of birding. Possible stops include Malibu Creek State Park, Bonsall Drive and areas around Zuma Beach. There may be an access fee at Sycamore Canyon or elsewhere. Bring lunch, FRS radios, and a scope if you’ve got one.

Saturday, October 13

San Diego


Leaders: local hotshots Mark & Camille Stratton, and Mary & Nick Freeman. We will be sizing up migrating shorebirds and passerines, and chasing after myriad rarity reports that typically burn up the San Diego listservs this time of year. A good portion of the morning may be spent at Pt. Loma. Other possible areas include Sunset Cliffs, Mission Bay, lower San Diego Bay and Tijuana River marshland. Bring lunch for a full day of birding. Directions: Take the 5 Fwy S about three miles past Route 52 to the Clairemont Drive off-ramp and head W into the small lot adjacent to the Mission Bay Information Center. Meet E of the kiosk at 8:00 AM. (On GPS, punch in: 2688 E. Mission Bay Dr. 92109). Join the group for dinner in the area. It’s a great way to meet and greet fellow birders, and swap tall birding tales! 

Sunday, October 20

Oxnard Plain


Leaders: Nick and Mary Freeman. Meet at the Hueneme agriculture fields at 8:00 a.m. to look for Red-throated Pipit, Golden-Plovers and longspurs. Later, we’ll try to shake some late-migrating passerines - as well as a few eastern vagrants - out of nearby windbreaks. The tamarisks and eucalyptus rows on the Plain often concentrate migrants in the fall. From the 101 N, drive S on Rice Avenue, following the Rice Avenue prompts to the end, then turn Rt. on Hueneme Rd. Meet on the N (Rt) side of Hueneme Rd. a couple of blocks west of this turn, just after the first building and just before Casper Rd. On GPS, punch in: 276 Hueneme Rd. 93033.

Saturday, October 26 (tentative, may change). Please, no sign-ups until August 1.

Condors at Bitter Creek NWR


Joseph Brandt, California Condor biologist, will probably be leading this trip to view the reintroduction program of the California Condor. We should get good looks at California Condors, possibly Golden Eagles, and a number of other species, from Cerro Noroeste Rd. and possibly a hillside near the hacking pen. Joseph will give us an overview of the program, show us how radio telemetry and GPS tracking units are helping to save the bird, and talk about the future of the species in California and elsewhere. We will be west of Mt. Pinos, not too far from Maricopa. All new releases of condors into the wild SoCal population occur here, and all 43 condors in our wild local population visit this area. DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 5 north to Frazier Park exit. At the stop sign make a left and go under I-5. MEET in the parking lot of the “Flying J” gas station at 8:30 a.m. Finish at 3 or 4:00 p.m.  Bring drinks, lunch, and FRS radio and a scope if you have them.  No fee, but $10 donations accepted to the Condor Survival Fund.
RESERVE your place by email to: (membership@laaudubon.org), or phone: (323) 876-0202. Provide your • cell phone #, • e-mail address, • whether you have a high clearance vehicle that can accommodate at least 4 people total (priority) or if you plan to ride with someone else at the meet location. Call or email LAAS in August, or check Sep. – Oct. Western Tanager, for trip date confirmation.