March and April in southern California encompass a great deal of change in the avian world. Passerine migration transforms from a trickle to a flood, wintering birds are leaving on their various schedules and breeding activity is pervasive.
From the first early arriving passerines to the waves of birds encountered in April and May, spring migration is a remarkable event to witness. While the quality and quantity of birds can vary from day to day—often due to factors we’ve yet to understand—this is a fantastic time to take to the field.
Shorebirds can briefly be seen in their breeding colors. Loons and scoters are streaming northward along the coast. The weather is generally pleasant and the landscape is lush. It could well be argued that this time of year offers more for birders than any other.
As usual, given the diversity of habitats in Los Angeles County, the variety of birds present in March and April was substantial. Wintering vagrants gradually began to disappear as spring progressed, and there were a few new discoveries to keep things interesting. Typically for this time of year, reports of new vagrants were comparatively scarce.