October 23rd

On Friday, 10/23, I wanted to have a special outing to an area I’d never been before, looking for a bird I had never seen in person. I asked @kimssight for suggestions, and she made a great list of destinations in the area she is roaming.

My first stop was the El Dorado Nature Park in Long Beach. I’m happy I briefly visited this popular, well designed park that offers a variety of habitats in a compact way. It’s a bit like a zoo without cages, and especially suitable for families with children in strollers, and seniors who need a clean, even, clearly marked path to walk safely. For Covid, the park made all its trails one-way, which works well to keep people distanced. However, whenever I stopped to look for a bird, I was an obstacle in the flow as there’s no space to step off the trail to let people pass safely.
Coming from the Santa Monica Mountains, the contrast was incredible. Not only is the South Bay much greener and lusher than the late summer mountains, it is also home to so very many more people, freeways, businesses… and was really noisy to my spoiled ears. But the pockets of wilderness in between all this human development are very intriguing. El Dorado is tamed, presented wilderness, but educational, and hopefully inspiring. I took one of the loops, then walked along Spring Street to the San Gabriel “river,” a small stream of water in a concrete channel.
Highlight: a banded Green Heron, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/63429490, and a tiny, wild growing sage with striking colors, Autumn Sage, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/63429180.

Then I drove to the West San Gabriel River Parkway Nature Trail, at Monte Verde Park, in Lakewood. This is an in and out trail in a strip of green between a residential area and the river, lined with mature Sycamores, Cottonwoods, Blue Elders, Toyon, Sages and Matilija Poppies that were cut down for the winter. It was an interesting mix of “weeds” and deliberately placed plants that attract birds and pollinators, not too manicured, but also not neglected. I had a wonderful time exploring this pocket, and among the highlights was running into Kim in person, and seeing several groups of Scaly-breasted Munias for the first time, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/63350411. Fun to watch were also two Scrub-Jays mobbing a Kestrel, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/63509360. Although it was a cold, overcast day, I saw several Hover Flies, and the tiniest bee yet, but I couldn’t find the Genus Pellaea Stink Bug someone had sighted in Lakewood.

I then made two quick stops at Colorado Lagoon and Mother’s Beach, but found them deserted (or didn’t know where to look), but was also quite tired, hungry, in need of a bathroom, and called it a day, and went onto the freeway for the 75 minutes drive back.

Thanks Kim for the suggestions! I’ll be back!

Posted by andreacala andreacala, October 25, 2020 20:25

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)

Observer

andreacala

Date

October 23, 2020 12:06 PM PDT

Description

Thank you, @kimssight!

Photos / Sounds

What

Sages (Genus Salvia)

Observer

andreacala

Date

October 23, 2020 09:21 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Green Heron (Butorides virescens)

Observer

andreacala

Date

October 23, 2020 09:26 AM PDT

Description

I reported the band number to the USGS Bird Banding Lab and will update with any infos I might get.

Photos / Sounds

What

Four-speckled Hover Fly (Dioprosopa clavata)

Observer

andreacala

Date

October 23, 2020 11:29 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Tufted Globetail (Sphaerophoria contigua)

Observer

andreacala

Date

October 23, 2020 11:40 AM PDT

Description

Of all the Syrphini iNat obs in California, I think Violaceous Globetail comes closest - https://bugguide.net/node/view/1808003. Feeding on Common Sow-Thistle.

Photos / Sounds

What

Margined Calligrapher (Toxomerus marginatus)

Observer

andreacala

Date

October 23, 2020 11:48 AM PDT

Description

Feeding on one of the last few flowers of the Hairy Matilija Poppies here.

Photos / Sounds

What

Metallic Sweat Bees (Subgenus Dialictus)

Observer

andreacala

Date

October 23, 2020 11:58 AM PDT

Description

Miniature bee feeding on Tropical Spiderwort.

Photos / Sounds

What

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)

Observer

andreacala

Date

October 23, 2020 12:10 PM PDT

Description

Two California Scrub-Jays were mobbing the Kestrel...

Comments

A wonderful write-up, Beautiful pictures, and I was delighted to meet you in person!

Posted by kimssight almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Somehow I’m missing some of these posts. I think they pop up but if I don’t have time to read them at the time, I forget where they were posted. Nice write up on your day. I went to El Dorado once and had a similar experience. There seem to be a few more wetlands down south of LA proper but in between lots of freeways and people. But that is CA in general. Glad you saw the munias. They are definitely on the move up our way as I saw some listed as far north as Thousand Oaks recently.

Posted by naturephotosuze almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Thanks Susan!
I have news on the banded Green Heron. USGS wrote back: "Luckily we have only one Green Heron with the numbers 0945-5XX39 in out database..." And they sent a Certificate that states the Heron hatched and was banded in June 2016, in the Long Beach area. I added it to the observation.
And it would be great fun to have some Munias around here. Lovely birds that seemed to play well with the Sparrows at El Dorado.

Posted by andreacala almost 2 years ago (Flag)

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