September 2019 – Burbank Birding

Brand Park - Burbank

An unexpected business trip to Burbank was the highlight of September. Burbank is a really cool city with canyons and mountains nearby, great food and an opportunity for some year birds.

After work, my first birding trip was to Brand Park which is a nice neighborhood park. Heard the California Scrub-Jay in the trees along the entrance drive and the unmistakable squawk of parrots. Didn’t know at the time the Red-crowned Parrots are not very common in the area. One of the flowering trees was full of mostly Allen’s Hummingbirds. This was such a great place that we came back on the next trip two weeks later. This time we saw a Townsend’s Warbler high in the treetop. Other nice finds were Bewick’s Wren and Western Bluebirds.

On Saturday, a trip to the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Preserve was on the agenda. I met another birder who helped identify the western birds. A total of 41 species were seen/heard in the one and a half hours. Flying by the dam was a pair of Ross’s Goose. Lot’s of diverse habitat yielded ducks, shorebirds, passerines, and raptors. Picked up a few westerns such as the Bushtit, Lesser Goldfinch, and Nuttall’s Woodpecker. A recording of a singing bird was identified later as a ‘Least’ Bell’s Vireo.

Burbank Trip 2

The second trip was just two weeks later and we both made the trek. The first morning we were up early for a quick stop at Betty Davis Park after visiting Porto’s Bakery. This bakery has cakes where the entire top is a single rose. The park had some nice birds including a pair of Black Phobe, Acorn Woodpecker and Anna’s Hummingbird.

Mike dropped me off for work and left for a day of travel and birding. First stop Griffith park which has over 4,000 acres of oak woodlands and sage scrub. On the Toyon Trail were California Towhee, Thrasher and Scrub-Jay. The trail was on a steep ridge with great views of Los Angeles.

The next birding day Mike went northwest of Burbank to O’Melveny Park and Aliso Canyon. New birds were California Quail, Oak Titmouse, Wrentit, Cassin’s Kingbird, and Nutall’s Woodpecker.

Most of the trails in the canyons and foothills of Los Angeles County were through areas of mostly dry sage scrub and oak woods. It was obvious that the potential for fire was extremely high. It is nice that all of the parks post signs banning smoking or any type of open flame.

The Weekend

We always recommend checking the local Audubon website and found a coastal bird walk for Saturday morning. The Ventura Audubon group met at Surfer’s Knoll for a two-hour walk. Overall, we saw 41 species so it’s hard to mention just a few. The best birds for us were Red-necked Phalarope, Elegant Tern, Surfbird, and Wanderling Tattler. Take the time to walk from the wetlands to the rock jetty to pick up a diverse group of birds.

After a fantastic lunch of Angel Shark at Andria’s we made quick stops at the Ventura Settling Ponds and Malibu Creek State Park. The park has numerous trails including one to the original M*A*S*H filming site and popular swimming holes. Unfortunately, these stops were not as birdy mid-day but we added Pacific-sloped Flycatcher and Band-tailed Pigeons.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach turned out to be our favorite spot for the trip. This is where Malibu Creek meets the Pacific Ocean and has both a public beach and wetlands. With 32 species in one and a half hours, it was spectacular. Of course, the best birds for us are the ones we don’t see often: ‘Western’ Snowy Plover, Whimbrel, Red-necked Phalarope, and Heerman’s Gull. It’s always special when you see hundreds of shorebirds.

Another whirlwind trip came to a close. The new business in Burbank is a great partnership with good people. The future is bright.

Trip Birds: 84   Year Birds: 27 Life Birds: 0

Next Up: Southern California