Los Angeles mini-trip

Sunrise 6:45 sunset 4:45 Arrive LAX 12:50pm probably on the road 2pm, so that's only 2:45 before dusk. Current hours at Bolsa Chica are 7am-7pm but this seems optimistic. Realistically we should stay locally e.g. Motel6 near Newport Beach and do Bolsa Chica both late Sat and early Sun. Then hit Bolsa Chica, Playa del Rey, (Madrona) and work north up through Malibu lagoon, Ventura Harbor, San Luis Obispo, (Soda Lake) on Sunday and staying local to SLO or along 101 on Sunday night if we want to stage for Condor. LAX-SLO is 3:30. SLO-Monterey is 2:15. Monday morning could see Monterey harbor, Pt Pinos, Big Sur and a return along the coast road into Malibu, LA and Madrona in late PM before milling around before the flight. Note that Big Sur to LAX is something like 6.5 hours so this is a big commitment and essentially eliminates other LA-area locations for the entire day and puts a big tiring pre-trip. Note that SFO-Big Sur is more like 2.5 hours so while not trivial a condor search is much more practical from a Monterey pelagic.

The main question is, then, how to we best work the extra morning near LA. Malibu lagoon and a more comprehensive coverage of LA-area hotspots with Sunday being the main forage day ranging up as far as Soda Lake and SLO ? Unless we desperately want Yellow-billed Magpie this makes little sense. Instead the 2.2 days in LAX could mop up most of the interesting species. Ridgway's Rail is possible, perhaps even likely, but other life birds would have to be lucky/speculative since it's still only early Dec.

Hotspot explorer, December last 10 years for CA.
Central and East LA: Whittier Narrows; Frank G. Bonelli Park; Yorba Regional Park; South-Central and South LA: Palos Verdes peninsula; Cabrillo Beach Park; Ken Malloy Harbor Park; Bolsa Chica; Huntington Beach Central Park; Newport Bay Preserve; San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary LAX-ish and coast road: Ballona Creek and Playa del Rey; Malibu Lagoon; Pt Dume (Malibu).
LA North: Sepulveda Basin on north edge of Santa Monica mountains
North: Ventura Settling Ponds and Ventura Harbor; Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve; Deverough Slough and Lake Los Carneros (Santa Barbara)
North: Carrizo Plain has very little in terms of winter birding activity

The return trip is a single day with an 11:50am arrival, so assume at least 2 hours to get on the road including clearing immigration. This is very much the same sort of schedule, but only 1.5 days, with not much time on the first day to do anything, and an evening departure for a red-eye to JFK and here it may pay to pack it in early and do an afternoon's sleep in a cheap hotel before returning the car to LAX. Ridgeway's Rail and Thayer's Gull would be the targets, if they are left over from 2 weeks previous.

Los Angeles Targets in descending target rank

Bold=life bird, underlined=Lower 48 bird

Thayer's Gull YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
California Condor eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Rock Sandpiper YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Ridgway's Rail YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Red-throated Pipit YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Ancient Murrelet YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Wandering Tattler YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
California Gnatcatcher YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Surfbird YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Elegant Tern YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Allen's Hummingbird YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Black-vented Shearwater YBLB: US_CA (recent) Point Vicente (Palos Verde);
eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Bell's Sparrow YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Pacific Golden-Plover YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Pacific Loon YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Red-necked Phalarope YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5
Black Oystercatcher YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5 local; especially Playa del Rey
Common Murre YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5 SF-centric
Yellow-billed Magpie YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5 San Luis Obispo foothills
White-headed Woodpecker YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5 ?San Gabriels?
Nanday Parakeet YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5 sparse; Topanga SP/Los Liones Tr
Scaly-breasted Munia YBLB: US_CA (recent) eBird Nov/Dec14 eBird Nov/Dec+5 common-abundant; Madrona Marsh (+), Huntington Cent.Park

Location Sightings

Bolsa Chica nearby: YBLB - includes Huntington Central Park [Ridgway's Rail]
"The best places in Big Sur to see California condors are near the flagpole at the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park entrance and riding thermal updrafts along the cliffs between there and the town of Big Sur"

Australian Resources

Australian Targets

VIC, Australian Hotspots this year, all months and all years, December.

Commonest Oz Birds Based on Bubo, In Frequency Order

(NZ) means seen on my NZ list. Maps are from eBird. "Widespread" means widespread in VIC, at least the central N-S "core" portion centering on Melbourne.
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Little Pied Cormorant Microcarbo melanoleucos Widespread; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Australian (White) Ibis Threskiornis molucca Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Silver Gull Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae Widespread; split from NZ:Red-billed Gull
Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa Widespread; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae Widespread; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus Melbourne area Nov/Dec VIC
Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Black Swan Cygnus atratus Melbourne local; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Galah Eolophus roseicapillus Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Australian Magpie Cracticus tibicen Common-widespread; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae Limited MEL/Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris MEL/Bendigo/Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis MEL/Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Hardhead/White-eyed Duck Aythya australis Limited MEL/Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles Widespread-MEL; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita Widespread; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Australian Wood Duck / Maned Duck Chenonetta jubata Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax varius Limited-MEL; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae Limited-MEL/Bendigo/Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Nankeen/Australian Kestrel Falco cenchroides Limited Nov/Dec VIC
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio MEL-Bendigo-Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Coracina novaehollandiae Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax MEL-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Grey Fantail Rhipidura albiscapa Common MEL-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Magpie-lark Grallina cyanoleuca Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Eastern Great Egret Ardea modesta Limited MEL-Bendigo-Karang; split from Ardea alba? Nov/Dec VIC
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis Limited MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Little Egret Egretta garzetta MEL; (USA) Nov/Dec VIC
Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia Limited MEL-Karang Nov/Dec VIC
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster Limited MEL-Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa Limited MEL-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Great Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii Coastal-MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra Widespread; (GB) Nov/Dec VIC
Cattle Egret Ardea ibis Very limited MEL/Bendigo; (USA) Nov/Dec VIC
Australian/Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris Uncommon-Widespread; (USA) Nov/Dec VIC
Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus MEL-Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Pied/Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus/leucocephalus MEL-Karang; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Australian Raven Corvus coronoides Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis Widespread MEL-Bendigo; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
House Sparrow Passer domesticus (USA/GB)
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo MEL, some interior Nov/Dec VIC
Australian Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris MEL, coastal Nov/Dec VIC
Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia Very limited, MEL/n.VIC Nov/Dec VIC
Little Corella Cacatua sanguinea Limited MEL/cen.VIC Nov/Dec VIC
Pied Butcherbird Cracticus nigrogularis n.VIC only Nov/Dec VIC
Chestnut Teal Anas castanea Common at MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Pacific/White-necked Heron Ardea pacifica MEL-Karang-Chilterns Nov/Dec VIC
White-browed Scrubwren Sericornis frontalis MEL/burbs Nov/Dec VIC
Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata Widespread MEL-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus northern VIC Nov/Dec VIC
Grey Shrike-thrush Colluricincla harmonica Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Australasian Figbird Sphecotheres vieilloti Extremely limited e.VIC Nov/Dec VIC
Tree Martin Petrochelidon nigricans Uncommon widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Common Myna Sturnus tristis MEL-Chilterns Nov/Dec VIC
Magpie Goose Anseranas semipalmata Limited MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Grey Teal Anas gracilis Widespread MEL-Bendigo-Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata Limited Benigo-~MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Rufous/Nankeen Night-Heron Nycticorax caledonicus Limited MEL-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Brown Falcon Falco berigora MEL-Karang Nov/Dec VIC
New Holland Honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae Common MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus e.MEL-Bendigo local Nov/Dec VIC
Eastern Osprey Pandion cristatus Very limited Coastal MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Black-fronted Dotterel Elseyornis melanops MEL-Bendigo-Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Pied Currawong Strepera graculina Coast Road/e.MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis Coastal/e.MEL/Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae V.Limited Patchy Nov/Dec VIC
Australasian Gannet Morus serrator MEL-Coastal; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus Limited MEL-Karang, coastal Nov/Dec VIC
Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans Widespread MEL/Coastal/Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Lewin's Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii e.MEL mountains Nov/Dec VIC
Rufous Whistler Pachycephala rufiventris Widespread MEL-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus Widespread; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris Limited MEL/e.MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Blue-faced Honeyeater Entomyzon cyanotis Limited n/ne VIC Nov/Dec VIC
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris Widespread; (GB/USA)
Black Kite Milvus migrans Limited MEL/Karang (FR) Nov/Dec VIC
Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis Very Limited Coastal MEL Nov/Dec VIC
White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorhynchus Limited Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Fairy Martin Petrochelidon ariel Limited MEL-Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Swamp Harrier Circus approximans Coastal MEL-Karang; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Australian King-Parrot Alisterus scapularis Limited coast road/e.MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops Common MEL-local Nov/Dec VIC
Hoary-headed Grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus MEL-Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia MEL-coastal Nov/Dec VIC
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus MEL-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Eastern Rosella Platycercus eximius Widespread; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Red-browed Finch/Firetail Neochmia temporalis MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Australasian Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae Widespread; (NZ) Nov/Dec VIC
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus Local MEL-Bendigo (GB) Nov/Dec VIC
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica MEL-Cowes coastal; (USA) Nov/Dec VIC
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis MEL coastal (USA) Nov/Dec VIC
Little Friarbird Philemon citreogularis Local n.ne Nov/Dec VIC
Eastern Whipbird Psophodes olivaceus MEL e.forests Nov/Dec VIC
Rock Dove Columba livia (USA)
Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis Limited MEL-coastal Nov/Dec VIC
Azure Kingfisher Ceyx azureus Very Limited; MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Yellow-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza chrysorrhoa Widespread Nov/Dec VIC
Brown Thornbill Acanthiza pusilla MEL-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Common Bronzewing Phaps chalcoptera MEL-Geelong-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Yellow-billed Spoonbill Platalea flavipes MEL-Kerang Nov/Dec VIC
White-throated Treecreeper Cormobates leucophaea e.MEL-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Olive-backed Oriole Oriolus sagittatus ne.MEL-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundinaceum ne.MEL-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus Limited MEL-Karang; (USA) Nov/Dec VIC
Sooty Oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus Limited coastal Nov/Dec VIC
Variegated Fairy-wren Malurus lamberti Limited Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Little Wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera Limited coastal se.MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Plumed Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna eytoni Very limited Kerang Nov/Dec VIC
Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus Limited MEL-Bendigo Nov/Dec VIC
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Very limited coastal (USA) Nov/Dec VIC
Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis MEL/e.MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Noisy Friarbird Philemon corniculatus Limited Echuca/ne.VIC Nov/Dec VIC
Australian Shelduck Tadorna tadornoides MEL-Karang Nov/Dec VIC
Australian Hobby Falco longipennis Limited MEL Nov/Dec VIC
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus Limited MEL-coastal; (USA) Nov/Dec VIC
Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes Very limited MEL-coastal Nov/Dec VIC

Australian Life/Trip List

Species Scientific Where