Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden


On a much needed escape, I headed out to California to find several birds to add to my life list.  Anytime you bird in California, you need to give yourself time to get to and from your destinations.  One of our treks would take us to Arcadia, home to the beautiful Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.  


Indian Peacock
We arrived early so that we would avoid the nasty traffic and also find ourselves a decent parking space before the masses arrived.  However, we didn't expect to find the Pasadena Audubon group getting ready for their Saturday morning bird walk! BONUS! So we joined our guide, the very funny Julia Ray and had a great morning out. 


As expected, the gardens were worth the visit. It's also a reliable area to find several birds that can't be found anywhere else!  In fact, we found both target species within the first 10 minutes of parking our car!  So our running joke was, "Found our target birds, time to go."  But it was just a joke. When you find your target birds right away, you can enjoy all the other birds at a relaxed pace.  The way it should be. 

Downy Woodpecker working on a his nesting hole
Another part of our trek to California was really to pay attention to the subspecies.  Rumor has it that some will be broken into their own species. Take for example this brightly colored "Coastal" Western Scrub-Jay.  The bird looks slightly different from Arizona's very own "Woodhouse's" subspecies.  It even acts differently and isn't as shy!

Western Scrub Jay(the Coastal Subspecies)
The garden is home to several watering holes full of varied vegetation which attracts a lot of incredible birds. 


A common winter bird for California is the Allen's Hummingbird.  Here, he sips the nectar from one of the many flowering plants at the park. 

Allen's Hummingbird
And the plants were just beginning to bloom. 


Our first targeted bird, the Yellow-chevroned Parakeet, is a native to South America.  However, here in Los Angeles, the birds seem to be doing quite well. 

Yellow-chevroned Parakeet on a Silk Floss Tree
We had a high count around the garden.  These birds are not considered ABA countable and yet they have established themselves in the Los Angeles area. 


They were seen in great numbers around the Silk Floss trees.  We had a count of 26 birds in this location. Their numbers seem to be increasing just like our own Rosy-faced Lovebirds(in Phoenix) in these human created urban spaces.  Will it be ABA countable for those ABA listers in CA?  Only time will tell. 


So we continued further into the urban jungle searching for the Red-whiskered Bulbuls.  Our other exotic target species. 


And to be honest, it was all rather too easy:)  We found a healthy population on the garden grounds. 

Red-whiskered Bulbul
Again, we found evidence of nesting happening in the area. The birds were out calling in many different areas. They are native to southern Asia, Pakistan and Southern China. 


It's a lovely bird and one that I had never seen before.  For all of these new birds, all I had to do was listen for a different call.  With it being spring, we had no problem locating our birds. 



During courtship, the male will lower his head in a bow to the female.  The nest is built in the fork of a tree.  The adult pair may have 2-3 broods a year. Again this bird is not ABA countable in CA....yet. I think they are countable in Florida. I put the ABA part on now because I have several readers who are actually ABA listers.  My purpose in birding is to seek out new bird species(on the official list or not) and learn about them. 



And finally, we discovered an adorable nest of Bushtits.  They are cute little gray birds that often forage together in groups of 8-12 individuals. 


Bushtit
What beautiful views they have from their hanging nest!  


And for you trinket lovers out there, they have a shop with all kinds of knickknacks. They also have a coffee shop and small restaurant for a snack after your walk is done. 


Overall, we had a fabulous morning out.  I'd like to thank Julia Ray for showing us around this beautiful botanical garden. For more about the birds, click on our ebird checklist here. Until next time....















26 comments:

  1. what a beautiful place to visit and 26 birds senn was a really good count. Loved the Peacock shot. They are so beautiful.

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  2. Great post - parks like this are often birding hot spots. We have the Red-Crested B here as well, and it's not native!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. It seems like they've been introduced in several different areas. Hardy birds:)

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  3. Looks a wonderful place for some relaxed birding and a great way to see species Chris :) Great photos and I love the hanging nest of the Bushtit. Oh and a tearoom - did you have cake? :)

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    1. That's what that is!!!! NO CAKE:( We had lunch prepared at our place and ready to go. Next time.....
      A tearoom:) That's cool. It was my first time in one.

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  4. Perfect birding morning Chris.. Your green parakeets look very similar to ours. Love the Hummingbirds, so wish I could spot one here.

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    1. Ahhhh but you have all those wonderful parrots and parakeets:)

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  5. Looks like a great place to visit. The parakeet is gorgeous and I love the hummingbird.

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  6. A wonderful walk and way for me to start my day! Loved all the flowers and the birds! Your birds are so exotic to me.

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  7. Hello Chris, sounds like an awesome birding trip! Beautiful birds and wonderful photos! Have a happy day and week ahead!

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  8. Beautiful place with such lovely flowers.

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  9. Beautiful images Chris, but I do love the Western Scrub Jay, fantastic.

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  10. In all my life I've never been there. However, my wife and I are coming to Tucson the first week in June this year. Looking forwards to heat.

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    1. Hope you have a great time! During that time, it's a "dry" heat:) The mornings are still nice and so are the evenings. I'll be heading to Wisconsin for the month....to escape the heat:)

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    2. Yes, I remember that tradition there is that the Monsoon Season doesn't officially begin until July 4th weekend and that's why I chose that time. Really miss dry heat. Swedes melt at 78 degrees

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  11. Sounds like an awesome morning and experience... Sometimes, EASY is good, isn't it????? ha ... Love the Bulbul.. I've never heard of that one... Thanks for sharing info about them...

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  12. Sounds and looks like a great break! It's always good to meet up with other birders too.

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  13. Yet another great adventure. I saw some kind of Bulbuls in South Africa.

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  14. Hello Chris!:)I loved seeing all the birds from the awesome Peacock to the Bushtit in it's nest, and what a beautiful place to see all these exotic birds, especially when the spring flowers are begining to bloom. The Red-whiskered Bulbul is a lovely bird indeed, and the little Bushtit is adorable.
    Have a great rest of the week Chris, and thanks for sharing.:)

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  15. I like that hummingbird and red-whiskered Bulbul! Great series of birds!

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  16. That bulbul is a stunner. What a fun visit you had. But, you are always out having great birding adventures. i'm painting a peacock right now. And having a terrible time capturing its beauty. Photography is so much easier!

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  17. Great birding spot ... No idea this place was even there... I love your birding quest and remain in awe. The bulbuls are beautiful birds ... Well, they all are. I'm wondering which sub species of scrub Jay we have in Oregon, they are very common.

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  18. What a beautiful garden! Sounds like a wonderful day. :o)

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  19. A beautiful place and fabulous pictures of the birds!

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Thanks for stopping by!