Brown Pelicans at Ventura Harbor


Santa Cruz Island & San Gabriel Mts.
Oct 23-24, 2003, hot & sunny
- narrated by Henry Detwiler

The continuation of Geoff and Kitty Buell's trip through southern California, with a boat trip to Santa Cruz Island, and a drive up Hwy 2 in the San Gabriel Mts.  
species total (over 6 days)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Black Oystercatchers


Before we left on our cruise to the island, we checked out the coastline close to the harbor.  We were happy to see a small flock of five Black Oystercatchers and a solitary Whimbrel.  Out in the harbor, a Pelagic Cormorant flew by, while Double-crested Cormorants and Brown Pelicans sat sentry-like on the breakwater.  Before long it was time to catch our 9:00am boat to Santa Cruz Island, in the Channel Islands National Park.

On the trip over we spotted a Rhinoceros Auklet and a Black-vented Shearwater; on the trip home we added two Fulmars, a Pink-footed Shearwater, and a Red Phalarope.  We also had great looks at dozens of Common Dolphins.


Kitty & Geoff Buell

Santa Cruz Island from Scorpion Harbor
The shoreline of Santa Cruz Island is mostly cliffs, and were spotted with cormorant and pelican nests.  Harbor Seals used the rocks at the base of cliffs to haul out and sun themselves. 

We landed at Prisoner's Harbor, where the Island Scrub Jays came out to meet us.  This fresh-water stream provided great habitat for Yellow-rumped, Orange-crowned, and Wilson's Warblers.  

Santa Cruz Island 



Allen's Hummingbird on Santa Cruz I.

Also in the streamside, Jeff found this blooming tree full of Allen's Hummingbirds.  We got the first of two Red-breasted Sapsuckers here.  The island also provided good lucks of: Golden-crowned Sparrow, 

That evening we drove back to LA, enduring another long commute on the 101.  On Friday morning we headed out to Temple City, where we witnessed the awesome spectacle of hundreds of screeching Red-crowned Parrots careening about the neighborhood.  At the same time we watched the sun rise through a huge cloud of smoke to the east, caused by one of the San Bernardino wildfires.

Red-crowned Parrot

Band-tailed Pigeons in the San Gabriels

We had no luck with Spotted Doves, but started seeing Band-tailed Pigeons even before we left the city.  Up in the San Gabriel Mountains we saw many more.

Acorn Woodpeckers have to be  the most visible & numerous member of the Picidae family in California.  At Jackson Lake, northeast of San Bernardino, we were very happy to see over a dozen Acorns, a Northern Flicker, five Lewis's Woodpeckers, two Red-necked Sapsuckers, and one Red-breasted Sapsucker. 

Acorn Woodpecker at Jackson Lake 

Lewis's Woodpecker 

Red-naped Sapsucker at Jackson Lake

From here we headed back to Palm Springs and said our goodbyes.  It had been a fantastic trip!

Santa Cruz Island, Temple City, & San Gabriel Mts., 23-24 Oct 2003
# Species
1 Northern Fulmar
2 Pink-footed Shearwater
3 Black-vented Shearwater
4 Brown Pelican
5 Brandt's Cormorant
6 Double-crested Cormorant
7 Pelagic Cormorant
8 Great Blue Heron
9 Great Egret
10 Mallard
11 Ring-necked Duck
12 Surf Scoter
13 Osprey
14 Sharp-shinned Hawk
15 Red-tailed Hawk
16 American Kestrel
17 California Quail
18 American Coot
19 Black-bellied Plover
20 Killdeer
21 Black Oystercatcher
22 Willet
23 Whimbrel
24 Surfbird
25 Red Phalarope
26 Heerman's Gull
27 Ring-billed Gull
28 California Gull
29 Western Gull
30 Elegant Tern
31 Forster's Tern
32 Rhinoceros Auklet
33 Rock Pigeon
34 Band-tailed Pigeon
35 Mourning Dove
36 Red-crowned Parrot
37 Anna's Hummingbird
38 Allen's Hummingbird
39 Belted Kingfisher
40 Lewis' Woodpecker
41 Acorn Woodpecker
42 Red-naped Sapsucker
43 Red-breasted Sapsucker
44 Nuttal's Woodpecker

# Species
45 Northern Flicker
46 Black Phoebe
47 Say's Phoebe
48 Stellar's Jay
49 Western Scrub Jay
50 Island Scrub Jay
51 American Crow
52 Common Raven
53 Barn Swallow
54 Mountain Chickadee
55 Oak Titmouse
56 Verdin
57 White-breasted Nuthatch
58 Pygmy Nuthatch
59 Brown Creeper
60 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
61 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
62 Western Bluebird
63 Townsend's Solitaire
64 Hermit Thrush
65 American Robin
66 Northern Mockingbird
67 European Starling
68 Wilson's Warbler
69 Common Yellowthroat
70 Orange-crowned Warbler
71 Townsend's Warbler
72 Yellow-rumped Warbler
73 Spotted Towhee
74 California Towhee
75 Chipping Sparrow
76 Sage Sparrow
77 Song Sparrow
78 Lincoln's Sparrow
79 White-crowned Sparrow
80 Golden-crowned Sparrow
81 Dark-eyed Junco
82 Red-winged Blackbird
83 Brewer's Blackbird
84 Great-tailed Grackle
85 Brown-headed Cowbird
86 Cassin's Finch
87 House Finch
88 Lesser Goldfinch
89 House Sparrow

Photos Henry D. Detwiler