San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County, CA

Previous Surveys

2009 - 2011

November 8, 2009 (north slope site map)




May 20, 2017 Charlton Flats and Chilao Visitor Center

May 11, 2017 Chilao Visitor Center and Buckhorn

June 4, 2016 Chilao Visitor Center

May 2, 2015 Chilao Visitor Center

May 29, 2014  North Slope: Bob's Gap and St. Andrew's Priory

May 10, 2014  Charlton Flats and Chilao Visitor Center

May 1, 2014  Charlton Flats and Chilao Visitor Center

March 2, 2013  Pearblossom Park and St. Andrews Priory



May 20, 2017  Charlton Flats and Chilao Visitor Center (29 Species)



Weather:  Fair; 53F to 65F; wind WNW 0 - 2 mph.

Time:  0805 - 1230 hrs.

Observers: UCLA Extension Spring Birds of Southern California: 4 students and I.

Areas Covered: 1) Charlton Flats (CF, 0805-0930 hrs.): We drove from the CF entrance on CA-2, down to the lower parking area. We walked along the paved parking driveway and adjacent riparian section, to a hillside with the charred remains of conifers from a wildfire in the area in 2009. Relatively high precipitation this year produced abundant re-growth of conifers and riparian (mostly willow) vegetation along a small stream bed. The area had a fairly high diversity and abundance of birds characteristic of the chaparral - montane coniferous forest transition zone (elevation about 5,180 ft.).   2) Chilao Visitor Center (CVC, 0945- 1230 hrs.). We walked the trails around the CVC, including the bird feeder area and the streamside trail. Additional bird species found here included, Mountain Quail, Band-tailed Pigeon, Anna's Hummingbird, California Scrub-Jay, Hermit Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak, Brown-headed Cowbird, Purple Finch and Lawrence's Goldfinch. Both areas, CF and CVC were relatively quiet and undisturbed by human activities, except for occasional noise from speeding motorcycles. Other wildlife observed included Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis), Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), California Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi) and Merriam's Chipmunk (Tamias merriami). Large swarms of ladybird beetles (Coccinellidae: Vibidia sp.) occurred in the riparian area of CVC as the air temperature warmed by late morning.






Mountain Quail  1-2  vocal; seen briefly by others in the class, crossing hillside trail in chaparral next to bird feeder area, CVC.

Band-tailed Pigeon  8   in pines and at feeders around the visitors center; often in pairs and/ or small flocks, CVC.

Mourning Dove  1  flushed to hillside shrubs from streamside trail, CVC.

Anna's Hummingbird  1 (m) perched atop a tall shrub, hillside chaparral, CVC.

Acorn Woodpecker  12  (m,f) one adult in nest hole near top of broken pine trunk; vocal, gregarious, often in and around pines, CF, CVC.

Hairy Woodpecker  2  (m,f)  vocal; foraging at mid-level in burned pines; individuals on separate limbs, and/or trees but remaining in contact and flying off together (photo).


                     Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) female    Charlton Flats, ANF, LACO CA  20 May 2017


                                                                                                                © 2017 Callyn Yorke





White-headed Woodpecker  2  (m,f) vocal;  active in pines and cedars, low to medium heights; vertical and horizontal limbs, CF, CVC.

Northern Red-shafted Flicker  2  vocal, CF;  1  CVC.

Western Wood Pewee   2  vocal sallying from mid-level of pines and crown of tall shrubs at edge of chaparral-coniferous forest hillside, CF; CVC.

Stellar's Jay  2  vocal; two carrying nest material (something resembling a clumb of moss); vocal; pair staying together, CF; 2 vocal; in bird feeder area, CVC.

California Scrub-Jay  4  in and around bird feeder area, CVC.

Common Raven  1 vocal, flying over, CF;  1 flying over, CVC.

Mountain Chickadee  2  vocal; active in pines and cedars; one foraging low in willows along stream bed, CF;  2   a vocal pair together on the ground beneath pines, CVC.

Oak Titmouse  2  vocal; active in pines and willows, CF;  2 vocal in pines adjacent to riparian area, CVC.

White-breasted Nuthatch  2 vocal;  a pair following each other through lower to mid-level limbs of pines, CF;  2 vocal, CVC.

Bewick's Wren  1  vocal (unseen) hillside chaparral near singing HOWR, CF; 1  repeated song from hillside chaparral, CVC.

House Wren  3  vocal;  at least three individuals about 50 yards apart, singing alternately in chaparral -riparian; and burned area, CF;  1 vocal, 2.

Wrentit  1  repeated song (unseen), hillside chaparral, CF;  1  vocal (unseen) CVC.

Western Bluebird  2  (m,f) lower limbs of pines and on pavement, CF;  2  calls;  around visitors center, CVC.

Phainopepla  1 perched in tall pines in burned area; flying between pines and cedars; initially seen by others in the class, CF.

Hermit Warbler  1 (m) foraging quickly in middle to upper level of pines at edge of riparian; moved into willows along stream, CVC.

Spotted Towhee  2  vocal; one in stream side willows, CF; 2  vocal in hillside chaparral and riparian edge, CVC.

Golden-crowned Sparrow   1  repeated song (unseen); hillside chaparral-conifer forest, CF;  vocal  (unseen) hillside chaparral, CVC.

Dark-eyed Junco  4  vocal; pairs interacting in pines and on ground, CF (photo);  2  vocal; active in bird feeder area and parking lot, CVC.



Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis thurberi)  Charlton Flats ANF  LACO CA  20 May 2017 

                                                                                             © 2017 Callyn Yorke




Black-headed Grosbeak 1 repeated song (unseen) riparian area, CVC.

Brown-headed Cowbird  4  (m,f) vocal, gregarious; in pines around visitor center, CVC.

Purple Finch  2  vocal (unseen) pines at edge of riparian area, CVC.

House Finch  vocal (unseen) around feeder area, CVC.

Lawrence's Goldfinch  2  (m,f) vocal; pair staying close in middle level of pines at edge of riparian area, CVC.


















May 11, 2017  Chilao Visitors Center and Buckhorn Area (33 Species)



Weather: Fair; 58F to 62F; wind WNW 1- 2 mph.

Time: 0824- 1049 hrs.

Areas Covered:  1) Chilao Visitor's Center (CVC): I walked around the visitor center (closed weekdays), surveying birds in hillside chaparral (Manzanita., Ceanothus spp), lower montane coniferous forest (Pine, Cedar) and riparian (Willow, Alder, Mulefat) habitats converging in a transitional ecotonal zone at about 5,200 ft. in elevation. The main stream had significant water flow; riparian growth around it was lush. There were no other people present in the area during my survey (0824-0953 hrs.).  2) Buckhorn Day Use Area (BA): From the small parking space next to picinic tables on the upper plateau, I walked down to the lower parking area (road closed due to a rock slide- frequent along CA-2 between Chilao and Wrightwood). I surveyed birds in transitional chaparral -montane coniferous forest, at 6,300 ft. in elevation, similar but drier than that found at CVC. Birdlife appeared relatively scarce in this area. I then drove east on CA-2 a short distance to the entrance gate to Buckhorn Campground (a sign on the gate indicated it was CLOSED FOR THE SEASON). There was no parking available in this area, except short roadside pull-outs. Further down the road, there was a short driveway to another closed gate with a few cars parked in front, effectively eliminating any safe parking for the entire Buckhorn Campground area. I sat in my vehicle on the opposite side of the highway and listened for bird vocalizations, which were numerous and mostly identifiable to species. Aside from Dusky Flycatcher, no additional bird species were found  in the Buckhorn area (1007- 1049 hrs.).





Band-tailed Pigeon  6 at feeder (empty) and flying around CVC.

Mourning Dove  calls (unseen) CVC.

Accipiter sp.  vocal (unseen) CVC.

Acorn Woodpecker  3  (m,f) vocal; active in conifers, CVC.

Nuttall's Woodpecker   1 vocal (unseen) riparian area, CVC.

Hairy Woodpecker  1   vocal (unseen) conifers next to riparian area, CVC.

White-headed Woodpecker  3  vocal; foraging on horizontal limbs of conifers, CVC.

Northern Flicker  vocal (unseen) CVC.

Olive-sided Flycatcher  vocal (unseen) CVC, BA.

Western Wood Pewee  1 vocal;   sallying to ground and shrubs from low (15 ft. agl) branch on pines, CVC.

Dusky Flycatcher  1 silent;   flying between lower branches of pines, BA (photo).


Dusky Flycatcher (Empidonax oberholseri) Buckhorn day use area, LACO CA  11 May 2017

                                                                                                                             © 2017 Callyn Yorke





Black Phoebe 1  active at edge of riparian patch, CVC.

Stellar's Jay  1  on ground at edge of parking lot, CVC.

California Scrub-Jay   2  vocal;  flew down to feeder area, CVC.

Common Raven  2   one on edge of highway; another circling high above the mts., BA.

Mountain Chickadee   3  vocal; active in pines, CVC.

Oak Titmouse   2  vocal; edge of riparian-conifer area, CVC.

White-breasted Nuthatch   1 vocal (unseen) CVC.

Pygmy Nuthatch  2  vocal; active in canopy of conifers, CVC.

Bewick's Wren  vocal (unseen) hillside chaparral, CVC.

Wrentit   2  repeated song; moving through brush pile on trailside, down to riparian patch, CVC.

Western Bluebird  2  vocal; active beneath pines at edge of riparian patch, CVC.

American Robin   2  vocal;  active in shady riparian patch, CVC.

Catharus sp. 1 seen briefly flying low across the highway, CVC.

Orange-crowned Warbler  1  foraging on serviceberry bush at edge of riparian patch, CVC.

Black-throated Gray Warbler  1 (f) active in all levels of pines, CVC.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler 1 (f) foraging beneath pines in parking area, BA.

Spotted Towhee   4  vocal, active in and around riparian patch, CVC.

Chipping Sparrow  1  vocal (unseen) hillside chaparral, CVC.

Dark-eyed Junco   1  vocal (unseen) conifer-riparian edge, CVC.

Black-headed Grosbeak  1  vocal (unseen) riparian-conifer edge, CVC.

Purple Finch   6  (m,f) vocal; foraging on fruiting shrubs, CVC.

Brown-headed Cowbird 2  vocal  around feeder, CVC.
















June 4, 2016  Chilao Visitor Center (30 Species)



UCLA Extension Birds of Southern California, Chilao Visitor Center, San Gabriel Mts. Los Angeles County CA  4 June 2016


                                                                                                                                                   © 2016 Yvonne Burch-Hartley



Weather: Fair; 50F to 75F; wind WNW 0-2 mph.

Time: 0723 - 1134 hrs.

Observers: UCLA Extension Birds of Southern California class (9 students) and I.

Area Covered: We walked slowly around the visitor center, stopping frequently for prolonged observations of birds. Habitats surveyed included mature (unburned) oak-coniferous forest, riparian (including stationary surface water in the creek) and upland chaparral. Flowering native herbs and shrubs (e.g Penstemon spp.) were abundant (see my previous survey notes of May 2, 2015, for additional habitat description). Our survey included about 30-minutes of observation time at the feeders (two raised platforms for seeds; one hummingbird feeder). About 15 acres were visually and aurally surveyed. Regional draught conditions continue; surface water was limited to the upper creek bed, which was dry in the lower (south) section near the entry road.





Band-tailed Pigeon  12  (ad. and one imm.) gregarious, usually silent; mostly observed in small flocks on and near feeders, where they occasionally appeared to be establishing a pecking order (photo).


Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata) Chilao Visitor Center, San Gabriel Mts. Los Angeles County CA  4 June 2016


                                                                                                                             © 2016 Callyn Yorke



Mourning Dove  1 on ground in dry creek bed.

Anna's Hummingbird    3  (m,f) hovering over flowering shrubs and around lower limbs of conifers.

Allen's Hummingbird   1 (m)  hovering and perched around low conifer limbs and understory shrubs.

Acorn Woodpecker  4  (m,f)  vocal, gregarious; pairs and singles atop live and dead limbs of conifers.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1 (f) vocal; about 20 ft. agl in mature Jeffrey Pine.

White-headed Woodpecker  2 (m) staying close and moving together on lower and middle-height limbs of mature pines (photo).




White-headed Woodpecker (Picoides albolarvatus) Chilao Visitor Center, San Gabriel Mts. LACO CA  4 June 2016


                                                                                                                          © 2016 Callyn Yorke



Northern Flicker  1  vocal; foraging on and near the ground beneath pines.

Western Wood Pewee  1  repeatedly vocal; sallying to ground and shrubs from low limb of oaks and pines.

Steller's Jay  6   vocal, gregarious; on and around feeders; active at all levels in forest.

Western Scrub-Jay   3  vocal, solitary and gregarious on and nearby feeders.

Clark's Nutcracker  1  vocal; seen around 0740 hrs. flying southwest over the visitor center at about 200 ft agl (CY).

Common Raven   4  vocal; pairs active in and around canopies of conifers.

Violet-green Swallow  3  flying together and separately, back and forth below and slightly above the forest canopy; possibly using a nest box attached to a mature pine.

Mountain Chickadee  4  repeatedly vocal at middle to upper height levels of mature pines. Not observed at the feeders.

Oak Titmouse  1  repeated song (unseen) edge of forest and chaparral.

White-breasted Nuthatch  3  vocal, gregarious; foraging on main trunk and limbs of a Black Oak.

Bewick's Wren  1  repeated song; edge of riparian area.

Western Bluebird  2 (m,f)  active in lower levels of open forest and on the ground.

American Robin  1 edge of riparian area.

Black-throated Gray Warbler  2 (m,f) foraging on high limbs among needle clusters of mature pines.

Hermit Warbler  1 (m) seen briefly in upper level of pines.

Green-tailed Towhee ?  1  repeated song (unseen) from edge of chaparral and coniferous forest.

Spotted Towhee  2  repeated song from well concealed perch in riparian patch.

Chipping Sparrow 1-2 vocal;  observed and photographed by YB-H.

Golden-crowned Sparrow  1-2  repeated song (unseen); edge of forest and riparian patch.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  2 vocal in lower limbs of mature pines.

Brown-headed Cowbird  1 (m) at feeder.

Purple Finch  2  (m, f - imm? )  repeated song; an adult male feeding a female-type at lower-middle level of a mature pine (photo).


Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) male(left), female-immature? (r) Chilao Visitor Center, San Gabriel Mts. LACO CA  4 June 2016


                                                                                                                                       © 2016 Callyn Yorke



House Finch  2 foraging on shrubs at edge of chaparral-forest.





















May 2, 2015  Chilao Visitor Center (26 Species)



Weather: Fair;  47F to 65F; wind WNW 0-2 mph.

Time: 0736 - 1210 hrs.

Observers: UCLA Extension Birds of Southern California class (15 students) and I.

Area Covered:  We walked around the immediate vicinity of the Chilao Visitor's Center, observing the bird feeder stations, a narrow  riparian strip (no running water; a few isolated pools), small meadow, unburned coniferous forest (e.g. Jeffrey Pine, Coulter Pine, Red Cedar) and adjacent chaparral (e.g. Manzanita, Ceanothus, Penstemon). Elevation about 5,240 ft. After class a few of us toured the visitor's center and learned about the local history and geology from one of the rangers. Birdlife appeared relatively sparse around the center, except for the upper bird feeding station, where we spent most of the class time. Earlier, one of the rangers told me that the prolonged drought combined with a major wildfire in the adjacent areas (2009) probably accounts for the apparent changes in bird populations, such as. the relative abundance of lowland species, Western Scrub-jay and Brown-headed Cowbird, and relative scarcity of montane resident species, e.g. Pygmy Nuthatch and Brown Creeper.




Band-tailed Pigeon  8  at the upper feeder in pairs and trios.

Anna's Hummingbird  2  (m,f) hovering and perched in and around conifers.

Allen's Hummingbird  1 (f)  hovering around flowering chaparral shrubs.

Acorn Woodpecker   5   at the feeders; in the crowns of tall Jeffrey pines.

White-headed Woodpecker  2  vocal; flying between Jeffrey pines around the parking lot (0730-0745 hrs.).

Northern Flicker  calls (unseen)  near entrance road.

Ash-throated Flycatcher   1   in small conifer near the feeders.

Steller's Jay   4  vocal, gregarious;  at the feeders in pairs and singles; aggressive toward Western Scrub-Jays.

Western Scrub-Jay    6   at the feeders in pairs and singles; avoiding contact with STJA.

Common Raven   2    one perched in tall conifer; subsequently soaring high (500 ft. agl) above hillside chapparal.

Mountain Chickadee   4  vocal; single birds foraging at all levels in conifers.

Oak Titmouse   repeated song (unseen) near entrance road and parking lot.

White-breasted Nuthatch  1  vocal; moving up the trunk and on outer branches of a mature Jeffrey pine ( 0745 hrs.).

Bewick's Wren  2   repeated song from chaparral edge.

Western Bluebird  2   repeated calls; edge of forest, meadow and chaparral.

American Robin  4   (m,f) a male singing from a high perch in a Jeffrey pine; a female on the ground in a boggy riparian area.

Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warbler  1 (f) foraging among clusters of needles in a Jeffrey pine with a nearby HEWA.

Hermit Warbler  3  (m,f) foraging in the outer clusters of needles at and near the crowns of mature Jeffrey pines.

Spotted Towhee  2  vocal; on ground around upper feeder station; repeated song from chaparral hillside.

Chipping Sparrow   1  repeated song (unseen) edge of forest- riparian.

Golden-crowned Sparrow  1 repeated song (unseen) edge of forest meadow.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  3 vocal;   (m,f) on ground around upper feeder station; one in adjacent Jeffrey pine.

Brown-headed Cowbird  7 (m,f)     5  males displaying together (i.e. lek) in a leafless oak next to the visitor's center entrance; female not seen in immediate vicnity of the lek; one female and several males on ground beneath feeders; drinking from water dish.

Purple Finch  2  (m,f) repeated song from tall Jeffrey pines; pair flying together.

House Finch  1  (f)  calls; at and around feeder.










May 29, 2014: North Slope: Bob's Gap and St. Andrew's Priory (38 Species)

Weather: Fair; 65F to 75F; wind WSW 2 mph.

Time: 0713- 1024 hrs.

Areas Covered: 1) HWY 138 east to Largo Vista Rd, then north to one brief roadside stop at 4,880 ft. Big Pines HWY. Lower montane Pinyon Pine -Chaparral slopes (BPH).  2) Bob's Gap Road at bridge intersection (about 100 ft. south of an abandoned masonry kiln), on northwest side of canyon pass; I drove on a washed out (4WD only) road south along the base of a fault zone bluff, to the first left turn, located about .5 mi. from the intersection of Bob's Gap Road. I walked the dirt road and adjacent drainage paralleling Bob's Gap Road past the old kiln and through a narrow canyon pass (0748-0925 hrs.). Continuing southwest on Bob's Gap Road, I stopped twice on the shoulder of the road to listen for bird vocalizations (BG).   3) St. Andrew's Priory (SP): I walked around most of the facility, surveying birds in gardens, well-watered lawns, riparian patches (mature cottonwood, willow, alder, maple), ruderal fields, Joshua Tree - California Juniper chaparral and a small artificial stream and pond. Except for two lawnmowers operating on around the east side parking lot, the area was quiet and conditions good for identifying bird vocalizations (0935-1024 hrs.).

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, a possible Ladder-backed x Nuttall's Woodpecker.



Mallard  6 (domestic and wild-type) edge of pond, SP.

California Quail   4 BG;  2 SP.

Red-tailed Hawk  2   one flying;  one on utility pole next to alfalfa ranch, BG.

Red Shouldered Hawk  repeated calls (unseen) riparian edge, SP.

Killdeer  calls (unseen) dry stream bed, BPH.

Eurasian Collared Dove  calls, SP.

Rock Pigeon  1  flying near aqueduct, BPH.

Mourning Dove  5  BPH;  3 BG; 3  SP.

Black-chinned Hummingbird  2 (f) fly, call; riparian area near pond, SP.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  2   typical NUWO calls (unseen) SP.

Ladder-backed x Nuttall's Woodpecker ? 1 (m) vocalizations intermediate between NUWO and LAWO, with slight drawl at ending syllable; intermediate amount of white in face (more than usual for NUWO, less than most LAWO); buffy patch on belly; staying in  open desert-chaparral vegetation on hillside; perched in Joshua Tree (photo), Century Plant and Juniper, BG.

Possible Ladder-backed x Nuttall's Woodpecker (Picoides nuttallii x scalaris) Bob's Gap  LACO CA  29 May 2014


                                                                                                            © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Northern Flicker  1  calls (unseen) edge of riparian wash, SP.

Black Phoebe   2  SP.

Ash-throated Flycatcher  1  calls, BG;  2  calls, SP.

Western Kingbird  1  flying over valley, BG;  1 perched on post at edge of open field, SP.

Loggerhead Shrike  1 (ad) fly; perched on Joshua Tree, BG.

Western Scrub-jay   4  BG;  3 SP.

Common Raven  2  BG;  2 SP.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1  flew across roadway, BG;  1 perched on utility line, SP.

Oak Titmouse  2  calls, SP.

White-breasted Nuthatch  2  calls; moving up trunk of cottonwood, SP.

Rock Wren  1  song; on rock outcrop in canyon, BG.

Bewick's Wren  2  song; shrubs near dirt road and in canyon pass, BG.

House Wren  1  in garden, SP.

Western Bluebird  6  (m,f) sallying from low perches, SP.

European Starling  6  on lawn and around pond, SP.

Yellow Warbler  2   calls and song in cottonwoods around pond, SP.

Spotted Towhee  2  calls and song, hillside chaparral, BG.

California Towhee  4  pairs active on ground at base of shrubs, BG (photo);  2 SP.

California Towhee (Melozone crissalis) Bob's Gap  Los Angeles County CA  29 May 2014

                                                                                            © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Black-throated Sparrow  3  repeated song from exposed perches, BG (photo).


Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata) Bob's Gap LACO CA  29 May 2014


                                                                      © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Black-headed Grosbeak  1  repeated song (on nest?) riparian-desert chaparral edge around pond, SP.

Red-winged Blackbird   13 (m,f) flying around irrigated alfalfa field, BG.

Brewer's Blackbird  20  (m,f) foraging on lawns, SP.

Brown-headed Cowbird  vocal (unseen) riparian area around pond, SP.

Bullock's Oriole  repeated chattering calls (unseen) , riparian area, SP.

Scott's Oriole  1-2 (m) possibly only one male; flying between Joshua Trees within an area of about 50 acres; repeated song, BG.

House Finch  10  BG;  8  (m,f) at bird feeder, SP.

House Sparrow  16  (m,f) SP.






May 10, 2014  Charlton Flats and Chilao Visitor Center (38 Species)

Weather: Fair; 52F to 68F; wind W 5 -10 mph.

Time: 0745 - 1318 hrs.

Observers: Birds of Southern California class and I (0830-1210 hrs.).

Areas Covered:  1) Charlton Flats picnic grounds (CF: Elev. about 5200 ft.). We walked on the paved roadway and adjacent paths at the lower end of the picnic area, surveying mixed coniferous-oak, riparian and chaparral habitats, totalling about 10 acres. Birdlife was relatively abundant and conspicuous throughout this area (0745-1050 hrs.).  2) Chilao Visitor's Center (CVC: Elev. about 5200 ft.). We observed birds at and around feeders at the visitor center. We also birded the adjacent riparian stream with a small pool of water. Several additional bird species were found here and added to our day-list, including, Northern Flicker, Western Scrub-jay, Swainson's Thrush, American Robin, Black-headed Grosbeak and Brown-headed Cowbird (1058-1210 hrs.). After most of the class left the area, I toured the relatively new Chilao Visitor's Center (drinking fountain and adjacent restrooms remain out of order), which includes informative historical and geographical exhibits.


Red-tailed Hawk   1 flying above the forest canopy, CVC (1315 hrs.).

Mourning Dove  8  on the ground and flying through the forest understory,

Band-tailed Pigeon  4  a pair perched on a horizontal limb of a Jeffrey Pine about 20 ft agl. CF; a pair at about the same height in another pine, CVC.

Hummingbird sp.  2 (f)  not seen well enough for and ID; flying low and secretive (nesting?) in shrubs in a forest clearing.

Acorn Woodpecker  4 (m,f) vocal, gregarious in tall burned and unburned pines, CF;  2 CVC.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1  calls; foraging at mid-level in pines, CF.

Hairy Woodpecker  1  calls;  burned pines over chaparral-forest regrowth, CF.

White-headed Woodpecker  1 (f) foraging on the trunk of a living Jeffrey Pine, CF; 1 in pines next to visitor center, CVC.

Northern Flicker 1 calls (unseen) in pines next to visitor center, CVC.

Olive-sided Flycatcher  1  repeated calls (unseen) in burned area with snags, CF.

Western Wood Pewee  2  repeated calls;  sallying from a low perch in burned area with snags, CF.

Empidonax sp. 1  (possibly Hammond's) Noted slightly asymmetrical eye ring and medium-long wing projection; sallying from low perch in shrubs and snags next to dry stream bed.

Western Scrub-jay  1  at feeders, CVC.

Steller's Jay  2  in tall pines; foraging on ground beneath pines, CF;  2 at and around feeders, CVC.

Common Raven  1  flying over the forest, CVC.

Mountain Chickadee   4  vocal, active in lower and middle branches of pines, CF;  2 vocal, active in riparian area and pine forest, CVC.

Oak Titmouse  1  vocal; active in forest understory and riparian areas, CF.

White-breasted Nuthatch  2  vocal, active at all heights in pines, CF.

Bewick's Wren  1  repeated song in chaparral clearing at the edge of the forest, CF.

House Wren  3    repeated song and calls; a pair building a nest in a cavity beneath the bark of a partially burned Jeffrey pine, CF.

Brown Creeper  2-3  foraging in a loose flock on lower Jeffrey pine limbs and bark fissures on trunks, CF.

Swainson's Thrush  2   1 seen briefly in riparian understory, CF (0750 hrs.)  1 observed by the class for several minutes  returning to the same location near standing water after flying off briefly; foraging on the ground beneath willows in a moist riparian area, CVC.

American Robin  1  on the edge of the stream with standing water, CVC.

Western Bluebird   8  pairs active on low branches, sallying to the ground; three males engaged in a noisy altercation, flying around the forest understory, CF.

Wrentit  1  repeated song, chaparral at the edge of the forest, CF.

Townsend's Warbler 2 (m,f) foraging on clusters of Jeffrey pine needles at about 15 ft agl, CF.

Hermit Warbler  2  (m,f) foraging on clusters of Jeffrey pine and cedar needles, CF.

Wilson's Warbler   10   (m,f)  foraging in willows and shrubs at the edge of the forest, CF, CVC.

Spotted Towhee  4  vocal, active in and around riparian and chaparral at edge of the forest, DF;  1 on ground beneath feeder, CVC.

Green-tailed Towhee  1  repeated song (unseen) forest edge next to visitor's center parking area, CVC (1230 hrs.).

Chipping Sparrow 1  repeated song (unseen) dense riparian-forest edge, CF.

Fox Sparrow  1  showing a slate gray mantle and a relatively large bill; seen briefly on ground at the edge of a riparian patch, CF.

Golden-crowned Sparrow  1  repeated song (unseen) chaparral-forest edge, CF.

Dark-eyed Junco  8 (m,f) vocal, active on ground beneath pines, CF.

Western Tanager   2 (m,f)  in pines and riparian areas, CF;  1 (m) in pines near feeding station, CVC.

Black-headed Grosbeak  1 (f) at feeding station briefly, CVC.

Brown-headed Cowbird  5 (3 m, 2 f)   a cohesive flock on and below feeders; males and females highly vocal with a varied repertoir of discordant shrieks, whistles and gurgling sounds; males giving heads up display when feeding together on ground. One pair briefly attempting copulation, CVC.

Lesser Goldfinch  4 (m,f)   vocal; active in burned and unburned pines; chaparral understory and flowering annuals, CF.











May 1, 2014  Charlton Flats and Chilao Visitor Center (27 Species)


Weather: Fair; 70F; winds WSW  5 - 10 mph, gusting to 15 mph.

Time: 0946-1200 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Areas Covered: Beginning at the I-210 La Canada-Flintridge intersection, we drove about 25 miles eastward on the Angeles Crest Highway (HWY 2) to the signed entrance of Charlton Flats (mile marker 47.5). We took the first right turn on the entrance road and drove downhill to the last parking area before the end of the road with a closed gate (CF: Elev. about 5,200 ft. ). We walked along a dry stream bed grown to willows and surrounded by hills supporting mature conifers (pines and cedars) and oaks. Many of the trees and most of the understory had evidently been burned within the past three to five years, though regrowth in the vicinity of the stream bed was abundant and attractive to many bird species (0946-1050 hrs.).

Driving eastward about 2 miles on HWY 2, we entered the Chilao campground area at the first (west) entrance,  and followed signs to the visitor center. There was one confusing intersection that was poorly signed going in our direction,  briefly misleading us onto another road before we reached the visitor center (CVC: Elev. about 5,200 ft. ). Subsequently, we discovered that the eastern entrance to the campground (signed: Chilao Visitor Center), located on HWY 2 near mile marker 50.66, was the shortest and most convenient route to the visitor center. Apparently the swanky new Chilao Visitor Center is closed on weekdays; we were the only visitors present. The forest immediately surrounding the visitor center, though similar in composition to the one at CF, appeared virtually untouched by fire; a small stream nearby had at least one pocket of standing water. Although we found fewer bird species around the visitor center than we had at Charlton Flat, there were three new species added to our day-list: Band-tailed Pigeon, Stellar's Jay and Pygmy Nuthatch (1117-1200 hrs.).


Red-tailed Hawk  1 (ad) soaring above the forest, CF.

Mourning Dove   4  calls; flying around a clearing, CF.

Band-tailed Pigeon  2 (ad) perched together in a large pine, CVC (photo).

Band-tailed Pigeon (Columba fasciata) Chilao, Los Angeles County CA  1 May 2014


                                                                              © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Acorn Woodpecker  3  calls; flying to the tops of burned conifers, CF.

Hairy Woodpecker  calls (unseen)  CF.

White-headed Woodpecker  1 foraging on the trunk and branches of a large (live) Jeffrey Pine (photo);  2 (m) foraging on the trunks of oaks and pines on the entrance road, CVC.

White-headed Woodpecker (Picoides albolarvatus) male  Charlton Flats, LACO CA 1 May 2014


                                                                       © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Western Wood Pewee  1  calls; in cluster of burned pines on hillside, CF; 1  calls, CVC.

Dusky Flycatcher  1  in and around willows in dry stream bed, CF.

Common Raven  2  soaring above the forest, CF.

Steller's Jay  2   vocal; one foraging beneath pines; the other nearby in a large pine, CVC.

Mountain Chickadee   4  vocal; pairs active in pines and cedars, CF.

Oak Titmouse  2  vocal in burned and unburned trees and willows, CF; 2 vocal, CVC.

White-breasted Nuthatch  2  calls; foraging in mature (live) pines, CF.

Red-breasted Nuthatch  3  calls; in mature (live) pines, CF.

Pygmy Nuthatch  2  calls; in mature pines, CVC.

Bewick's Wren  1  repeated song; clearing with shrub regrowth, CF.

House Wren  2  repeated song; edge of burned area with shrub regrowth, CF.

Western Bluebird  2  calls; low perches in live and burned pines, CF.

Orange-crowned Warbler  1 foraging in willows, CF.

Hermit Warbler  1 (male) foraging in clusters of pine needles on outermost limbs, CF (photo).

Hermit Warbler (Setophaga occidentalis) Charlton Flats, Los Angeles County CA  1 May 2014


                                                                                    © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Wilson's Warbler  3 (m)   foraging in willows, CF.

Spotted Towhee  2  repeated song, CF;  2  CVC.

Chipping Sparrow  1  foraging in willows, CF (photo).


Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) Charlton Flats, Los Angeles County CA  1 May 2014


                                                                                                                           © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Golden-crowned Sparrow  1  song (unseen) CF.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  6  on ground beneath pines, CF.

Black-headed Grosbeak  1  song (unseen) riparian strip along stream, CF.

Purple Finch  3  active in willows and adjacent pines along stream, CF (photo).


Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus) male Charlton Flats, LACO CA 1 May 2014


                                                                                                © 2014 Callyn Yorke












March 2, 2013   Pearblossom Park and St. Andrews Priory (23 Species)

Weather: Fair; 53F to 63F; wind ENE 2 -5 mph.

Time: 0858 - 1055 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Areas Covered:  1) Pearblossom County Park, Pearblossom (PCP): We walked around most of the park, surveying pines, cottonwoods and assorted plantings. Except for someone riding a dirt bike around in circles in a private yard next to the playing field, two unleashed dogs, and a few noisy teens, and a surprise barrage by sprinklers, conditions were fair for identifying bird vocalizations (0808-0950 hrs.).  2) St.
Andrews Priory (SAP). We walked from the east parking around the property, surveying groves of cottonwood, poplars, pines, meadows and a duck pond. About 15 people were wandering around the property during our survey; conditions were excellent for identifying bird vocalizations (1004-1055 hrs.).


Mallard (1 wild-type fem.; others domestic hybrid)  in upper pond, approaching us for food, SAP.

California Quail  5  around bird feeder attached to a  private residence, SAP.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1 (ad) low perch in cottonwoods, SAP (photo); noted that this bird was able to rotate its head 180° when perched.

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) St Andrews Priory  LACO CA  2 March 2013

                                                                                                                                   © 2013 Callyn Yorke


Eurasian Collared Dove  2  calls, PCP;  2 SAP.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  2  calls; one male foraging in a large cottonwood, SAP.

Northern (RS) Flicker  1  PCP.

Western Scub-jay 1 PCP; 1 SAP.

Common Raven   4 PCP;  2 SAP.

Mountain Chickadee  8  vocal, active in mature pines, PCP;  3 in poplars and cottonwoods, SAP.

Oak Titmouse  1  calls, PCP;  5  calls; foraging on the ground, SAP.

White-breasted Nuthatch  1  calls, PCP;  1 foraging in cottonwood, SAP.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1  foraging in a cottonwood, PCP.

American Robin  3  on lawns, PCP.

Northern Mockingbird  2 (ad, imm) in adjacent shrubs, PCP.

California Thrasher  1  song, adjacent chaparral hillside, SAP.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler   4  calls, active in the ground and shrubs/trees, PCP.

White-crowned Sparrow  1  PCP;  10 SAP.

Dark-eyed Junco  1  on ground, PCP;  8  on ground beneath feeder, SAP.

Brewer's Blackbird   3 (m,f) SAP.

House Finch   5  calls, in cottonwoods, PCP;  15  on ground and at feeder, SAP.

Red Crossbill    6  (m,f; imm) vocal in flight, which initially drew our attention. Individuals and pairs foraged on small cones in a grove of mature Aleppo pines next to the playground (photo). One immature bird probed into a crevice between two branches of a nearby ornamental deciduous tree (photo). Another was observed gaping widely when foraging on a small, unopened cone near the crown of a tall pine tree (photo). However, it was unclear how the wide gape functioned in the extraction of seeds.

Presumably, these birds use a variety of surgical techniques to obtain conifer seeds of varying size and situation. In some cases, a wide gape and associated cranial osteology and musculature may be necessary for complete clearance of overlapping mandibles, together with increased leverage for closure. Perhaps more commonly, a nearly complete initial closure followed by gaping may be used to pry small seeds loose. Angle of attack and leverage appear to be important variables. For example, I observed Individuals rotating sideways and downwards at various angles when clinging to twigs, spending one or two minutes with an attached cone, then flying a short distance to investigate another cluster of cones. I did not observe these birds removing cones from branches. Such behavior suggested many cones may be tested in proportion to cones yielding a reward. Birds of differing sex and age appeared loosely social when foraging, apparently maintaining visual and aural contact. They were highly vocal during flight, issuing frequent, variable bursts of chirps,often clearly audible at ground-level for at least fifty yards when in the open; less easily heard when flying over and/or foraging in pines. PCP.

                                      Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) Pearblossom Park LACO CA 2 Mar 2013


                                                                    © 2013 Callyn Yorke


                                   Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)  immature  Pearblossom Park, LACO CA 2 March 2013


                                                                                                                             © 2013 Callyn Yorke


Lesser Goldfinch  2  at feeder, SAP.

House Sparrow     4  calls, PCP;  2 at feeder, SAP.







November 8, 2009 Littlerock Reservoir to Grassy Hollow Campground (41 Species)

Weather: Fair, 57-62F; winds WNW 3-5 mph.

Time:  0830-1330 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez, Ethan Yorke and Callyn Yorke.

Area Covered:  (1) Little Rock Reservoir (LRR): Entered USFS recreational area on Mt Emma Rd. (see map below) and stopped just inside the north entrance to scan the reservoir at the main dam (photo) and the southern terminus (Sage Picinic Area), using a 10x40 binocular, 35-55 scope and DSLR cameras. The water level was high (within 10 feet of the top of the dam) and trees were inundated along the margins, especially in the south. Only a few people present in the area during the survey (0830-0910 hrs.) and the area was quiet with little human disturbance. Attention was focused mostly on waterbirds, and mainly at the south end where most were found. (2) Drove E on Longview Road to intersection of Valyermo Rd (VR), where we stopped briefly to photograph the riparian area opposite the entrance to St. Andrews Abbey (0930-0942 hrs.). Here, birds were identified mostly by vocalizations. (3) Continuing to the Valyermo Post Office pond (VP), we stopped briefly to scan the pond and adjacent agricultural field for birds ( 0950 -1000 hrs.). (4) On Big Pines HWY (BPH), at an elevation of about 5,720 ft., our attention was drawn to a flock of Lewis Woodpeckers, Acorn Woodpeckers and other birds along the roadway adjacent to a small seepage (1016 - 1030 hrs.) (5). Continuing on the winding stretch of roadway with increasing elevation, we arrived at the south entrance to Jackson Lake (JL) and walked around the western shore surveying birds with binoculars(1040 - 1110 hrs.). A large group of people arrived here at about 1100 hrs., making observations of birds rather difficult. (6) We then drove directly to Grassy Hollow (GH), and parked near the very informative Visitor Center (Elevation: 7300 ft.). We learned from the couple volunteering in the VC that the Station Fire had resulted in the closure of the Angeles Crest Hwy about 5 miles W of the junction with the Big Pines HWY at Mountain High Ski Resort. Presumably, prior to the road closure, a local chapter of the Audubon Society had placed several bird feeders below an observation deck of the Visitor Center, providing an excellent position for bird photography among the Jeffrey Pines. We also walked around the picnic area (photo) and had lunch in a pleasant sunny location next to the parking area (1140-1254 hrs.). Returning to the Mt. High resort area for a brief rest stop, we made a second, brief stop at Jackson Lake (JL) for photographs, noting that most of the crowd was gone from the picnic area. We returned to the Antelope Valley using Valyermo Rd. N to the junction of Longview Rd. and HWY 138. The best birding today was at the south end of LRR, a small seepage along Big Pines HWY (BPH), Jackson Lake (JL)and the Grassy Hollow picinic area(GH). Fall colors in the riparian strip (Cottonwood and Sycamore) along BPH were especially vibrant; JL was also quite picturesque (photos).

USFS Map Showing Survey Route and Sites (see Area Covered).
USFS Map Showing Survey Route and Sites

Little Rock Reservoir on the north slope of the San Gabriel Mountains, viewing south.      © 2009 Callyn Yorke
Little Rock Reservoir on the north slope of the San Gabriel Mountains, viewing south. © 2009 Callyn Yorke

Jackson Lake, San Gabriel Mountains; viewing SW.  © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke
Jackson Lake, San Gabriel Mountains; viewing SW. © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke

Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea) at Grassy Hollow in the San Gabriel Mountains. © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke
Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea) at Grassy Hollow in the San Gabriel Mountains. © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke

Birds Noted

1) Canada Goose  1 VP, with domestic Gray Lags and mallards at edge of pond.

2) Grey-Lag Goose 2 VP, on land, one entering pond as we approached.

3) Mallard  5 LRR - central; 30 VP - most resting on embankment of pond.

4) Northern Shoveler  4 (m,f)   LRR, open water, central.

5) Redhead  7 ( f ) LRR, flock flew into south cove.

6) Ring-necked Duck  25 (m,f)   LRR, crowded in south cove.

7) Lesser Scaup 3-5 (m,f) LRR,   south-central.

8) Bufflehead  7 (m,f) LRR, southeast cove.

9) Ruddy Duck  10 (m,f) LRR, south-central and south cove.

10) Pied-billed Grebe  6 LRR, north, west and south sections.

11) Clark's Grebe  3  LRR, open water, central.

12) Red-tailed Hawk  1 GH, flying S over picnic area.

13) Sora  1 JL, calls (unseen).

14) American Coot  150 LRR; 10 VP; 30 JL, open water and protected coves.

15) Mourning Dove  2 VR, flying low.

16) Belted Kingfisher  1 LRR, south end, calls (unseen).

17) Lewis' Woodpecker  3 BPH; 1 JL perched in tall tree (photo), going down to N edge of lake for insects; aerial hawking.

18) Northern Flicker 1 VR, calls (unseen).

19) Acorn Woodpecker  5 BPH, calls, flying to tall pines; 3 JL, in tall pines and Black Oaks.

20) Black Phoebe  3 LRR, W edge of lake, low perch; calls.

21) Say's Phoebe  1 VP, on fence.

22) Loggerhead Shrike  1 VP, flew across road in Joshua Tree - riparian area.

23) Steller's Jay  1 BPH; 2 JL; 1 GH - on feeder; calls.

24) Scrub Jay  1 BPH, roadside perch on tall shrub.

25) Common Raven  20, ubiquitous; some flying 200+ feet over forest.

26) Clark's Nutcracker 1 GH, calls (unseen).

27) Mountain Chickadee  2 BPH; 5 JL; 5 GH, foraging in pines; coming to feeders; calls.

28) White-breasted Nuthatch  1 JL, calls; 3 GH, foraging in pines (photo); coming to feeder for suet.

29) Pygmy Nuthatch   15 GH, in pines (photo) and coming in pairs to feeder for suet.

30) Rock Wren  3 LRR, roadside rock piles; calls.

31) Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1 JL, foraging low in cedars.

32) Western Bluebird   8 (m,f) JL, flock moving through pines; 5 (m,f) GH, drinking from garden hose near feeders; calls.

33) Yellow-rumped Warbler  2 VR, on fence and on ground with DEJ's next to watered field.

34) Spotted Towhee  1 BPH, flew into brushy area uphill from roadway; call.

35) California Towhee   2 VR; 2 BPH, brushy roadsides; calls.

36) Song Sparrow  1 JL, calls from cattails, SW side..

37) Lincoln's Sparrow  1  JL, calls from cattails, E side.

38) White-crowned Sparrow  7  LRR, roadside saltbush (Atriplex canescens).

39) Dark-eyed Junco  6 VP, edge of field next to USFS housing area; 5 GH, foraging on ground beneath feeders.

40) House Finch  5  LRR, with WCS in brushy areas.

41) Cassin's Finch  5  JL, flock in tall white fir; calls, flying SE.

Lewis' Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis) at Jackson Lake, San Gabriel Mts. © 2009 Callyn Yorke
Lewis' Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis) at Jackson Lake, San Gabriel Mts. © 2009 Callyn Yorke

Grassy Hollow Picnic Area, San Gabriel Mountains. ©  2009 Callyn D. Yorke
Grassy Hollow Picnic Area, San Gabriel Mountains. © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinesis) at Grassy Hollow, San Gabriel Mts.    © 2009 Callyn Yorke
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinesis) at Grassy Hollow, San Gabriel Mts. © 2009 Callyn Yorke

Riparian area along Valyermo Road in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mts.   © 2009  Callyn D. Yorke
Riparian area along Valyermo Road in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mts. © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke

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