Birdathon 2018 by Pat Avery

A big "Thank You" to all our Birdathon leaders! We had a broad range of events this year that included several of the regular monthly bird walks, traveling caravans covering wide geographic areas, and a 2-hour sit-in at a single location.  Participation was up, overall, as was the number of species seen by our birders (37 more than anticipated). In all avery good Birdathon!

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Twenty-eight birders joined Kris Ohlenkamp at Sepulveda Basin earning Kris the distinction of attracting the most participants. They saw both male and female Western Tanagers, Phainopepla, a male blue Grosbeak, a female Myrtle’s variant of the Yellow-rumped Warbler and had great looks at an Olive-sided Flycatcher. In total, they identified 55 species.

Yellow Warbler

Western Tanager (male)


Golden-crowned Sparrow

Nashville Warbler

Twelve birders joined Carolyn Oppenheimer for a walk in O'Melveny Park and found 33 species including Black-throated Grey Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak and Goldencrowned Sparrow.


Jim Moore conducted nine birders on his annual Big Day in the Antelope Valley. They tallied 129 species including excellent views of Great Horned Owl nestlings; Hooded, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers; Soras; Solitary Sandpiper; Prairie Falcon and seven types of flycatchers (Western Wood Pewee, Hammond’s, Pacific Slope, Black Phoebe, Says Phoebe, Ash-throated, and Western Kingbird).

Red-breasted Merganser

Prairie Falcon


Scott's Oriole

Vermilion Flycatcher

Richard Barth's trip to Morongo Valley and Black Rock Campground attracted seven birders. They found 60 species including Pinyon Jays, singing Scott’s Orioles, Vermilion Flycatchers, a singing Summer Tanager, over twenty Phainopeplas hovering around one tree and a Green-tailed Towhee.


Pat Bates and four birders found a large number of Lawrence’s Goldfinches at Hansen Dam. They also saw a Yellow-breasted Chat and two nesting Phainopeplas. In total, they counted 39 different species.

Yellow-breasted Chat

Lawrence's Goldfinch


Hermit Warbler

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Six birders joined Mark Osokow for his annual Big Day in the Santa Susana Mountains and Simi Hills. They tallied 75 species including Merlin, Lazuli Bunting, Phainopepla, Warbling Vireo, Black-throated Grey Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, Rufous Crowned Sparrow, Great Horned Owl, Western Screech Owl, Barn Owl and Common Poorwill.


Five birders joined Heather Medvitz and Pat Avery for a Sunday morning stroll and sit at Sepulveda Basin that found 38 species including bright Bullock’s Orioles, Cassin’s Kingbirds, Pied-billed Grebes and Red-winged Blackbirds.

Bullock's Oriole

Red-winged Blackbird


Black Skimmer

Red-throated Loon

John and Andrew Willis spent the day birding Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbors and came across a huge flock of Black Skimmers on the beach at Ocean Avenue and a Red-throated Loon at Alamitos Bay. In total, they found 51 species.


Art Langton was joined by six birders at Malibu Creek State Park. They identified 55 species including Ash Throated Flycatcher, Hutton’s Vireo, Golden-crowned Sparrow and Lazuli Bunting.

Hutton's Vireo

Lazuli Bunting

Art Langton completed a one-man, personal Birdathon along State Route 33 from McGrath State Beach to Ozema Ranger Station in Los Padres National Forest. He made stops at Ventura Marina, La Canada Larga, Ojai Meadows and Wheeler Gorge. Due to fire damage further up the road, Wheeler Gorge is currently the end of good birding on this trek. In total, he saw 68 species.


Horned Lark

Muriel and Alan Kotin completed their 24-hour marathon visit to birding sites in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. They nearly tripped over a Horned Lark at Bolsa Chica and observed an Eared Grebe in full breeding plumage. At Harriet Wieder Park they found a mating pair of tree swallows before they even got out of the car. In total, they identified 97 species. To see Muriel's complete write-up with beautiful photos, click here.

Eared Grebe


Birdathon leaders and participants were rewarded by directly experiencing the broad diversity of habitat and number of bird species found in our region. Birdathon, our only fundraising event of the year, supports our vital education and conservation programs. Your contribution will enable SFVAS to continue to educate the public about bird identification and the importance of protecting bird wildlife habitat.

Please join us by making a contribution today to SFVAS, PO Box 7769, Van Nuys, CA 91409 or online using our very secure credit card form below.  Thank you.

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