Trip report for O'Melveny Park - Granada Hills Sunday, March 29, 2015 

Number of participants: 57 + 2 leaders
Start time 8:00am
Finish time 10:20am
Distance covered: 1 mile
Weather:  cool at the start and warm at the end with a slight breeze

We had some nice birds on this O'Melveny walk, with California Quail making the list before the walk even started. Many species were in full song, marking their territories and attracting mates.  House Wrens definitely dominated birdsong in the park, but the most interesting call we picked-up right away was Least Bell's Vireo.   We saw no less than three of these federally protected birds!  Listed as an endangered species, this subspecies of the Bell's Vireo has been on the brink of extinction and back in recent decades, with the main pressure coming from habitat destruction from urban development.  Remaining riparian habitat is essential for Least Bell's Vireo recovery, including some of the areas that the Army Corps of Engineers love to mow down in the Sepulveda Basin.  I guess the Federal Government has a pass with these things...

Least Bell's Vireo 
Photo: Scott Logan

At the very end of the walk, we had both Cassin's and Western Kingbirds.  These two birds are similar in appearance and there was discussion on how to tell the difference between them. The easy way for me is, when looking from underneath the Cassin's Kingbird's chest and head is a darker gray than the Western.  Although this difference is not easy to see, it does create the appearance of the Cassin's having a whitish throat.  Another distinctive difference is that Cassin's has a thin white strip along lower edge of the tail feathers and Western has a thin white strip that runs along the edge of the tail feathers.  Caveats to these tail markings: they can sometimes be hard to see because of harsh lighting and/or feather condition (as in the photo of the Cassin's below).  Some birds just aren't easy!!

Cassin's Kingbird
Photo: Paula Maxwell
Western Kingbird
Photo: Scott Logan

Birds - 44 species

California Quail     
Red-tailed Hawk
Mourning Dove  
White-throated Swift  
Black-chinned Hummingbird  
Anna's Hummingbird  
Allen's Hummingbird  
Nuttall's Woodpecker  
Pacific-slope Flycatcher  
Black Phoebe  -  1 nest with eggs
Cassin's Kingbird  
Western Kingbird  
Least Bell's Vireo      
Western Scrub-Jay
Common Raven  
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  
Violet-green Swallow  
Cliff Swallow  
Oak Titmouse  
White-breasted Nuthatch  
House Wren  
Bewick's Wren  
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  
Western Bluebird  
California Thrasher  
Northern Mockingbird  
Orange-crowned Warbler  
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)
Black-throated Gray Warbler  
Spotted Towhee  
Rufous-crowned Sparrow  
California Towhee  
Song Sparrow  
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow  
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)  
Brown-headed Cowbird  
Hooded Oriole  
House Finch  -  2 nests with eggs
Pine Siskin  
Lesser Goldfinch  
American Goldfinch


Eastern Fox Squrriel
Brush Rabbit


Western Tiger Swallowtail
Pale Swallowtail
Mourning Cloak
Sara Orangetip
Common Checkered-Skipper
Red Admiral 



4337 Woodman Ave. Sherman Oaks CA 91423     818-995-0022

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