When I think of Southern California, the first thing that pops into my head is the pleasant, Mediterranean-like climate all year. Its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean keeps it temperate. This kind of climate is especially appealing to this Ohio native. Smack during the dead of winter is when I am wishing I was in Southern California soaking up sunshine and feeling the gentle touch of a salty ocean breeze.
Maybe you have never been to Southern California. During the 1970s you may have watched the Beverly Hillbillies on TV and thought “Californy” was a place for millionaires, swimmin’ pools, and movie stars. Well, it is that, too. In fact, more than 20 million people call this place home because of its pleasant temperatures, stunning scenery, and convenience to well…everything. Of course, there is traffic. Lots of it. It’s incredibly urban. And maybe you’ve stayed away for those latter reasons. So why not let us do the driving for you?
Despite its urban density, birding can be fantastic right in the heart of the two largest cities, Los Angeles and San Diego. The parks are incredibly beautiful. They are like oases in the desert. And relatively large areas of natural areas still exist outside the cities.
Southern California is one of the must-visit places on every birder’s calendar. The bird life here is stunningly rich due to the amazing diversity of habitats that converge here. There is the Pacific shores, a coastal range of mountains, the grasslands of the Central Valley, the mountain ranges including the San Gabriels, San Bernadinos, and San Jacintos, and the Mojave Desert. We will touch each of these areas during our visit.
Nearly 500 species of birds have been recorded in California according to eBird for the first week of January. (from eBird.org from 1900-2014 as of June 2015). Some of the goodies we will look for on this trip include Pacific Loon, Clark’s Grebe, White-tailed Kite, Ferruginous Hawk, Ridgway’s Rail, Black Oystercatcher, California Gull, Allen’s Hummingbird, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Wrentit, Oak Titmouse, Pacific Wren, California Gnatcatcher, Townsend’s Warbler, California Towhee, and Golden-crowned Sparrow.
Yep. What a great way to celebrate the introductory tour of the Big Year Series of birding tours with Wildside!