Thursday, July 22, 2010

Best Birding Site in Los Angeles


A blog what is a blog?
For a 64 year old woman – a new thing – To produce a blog in my mind necessitates both the ability to write well and have some area of knowledge about which to write. I have neither. But lack of talent never kept me from attempting tasks or projects before.

Birds.

The Inn at Playa del Rey overlooks hundreds of acres of protected wetlands and is home to over 80 species of California birds; or so I am told.
After we opened in 1995, I used to joke with guests that I could identify the pigeon, crow, and sea gull but beyond those three kinds of birds, I could not help the guests identify that big white bird in our back yard. But my flippant comments were not truthful. I could identify more species of birds and was learning the names of ones I did not already recognize. But what interested me as much as learning more types of birds was why birds? Why did people like to become birders or study birds or simply enjoy watching them? Why not squirrels, plants? What was there about birds?

I think it was or is the fact that you can watch birds and that there are so many different kinds; each individually and distinctively marked, each a different shape, each with a different or song, or flight movement. One can watch them do many things: build nests, warm eggs, feed their young, fly, catch a fish, pull a worm, scratch for a seed, take a bath or sit and sing on a wire. I am certain other animals are interesting but you cannot watch them from the comfort of your own kitchen window or ours at the Inn.

Over the years at the Inn, we have even had our own bird favorites: a colony of blue heron that built a condominium like nest collection in our only backyard tree, a great egret who came every morning up to the breakfast room seemingly to “people watch”, a young female hawk who to the delight or horror of guests made a viewing stand for herself on #307’s balcony. And perhaps my favorite was a kite, black shouldered to be exact, that hovered over the marsh, dove for whatever it was watching, and suddenly flew up with his captured prey in his beak.

Finally our bird watching here at the Inn has allowed us to witness a growing resilience of nature in a partnership with man. The wetlands behind us have been part of a 30 year restoration plan that seems from our viewpoint to be working. You can become part of this by volunteering to help on restoration volunteer days sponsored by the Friends of Ballona Wetlands. The next project day will be August 28.

So why bird watching?

Someone once said that bird watching is a life time ticket to nature. I like that concept. It is a ticket for a play that changes as the seasons do because our birds come and stay for awhile and then move on north or south as their migratory habits prevail. And with the ability to watch an ecosystem return, bird watching from the balconies at the Inn becomes a play where the good guys are winning.

Coming Events held by Los Angeles Audubon Society:
Their field trips delve more deeply into identification and interaction.
Sunday August 8, 2010 “Lower LA River Shorebird Migration”.
Sunday August 29, Huntington Central Park and Bolsa Chica Wetlands.
The Bolsa Chica Wetlands are located 35 miles south of our Los Angeles Bed and Breakfast and present some of the nation’s best birding.

*Photo was taken by Suzanne Campbell

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