Beneath a morning sky still deciding between rain and brilliant sunshine, a robust group of intrepid bird fans trekked through the Ballona Wetlands down the normally off-limits Freshwater Marsh Trail.
The occasion was Bird L.A. Day, a May 7 celebration of local diversity organized by the Audubon Society.
Through free binoculars — or “bins,” as Friends of Ballona Wetlands Executive Director Lisa Fimiani called them — we glimpsed red-tailed hawks, egrets, white-throated swifts and the prize of the year, a rare yellow-breasted chat.
The serene and lush wetland marsh was blooming with California sunflowers, elderberry trees, non-native mustard plants and cowboy cologne, a pungent sage that real-life cowboys once rubbed on themselves before venturing into town so’s not to chase away the ladies.
And speaking of ladies, said Fimiani, “it’s breeding season for another six weeks”, which is why all the male birds were puffing out their feathers, serenading, trilling and generally showing off to the delight of both avian and human outlookers.
— Laurel Minter
1. Manny Cloribel holds daughter Kate while she looks for the telescope.
2. Christina Jones of South Bay Wildlife Rehab holds a barn owl.
3. Wild Birds Unlimited head Bob Shanman educates locals about the Anna’s Hummingbird.
4. Siblings Meztli and Yaxkin participate in the art and craft booth.
5. Manuel Duran, left, and Alejandra Cedillo look for birds at the Ballona Wetlands.