South Central LA

 Just as the first polar front clawed its way across the north east and drove every New Yorker into a frenzy of online shopping for the warmest down coat, I stepped out at LAX into the endless sun.

Just flying over the Los Angeles region – the endless grids, malls, freeways veining the sprawling limbs of Long Beach, Santa Monica, Anaheim and Irvine, you’d think there were no redoubts for nature here.


Driving between client meetings I stopped at El Dorado park, a patchwork of microhabitats from coastal live oakwood to chaparral, sandwiched between the ganglands of Compton and Long Beach airport. Wilsons’ and Orange-crowned warblers had stalled their migrations in the riverine forest and out on some wasteland Allen’s hummers buzzed each other with territorial dive bombs more akin to breeding behavior.

Just outside the reserve, as the woods gave way to manicured parkland, a small group of 6 kingbirds came in. I left mounted the kerb, left the engine running and ripped the scope from the backseat. Cassin’s kingbirds confirmed by their surly disyllabic vocalisations.  Lifer #2 on my flying visit to LA.

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I work in NYC and own a wildlife and wilderness agency specializing in the southern cone of South America. I still do some guiding down there, especially looking for Fuegian and Patagonian avifauna. I'm particularly interested in the wintering ecology of neotropical migrants, and in avian biogeography in general. You can follow me at - @domhall And find me at - AventuraArgentina.com