Wildlife Sightings and Photo Links

January 23, 2019 An American White Pelican was observed with a wing tag 5MG.
This was reported to reportband.gov and subsequently determined to have been banded on July 25, 2017 near Rupert, Minidoka County, Idaho. (Steve Hartman)

October 16, 2016 A Snowy egret scratches itself. Photograph by David Berman.

National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count (December 2014)

Sepulveda Basin won the award for the most number of Unique Species. Kris Ohlenkamp, who has counted this sector continuously since 1982, recorded 85 species, his highest total ever, with 15 unique species, including Ross’s Goose, Mute Swan, Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Western Grebe, Green Heron,Spotted Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Bonaparte’s Gull,
Thayer’s Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Peregrine Falcon, Yellow
-chevroned Parakeet, and Brownheaded Cowbird.
Uncommon birds included Red-throated Loon at Lake Balboa, the second in the history of the San Fernando Valley CBC. The first was recorded in 1957, the first year of the count. Also seen at the Sepulveda Basin were four Bonaparte’s Gulls, last counted in 1994 and the second record of Thayer’s Gull, last sighted in 2002. A Brewer’s Sparrow was seen at Sepulveda Basin during count week, marking the first recorded in the circle.

 December 2016 An Ibis at the boat ramp with a yellowthroat. Photograph by Pat Bates.

The county’s second Glossy Ibis was found in the Sepulveda Basin on May 24, 2016 (Mike Stensvold).  Though nearly annual in Imperial County - and with a few records from adjacent counties- this was the first chaseable bird in Los Angeles County.  It remained through June 5 and offered many birders an excellent and easy opportunity to observe it.  

October 23, 2015 A rare coastal slope Long-eared Owl was at the Sepulveda Basin (Daniel Tinoco).

January 14, 2014
A Bald Eagle was seen over Lake Balboa (Daniel Tinoco).

January 5, 2014 Kris Ohlenkamp observed a Swamp Sparrow.

November 29, 2013 A Tennessee Warbler was seen at the Sepulveda Basin. Also seen was an American Redstart (Jim Royer).

Turkey Vulture (below)
Photo by Armando Paniagua, Lake Balboa resident, Nov. 15, 2013.

November 10, 2013
One or two Mountain Bluebirds were seen at Lake Balboa (Daniel Tinoco)

October 24-November 3, 2013
A rare Red-throated Pipit – the second in LA County this fall was at the Sepulveda Basin (David Bell).

October 25, 2013
A returning Ash-throated Flycatcher was at Sepulveda Basin.

October 24, 2013 Cackling Geese
were seen on Woodley Golf Course (Irwin Woldman)

October 23, 2013 Northern "Yellow-shafted" Flickers
at the Wildlife Reserve (Georgia Doyle, Linda Elkin)

September 26, 2013
Rare on the coastal slope was a Prairie Falcon that overflew the Sepulveda Basin in Van Nuys (Mike Stensvold).

August 24, 2013 Unusual more than a short distance from the immediate coast was a Brown Pelican at Lake Balboa (Mike Stensvold).
This sighting coincided with reports of several others well inland in southern California, but away from the Salton Sea where they are common.

July 28, 2013 A Willow Flycatcher in suitable breeding habitat along the LA River in the Sepulveda Basin on July 28 (Jon Fisher) was interesting but probably an early
migrant as it was soon followed by others elsewhere in the county.

July 23–31, 2013 Cackling Goose was at the Sepulveda Basin in Van Nuys by Kate Rogowski.

July 22, 2013 Lynda Elkin observed an Indigo Bunting at Lake Balboa.

March 12, 2012 Steve Hartman observed a dark-form pealei  Peregrine Falcon perched on a cottonwood on the island in the North Reserve in the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve. Confirming the sighting and providing the subspecies was Jean Brandt and Phil Sayre.

February 26, 2012
Found at least nine Wilson's Snipes around the Los Angeles River, South of Burbank Blvd. at the Sepulveda Basin [very close to the Sepulveda Dam].
At the same area, a White-tailed Kite flew-over at 3:30 PM. There were also two Red-tailed Hawks, one adult Cooper's Hawk, and one Turkey Vulture.
Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

December 2011
Steve Hartman photographed the above Wood Duck at the Wildlife Lake.

On December 9, P-A. Fortin from Quebec, Canada, photographed a pelican with a red tag that might read 3C3 or 3C9. In November of 2012, pelican with red tag was seen again.

December 9, 2011 in the afternoon two immature Bonaparte's Gulls were seen at Lake Balboa in Encino.  At the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve
10+ White Pelicans were spotted on and around the island. In the fields (at 4:30PM),  one female Northern Harrier, one American Kestrel and one
Cooper's Hawk were seen. You may view photos of the Bonaparte's Gulls and some other species here:
Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

November 6, 2011 between 11 AM and 1 PM, six American White Pelicans flew over the Sepulveda Wildlife Reserve.
Witnessed an aerial duel between a Kestrel and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. There was no winner in that
dog-fight, the two raptors harassed each other for a minute and then just parted their ways. 
Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

Early November Steve Hartman (and others) saw a White-tailed Kite perched on a cottonwood tree near the Wildlife Lake.

October 31, 2011
A Vesper Sparrow was feeding in a small newly plowed area just east of the Wildlife Area Lake. On October 30, 2011
the other Vesper Sparrow continued at its spot by the river. Also, a Cassin's Vireo was in the trees west of the cricket practice field bathrooms
and a Red-breasted Sapsucker has set-up sap wells in the ash trees near the Wildlife Area's north entrance.
Submitted by Scott Logan

October 29, 2011 Visited for a few hours in the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve in the evening. I observed a fly-over the lake a group of eight White Pelicans
at 5:30 PM. They were circling above the wildlife reserve lake for a few minutes, considering landing but I haven't seen them land. Perhaps all those
illegal fishermen scared them away. It's very sad how many people with fishing rods were present around the whole perimeter of the lake bluntly
ignoring all those "NO FISHING" posts. Seems like nobody enforces the law at the wildlife reserve. 
According to the eBird, the last sighting of White Pelicans at the Sepulveda Wildlife Reserve (prior to the today's) was on March 29, 2011. 
I took a short video of White Pelicans that I uploaded via youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsQBHLZWXpI&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL
And here's one of my today's pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/6293883162/in/photostream/lightbox
Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

September 24, 2011 Steve Hartman spotted a group of what were likely Vaux swifts. Silhouette above is from photo Steve took with his iPhone.

September 23, 2011 I re-found the Orange Bishop at Sepulveda Basin - South from Burbank Blvd. (along LA river between Sepulveda Dam and
Burbank Blvd). It's a very handsome bird indeed. By the way, I just received the newest issue of the Birding journal (a
publication by the American Birding Association), which has a very interesting article written by Kimball Garrett about exotic birds of
California. If you are interested in those birds, that's the article for you.
The links to some of my today's photos of the Bishop, etc: 
and a slide-show:

Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

September 22, 2011 Baird's Sandpiper in the LA River in the Sepulveda Basin (Scott Logan)

September 21-22, 2011 Palm Warbler at the Sepulveda Basin (Danial Tinoco)

September 18, 2011 Summer Tanager (Scott Logan)

August 9-12, 2011 Black Skimmer at Lake Balboa (Kate Rogowski)

July 14, 2011
Loggerhead Shrike (Scott Logan). This species used to be common in the Basin but it is now rarely seen,
only breeding regionally in the deserts and the northwest LA county.

July 6, 2011
Least Bell's Vireo seen and heard. Click HERE for link to YouTube video to hear the vireos. (Steve Hartman and Kris Ohlenkamp)

May 14, 2011
Elegant Tern in the Sepulveda Basin  (Jon Fisher)

April 10, 2011
Yellow-headed Blackbirds at Lake Balboa (Kate Rogowski).

March 10
, 2011 At least seven Eared Grebes at Lake Balboa in Van Nuys in the late afternoon. They appeared to be in various stages between
non-breeding and breeding plumages.

Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

December 5
  Broad-winged Hawk Continues [In Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve, first reported 12/4/10 as light juvenile 1st year Broad-winged Hawk
by Susan Gilliland]: The hawk continues in the area NE of Burbank and Woodley. It has been moving from the edge of Woodley as far east as the tree line
along the stream. Submitted by Todd McGrath

December 4, 2010 - between 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM, I was trying to locate the swan at Lake Balboa that was reported earlier. I haven't found it.  However,
I did see and photograph a Common Loon on the lake. Here's the photo:
Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

On November 7, 2010 I visited Lake Balboa where I found - thanks to all prior postings - at least two maybe three Common Loons and a number of Eared
. You may view some of my today's photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/sets/72157625335841406/detail/
or a slide-show: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/sets/72157625335841406/show/ . Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

On November 5, 2010, at around 5:00 PM I observed a Peregrine Falcon flying across the cricket field - north from the road that leads from the Japanese Garden to the main parking lot. It was flying very fast and I wasn't ready when I spotted it, which  is why the photo is not great but OK for ID:
I saw only one Osprey at the time when I was there but it posed for me nicely: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/5150102805/lightbox/
Among other raptors, I also found one Red-tailed Hawk and one American Kestrel. Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

I was able to spot and photograph a Sabine's Gull today (October 8, 2010) at Lake Balboa. The Gull was hunting for fish in a very similar to the terns' fashion   plunging into the water head first. I witnessed (together with Tommye Hite) how the Gull caught a fish and then landed on the water, trying to arrange the fish in its beak to swallow. In a matter of seconds, a much larger Ring-billed Gull descended on the Sabine's. The Ring-billed harassed the Sabine's and forced the smaller Gull to drop the fish. That's our "Welcome" from the locals to such rare visitors...Besides the Sabine's Gull, I also observed 12 Greater White-fronted Goose. You may view some of my today's photos, including the Sabine's Gull here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/sets/72157625123418484/detail/ or a slide-show: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/sets/72157625123418484/show/ . Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

I spotted one flying male Wood Duck that attached itself to a small group of mallards (two males and one female) today (October 3, 2010) in the evening at
Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve in Van Nuys (at North Reserve - North from Burbank Blvd.) and I saw a silhouette of a white-faced ibis at the same location at 6:25 PM that was landing on the island in the middle of the lake. According to the Sepulveda Basin Bird Checklist, wood ducks are rare visitors at
this location, being recorded in November - December. You may view three of my today's photos here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/sets/72157624966072359/show/ . Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

September 19, 2010 Special Report. I spotted two White-faced Ibises today (Sept 19) @ Sepulveda Basin (south from Burbank Blvd.) between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM. I also noted one lesser yellowlegs and one greater yellowlegs among usual snowy egrets and killdeers. I uploaded three of my today's photos on Flicker:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/sets/72157624868493531/detail/ or a slide-show: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/sets/72157624868493531/show/ . Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

Highlights of the
August 1, 2010 morning's walk included 2 juvenile Cooper's Hawk, 4 snowy egret chicks on and near a nest on the Wildlife Lake Island (we think the first year nesting of this species has been observed here), a recently fledged Black-necked Stilt feeding in the LA River, a first-of-season Lesser Yellowlegs and 4 Yellow Warblers. Click HERE for a complete list including 47 species. Submitted by Jim Hardesty.

On July 10, 2010, between 9:30 AM and 12:30 PM, I visited Los Angeles River by the Sepulveda Dam - South from Burbank Blvd. / Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve. A few Wilson's Phalaropes were observed there recently. I did find two of them today, they were foraging in the shallow water among multiple black-necked stilts and killdeers. There were also different butterflies all around. I'm attaching a list of birds that I submitted via the e-bird and you may view some of my today's photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/sets/72157624342664373/detail/ or a slide show:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/sets/72157624342664373/show/ . Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

June 26, 2010. I visited Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve today in the morning between 8:30 AM and 11:30 AM. The morning was very cloudy. At 10:35 AM, a Barn Owl appeared right in front of me out of nowhere. It was the first time that I observed a Barn Owl flying at this time of a day at Sepulveda Basin. Besides the Owl, I also watched a few aerial chases: a Crow was harassing a Turkey Vulture and a Western Kingbird was after a Red-tailed Hawk. You may view some of my today's photos via Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/sets/72157624238779185/detail/ and slide-show: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33691985@N08/sets/72157624238779185/show/ . Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky


Pelican Injured at Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Lake Is Healthy Again, Released Back Into the Wild

                                                                                 Photo (above) by Jim Hanlon

The release happened Saturday, December 1, around 11:00 AM. The International Bird Rescue released two rehabilitated white pelicans: "our" white pelican that had been found ensnared in fishing line and a plastic bottle at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve and a second one that had been found in Long Beach with a broken bill. On hand were the IBR's board president Dave Weeshoff and the manager of their San Pedro wildlife center Julie Skoglund; two officers from the City of Los Angeles SMART Team; a troop of Eagle Scout candidates; members of San Fernando Valley Audubon, local photographers and a photographer from the Los Angeles Times.

Earlier in the morning a group of around 55 volunteers from a variety of local colleges planted California native plants such as California Rose, California Grape, and Hummingbird Sage, scattered California wildflower seed, and picked up litter. The pelican release was a wonderful finale. The weather was cooperative and probably ideal for the activities.
A very fine rain began after the pelicans were released.

For even more -- but excellent -- photos of the white pelican release, please see the link to the International Bird Rescue's blog: http://blog.bird-rescue.org/ .
Click HERE for the story from the Encino Patch. Click HERE for the story from the Army Corp's newsletter.

By Muriel Kotin


Senate Bill 1201 legalizes access to the soft-bottom reaches of the L.A. River.  It will also create a Los Angeles River Interagency Access
Council, which the Bill states is to coordinate the actions of state and local agencies with jurisdiction over, or otherwise involved in developing
and administering public access and safety policies for, the Los Angeles River.

To read the Senate Bill, click HERE.

To see a YouTube video of a kayak trip along the LA River during the 2011 pilot program click HERE

Community Conservation Solutions Releases Feasibility Studies for L.A. River Natural Park

The L.A. River Natural Park: Technical Feasibility Studies Report
L.A. River Regional Public Access, MIA LEHRER + ASSOCIATES
Hydrology, Hydraulics & Water Quality, PSOMAS

These two studies provide analysis and estimated costs of the proposed urban and stormwater runoff management, water quality improvements, and regional public access elements of the L.A. River Natural Park.

Envisioned as a showcase river-oriented park, the L.A. River Natural Park will:
naturally clean urban runoff and improve water quality
store and reuse runoff
preserve riverfront land and create native habitat
generate solar power
provide regional recreation amenities
establish an L.A. River Regional Public Access Hub and Trailhead for public access to the L.A. River in the San Fernando Valley

Click HERE for more information about the L.A. River Natural Park

Steelhead Trout for the Los Angeles River? Click HERE for video.

Los Angeles River in 1938 - Before It Was Paved. Click HERE for images

Weaving a New Web at peopleforparks.org

People for Parks has got a new look online, with added emphasis on photos, videos and other features to highlight PFP programs and news about parks and recreation in urban Los Angeles. To visit us, click HERE

water-quality issues are the back door to land preservation
See this great video from Surfrider, a 19-minute animated film, "The Cycle of Insanity - The Real Story of Water",
at http://www.knowyourh2o.org/