Being locked down for a pandemic and being held back from travel further concentrated a perspective I had been developing - a perspective of intense local birding. I do live in a city, however, and birding especially local means birding urban parks. Not to worry, right, urban parks in Los Angeles are often good for migrants, rarities, and some are among the most visited birding sites in the County. However, birding the same old places as everyone else means repetition, seeing used birds, and a stifling of discovery. The answer: bird all of those parks that you would drive by while going to a better known or just plain better spot. That sports park? That sketchy place with a couple of picnic tables next to the warehouse? If it is on the map and is called a "park," then it counts. Many of these aren't even identified as "Hotspots" in eBird. Not surprising, but many of these parks are located in places like Pasadena and Altadena which have a higher than average number of birders - the very same people driving by these parks to go birding elsewhere.
So, I started very local, Charles White Park in Altadena and have been there 48 weeks of the year. Washington Park, just down the road, about the same. I added other parks from around Altadena and Pasadena, north of the 210 freeway, and have been working those over. I also added to my list the parks around Monterey Park - those bound on the north by the 10 freeway, the south and west by the 5 and 710 freeways, and the east by the Rio Hondo.
That makes for the northern Pasadena area:
And for the Monterey Park area:
These parks pretty truly suck for birds. In fact, if it has over 100 cumulative species in eBird, I stop going (like I did for Garvey Ranch Park when it nosed past the 100 mark). I'm trying to find at least 50 species in each of these parks. For some, that will be a real challenge.
Any good birds found? Well, a few. For a place like Saybrook Park or Atlantic Avenue Park, I really think that any bird is good. However, three Cassin's Finches at Charles White Park were notable. A fall migrant Hammond's Flycatcher at Brenner Park was the only species that tripped the eBird filter. Oh, well, it's a project.