28 July 2010

Los Angeles and Blue Whale, July 2010

Another 48 hour layover in Torrance saw me meeting up with long-time buddy Knut who flies the bus for JetBlue out of Long Beach.
Knut promised some whale action out of Long Beach harbour in the afternoon, after walking Huntington Beach Central Park and Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in the morning.

Weather was stunning with blue skies and 25 degrees, and a fabulous time was had by both.


Huntington Beach Central Park (help with the identification of the Empidonax flycatcher appreciated, a big thanks to Bob Reimer who identified the dragonfly below):


Pachydiplax longipennis (Blue Dasher)

Un-identified Empidonax
Un-identified Empidonax
Un-identified Empidonax

Knut and his lizard

We then moved on to Bolsa Chica and spent an hour on the boardwalk there:

Elegant Tern, Thalasseus elegans
Bolsa Chica might host the largest breeding colony of Elegant Tern in the US

Belding's Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi
The endemic subspecies of Savannah Sparrow, common in the reserve


Round Stingray, Urobatis halleri
Round Stingray, Urobatis halleri
This stingray is common in the shallow waters in the reserve

Snowy Egret, Egretta thula brewsteri
American Great Egret, Ardea alba egretta

Least Sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
Least Sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
The Least Sandpiper is a common migrant here

Forster's Tern, Sterna forsteri
Forster's Tern, Sterna forsteri
Forster's Terns can be seen here year-round


We caught the 3pm whale-watching boat out of Long Beach harbour, and saw a flock of Long-beaked Common Dolphins on our way out towards the deep channel off Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Two happy whalers from Norway
Long-beaked Common Dolphin, Delphinus capensis
Long-beaked Common Dolphin, Delphinus capensis
Blue Whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Blue Whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Blue Whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Yours truly in 400mm mode
Heermann's Gull, Larus heermanni
The Heermann's Gull is common along the Southern California coastline

California Sea Lion, Zalophus californianus
Sea Launch platform for Zenit 3SL rockets