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11 Spots To Birdwatch Near LA

2010-12-10-overhead_Trazzler.jpg   First Posted: 01/12/11 01:36 PM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:25 PM ET

Text by Megan Cytron, courtesy of Trazzler.

Southern California's warm weather and primo location on the Pacific Flyway, makes it one of the top bird-watching areas in the country. This is especially true in January when you can catch both permanent residents and out-of-town birds mingling--with over 100 easy-to-spot species (and hundreds more that require patience and luck). The habitats are as varied as the birds, ranging from coastal lowlands to inland valleys to deserts and the especially bird-friendly bizarro world of the Salton Sea.

The unassuming simplicity of the Guadalupe Dunes ignites the imagination and eases the mind, providing a serene refuge for any species of traveler. On these 18 miles of protected coastline, the sand and sky appear lusciously pasteled, tinted with soft and muted colors reminiscent of a Salvador Dali painting. After driving down a bumpy one-lane road to an isolated parking lot, the diligent adventurer is greeted on one side by heaving ocean and on the other by undulating sand. Heading inland and circumventing an endangered bird sanctuary where tiny western snowy plovers lay their delicate eggs undisturbed, you soon lose sight and sound of the coast. Surrounded by rolling dunes in this alien plane, you could be anywhere from Arabia to Mars. Although these timeless dunes have been depicted in numerous motion pictures, even the highest quality film cannot capture the humbling solitude of this enchanting desert.

Writer: Milo Furlong | Photo: Milo Furlong
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