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Vagrant Wood-Warblers Around
the Palos Verdes Peninsula

Chestnut-sided Warbler at Alondra Pk.

All contents © DMH/2001-03, all rights reserved

The Palos Verdes Peninsula is the nub that sticks
asea at the SW corner of mainland LA County, CA.
RED - Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park (KMHRP)
PINK - Banning Park - 1 mile E. of 110 on PCH
(Two places with 30 species wood-warbler lists)

The Palos Verdes Peninsula Christmas Bird Count
official 15 mile diameter circle. Roughly the area
concerned for the records summarized here.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula and vicinity is the vagrant capital of Los Angeles County.
This former channel island is an oasis of green in a sea of concrete. It projects
off the coast, and has the main ingredient in fall, a south-facing dead-end.
The confused birds turn around, usually flying north to find a place to settle down.
The area concerned is roughly the CBC circle. Unlike other more famous dead-end
south-facing Points, like Reyes, and Loma, it suffers from acute lack of coverage.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula
(poor photo of a poster I have)

Regardless, it has produced an astonishing number of vagrants, any year that
it receives good coverage. For example 10 Blackpolls have been recorded in a
single fall, more than once, and five in a single day, more than once.
Over 100 Blackpolls have been found all told; probably several factors of the
sum total of all other LA county records combined! This well illustrates its
"vagrant magnetism factor".

Canada Warbler - 10/17/71
at Pt.Fermin Pk., San Pedro
1st LA Co. record

Black-throated Blue Warbler at Banning Pk., 10/91

Prothonotary Warbler
at Sur La Brea Pk., Torrance.

This is a list of vagrant warbler records from the PVP and vicinity,
with approximate numbers of total sightings. This is a compilation of
about 35 years of records, some 10 of which had almost NO records whatsoever,
reflecting its coverage those years (mostly 82-89). Parentheses, ?'s or +'s,
indicate additional SOS's (single observer sightings) for the extreme rarities.

Category 1 - one to five records Spring Fall Winter
Golden-winged - 1 1    
Painted Redstart - 2   2  
Yellow-throated - 2 1 1  
Prairie - 5 (+)   4+ 1
Mourning - 3 (5+) 1? 3? 2

Category 2 - six to ten records Spring Fall Winter
Worm-eating - 7 1 5 1
Hooded - 8 3 5  
Prothonotary - 10   10  
Black-throated Green - 11 2 9  
Canada - 10   10  
Lucy's - 11+ 1 7+ 3

Category 3 - 11-15 records Spring Fall Winter
Bay-breasted - 13 5 8  
Blackburnian - 12   11 1
Black-throated Blue - 12 1 9 2

Category 4 - 20+ records Spring Fall Winter
N. Parula - 22+ 10 10 2
Magnolia - 20+ 4 16  
Ovenbird - 21+ 7 14  
Chestnut-sided - 22 5 15 2

Category 5 - 40-50 records Spring Fall Winter
Virginia's 2? 50+  
Tennessee 10+ 35 2+
N.Waterthrush 2? 35 5

Category 6 - 100+ records Spring Fall Winter
Palm 8 60 40
Black & White 30 60 10
Blackpoll 5 100  
Am. Redstart 6+ 100 6

Totals by season 85+ 590+ 70+
Yearly average 3-4 16+ 2-3
25 "vagrant" species - 700+ individuals (means 7000 went by)

Hypotheticals - SOS's - single obsvr sightings Spring Fall Winter
Kentucky - 1 1    
Grace's - 1   1  
Blue-winged - 1   1  
Cerulean - 2   2  
Cape May - 4 1 3  
Connecticut - 3   3  

  25 "vagrants"
+ 11 "regular western"
= 36 confirmed documented sps.
+ 6 hypothetical - probably correct
= 42 probably seen sps.

The PV area and vicinity has produced over 26 sps. of warblers in a single fall.
If you see something on the Hypothetical or Category 1 list, it is imperative
you document, and/or get word out to locals ASAP!!

Most vagrant hunting occurs near the immediate coast and the places with the most
records are: Banning Pk. (Wilmington), Pt. Fermin, Peck & Leland Pks.,
and Vista de Vizcaino (San Pedro- Cabrillo Bch.), Wilderness Pk. (Redondo),
Sand Dune Pk. (Manhattan), Harbor Park(KMHRP), So. Coast Botanic Gardens,
and Madrona Marsh (Torrance).
Harbor and Banning Pks. have 30+ sps. Warbler lists!
The PV Birding sites page (link below) shows where each of these places is.

Northern Parula at Pt. Vicente - probably just in off the ocean
It's OK to have poor fuzzy pictures if they document or prove an identification or record.

Other equally astounding records of "vagrant" warblers occur, and are not listed.
These are the few summer records of otherwise 'regular' western warblers.
Most amazing was the Townsend's Warbler that summered singing at Harbor Pk.!!!
The July Lucy's Warbler at Malaga Cove is another example, but there was a
recent invasion of late summer Lucy's, nearly doubling the number of
local records ('04). A Wilson's summered singing at Harbor Pk., in '03
for the first modern local summer record, and positively bred for the
first time locally in '04. Northern Paurla also summered at Harbor Pk.,
in '04 and PROBABLY bred as well!

Hooded Warbler at Banning Pk.

American Redstart at Banning Pk.

Urban birding can be ugly...
LA County's first ever Yellow-green Vireo, also at
Banning Pk.., in the water in a tire rut,
through a chain link fence, but hey, we got the docu shots!
That's an Orange-crowned Warbler to the right.

20 species have wintered and CBC data reveals remarkable phenomenon:
1966-77 - 12 years Averaged 3.75 warbler sps. per CBC
1978-91 - 14 years Averaged 7.6 warbler sps. per CBC
1992 - Y2K - last 8 years Averaged 10.2 warbler sps. per CBC
5 of last 8 counts Recorded 11 warbler species

All contents © DMH/2003, all rights reserved

To other P.V. pages ...
Birding Places on the P.V. Peninsula Birding the Malaga Creek Area
Neptune Fountain at Malaga Cove Plaza Home

If you have any comments regarding this list,
please e-mail me at
Thank you!