Bird Walk at Sepulveda Basin

The monkey rose at 4 AM this morning to join a local photo club at Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Preserve in Los Angeles to do birding. We met up at 6:45 and the temperature was 37 degrees.  Now, if you’re living through one of those bomb cyclones in the Midwest or East Coast you aren’t going to have a lot of sympathy but for Southern California this was a COLD winter morning.

A cormorant perches on a tree branch

Fortunately, it was well worth it. Never having been to this spot before Kongo wasn’t sure what to expect. First off he took a wrong turn and ended up inside the gate at the water treatment plant. Seriously.  And then the gate closed and locked behind him and the monkey had visions of living the rest of his life in an effluent plant. The funny thing is that three other club members following the monkey’s tail lights also got mixed up in the water plant. Fortunately all is well and the locked gate finally opened magically and the monkey escaped.


The Sepulveda Basin is pretty much at the headwater of the Los Angeles River and is tucked into the northwest corner of the intersection of the 405 and 101 freeway systems. It’s on the middle of LA! How could a wildlife preserve make it here?

Some more cormorants

There were white pelicans, night herons, cormorants, ducks, Canadian geese, egrets, coots, and an osprey.  Not bad for the middle of LA.


The lake is filled with mist in the early morning sunrise and didn’t burn off for an hour or so. It made for an interesting setting although focusing was a chore.


There were dozens of white pelicans at the lake.


Canadian geese make a racket when they all decide to get airborne. Plenty of honking, splashing, and running across the water.



The Osprey was a special treat as Kongo can’t recall seeing one in the wild before.




Mallards were pairing off and mating and although these water fowl are pretty common, they’re a lot of fun to watch.  The heads on the drakes are a vibrant iridescent green this time of year.


An egret and night heron
Watch the nests. While all the other cormorants are out drying their wings and cavorting at the water’s edge, this guy got stuck with nest duty.



As Kongo was wrapping up his visit he came across this juvenile night heron close to the water’s edge. Pretty cool.




If birding isn’t your thing, the large park around the lake has soccer fields, cricket fields (who knew?), Japanese gardens, hiking and biking trails, a dam, and oh yeah, the water plant. Recently there have been homeless camps around the lake and some evidence of their stay remains but the city is making a concerted effort to move them on to another place. If you visit early on a winter morning, the monkey recommends long underwear, layers of clothes, and some gloves.


To learn more about this recreation area and to plan a visit visit this site.

Travel safe. Have fun.





7 thoughts on “Bird Walk at Sepulveda Basin

  1. Hey Scott , good to see you’re back on the travel route. Are you all recovered? Sounds like you had a good scare!

    Hope all is well!


    Paul G. Shapiro, CPA (310) 699-1668 cell

Leave a Reply