26801 Ortega Highway San Juan Capistrano, 92675 (949) 234-1300 www.missionsjc.com/ (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
More than 200 species of marine bird species at Ballona Wetlands near Marina del Rey include this beautiful great blue heron.
Lincoln Boulevard and West Jefferson Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90094 www.ballonafriends.org (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
A tourist relaxes among the seabirds at Aliso Beach in Orange County.
31131 S. Pacific Coast Highway Laguna Beach, 92652 (949) 923-2280 or (949) 923-2283 www.ocparks.com/Alisobeach (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
A rare Nutting’s flycatcher, more commonly found in Mexico, perches in William R. Mason Regional Park in Irvine. Other species at one of America’s most well-known birding sites include hawks, towhees, roadrunnners and warblers.
18712 University Drive Irvine, 92612-2601 (949) 923-2220 or (949) 923-2223 www.ocparks.com/masonpark/ (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Wildlife photographers at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve near Huntington Beach have an unobstructed view of more than 300 bird species, including pintails, western grebes, godwits and sandpipers, egrets, white pelicans -- and the occasional peregrine falcon -- from the footbridge over Inner Bolsa Bay.
Bolsa Chica Conservancy 3842 Warner Ave. Huntington Beach, 92649-4263 (714) 846-1114 bolsachica.org (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
One of Southern California‘s premier birding sites, the Salton Sea in Imperial and Riverside counties boasts a wealth of bird life, including these avocets.
Salton Sea Authority 78-401 Highway 111 La Quinta, 92253 www.saltonsea.ca.gov (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Visitors to Ormond Beach in Ventura County are treated to a wealth of seabirds and wildlife, including this black-necked stilt.
Bird-watchers often cluster around the portion of the San Gabriel River that flows through Whittier Narrows Nature Area, hoping to catch a glimpse of the waterfowl and migratory birds that populate some 400 acres of wetlands.
An ibis forages for food in the Los Angeles River near Long Beach. The river and the 225-acre Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve that drains into it also are occasional resting spots for migratory birds.
A California brown pelican takes flight over Los Cerritos wetlands. A stopoff on the Pacific Flyway in Long Beach and Seal Beach, the wetlands also boast great blue herons, snowy egrets, American avocets and western sandpipers.
A 1- to 2-week-old California least tern is held by a birding expert at Seal Beach Naval Station. The endangered birds are protected here by an electric fence (check with the Audubon Society, which runs frequent trips). Los Cerritos Wetlands are also nearby.
A California condor takes to the skies at the Sespe Condor Sanctuary, near the southern edge of Los Padres National Forest in Ojai. The sanctuary is closed to the public, but check local news updates for times when its condors may be released into the wild.
Bird spotters at Madrona Marsh Preserve in Torrance take part in the Audubon Society’s annual bird census. Seasonal visitors to the marsh, which lies on the Pacific Flyway, include Say’s phoebes, common snipes and cliff swallows.