Ballona Freshwater Marsh

Best Bird-Watching for Beginners

Bring an early-morning repast and binoculars, grab a bench facing the Ballona Freshwater Marsh, and voilà: avian TV. Songbirds settle on nearby sycamores, coots skim the water’s surface, egrets fly through the reeds, and great blue herons stand as if posing for portraits. More than 240 species have been spotted in this Playa del Rey preserve. A public jogging path offers additional viewpoints to track the airborne residents—just go to the Friends of Ballona Web site for a birding checklist. Better still? Show up on the second and fourth Saturday of the month for an Audubon tour into normally verboten zones.