Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) Lancaster Sewage Ponds, May 28, 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                                      © 2011 Callyn Yorke                                                                                         


Bird Surveys

November 9, 2011

October 14, 2011

September 8, 2011

August 28, 2011

August 14, 2011

July 20, 2011

July 9, 2011

June 14, 2011

June 5, 2011

May 25, 2011

May 4, 2011

April 27, 2011

April 24, 2011

February 23, 2011

November 4, 2010

September 13, 2010

August 25, 2010

August 22, 2010                                                                                                                                                                                                  

August 8, 2010

August 2, 2010

May 12, 2010

April 28, 2010

April 23, 2010

March 31, 2010

March 21, 2010

May 11, 13 & 15, 2009

NOVEMBER 9, 2011 (22 Species)

Weather:  Fair; 32F, no wind.

Time: 0748 - 0845 hrs.

Area Covered: After signing in at the nw maintenance building, I drove the levee roads around the entire facility. Construction and maintenance vehicle traffic was fairly heavy during my survey. Waterbirds were distributed unevenly in the ponds; most species were in the northwest and eastern ponds. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included,  White-faced Ibis (1), Bonaparte's Gull (33), Herring Gull (1) and Barn Swallow (1).


Gadwall   1 (m) nw pond.

American Wigeon  1  (m) nw pond.

Mallard  2  (m,f) nw pond.

Northern Shoveler  1,200 (m,f)   mostly nw and eastern ponds and embankments; flighty.

Redhead 1 (m) resting, e pond.

Ruddy Duck   80 (m,f) nw and e ponds.

Eared Grebe    5  nw and e ponds.

Western Grebe  1  on embankment, e pond.

White-faced Ibis  1  on embankment with gulls, central-east ponds (partial photo, see below).

American Coot    50  nw and east ponds.

Killdeer  2  fly, call  central-e levees.

Bonaparte's Gull  33  swimming in a tight flock, ne pond.

Ring-billed Gull   12 (ad, imm) on levee with CAGU, central-e (photo).

California Gull  85 ( 75% adult)  on levee and in pond, e (photo).

Herring Gull 1  HY  on levee with CAGU (photo).

California Gull (ad & imm) and HY Herring Gull (center) and Ring-billed Gull (imm), Lancaster Sewage TF, LACO, November 9, 2011

                                                                                                                                          © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Common Raven  10  on levees and edges of ponds.

Horned Lark  10  adjacent fields, s.

Barn Swallow  1  flying over adjacent field and s-central pond.

European Starling   5  ne.

Savannah Sparrow  2  weedy catchment basin, nw.

White-crowned Sparrow  5  weedy catchment basin, nw.

Brewer's Blackbird  30 (m,f)   levees and edges of ponds.





OCTOBER 14, 2011 (26 Species)

Weather: Partly cloudy. 63F to 72F; no wind.

Time: 0900 - 1056 hrs.

Area Covered: After signing in at the maintenance building in the northwest corner of the facility, I drove on the levee of the northwestern catchment basin, now a ruderal field grown to numerous exotics, such as Russian Thistle (Salsola iberica), Salt Cedar (Tamarix sp.) and grasses (Bromus spp). A small patch of tules (Schoenoplectus acutus ) in the southwest corner next to an inlet was the site where marsh birds (e.g. Marsh Wren and Song Sparrow) were found. I also walked around the northwest pond and drove the levees around the entire facility. There was only one maintenance truck on the main, east-west levee during my survey. Conditions were good for finding and identifying birds.


Gadwall  200 (m,f) most were flushed from the embankment of the northeastern pond; several swimming with NOSH.

American Wigeon  4  (m,f) swimming with NOSH and RUDU, nw.

Mallard   6  (m,f) with NOSH, nw.

Cinnamon Teal  1 (m) dabbling at edge of pond, nw.

Northern Shoveler  2,500 (m,f) dense flocks swimming, dabbling throughout the facility, especially e.

Ruddy Duck  80 (m,f)  swimming in center of most ponds.

Eared Grebe  120   swimming in most ponds.

American Coot   60  edge of pond, nw, e.

American Avocet  1  edge of levee, e.

Killdeer   10  on levee and edge of ponds, nw.

Least Sandpiper   60  foraging in small flocks (8-12 birds) at edge of ponds, nw.

Least Sandpiper, nw Lancaster Sewage TF, October 14, 2011

                                                                                            © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Black Phoebe  1   low perch, nw catchment basin.

Western Kingbird  1  flying along eastern border of the facility.

Common Raven  10  on levee and flying over, nw, w.

Horned Lark  10  foraging on adjacent side of levee, n.

Marsh Wren  2   in patch of tules, nw catchment basin; calls.

European Starling  2  flying over, nw.

American Pipit  1  fly, calls, nw.

Common Yellowthroat  1 (m) in tamarisk, calls.nw

Savannah Sparrow   12  in weedy field and on levess throughout (photo).

Savannah Sparrow   nw Lancaster Sewage TF, October 14, 2011.

                                                                                                                 © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Song Sparrow  2  in tules and weeds; calls. nw (photo).

Song Sparrow  nw Lancaster Sewage TF, October 14, 2011

                                                                     © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Lincoln's Sparrow   5  in weeds and tules, nw (photo)

Lincoln's Sparrow  nw Lancaster Sewage TF, October 14, 2011

                                                                    © 2011 Callyn Yorke

White-crowned Sparrow   16   foraging on ground in weedy area; calls and song, nw  (photo).

White-crowned Sparrow ( Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii)   nw Lancaster Sewage TF, October 14, 2011

                                                                                                                     © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Brewer's Blackbird   18 (m,f) on levees and edge of ponds.

House Finch   3  (m,f) in weedy area, calls, nw.

House Sparrow  1  foraging on ground in weedy area, nw.





SEPTEMBER 8, 2011 (23 Species)

Weather: Fair; 72F, no wind.

Time: 0735  -0900 hrs.

Area Covered: After signing in at the nw maintenance building, I drove a counter-clockwise route around the perimeter of the ponds, beginning from the central west levee (instead of my usual start at the nw corner). This route afforded good lighting when viewing the eastern and northwestern ponds. Traffic around the facility was fairly heavy. Conditions were otherwise good for locating birds on the levees and in the ponds. The largest concentrations of waterbirds were in the southeastern, eastern and northwestern ponds. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, American White Pelican (1), Black-bellied Plover (1), Snowy Plover (3), and Baird's Sandpiper (4), Red-necked Phalarope (250). Wilson's Phalarope, the most abundant phalarope in my August 28, 2011 survey (see below), was not found today. Nor were there any Western Sandpipers, gulls or terns found at the sewage ponds today.


Mallard   40 (m,f)  edges of the ponds; swimming.

Northern Shoveler   1,200 (m,f) most swimming, dabbling; some resting on levee; very flighty.

Ruddy Duck   90  (m,f  alt., bsc. plmg.)  resting in eastern ponds.

Eared Grebe  10 (bsc. plmg.) swimming, e, nw.

American White Pelican  1  resting on levee, central-north.

American Coot  7  resting together on the edge of the levee, n-central.

Black-bellied Plover  1 (imm) foraging at the water line; running ahead of me on the levee; fly (photo).

Black-bellied Plover (immature)  Lancaster sewage ponds, LACO , CA  September 8, 2011

                                                                                       © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Snowy Plover  3  on levee, nw (photo).

Snowy Plover, LSP, September 8, 2011

                             © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Killdeer    6  on levee, w, nw.

American Avocet   3 ( 2 ad, 1 imm)  two adults with a half-grown young bird, edge of levee, e.

Spotted Sandpiper  1  foraging at edge of water, e.

Least Sandpiper   40 (ad, imm)  foraging at edge of water throughout the facility.

Baird's Sandpiper    4 (imm) foraging at the edge of the water, e, nw.

Red-necked Phalarope   200 (conservative. estimate)  spinnning in loose flocks, s, se, nw.

Mourning Dove  1  flying s, grassy field, s.

Say's Phoebe  1  landed on construction fence, w.

Common Raven   12  on levee, s.

Horned Lark   30  flocks in adjacent ruderal fields and bare ground; levees and edge of water.

Barn Swallow  2  flying low over pond, w.

European Starling  2  on utility wires, w.

Sage Sparrow  1  on chain-link fence, s.

Brewer's Blackbird   20 (m,f) foraging on edge of levees, s, e, n.

Brown-headed Cowbird  6 (imm)   a cohesive flock on the levee with BRBL, e.







AUGUST 28, 2011 (26 Species)

Weather: Fair. 73F; no wind.

Time: 0706 - 0937 hrs.

Area Covered: After signing in at the nw maintenance building, I drove the main levees around the north and central ponds. Only one maintenance vehicle was being used on the levees during the survey. Hundreds of sandpipers and other water birds were found throughout the ponds.. Species of seasonal and/or distributional interest included: Sanderling (1); Baird's Sandpiper (3); Pectoral Sandpiper (1); Snowy Plover (5) and Willet (1).


                     Four species of peeps: WESA, LESA, BASA, SAND, at the Lancaster Sewage Ponds, August 28, 2011  © 2011 Callyn Yorke



Gadwall  3 (f) flew into nw pond.

Mallard  40 (m,f) scattered around pond complex.

Northern Shoveler  1,200   (m,f)  crowded and flighty in eastern and southern ponds.

Ruddy Duck  3 (m,f) swimming, nw.

American Coot  1  swimming in s pond with NOSH.

Killdeer   6  levees, w.

Snowy Plover   5  (ad, imm) running on levees, w, nw.

American Avocet  60 (ad, imm) resting on levees; swimming.

Willet  1 (imm)  resting, calls, on levee (photo).

Willet (immature)   LSP  August 28, 2011            © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Spotted Sandpiper  2  foraging at water line, e and nw.

Sanderling  1 (imm)  foraging at water line with WESA and LESA; flying (photo).

Sanderling  (immature) LSP  28 August 2011                  © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Western Sandpiper   120 (ad, imm)  foraging at water line throughout the pond complex (photo).

WESA  (immature)  LSP  28 August 2011                   © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Least Sandpiper   400   (ad, imm)  foraging at the water line throughout the pond complex.

Baird's Sandpiper  3   (imm)  foraging at water line; resting on levee together, nw (photo).

Baird's Sandpiper (immatures) with LESA in middle, LSP 28 August, 2011


                                                                                                               © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Pectoral Sandpiper  1  flushed from main levee at edge of water, nw.

Red-necked Phalarope   60 (bsc. plmg.)   occasionally swimming with WIPH but usually keeping separate, nw (photo).

RNPH (left) and WIPH  LSP  28 August, 2011                    ©  2011 Callyn Yorke


Wilson's Phalarope   350 (bsc. plmg.)   present in most ponds (photo).


WIlson's Phalarope  LSP  28 August , 2011                          © 2011 Callyn Yorke


California Gull  13 (ad; C1, C2)  restiing on main levee; swimming in w-central pond.

Common Raven   6  on levee, s.

Horned Lark  20  on levee and at the water line, nw.

Barn Swallow   10  flying around w buildings and marshy catchment basin, nw.

Bewick's Wren  1  in marshy catchment basin with young salt cedars.

European Starling  8  flying around buildings, w, e.

Red-winged Blackbird  1 (imm) in tall shrubs, marshy catchment basin.

Brewer's Blackbird   30 (m,f) on levees and at water line throughout pond complex.

House Finch   8  on levee next to marshy catchment basin, nw.







AUGUST 14, 2011 (25 Species)

Weather: Fair. 65f to 83 F. Winds WSW 2-5 mph.

Time: 0710 - 0830 hrs.

Area Covered: After signing in at the nw maintenance building, I drove on the main levees around the entire sewage pond facility, including side trips on smaller levees in the northwest corner. No other vehicles were present during my survey; conditions were excellent for locating and identifying birds. A binocular and scope were used for the surveys.


Gadwall  5 (m,f) swimming, se pond.

Mallard   80 (m,f; imm) swimming; resting on levees.

Northern Shoveler  8 (f) swimming, dabbling; very flighty, se.

Ruddy Duck   6 (m, f alt. bsc. plmg.) resting, se pond.

Great Blue Heron 1 (imm) on s levee.

Killdeer    6  on levees, nw, se.

Wilson's Phalarope   400 (bsc. plmg.) swimming, foraging on surface insects in most ponds, esp. nw and se.

Red-necked Phalarope   8 (bsc. plmg.)   swimming, foraging, se pond.

American Avocet  80 (ad, imm: 98/2%) levees everywhere; calls, protection displays.

Black-necked Stilt  4  flushed from main levee, nw.

Willet   5  resting on levee, se.

Western Sandpiper  2 (imm) forgaging at water line, nw.

Least Sandpiper    18 (ad, imm) foraging at water line, nw, se.

Spotted Sandpiper  1 (bsc. plmg.) foraging at water line, se.

Ring-billed Gull   4 (ad)  on levee, nw, se.

California Gull    30 (all ages; 50% ad) levees, nw, se.

Forster's Tern  2 (ad, alt. plmg.) resting together at water line, se.

Mourning Dove  1 flushed from levee, sw.

Common Raven  18  on levees, s, ne.

European Starling   10 (ad, imm)  around buildings, ne.

Horned Lark    15  on levees and adjacent open areas, nw, s.

Barn Swallow  12  flying low over ponds; on utility lines, nw, ne.

Brewer's Blackbird  25 (m,f)  small flocks on levees and at the water line, nw, e.

House Finch   5  on fence, w.

House Sparrow  2  calls, fly, buildings, w.




JULY 20, 2011 (19 Species)

Weather: Fair; 77F. Winds WSW 2-5 mph.

Time: 0837-0937 hrs.

Area Covered: After signing in at the nw maintenance building, I drove the main levee road forming the perimeter of the ponds. Some traffic on the e-w levee prohibited stopping for long on the north side without turning onto a side levee as an alternate route. Winds subsided during the survey; conditions were good for finding birds in the facility. About 150 Wilson's Phalarope were confined to the east-central pond.Other waterbirds, e.g. Mallard, Avocet, Snowy Plover, were concentrated in the northwestern pond.


Gadwall  10 (ad, imm)   swimming in the nw and e-central ponds.

Mallard    60 (ad, imm)   nw and e-central ponds.

Ruddy Duck   20  e-central pond.

Least Sandpiper    15  edge of ponds, nw.

Marbled Godwit  1 (imm) on levee, nw.

Wilson's Phalarope  150 (bsc.and trans. alt.)  loose flocks swimming, e-central pond (photo).

                                                                                                                                              © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Killdeer   10  on levees, nw.

Snowy Plover  2  together on a side levee, nw.

American Avocet    80 (ad; imm) ubiquitous, vocal.

Black-necked Stilt   12  on levees, nw.

California Gull  1 (C2) flying, e-central.

European Starling    25  (ad, imm)  edge of ponds, e-central.

Common Raven   6  central ponds.

Horned lark  6  on ground, nw.

Tree Swallow   1  on utility line, ne.

Barn Swallow    8  flying; on utility line, ne.

Red-winged Blackbird  2   weedy catchment basin, nw.

Brewer's Blackbird  8  nw.

House Sparrow  8  around buildings, nw.




JULY 9, 2011 (15 Species)

Weather: Fair; 89F; winds WSW 8-10 mph.

Time:  1042 - 1143 hrs.

Area Covered:  After signing in at the nw maintenance building, I drove the levees around the northern ponds, surveying several ponds twice with a 10x42 binocular. Relatively few waterbirds were found; American Avocet continues to breed sucessfully here.


Gadwall 1  swimming, nw pond.

Mallard   30 (ad, imm) swimming in nw ponds.

Killdeer   5  on levees.

American Avocet   50 (ad, imm)  scattered on levees; injured wing display, alarm calls.

Black-necked Stilt   3 (ad)   on levee, nw.

Least Sandpiper  6  foraging at edge of water in splash zone, nw.

Ring-billed Gull  (ad, imm)  11 on levee, nw.

California Gull  8 (ad, imm) on levee with RBGU.

Common Raven  2  flying over ponds.

Horned Lark  2 (ad, imm)   edge of water.

European Starling    30  (ad, imm) foraging on levee and edge of water.

Barn Swallow  4  flying low over ponds and weedy catchment basin, nw.

Red-winged Blackbird  2   in tules, nw catchment basin.

Brewer's Blackbird  30  (m,f; imm) foraging on levees and edge of water.

Brown-headed Cowbird  1 (imm) following BRBL at edge of water.





JUNE 14, 2011 (16 Species)

Weather: Fair; 85F; no wind.

Time: 0934-1009 hrs.

Area Covered: After signing in at the nw maintenance facility, I drove slowly around the ponds in the northwest portion of the original Lancaster Sewage Pond Facility at the swc of Avenue D and Sierra HWY (see May 11, 2009 survey for a map). This part of the facility appeared to have most of the birdllife, as is usually the case. My survey also included distant views of adjacent (south) ponds and the marshy catchment basin at the northwest corner. There were no other vehicles on the levees during my survey. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Whimbrel (1) and Snowy Plover (4). Additionally, several young Gadwall and American Avocet were present, indicating successful breeding of those species at the sewage ponds.


Gadwall  20 (m,f; imm) on levees and in ponds; one pair swimming, followed by about 12 small immatures, nw.

Mallard  20 (m,f)  one fem with several young.

Ruddy Duck  6 (m,f) nw.

Clark's Grebe  1  picking insects from water surface, nw.

Killdeer  2  edge of levee, nw.

Snowy Plover  4  on southern levee, nw.

Black-necked Stilt  18  on north-south oriented levee, nw.

American Avocet   60 (m,f; imm)  adults on levees with small and half-grown immatures; also swimming

Whimbrel  1  on 2nd north-south levee, nw.

California Gull 2  (C2, C3) on s levee, nw.

Common Raven  4  on south side of facility.

Horned Lark  28  edge of levees and open areas, nw.

Barn Swallow  4  flying low over ponds; probably nesting in local buildings.

European Starling   4  in open, ruderal field, nw.

Red-winged Blackbird  2 (m,f)   marshy catchment basin, nw.

Brewer's Blackbird  12 (m,f, imm) on levees.






JUNE 5, 2011 (16 Species)

Weather: Partly cloudy; 55F; winds WSW 5 -7 mph.

Time: 0935 - 1035 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: After signing in at the maintenance building in the nw corner of the facility, we drove the levees around the northwestern and northeastern portions of the ponds, surveying birds with binoculars and a DSLR camera. Relatively few waterbirds were found. An adult coyote was seen on the nw levee; startled by our presence, it fled northward onto a tall berm of the new pond complex. At least 32 American Avocet were found; about twenty appeared to be nesting on the last north-south running levee before the eastern border. Three young birds were running along the main east-west levee in this vicinity. The only relatively unusual species found today was Sanderling (2) on the levee in the nw section (photos).


Gadwall  10  (m,f)  pairs on levees and swimming.

Mallard  3  swimming in ponds; one f with small young.

Ruddy Duck  3  (m,f)  swimming in pond.

American Avocet  32  ad, imm(3); vocal, active breeding colony on levees.

Snowy Plover  2  (alt. plmg.)  a pair staying together on levee, nw.

Killdeer   2  on levee, nw.

Sanderling  2  staying together on levee (photo) ; flew out over pond and circled back to the levee when approached (photo).


© 2011 Callyn Yorke                                                                                                  © 2011 Callyn Yorke


California Gull  1 (C2) flying over nw pond.

Common Raven   3  flying around buildings and s ponds.

Horned Lark  20  on levees and edge of ponds.

Tree Swallow  2   flying over pond; on levee and utility wire, ne.

Barn Swallow   6  flying low over ponds; one on levee next to TRSW.

European Starling  4  around buildings, ne and levees.

Red-winged Blackbird  2 (m)    1 m chasing a raven above marsh-weed catchment basin, nw.

Brewer's Blackbird  8 (m,f)   foraging on levee and edge of pond, ne.

House Finch  6  around buildings, w.







MAY 25, 26 & 28, 2011 (26 Species)

Weather: Fair; 59F, wind WSW 1 - 2 mph (5/25); Fair, 72F, wind W 20 - 30 mph.(5/26); Fair; 61F wind WSW 25-30 mph.

Time: 0650 - 0807 hrs.(5/25); 1320 -1400 hrs (5/26); 0928-1007 hrs.

Observers: myself (5/25); Merissa Mendez and I (5/26); Ethan Yorke and I (5/28)

Area Covered5/25: After signing in at the nw maintenance building, I drove slowly and walked on the levees surrrounding the northwest ponds. Conditions were excellent for finding and identifying birds. A search for Arctic Tern, reported here yesterday by Todd McGrath, failed to produce this rare visitant to the Antelope Valley. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found this morning included: Willet, Semipalmated Plover, Snowy Plover and Bonaparte's Gull.  5/26: After I signed in, we drove the same route as I covered yesterday in addition to going to the east end of the main access levee. Most of the same bird species found yesterday were seen again today; the Arctic Tern, initially found on 5/24, then reported here again yesterday (5/25) at around noon by Jim Moore, was not seen by us today. Three additional species were noted today, including Sanderling (photo), Whimbrel and Black Tern. Strong winds whipped up waves that splashed onto the n-s running levees (and over the top of our vehicle), together with gritty dust clouds from adjacent construction areas. On 5/28, weather conditions were similar to those on 5/26; most of the same bird species were found. In addition, we obtained excellent views of an adult Arctic Tern continuing at this location and foraging in the northwest pond (photo).


Gadwall   12 (m,f) pairs swimming together in 4 ponds; a few resting on levees.

Mallard   20 (m,f) swimming in 4 ponds; resting on levees.

Redhead   4   two pair swimming in nw pond.

Ruddy Duck   5 (m,f) swimming in nw pond.

White-faced Ibis   (alt. plmg.)  7 resting on nw levee; 20 flying nw.

Semi-palmated Plover  4 (alt., bsc. plmg.)    together on nw levee.

Snowy Plover  1  running along nw levee.

Killdeer  6   on all levees; calls.

American Avocet  20 (m,f; alt. plmg.)   vocal, broken wing display; swimming and resting on levees.

Black-necked Stilt  (alt. plmg.)  running on nw levee.

Spotted Sandpiper  4  (alt. plmg.) foraging at water line of nw levees.

Sanderling  11 ( bsc. and trans. alt plmg.) a tight flock initially flushed from main levee then landed again on sw levee (photo)

                                                                                                                                                                                     ©  2011 Callyn Yorke                                                                                                                                    


Willet  1 (bsc. plmg.) on edge of levee (photo); flew w across pond; calls.

                                                                                                                                   © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Whimbrel  1  resting on nw levee.

Bonaparte's Gull 4    (ad, imm; 1 alt; 3 bsc. plmg) ) foraging on pond surface, nw (photo).

                                                                                                                                                                                                © 2011 Callyn Yorke

                                                                                                                                  ©  2011 Callyn Yorke


Ring-billed Gull    4  (ad, imm)  on levee.

California Gull   5  (ad, imm) on levee.

Caspian Tern  3  flying over nw pond; calls.

Black Tern  1  flying low over splash zone, nw-central pond.

Arctic Tern 1 (adult alt. plmg.) foraging by dipping into the water while flying into the wind over the nw pond (photo). This record (first reported by Todd McGrath) is evidently only the second record for Arctic Tern in the Antelope Valley; the first was obtained on June 1, 1980, by Kimball Garrett at Lake Los Angeles, which has been completely dry for about 25 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Common Raven   3  on levee and edge of water.

Horned Lark  3  on levee.

Barn Swallow  4-10   flying low over nw ponds and weedy catchment basin.

Cliff Swallow  1  flying low over nw levee (5/28).

Red-winged Blackbird   2 (m)  foraging on insects at edge of pond; in weedy catchment basin; calls.

Brewer's Blackbird  1 (f)  foraging at edge of nw pond.  

House Finch  2  around maintenance buildings, w.                                                                             




MAY 4, 2011 (20 Species)

Weather: Fair; 55F; no wind.

Time: 0735 - 0830 hrs.

Area Covered: I signed in at the maintenance building, NWC of the Lancaster Waste Water Treatment Facility (the original Lancaster sewage ponds), and drove around two nw ponds, avoiding traffic on the main east-west levee. I did not cover the other ponds in this facility this morning, due to traffic on the levees and limited time before my biology lab class. I used a 10x42 binocular and DSLR camera for the survey. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found this morning included, Redhead - continuing; Lesser Scaup - continuing; Red-necked Phalarope, Whimbrel and Franklin's Gull.


Gadwall  20  (m,f)  on levees and in ponds.

Mallard   18 (m,f) on levees and in ponds.

Northern Shoveler  3  (m,f)  on levee and in ponds.

Lesser Scaup  2 (m,f)  - continuing -  in pond.

Redhead  3 (m,f)  - continuing - on levee and in pond.

Ruddy Duck    40   (m,f)  alt. plmg.  in pond.

American Coot    4  in pond.

American Avocet   20  (m,f)  alt. plmg.  open wing display, calls; on levee and in ponds.

Whimbrel   4  on levee.

Least Sandpiper  60  foraging at the water lines.

Western Sandpiper   8  fly, landing on levee.

Red-necked Phalarope  30 (alt. plmg.)  a tight flock foraging in the nw pond.

Killdeer   1  on levee.

Ring-billed Gull 7  (ad, imm) on levee.

California Gull   2  (ad, imm) on levee.

Franklin's Gull   7  (alt. plmg.)  both nw ponds; two on levee; flew to pond; flock vocalizing, flighty and staying together; snatching aerial insects (photos).

                                                                                                                                                                                                 © 2011 Callyn Yorke

                                                                                                                             © 2011 Callyn Yorke


European Starling  3  (1 imm)  on levee and in weedy catchment basin.

Common Raven 4  flying around facility

Barn Swallow  2  flying low over ponds and levees.

Red-winged Blackbird  2 (m,f) in weedy catchment basin.





APRIL 27, 2011 (25 Species)

Weather: Fair; 57F to 62F; Winds WNW 2-15 mph.

Time: 0745 - 0947 hrs.

Area Covered: After signing in at the main office, I drove around the northern ponds, beginning and ending with the northwest pond. Traffic from maintenance vehicles on the east-west levee, forced me to stay on side levees, mainly in the northwestern section. This area seemed to have the greatest variety and abundance of waterbirds. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included: Blue-winged Teal and Red-necked Phalarope. More than 100 Least and Western Sandpipers were feeding at the waterlines, both within and outside the wave-splash zone. A 10x42 binocular and DSLR camera were used for the survey.


Gadwall   14 (m,f)   on levee and in nw pond.

Mallard  16 (m,f) on levees and in ponds.

Blue-winged Teal  2 (m,f)  a pair foraging at the edge of the nw pond.

Northern Shoveler   10 (m,f)  in nw and ne ponds.

Redhead  3  (m,f) in nw pond.

Lesser Scaup   2 (m,f )  in nw pond.

Ruddy Duck   120 (m,f)  in nw and ne ponds.

American Coot   8  in nw pond and nw grassy area.

American Avocet   13  on levee, nw, n.

Black-necked Stilt   27  on levee, nw, n.

Western Sandpiper     80 (alt. plmg.)   foraging at waterlines, nw pond; 2 SY bsc. plmg, slighly smaller, paler and shorter-billed than nearby adult WESA (Photos A, B)..

                                                                                                                                                             © 2011 Callyn Yorke


                                                                                                                                                         © 2011 Callyn Yorke



Least Sandpiper   120  foraging at waterline in nw and n ponds.


Red-necked Phalarope   7  (alt. plmg.) foraging in nw pond (photo).

                                                                                                                                                             © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Ring-billed Gull   6  (ad, imm)  on levee and in nw pond.

California Gull    20 (ad, imm) on levee and circling above nw pond.

Forster's Tern   10  (alt. plmg.)  arriving near the end of the survey on levee of nw pond (photo).

                                                                                                                                                                                             © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Common Raven   4  flying around buildings, w.

Tree Swallow  1  flying over nw pond.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2  flying low over nw pond.

Barn Swallow  3  flying low over nw pond.

European Starling  2   around buildings, w.

American Pipit  3   edge of levees, n.

Red-winged Blackbird  3  (m,f)  grassy area, nw.

Brewer's Blackbird  2  edge of levee, n.







APRIL 24, 2011 (26 Species)

Weather:  Fair; 56F; WNW winds 15 -30 mph.

Time: 0815 - 1100 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered:  After signing in, we drove around the original Lancaster Sewage Treatment ponds north of Avenue D and west of Sierra Hwy. We stopped at several locations (e.g. nw ponds and ne pond) to observe and photograph birds on levees and in open water. We used a 35-55x scope, 10x42 binocular and DSLR camera for the survey. No other people were present in the survey area. Increasing winds created hazardous splash zones along the north-south levees, forcing us to stay in the vehicle for most of the survey. Migratory waterbirds were abundant (e.g. Western Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper); Red-necked Phalarope (3) was found on the nw pond. The latter species had apparently been altogether missed by birders covering the ponds during the past two days of the ABC event.


Gadwall   24 (m,f) on levees and along edges of ponds, nw, ne, se.

Mallard   14 (m,f)  as above.

Northern Shoveler   21 (m,f)  in ponds, nw, ne.

Lesser Scaup   4 (m,f)  one male diving in ne pond.

Ruddy Duck   55 (m,f)  most in alt. plmg.

Eared Grebe   4  (alt. plmg.)  edge of ne pond.

American Coot   21  swimming near edges and in middle of ponds, nw, ne.

Semipalmated Plover    4  on levees, nw, e.

Killdeer   3  on levee, nw, e.

Spotted Sandpiper    2  (alt. plmg.)  on levee, n, e.

Western Sandpiper    90  (alt. plmg.) on levees; foraging at edge of ponds, nw, n, e (photo).

                                                                                                                                    © 2011 Callyn Yorke  

Least Sandpiper    110  (alt. plmg.)  on levees and foraging at edge of ponds, nw, n, ne, e (photo).

                                                                                                                             © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Black-necked Stilt   3  on levee, e.

American Avocet   6  on levee and in pond, nw, ne.

Red-necked Phalarope  3 (alt. and trans. alt. plmg.)  flew into nw pond; close enough for an ID (photo).

                                              © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Whimbrel  1  on levee, nw (photo).

                                                                                                                               © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Ring-billed Gull    9  (ad; C1, C2)   on levees, nw.

Mew Gull   1  (C1)  resting on levee with CAGU; noted about 30% smaller than nearby CAGU; long wings largely transluscent in flight,  intially drawing my attention; light brown, worn primaries; brownish wing coverts; medium gray mantle. Wide black tail band. Bill medium flesh-pink, with black tip. Legs flesh-pink. Overall size and other features suggest RIGU; small bill and long wings, European Mew Gull (photos).  Mew Gull is an additional species for this year's LA County ABC event.



                                                                                                                 © 2011 Callyn Yorke


                                                                                                                    © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Common Raven  10  flying around facility.

Tree Swallow   40  flying low, dipping on water surface, nw.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow  4  flying low over pond, nw.

Cliff Swallow   3  flying low over ponds with other swallows, nw.

Barn Swallow    10  flying low over ponds with other swallows, nw.

European Starling  2  around buildings, w.

American Pipit   5  on and below levees, nw, e.

Red-winged Blackbird   2  weed-filled basin, nw.

Brewer's Blackbird    5  on levee, nw, e.








FEBRUARY 23, 2011 (13 Species)

Weather: Fair; 47F; winds W 2-5 mph.

Time: 0745 - 0830 hrs.

Area Covered: I drove on the perimeter levees of the originial Avenue D sewage treatment facility (north of Avenue D, west of Sierra HWY), beginning and ending at the office building in the northwest corner. Most of the birds were in the northwest and southeast ponds. A binocular and DSLR camera was used. Birds of seasonal/distributional interest found and photographed today were: Snow Goose (11) and Ross's Goose (2). No sandpipers were found in the facility during the survey.


Snow Goose  11  (1 imm) feeding on grass sprouts in yard on north side of ponds flew off to southeast( right side of photo).

Ross's Goose  2 (ad) feeding together with SNGO; flew off to southeast( left side of photo).

                                                                                                                                                                                                 © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Mallard  60 (m,f) most in the northwest ponds on levee at first then into the water.

Gadwall  8 (m,f) mixed in with NOSH and MALA.

Northern Shoveler   200 (m,f) northwest levees and ponds; southeast ponds.

Bufflehead  3 (m)  se ponds.

Ruddy Duck   50  northwest and southeast ponds.

Eared Grebe  1 (bsc. plmg.) e pond.

American Coot   120  scattered in ponds throughout facility.

Killdeer  3  brushy, dry pond, northwest.

Ring-billed Gull   2  flying, dipping, w pond.

California Gull   10 (ad, imm)   on levee, nw; flying.

Herring Gull  2 (ad, imm) on levee, nw.



NOVEMBER 4, 2010 (21 Species)

Weather: Fair; 47F, no wind. Temperature range over the past week in the Antelope Valley, 40F to 80F.

Time: 0755- 0850 hrs.

Area Covered: After signing in at the nw operation building, I drove slowly along the peripheral and internal levees, covering most of the ponds, levees, and adjacent ruderal seepages. Traffic on the main e-w levee was light. Northern Shoveler was the most abundant bird present, with numbers estimated at 1,200.


Canada Goose  12  on e-central levee.

Mallard  2 (m,f) edge of n pond.

Gadwall  20  (m,f) together in n-central pond.

Northern Shoveler  1,200 (est.) (m,f) dabbling and resting in most ponds, esp. sw.

American Wigeon  1 (f) on nw levee.

Ruddy Duck   200 scattered over several ponds.

Eared Grebe  60  scattered over several ponds.

American Coot   20  scattered over several ponds.

Least Sandpiper   4   nw levee.

California Gull    3 (C2,3,4)   on nw levee.

Ring-billed Gull   1 (C2) nw levee.

Rock Dove  2  flying around s-central edge of facility.

American Pipit   1  outside of nw pond at bottom of the levee.

Common Raven  10  w and s sections of the facility.

Yellow-rumped Warbler    8  ruderal areas; foraging in shrubs and on ground.

White-crowned Sparrow  5 (ad, imm)   ruderal edge near entry road.

Song Sparrow  2  nw weedy-marshy area.

Red-winged Blackbird  5 (m,f)   ruderal, weedy marshy area, nw.

Brewer's Blackbird    20 (m,f)   ruderal areas around the facility.

House Finch 8 (m,f)   ruderal edge of facility.

House Sparrow   14 (m)  ruderal edges of facility.









SEPTEMBER 13, 2010 (17 Species)

Weather: Fair, 61F; no wind.

Time: 0735 - 0845 hrs.

Area Covered: I signed in at the NW corner office of the Lancaster Sewage Treatment Facility and drove slowly along the northern and central levees covering most of the ponds with a 10x42 binocular and DSLR camera. No other vehicles were on the levee during the survey. Conditions were excellent for finding birds. Most of the ducks (i.e. Northern Shoveler) were on the ponds in the southern half of the facility.


Mallard  150  (m,f) scattered over the ponds; msf with NS.

Northern Shoveler  (m,f)  1,200  large, flighy flocks in southern and eastern ponds.

Redhead  8 (m,f)  tight flock in eastern pond.

Ruddy Duck 40 (m,f)  scattered on eastern pond.

Eared Grebe  5 (bsc. plmg.)   eastern ponds.

Killdeer  4   on levee, NW.

Least Sandpiper   5  edge of water, central and NW.

Red-necked Phalarope  30 (bsc. plmg.)   NE pond.

California Gull  20 (1 ad; imm:. C1, C2)  on levees, NW and E.

Forster's Tern  2 (ad, imm) on levee, E; flying when I approached (photo).

                                                                                                         © 2010 Callyn Yorke


Horned Lark  10 on levee, NW.

Common Raven  8   flying around; on levee, E-central.

European Starling  10 foraging near shrub on E levee.

Barn Swallow  12  flying low over NW pond and dry marsh.

Bank Swallow  1  flying low over pond and marsh, NW.

Savannah Sparrow  1 flushed from roadside weeds, NW.

Brewer's Blackbird  4  on levee, NW.




AUGUST 25, 2010 (23 Species)

Weather: Fair, 84-88F; no wind.

Time: 0910-1015 hrs.

Observers: Ethan Yorke and I.

Area Covered: After signing in at the northwest entrance, we drove the levees around all but the southwestern corner, surveying with a binocular and DSRL camera. A couple of maintenance vehicles were travelling on the levees; otherwise the ponds were undisturbed and conditions very good for identifying birds.


Mallard   20  (m,f) open water and on levees throughout.

Northern Shoveler   250 (conserv. est.) most crowded on western ponds; about 50 on E pond, dabbling and resting on floating objects.

Gadwall  4 (m,f)   E pond; flying.

Cinnamon Teal 4 (m,f)   S pond.

Ruddy Duck  5 (m,f; alt. plmg.) E pond.

Pied-billed Grebe  1  E pond

Eared Grebe  1 (alt. plmg.) E pond.

Snowy Plover  2  on levee, W.

Black-bellied Plover  1 (trans. plmg,)  levee, NW.

Killdeer  5 on levee , NW.

Spotted Sandpiper  1  SE levee near water; flying.

Least Sandpiper   15  levee and foraging at water-line, NW and E.

Red-necked Phalarope  30 (bsc. plmg)   E pond with WP.

Wilson's Phalarope   120 (bsc. plmg.)   E pond.

Bonaparte's Gull  2 (ad, imm) E and NW levee.

Ring-billed Gull   3 (ad, imm) E levee and pond.

California Gull   25 (ad, imm) mostly E pond and levees.

Common Raven  20 levees, S and SE.

Barn Swallow  7  around maintenance building with open door, NW.

Tree Swallow  2  flying low over W pond.

Horned Lark  6  on NW levees.

Brewer's Blackbird   20 (m,f) levees, W and E.

Brown-headed Cowbird  10 (m,f; imm)  E and NW levees.




AUGUST 22, 2010 (20 Species)

Weather: Fair, 73 to 76F; winds WNW 5-10 mph.

Time: 0745-0950 hrs.

Area Covered: I drove the levees beginning at the northwest entrance to LSTF, surveying primarily the northern, northwest and northeastern ponds, using a binocular, scope and DSLR camera. Only one maintenance vehicle was being used on the eastern boundary of the survey area. Conditions were good for finding birds, except toward the end ot the survey when wind-driven waves on the  eastern shorelines made observations a little more difficult. One species, Red Knot, reported to have been seen here by Kumaran this morning, was not found.


Mallard  20 (m,f) most along the edges of the western and central-eastern ponds.

Northern Shoveler   120 (m,f)    large, flighty flocks in central and eastern ponds.

Ruddy Duck   20 (alt. plm.) eastern pond.

Killdeer   6  on levee, W and W-central.

Snowy Plover  1  on levee, W.

Least Sandpiper  20  foraging along shoreline of most levees; especially in splash zones.

Baird's Sandpiper  1  (ad) foraging on shoreline, E-central pond.

Red-necked Phalarope  30 (bsc. plmg.)   foraging in E ponds; intermixed with Wilson's Phalaropes.

Wilson's Phalarope  130 (bsc. plmg.)   foraging in E ponds

California Gull  25  (ad, imm) levees, W and E; one first-second cycle bird with an above-average bill length ( by about 15%).

Ring-billed Gull   10 (ad, imm) levees, W and E.

Bonaparte's Gull  3  (bsc. plmg.) on E levee and foraging in pond.

Caspian Tern  1 (ad ) with Calif. Gulls on E levee.

Tree Swallow  6 (ad, imm) flying low over W and E ponds; on utility wire, NE.

Barn Swallow  10   flying low over  ponds.

Common Raven   6  flying around W side and on S levees.

Horned Lark   6  on  W levees and along shoreline.

Brewer's Blackbird  20 (ad) on levees and shorelines throughout.

Brown-headed Cowbird 3 (imm) on E shoreline and levee.

House Sparrow  1 on W levee.




AUGUST 8, 2010 (22 Species)

Weather: Fair 66F; no wind.

Time: 0730-0900 hrs.

Area Covered: After signing the log book at the LWTF northwest entrance, I drove the levee roads around all of the ponds, surveying birds both in and out of the vehicle using a 10x42 binocular, spotting scope and DSLR camera. One maintenance vehicle passed by during the survey. Conditions were excellent for finding and photographing birds. Notable birds found and photographed here this morning included, Herring Gull, Bonaparte's Gull and Bank Swallow.


Gadwall  3 (f, imm)   flying over E ponds.

Mallard  80 (ad, imm) in most of the ponds.

Ruddy Duck  20 mostly in SE pond.

Great Egret  2  flying W over the ponds.

Least Sandpiper  20  edge of levees throughout.

Killdeer  5  western levees.

American Avocet  8   western levees.

Ring-billed Gull  4 (ad, imm) E levee.

California Gull   8 ( ad; imm: 1st cycle: photo)  W and E levees (photo)

.                                                                                                                              © 2010 Callyn Yorke


Larus sp. (possibly argentatus) 1 (juvenile) W levee (photo).

                                                                                                                     © 2010 Callyn Yorke

Bonaparte's Gull  1  (bsc. plmg)  E levee; flushed to pond (photo).

                                                                                                                          © 2010 Callyn Yorke

American Coot  2  E pond.

Common Raven   12  S and W levees.

Horned Lark   6  N levees.

Tree Swallow 10 dipping into NW pond.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1  on utility line, NE corner.

Bank Swallow  3  flying back and forth, low over NW pond (photo).

                                                                                                                        © 2010 Callyn Yorke


Cliff Swallow  14  flying back and forth, low over northern ponds.

Barn Swallow   20  flying low over northern ponds; several resting on utility lines.

Brewer's Blackbird 10  on E levees.

House Finch  10  weedy field in NW.

House Sparrow  10  weedy area N-central area near buildings.






AUGUST 2, 2010 (20 Species)

Weather: Fair, 67F; no wind.

Time: 0700-0810 hrs.

Area Covered: Drove onto the levee at the northwest entrance of the Lancaster Sewage Treatment Facility. Drove slowly on the main northern levee, west to east and side levees, ending at the northeastrn corner. Returned the same route. Note: I didn't drive the southern levee sections; those were surveyed from the northern levee using only a 10x42 binocular. A couple of maintenance vehicles were on the main northern levee road during the survey. Otherwise, conditions were excellent for finding birds both on the water and along the edges of the levees.One relatively unusual species in the Antelope Valley, Purple Martin, was found and photographed.

I noticed that my friend and colleague, Mike San Miguel (see photo below), had logged in to the LSTF on July 13, 2010, two days prior to his tragic death in the San Gabriel Mts. I dedicate my bird survey today of the Antelope Valley in honor of Mike's warm friendship, an unwavering enthusiasm for rarities and his outstanding contribution to field ornithology in Southern California.

Mike San Miguel (1939-2010)

                                                                                                                                                 © 2009 Callyn Yorke



1) Mallard  30  (f; imm)  open water and edges of ponds.

2) American Coot  2  edge of pond, W and E.

3) American Avocet  5  levee, W.

4) Black-necked Stilt  1  edge of levee, central-N.

5) Killdeer   2  edge of levee, W.

6) Snowy Plover  2  N-central levee.

7) Least Sandpiper  12  edge of levees.

8) California Gull   8 (imm) N-central levee.

9) Ring-billed Gull  2 (ad; imm) N-central levee.

10) Bonaparte's Gull  1 (basic plmg.) N-central levee with Calif. Gulls.

11) Barn Swallow  6 dipping into W pond.

12) Cliff Swallow  10  on utility lines near a Purple Martin, NE (photo), and flying over ponds, W.

13) Tree Swallow  20   on utility lines, NE.

14) Purple Martin  1 (f) on utility line near Cliff Swallows (c.f. size difference), NE, then flying W; (photos).


                                                                                                                                                              © 2010 Callyn Yorke

15) Common Raven  4 on S levee.     

16) European Starling    on utility line, NE.

17) Horned Lark  15  on levees.

18) Brewer's Blackbird  16  (m,f; imm) on dirt piles and edge of levees.

19) House Finch  6  on levee, W.

20) Lesser Goldfinch  2  foraging on seeds in short shrub on levee, W.






MAY 12, 2010  (32 Species)


Weather: Fair, 50F; winds WNW 0-2 mph. (winds 20-30 mph during the past two days)

Time: 0721 - 1000 hrs.

Area Covered:  After signing in, I drove along the levees of the northern and central ponds, exiting my vehicle and walking slowly in the northwest and northeastern sections. Wind speed gradually reduced to 0 mph by 0900 hrs. Conditions were excellent for finding birds along the edges of the levees and in open water. I spent most of the time out of my vehicle  observing birds with a 10 x 42 binocular and making photographs with a DSLR camera. One other birder was present during my survey, driving his sedan slowly along the levees.


1) Mallard   20 (m,f)   on levees and in ponds.

2) Gadwall   10 (m,f) pairs on levee and in ponds.

3) Redhead  3 (m,f)  open water, NW pond.

4) Ruddy Duck  35 (m,f alt. plmg.)  mostly resting in the  NE pond.

5) Eared Grebe  3  (alt. plmg.) NW and NE pond.

6) Cattle Egret  1  flying over NW marshy basin.

7) American Coot   4  in pond near edge, NW.

8) American Avocet   30 (alt. plmg.)   most along the levees; a few flushed into the ponds.

9) Black-necked Stilt    6  (alt. plmg.) NE levee.

10) Killdeer  4  in marshy basin and on levee, NW; calls.

11) Snowy Plover   1  (basic plmg.) running along the levee in front of my car, NW.

12) Semipalmated Plover  1 (alt. plmg.) on levee, NW.

13) Black-bellied Plover   1 (alt. plmg.)  edge of levee, NW.

14) Long-billed Curlew  2  on levee, NW.

15) Whimbrel  3  flying W across marshy basin.

16) Spotted Sandpiper    12  (alt. plm.) edge of ponds and on levees throughout.

17) Western Sandpiper  6  foraging on levee and edge of water.

18) Least Sandpiper   10 foraging on edge of levee in splash zone.

19) Red-necked Phalarope   2 (trans. alt. plmg.)   flew into NW pond; foraging on airborne insects over water (photo).

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) LSTF, May 12, 2010

                                                                              © 2010 Callyn Yorke


20) California Gull 1 (imm) on levee, NW.

21) Bonaparte's Gull   10  (imm and ad) swimming and catching aerial insects over the water, NW and NE (photo).


Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia) LSTF  May 12, 2010


                                                                                                       © 2010 Callyn Yorke


22) Franklin's Gull  1  flying low over NW and NE ponds (photo).

       Franklin's Gull (Larus pipixcan)  Lancaster Sewage Treatment Facility,   May 12, 2010                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                © 2010 Callyn Yorke


23) Black Tern  16 (alt. plmg.)   flying low over ponds; dipping. Some on levee (photos).


Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)  Lancaster Sewage Treatment Facillity  May 12, 2010





24) Barn Swallow  40  flying low over ponds and marsh basin.

25) Cliff Swallow    6  resting on NW embankment; flying 10 -20 ft. over ponds.

26) Tree Swallow   10  resting on embankment; flying low over ponds, NW.

27) Rough-winged Swallow   on levee and embankment; flying low over ponds. a pair copulating on levee.

28) Bank Swallow  1  flying low over NW pond.

29) Common Raven  6 flying around edges of ponds.

30) European Starling  2  near main gate.

31) Red-winged Blackbird   4   (m,f) in marshy basin; calls.

32) Brewer's Blackbird  2  NW storage and sludge piles.









APRIL 28, 2010  (21 Species)


Weather:  Partly cloudy (rain last night); 52F; winds WNW 15-20 mph.

Time:  0806 - 0850 hrs.

Area Covered:  After signing in, I drove the western and central levees, circling the NW and NE ponds, returning along the middle western levee to the maintenance facilities. I used a 10x42 binocular and DSLR camera, twice exiting the car for unobscured views of birds. Recent rains had muddied the roads; waves were splashing onto the N-S levees and onto the car. Most American Avocets and all Northern Shovelers found today were on the leeward side of the N-S levee separating a central pond from the NE pond (western side of Sierra Hwy.). A sludge basin on the western side of the facility attracted a few Least Sandpipers; most were on the central, N-S levees, foraging in the wave spray zone.


Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri)  Lancaster Sewage Ponds,  April 28, 2010

                                                                                               © 2010 Callyn Yorke



1) Gadwall  20  (m,f) NW and NE ponds; on levees and in water.

2) Mallard  20 (m,f)  one female with 8 chicks swimming along N edge of NE pond.

3) Northern Shoveler   40 (m,f) NE pond.

4) Redhead   4  (m,f)  in water, NE pond.

5) Lesser Scaup  1 (m) in water; flying, NE pond.

6) Ruddy Duck   16  (m,f  alt plm.) NW and NE pond (most in latter area).

7) Eared Grebe  6 (alt. plm; bsc. plm.)  diving, NE pond.

8) Cattle Egret  1  (alt plm.) weedy NW basin.

9) Least Sandpiper   60  on levees, foraging on embankments in splash zones.

10) Western Sandpiper   12  on levees and embankments; splash zone (photo).

11) Dunlin  1 (alt. plm.)  on central-W levee with other peeps (photo).

12) Black-bellied Plover  1 (alt. plm.)  NE edge of pond.

13) Killdeer  1  in sludge area, W side.

14) American Avocet   30 (alt. plm.)   NW levee; NE -central levee; flushed to ponds.

15) American Coot   25  NW and NE pond.

16) California Gull  5  (imm)  NW and Central levees.

17) Ring-billed Gull  6 (imm)  Central and Central-west Levees; flying and foraging in splash zone.

18) Common Raven  10  flying around the western part of the facility.

19) Barn Swallow   2  flying low over the NW pond.

20) Red-winged Blackbird   3  (m,f)  weedy NW basin.

21) Brewer's Blackbird   2  (m,f) western sludge area.



APRIL 23, 2010  (23 Species)


Weather:  Fair, 69F; winds W 10-20mph.

Time: 1654 - 1730 hrs.

Area Covered:  Drove onto levee from NW corner, and around connecting levees, surveying with binocular the ponds W of Sierra Hwy. Heavy waves on the east edges;kept windows up to avoid overspray, and consequently was unable to get usable photos. Winds and low angle of the sun making observations difficult when returning westward.


1) Brant   2  on NW levee; flew S when approached.

2) Mallard  10 (m,f)   pairs on levees and edge of ponds.

3) Gadwall  4  (m,f)  NW pond.

4) Northern Shoveler  30 (m,f)   E pond.

5) Lesser Scaup  1 (m) E pond.

6) Ruddy Duck  30 (alt. plm.)   W and E ponds

7) Great Egret  1 flying S over ponds.

8) American Coot 10  W and E ponds.

9) Black-bellied Plover  5 (3 alt. plm.) levee, NW.

10) Spotted Sandpiper    3  (bsc. plm.)  W edge of ponds, E and W.

11) Least Sandpiper  30  edges, including splash zones, E and W.

12) Baird's Sandpiper  1  levee of E pond with Least Sanpipers.  Found and reported here a few days ago by Mike San Miguel.

13) Western Sandpiper  4 (ad, juv)  edge of   west-central pond.

14) Whimbrel  3  on W  levee; flying W when approached.

15) Black-necked Stilt  (alt. plm.)1 on levee W.

16) American Avocet  10 (alt. plm.) W levees.

17) California Gull   20 (imm. and 2 ad)   on W levee.

18) Ring-billed Gull 2  (imm) on W levee.

19) Common Raven 10  mostly around small treatment ponds near buildings, NW.

20) Tree Swallow  2  flying 40-60 ft, NW.

21) Cliff Swallow  2   10-20 ft. over W ponds.

22) Barn Swallow  5  low  over W ponds.

23) Brewer's Blackbird  4  near building on E side.








MARCH 31, 2010 (20 Species)

Weather: Overcast with scattered showers; 52F; WNW winds 15-25 mph.

Time: 1315 - 1420 hrs.

Area Covered: Signed in at the NW office and drove the levees around the west sewage pond complex. High winds drove waves onto to east-facing levees, sometimes splashing the windows of my vehicle. Most birds were found in and adjacent to the north western and eastern ponds.


1) Mallard  4 (m,f) W marshy area and ponds.

2) Gadwall   6 (m,f)  W ponds.

3) Northern Shoveler   35 (m,f)   W and E ponds.

4) Lesser Scaup  3  (m)  E pond.

5) Ruddy Duck  22  W and E ponds (a few in alt. plumage).

6) American Coot   12  W and E ponds.

7) Killdeer  1  E levee.

8) American Avocet  20  W and E ponds.

9) Black-necked Stilt  12  E edge of pond.

10) Least Sandpiper    10  W and E edges of ponds.

11) Whimbrel   12  flying low over N edge of NW pond.

12) California Gull   60 (ad, imm)  on levee and in pond, NW.

13) Ring-billed Gull  3  (ad, imm)  on levee, NW.

14) Bonaparte's Gull  1 (ad) basic plumage, E levee.

15) Eared Grebe  1 (ad, alt. plumage) NW pond in high wave-splash zone.

16) Common Raven   12  mostly around small treatment ponds on NW side.

17) Barn Swallow  4  flying low over W and E ponds.

18) Tree Swallow  12  flying low over W and E ponds.

19) Violet Green Swallow  2  flying low over NW and W-central ponds.

20) Brewer's Blackbird  10  E levee.






March 21, 2010  (22 Species)


Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) at the Lancaster Sewage Ponds, March 21, 2009                © 2010 Callyn Yorke


Weather:  Hazy, 57F; no wind.

Time: 0935 - 1040 hrs.

Observers: Dan Byrne and I.

Area Covered:  From the NW check-in building, we drove E on the second levee separating the N ponds from the S ponds, continuing around the entire pond complex. We used binoculars and a DSLR camera. Conditions were excellent for finding and identifying birds throughout the facility. According to the sign-in book, no other birders have been at the ponds since about the middle of February of this year.


1) Gadwall  8  (m,f)  NW and N ponds.

2) Mallard  11 (m,f) pairs on N ponds.

3) Northern Shoveler  24  (m,f)  foraging in most of the ponds.

4) Redhead  1 (m,) NE pond with Lesser Scaup.

5) Lesser Scaup  7 (m,f)   NE pond.

6) Bufflehead  4 (m,f)    E pond.

7) Ruddy Duck  89  (m,f) in most of the ponds; 10% in breeding (alternate) plumage.

8) American Coot   53  in most of the ponds.

9) Killdeer  2  NW marsh (empty pond).

10) American Avocet   18 (m,f)  on levees (photo) and in NW pond; courtship displays and calls.

11) Least Sandpiper    5  on levee and edge of pond (photos).

                                                                                                                             Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) at the Lancaster Sewage Ponds


                                                                                                                                                                                   © March 21, 2010     Callyn Yorke


12) California Gull  70 (ad, imm) on N levee; flying.

13) Ring-billed Gull  (ad) 4  on N levee with California Gulls.

14) Rock Dove  1  flying on NW side.

15) Black Phoebe  1  SE grassy edge.

16) Common Raven  19   many perched on pipes around small, raised treatment tanks on W side.

17) Barn Swallow  2   flying low over NW marsh.

18) Horned Lark  1  W edge.

19) European Starling  2  W side, construction area with scattered shrubs.

20) White-crowned Sparrow  2  W marsh area.

21) Brewer's Blackbird  4  W side, construction area.

22) Red-winged Blackbird   1  W side, singing.



May 11,13 & 15, 2009  (24 Species)

May, 15 (Friday)

Weather: Fair, 85F; wind 0-5mph 

Time: 1115 - 1220 hrs.

Observers: Charles Hood and I.

Mallard, Black-Necked Stilts, and Bonaparte's Gull in northwest marsh basin of the Lancaster Sewage Ponds,  CA     May 15, 2009
Mallard, Black-Necked Stilts, and Bonaparte's Gull in northwest marsh of Avenue D sewage ponds, Lancaster, CA © 2009 Charles Hood 

                                                                                                                                                                                                    © 2009  Charles Hood                         

Area Covered:  We surveyed the entire perimeter of western ponds by driving slowly and stopping frequently; used binocs, digi-scope (Nikon Coolpix w/ 30x) and Nikon D300 w/ 300mm.

BIRDS NOTED (see May 11 & 13, 2009): All the species seen on May 11 and 13, but only 1 Wilson's phalarope and about 60 red-necked phalaropes. About 12 black terns and 10 Bonaparte's gulls. One male ring-necked duck (south pond) was the only new species added.



May, 13 (Wednesday)

Weather: Fair, 83F; wind 10-15 mph.

Time: 1400- 1430 hrs.

Area Covered: Western ponds; northwest section, by driving slowly and stopping frequently. Used 10 x 40 binocular.

BIRDS NOTED  (see May 11, 2009): All species seen on May 11: Additionally, 3 Franklin's gulls (1 ad; 2 imm). About 20 Black Terns and 20 Bonaparte's gulls.

Notes Page172

Notes Page 173

Notes Page 174

Notes Page 175

back to top