© Callyn Yorke

      WESTERN ANTELOPE VALLEY Including Quail Lake and Holiday Lake, Los Angeles County, CA




                        Western Antelope Valley  110th Street West at Avenue K, Los Angeles County, CA  viewing north, April 23, 2010       


                                                                                                                                                                                        © 2010 Callyn Yorke





 WINTER 2013-2014; SPRING 2014; FALL 2014; WINTER 2014 -15


Index to Previous Surveys

Spring, Summer, Fall 2013


Cassin's Sparrow  Munz Ranch Rd. 24 May 2014 LACO CA  American Tree Sparrow Quail Lake  8 Dec 2013 LACO CA                                                                              © 2013, 2014 Callyn Yorke                 


                                                                Northeast Quail Lake  Los Angeles County CA  8 December 2013


                                                                                     © 2013 Callyn Yorke


Recent Bird Surveys  

December 23, 2014 Quail Lake and Holiday Lake

November 25, 2014 Holiday Lake and Lancaster Rd.

October 22, 2014  Holiday Lake and Lancaster Rd.

September 18, 2004 Holiday Lake and Lancaster Rd.

September 4, 2014  Holiday Lake

May 24, 2014  Munz Ranch Road, Holiday Lake and Ripley Desert Woodland

March 15, 2014  Quail Lake and Holiday Lake

January 19, 2014   Quail Lake and Holiday Lake

December 28, 2013  Quail Lake and Holiday Lake

December 8, 2013  Quail Lake

December 23, 2014  Quail Lake and Holiday Lake (42 Species)

Weather: Fair; 57F; wind NE  5 - 12 mph.

Time: 1017-1320 hrs.

Areas Covered:  1) Quail Lake (QL): I cycled the southern perimeter road from the west parking area to the Quail Lake Inlet at the California Aqueduct on the north side. A few fishermen were on the shore; windy conditions made observations of birds difficult. I used a 10 x 42 binocular and DSLR camera for all surveys today (1017-1145 hrs).  2)  Quail Lake Outlet at the California Aqueduct overlook on Westfork Rd. (QLO) (1145-1200 hrs.).  3) Holiday Lake (HL): I walked a counter-clockwise route once around the entire lake. No other people were present during my survey. The lake water level was nearly full; heavy marsh growth (cattails and tules) obscured views of birds in open water (1235-1320 hrs.).

Note: I received an email recently from the West Valley Water District manager, Mark Crosby, indicating that, due to a local political agenda, Holiday Lake may no longer be receiving well-water input, resulting in the complete desiccation and loss of this ecologically significant wetland habitat. Immediate impacts to wildlife include elimination of nesting habitat of the Tricolored Blackbird, a threatened species, nearly endemic to California. Holiday Lake supports one of the largest breeding colonies of Tricolored Blackbird in Southern California (see my May 24, 2014 field notes ).

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Greater Scaup (25), Common Goldeneye (16), Common Merganser (1), Sora (1) and American Goldfinch (1).


Canada Goose   15  vocal; crowded in central open water section of the lake, HL.

Gadwall  6 (m,f)    edge of the open water and marsh, HL.

Mallard    8 (m,f)    edges of the lake, QL;  4  HL.

Northern Pintail  1 (m) resting on island shore, QL.

Greater Scaup  30 (m,f) scattered around the lake; msf with other ducks, e.g. the much more numerous LESC (photo).

Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) lower left ; Greater Scaup (A. marila)  upper right, Quail Lake LACO CA  23 Dec 2014


                                                                                                       © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Lesser Scaup   300 (conserv. est.) (m,f)   widespread on the lake and outlet channel; often in large, loose flocks, QL.

Bufflehead   60 (m,f) individuals and small, loose flocks; widespread, diving singly near shore, QL, QLO.

Common Goldeneye  20 (m,f)  scattered around the lake, singles and pairs, QL, QLO.

Common Merganser  1 (f) swimming in open water, QL.

California Quail  calls  w HL.

Loon (Gavia sp.)  2   laboriously taking flight,  eastward, low over the north section of the lake; too distant for pos. ID; appeared uniform white below and very pale gray above, most like Red-throated Loon (a rarity on inland lakes in Southern California), QL.

Pied-billed Grebe   20  widespread; often in msf with ducks, QL.

Western Grebe  60  widespread, QL.

Clark's Grebe  2  near shore, s QL.

Double-crested Cormorant  8   resting on island shore; flying low over the lake, QL.

Great Blue Heron  2  flying; on shore, n QL.

Red-tailed Hawk  1  (ad) calling repeatedly from top of utility pole, s HL.

Sora  1  flushed from edge of marsh, se HL.

American Coot    120  most along the north edge of the lake, QL;  4  HL.

California Gull  2 (ad) resting in open water, QL.

Anna's Hummingbird  1  sw HL.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1 (f) calls; foraging in pines, sw HL.

Northern (RS) Flicker  1  around pines and on ground, sw HL.

Common Raven   6  flying over the lake and shore, QL;  2 flying over, HL.

Horned Lark   2 fly, call, n QL.

Bewicks's Wren  1  repeated song, s HL.

Marsh Wren  1  repeated calls in marsh, s QL;  1  calls, n HL.

American Pipit  2  fly, call, n QL.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  6  calls; foraging in riparian woods and edge of marsh, QL;  2  HL.

Common Yellowthroat  2  calls, marsh, s, n QL.

Song Sparrow   3  song ( one singing an unusual dialect, initially suggesting BEWR), se QL.  1 HL.

White-crowned Sparrow  25  vocal, gregarious and ubiquitous, QL; 5 HL.

Lark Sparrow   2  foraging in ruderal patch around pines, sw HL.

Golden-crowned Sparrow  1  flushed from riparian patch next to inlet, n QL.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  6  foraging on ground, sw HL.

Red-winged Blackbird  8  foraging in msf with BRBL, on mudflats, s HL.

Western Meadowlark   8  flushed from rabbitbrush field, QLO.

Brewer's Blackbird  12  foraging on mudflats and roadside, s QL.

Great-tailed Grackle  2  (m) edge of levee near fishermen, s QL.

House Finch    18  riparian patch, n QL.

Lesser Goldfinch   5  call, fly, riparian patch with HOFI, n QL;

American Goldfinch  1 (f) foraging beneath pines with DEJU and WCSP, sw HL.









November 25, 2014 Holiday Lake and Lancaster Rd. (31 Species)

Weather: Fair; 46F to 66F; wind ENE 2 mph.

Time: 0830- 1116 hrs.

Observers: B. Kitto and I.

Areas Covered:  1) Lancaster Rd. (LR): Drove to and from CA-138 on Lancaster Rd. from Munz Ranch Rd. Surveyed agricultural fields and utility poles, lines from a moving vehicle, stopping twice for photos.  2) Holiday Lake (HL): We walked once, counter-clockwise around the entire perimeter of the lake, then half way around on the south side. Conditions were good for identifying bird vocalizations.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Ferruginous Hawk (1), Red-shouldered Hawk (1), Merlin (1), Williamson's Sapsucker (1- cont.), Mountain Bluebird (1), Spotted Towhee (1) and Purple Finch (1). Additionally, although extralimital to this survey, a male Costa's Hummingbird was subsequently found and photographed at a feeder in west Palmdale, an exceptionally late date for this species in the Antelope Valley.


                                    Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae) West Palmdale LACO CA  27 Nov 2014


                                                                                                © 2014 Becky Kitto



Mallard    25 (m,f) flying and alighting in the lake, HL.

Lesser Scaup  1 (f) with BUHE in aqueduct w of bridge, HL.

Bufflehead   20  (m,f)  in aqueduct w of bridge, HL.

California Quail  calls,  nw HL.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1 imm, flying low, w HL.

Red-tailed Hawk    4 (ad) on utility poles, LR;  1 HWY 138;  1 flying, calls, s HL.

Ferruginous Hawk  1 (ad)  on utility pole, 120th St. W and Lancaster Rd, LR (photo).

Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) Lancaster Rd. LACO CA 25 Nov 2014

                                                                          © 2014 Callyn Yorke


American Kestrel  1 (f) flying low over alfalfa field, LR.

Merlin  1 (f) on utility wire; flew w over adjacent pastureland, LR.

American Coot   6 swimming near edge of marsh, HL.

Eurasian Collared Dove   1  in cottonwoods, s HL.

Mourning Dove  2  flying, s HL.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1 (f) repeated calls; foraging in cypress and pines, s HL.

Williamson's Sapsucker  1 (M) - cont.  foraging on trunk of cottonwood; reported here by SWBSC and others about one week earlier, s HL (photo).

Williamson's Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus thyroideus) Holiday Lake LACO CA 25 Nov 2014


                                                    © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Northern (RS) Flicker    1  calls, flying, s HL.

Common Raven   25  LR;; 5  HL.

Horned Lark   calls, flying over lake, HL.

Marsh Wren  3  vocal,  active at edge of marsh, s, nw HL.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet    2  calls, cottonwoods, HL.

Mountain Bluebird  1  flew across roadway into adjacent ruderal field, LR.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler    10  calls, in pines and cottonwoods, HL.

Spotted Towhee  1   in pines and cypress, sw HL.

Lark Sparrow  2  in cottonwoods, s HL.

Savannah Sparrow  8  calls; edge of marsh and riparian, HL.

Song Sparrow  3  vocal; edge of marsh, w HL.

Lincoln's Sparrow  1   edge of marsh, se HL.

White-crowned Sparrow    50  (ad, imm) vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco   20  calls, gregarious, ubiquitous, esp. under pines.

Western Meadowlark   5  flying across fields and roadway, LR.

Purple Finch  1 (m) in pines with HOFI, sw HL.

House Finch   12 (m,f) vocal, in pines and adjacent fields, s HL.











October 22, 2014  Holiday Lake and Lancaster Road (44 Species)

Weather: Fair; 56F to 65F; wind WNW 0-2 mph.

Time: 0800-1120 hrs.

Areas Covered:  1) Lancaster Road (LR). Driving 40-50 mph, I noted birds on utility poles, lines and adjacent fields, going to and from Holiday Lake.  2) Holiday Lake (HL: 0826-1052 hrs.). I walked two circuits around the entire lake, initially clockwise, followed by about 20 minutes of observation while in my vehicle, then counter-clockwise. The lake water level remains relatively low and surrounded by a dense cattail marsh. Open water is visible only from the eastern end of the lake. A limited view of a small portion of the west lake was obtained from the southwest side. Relatively few waterbirds were found at HL today.  No other people were present during my survey, except for water district personnel in and around the clubhouse. Conditons were good for identifying bird vocalizations.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Virginia Rail (calls), Red-breasted Sapsucker (2), Yellow Warbler (1), Spotted Towhee (1), Swamp Sparrow (1), Tricolored Blackbird (20) and Lawrence's Goldfinch (3).




Mallard  calls (unseen) w HL.

California Quail  12  edge of marsh, n HL.

Great Egret  1  flying w, low over the lake, HL.

Cooper's Hawk  1 (imm) flying low over the marsh; conspicuous perch in leafless elm, n.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1 (ad) flushed from edge of marsh, nw.

Red-tailed Hawk  1 (ad) circling on thermals, adjacent land, w; 2  on utility poles, LR.

American Kestrel  1 (f) flying low over agricultural field, LR.

Virginia Rail  calls (unseen) w HL.

American Coot  10  swimming and foraging in lake, w, e HL.

Eurasian Collared Dove  calls; flying over lake, s HL.

Mourning Dove  5  flushed from pines, se. HL

Red-breasted Sapsucker  2 (m,f) initially found foraging in adjacent willows; pair separated and flew to distant trees, n HL.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1  vocal; pecking on stems of dry bull thistle with LEGO, n HL.

Northern Flicker  calls (unseen) sw HL.

Black Phoebe  1  sallying over clubhouse lawn; chased away by SAPH, sw HL.

Say's Phoebe  1  vocal; alighting on and under the roof of the clubhouse, sw HL.

Common Raven  10 vocal; pairs flying over; alighting in trees, w, HL.

Horned Lark  3  flying low across road, LR.

Barn Swallow   2 flying over the lake briefly, HL;  4 flying over alfalfa field, w LR.

Oak Titmouse  calls (unseen) pines, sw HL.

Bewick's Wren  calls (unseen) edge of marsh, n HL.

Marsh Wren  2-3  repeated song and calls, dense marsh, n HL.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  8  vocal; foraging individually in cottonwoods around the lake.

Northern Mockingbird  1  flying low across road, LR.

European Starling  8  flying across a field, LR.

Yellow Warbler  1 call (unseen) mature cottonwood next to clubhouse; YRWA in same tree, sw HL.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  8 (m,f)  frequent calls; foraging individually and in pairs, using a variety of shrubs and trees, HL.

Common Yellowthroat  1  (m) edge of marsh with SOSP and WCSP, n HL.

Spotted Towhee  1  in middle of marsh, perched high in cattails, central HL.

Chipping Sparrow  1  with SOSP and WCSP at edge of marsh, n HL.

Lark Sparrow  2  repeated fragmentary song; in AZ cypress on fence line,s HL.

Savannah Sparrow  8  calls; in and near marsh around the lake, HL.

Song Sparrow   5  calls and partial song; one relatively pale-colored morph (photos) amongst typical dark forms, marsh and edge, HL.

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia ssp.) same individual in both images. Note: relatively pale gray mantle and ventral streaking.  Holiday Lake, LACO CA  22 Oct 2014


                                                                            © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Lincoln's Sparrow  1  perched low at the edge of the marsh with SOSP and WCSP, n HL.

Swamp Sparrow  1 (imm) silent; seen very briefly and could not be refound; ID: dark dorsum with reddish wings; buffy sides; moving  quickly through dense cattails, staying low; in loose association with SOSP, SASP and WCSP at edge of marsh, n HL.

White-crowned Sparrow   20  (ad, imm) vocal, ubiquitous; immatures issuing loud repetetive call notes Often in msf with other sparrows and YRWA HL.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  5  calls; loosely gregarious beneath pines, sw HL.

Tricolored Blackbird  30 (m,f) flocks commuting between marsh and adjacent fields, HL.

Western Meadowlark  1  flying across road and into fallow field, LR.

House Finch  20  (m,f) vocal, gregarious and ubiquitous, HL;  50 LR.

Lesser Goldfinch  8  (m,f) vocal, gregarious; foraging on dry bull thistle, n HL.

American Goldfinch  1 (imm) foraging on dry bull thistle with LEGO, n HL.

Lawrence's Goldfinch 3 (m,f) together in cottonwood canopy, ne HL.

House Sparrow  3  vocal, adjacent homestead, nw HL






September 18, 2014  Holiday Lake and Lancaster Road (31 Species)

Weather: Fair; 70F to 83F. wind WSW 5-10 mph.

Time: 0730-0950 hrs.

Areas Covered:  1) Lancaster Road @ 220th Street West: I stopped briefly on the roadside to observe birds in adjacent fallow fields (LR: 0710-0720 hrs.).  2) Holiday Lake ( HL: 0730-0820; 0903-0950 hrs): I walked a counter-clockwise and clockwise route around the entire lake, with a 40-minute session observing birds from inside my vehicle, parked at the clubhouse (0820-0903 hrs.). The lake water level was nearly full (depth 2-5 inches). A dense cattail and tule marsh obscures from view most of the interior open water sections, resulting in the absence of exposed mudflats and shoreline. Except for water department personnel inside the clubhouse, no other people were present in the survey area during my visit.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Downy Woodpecker (1), Western Kingbird (1), Mountain Chickadee (1), Tricolored Blackbird (7) and Lawrence's Goldfinch (4).


Mallard  3   (f) foraging in open water, HL.

Cooper's Hawk  1  flying low, landing in a cottonwood, sw HL.

Killdeer   calls (unseen) w HL.

Eurasian Collared Dove  4  vocal; flying over lake, HL.

Mourning Dove   6  flying over lake, alighting in marsh, e HL.

Anna's Hummingbird  1 (f) hovering around a willow, ne HL.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  calls (unseen) pines, w HL.

Downy Woodpecker  calls (unseen) sw HL.

Say's Phoebe  1 vocal; on patio picnic bench at clubhouse, sw HL.

Western Kingbird  1  flew to top of a large rabbitbrush in a fallow field, LR.

Loggerhead Shrike  1  flying between tall shrubs in fallow field, LR.

Common Raven   8 vocal pairs in pines; flying over, HL.

Horned Lark  30  flying over road and fields, LR; vocal, flying, HL.

Barn Swallow  2  flying low over road and adjacent alfalfa fields, e LR near junction of HWY 138.

Mountain Chickadee  calls (unseen) pines, sw HL.

House Wren  1  scolding calls in tamarisk at entrance, s HL.

Marsh Wren  1 repeated song (unseen) edge of marsh, n HL.

European Starling  1  on utility wire, sw HL.

Orange-crowned Warbler  5  calls (1 gray-headed form), foraging in cottonwoods around the lake, HL.

Yellow Warbler  1 (f) foraging in cottonwood canopy, nw HL.

Wilson's Warbler  1  foraging in cottonwood subcanopy, sw HL.

Lark Sparrow  30  flying over fields and roadway, LR;  20  in cottonwoods and edge of marsh, HL.

Savannah Sparrow  2  calls (unseen) brushy areas next to lake, e HL.

White-crowned Sparrow  3  (ad. gambelii) calls; together in leafless elm, w HL.

Tricolored Blackbird  7 (m,f) flying together over marsh, w HL.

Western Meadowlark  5  song   flying over roadway and fallow fields, LR.

Great-tailed Grackle  1 (f)  calls; flying over marsh, HL.

House Finch   60  ubiquitous, LR;  20  ubiquitous, HL.

Lesser Goldfinch  10 (m,f) vocal; foraging on dry sunflower inflorescences, n HL.

Lawrence's Goldfinch  4  (m,f) a cohesive, vocal flock landing in the crown of a cottonwood, flying w, sw HL.

House Sparrow    2   calls  around the clubhouse and garden, sw HL.




September 4, 2014  Holiday Lake (28 Species)

Weather: Fair; 69F to 85F; wind WSW 5-15 mph.

Time: 0707-0820 hrs.

Area Covered: I walked counter-clockwise and clockwise routes around the entire lake. The lake bed had only 1-2 inches of water and was largely filled with cattails and tules. Only a small portion of open water in the west-central section was visible from the perimeter. Fairly extensive mudflats occurred in the northeastern section. The perimeter of the lake had an increasing volume of vegetation (e.g. salt cedar and willow), offering good cover for migrant landbirds. No ducks or diving birds were found here today.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, White-faced Ibis (2), Wilson's Snipe (1), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (1)Thick-billed Fox Sparrow (1) and Tricolored Blackbird (8).


White-faced Ibis 2  flushed from ne side of lake, flew to west section.

Red-shouldered Hawk 1 (imm) flew from utility pole to HL (photo).

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) immature   Holiday Lake  Los Angeles County CA  4 September 2014


                                                                                                               © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Black-necked Stilt  2  foraging in shallows, central.

Spotted Sandpiper  2 (bsc. plmg.) foraging on mudflats, ne.

Wilson's Snipe  1  foraging on mudflats, ne.

Eurasian Collared Dove 2  calls; in cottonwoods, flying s.

Mourning Dove   1  flying n.

Black-chinned Hummingbird  1 (f) hovering around willow, ne.

Anna's Hummingbird  5 (f)  ubiquitous; perched in cottonwoods; hovering around salt cedar.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1 calls, active in cottonwood, ne.

Western Wood Pewee  1  sallying from low perch in cottonwood, n.

Willow Flycatcher 1  sallying from perch in salt cedar; flying to edge of marsh, n.

Vireo sp. (probably WAVI)  flushed from elm; seen briefly in adjacent tree, w.

Common Raven  4  flying around lake, w.

Tree Swallow  1  flying back and forth over lake, w.

House Wren  2  scolding calls from edge of marsh, w.

Marsh Wren  2  repeated song (abbreviated) in dense cattails, n.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1 flushed from marsh into adjacent elms and pines, w.

Orange-crowned Warbler   4  foraging in willows, cottonwoods and salt cedar around the lake.

Yellow Warbler  2  calls; foraging in cottonwoods and willows, n.

Common Yellowthroat  calls (unseen) dense marsh, n.

Lark Sparrow  5  tree-top perches around the lake.

Thick-billed Fox Sparrow  1  calls; popped up in marsh, w (photo).

Thick-billed Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca megaryhncha ) Holiday Lake Los Angeles County CA  4 September 2014

                                                                                             © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Red-winged Blackbird  20  (m,f) flying over the lake.

Tricolored Blackbird  8  (m,f) flying over the lake, circling and landing in the west-central section.

Great-tailed Grackle  2 (f) calls, flying from lake, n.

House Finch  20  (m,f) vocal, ubiquitous.

Lesser Goldfinch  1  flying over the lake, n.




May 24, 2014   Munz Ranch Road, Holiday Lake and Ripley Desert Woodland (34 Species)


Holiday Lake, Los Angeles County CA  24 May 2014

                                                                                       © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Weather: Partly cloudy; 59F to 81F; wind WSW 5 - 20 mph.

Time: 0710-1059 hrs.

Areas Covered:  1) Munz Ranch Road (MRR): At mile marker 2.3, I surveyed a narrow north-south valley on the east side of the roadway, that is currently used for cattle grazing. The vegetation is a mixture of ruderal fields and native shrubs (e.g. rabbit brush and cottonthorn) with many flowering annuals (e.g. California Poppy, Desert Lupine, Goldfields, Wooly Blue Star). There was no surface water visible in this area during the survey. Two other birders were present when I arrived; several more arriving later, all in search of a Cassin's Sparrow, discovered here around noon on 22 May by Jon Feenstra. This bird, a rarity in California (about 50 records), and previously recorded once about ten years earlier in the Antelope Valley region (near Bob's Gap, fide JF),was easily located and observed due to its distinctive flight-song displays (0710-0815 hrs.).   2) Holiday Lake (HL): I drove directly from MRR to HL on Lancaster Road to La Petit Ave on HWY 138 (Ave. D). I walked a clockwise route once around the entire lake, surveying pines, riparian, freshwater marsh and open water (mostly occluded by tules and cattails). The lake water level was high and very little shoreline was exposed. Two feral dogs were wandering around the lake; a LACO sheriff's vehicle circled the lake once during my survey.There was little disturbance to birds; variable WSW occasionally made detection of small birds in trees difficult (0845-1013 hrs.).  3) Returning the same route, I stopped briefly at east entrance to Ripley Desert Woodland State Park (on the north side Lancaster Road at about 210th St. West) and walked about 60 yards northward on well-signed trails (RDW). The park includes historical and nature educational signage, and is one of the last significant stands of Joshua Tree-California Juniper woodland in the western Antelope Valley. Many desert annuals were flowering (e.g. Goldfields, Fiddleneck, 1035-1059 hrs.). Three species of bird found here were added to my day-list: Roadrunner, Loggerhead Shrike and Cactus Wren.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, White-faced Ibis (2), Cassin's Sparrow (1) and Tricolored Blackbird (3,500).


Mallard  4 (m,f) edges of the lake; flighty, HL.

Ruddy Duck  5 (m, alt. plmg.), HL.

California Quail   calls (unseen) MRR.

Pied-billed Grebe  1 calls; diving, s, HL.

White-faced Ibis  2  foraging together in the shallows, se, HL.

Turkey Vulture  1  flying low over fields, Lanc. Rd.

American Coot   6  (ad, imm) HL.

Killdeer   2  calls; fly, shore, se, HL.

Eurasian Collared Dove  4  in pines and adjacent yards, HL;  6  farm yards, Lanc. Rd.

Mourning Dove  4  riparian area, HL.

Greater Roadrunner  1  crossing the road, RDW.

Western Wood Pewee  calls (unseen), ne HL.

Black Phoebe  2  a pair probably nesting around the clubhouse, HL.

Loggerhead Shrike  1  flying; song, RDW.

Warbling Vireo  1  in cattails at the n edge of the lake, HL.

Common Raven   6  MRR;  35  Lanc. Rd.  4 HL;  4 RDW.

Horned Lark  5  repeated song from concealed locations in shrubs, MRR;  10  flying across road, Lanc. Rd.;  2 drinking on shore, HL.

Cliff Swallow  20  flying around traditional nest area under aqueduct bridge, Lanc. Rd @ 235th St. W.

Cactus Wren  1  flying across road into Joshua Tree area, RDW.

Northern Mockingbird  1  in yard of adjacent home, s HL.

European Starling  1 flying up valley, MRR.

Wilson's Warbler  1  flying low over the valley, MRR;  5  in cottonwoods and pines around the lake, HL.

Lark Sparrow  2   a pair foraging on ground in parking area of clubhouse, HL (photo); 1 repeated song atop a Joshua Tree (RDW); 2 MRR.

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) Holiday Lake Los Angeles County CA  24 May 2014

                                                                                                © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Cassin's Sparrow  1: Observed (10 x 42 binocular) and photographed (hand held Nikon D3X and  Nikkor AF VR 80-400 mm) from 1000-1119 hrs.; 1710-1851 hrs. 5/23/14; 0710-0815 hrs. 5/24/14. All three periods of observation were from the roadway viewing 10-80 yards away to the east side of Munz Ranch Road near mile marker 2.3. This bird was highly vocal and active during the period of observation in the early morning of of 5/24/14; somewhat less so, i.e. flight-song displays ('skylarking") averaged about 10 minutes apart later in the morning on 5/23/14. From exposed and partially concealed perches on rabbitbrush (live and dead), the bird sang at leas two distinct songs, including one with an introductory series of high, buzzy notes. The latter phrase seemed to be most commonly given immediately prior to the bird taking flight. The flight-song display appeared to follow the same sequence in roughly three stages (see photos below): First, the bird took flight horizontally for 10-20 yards, staying a few feet above the shubs with more or less continuous song. The second stage of the display involved it rather abruptly gaining about 10-15 ft. of altitude with the song volume tapering off. The third stage occurred at maximum altitude, about 50 ft. above ground level. During the latter stage (seen on both mornings, but not in the late afternoon), the bird slowed forward progress by stalling with outstretched wings and tail feathers, alternating soaring and slow, fluttering wing beats, whilst singing loudly and continuously. In the final stage of the display (not included in the image sequence below), the bird suddently dove steeply and returned either downwind or upwind to a shrub perch, usually 10- 20 yards from where it originally took flight. The entire display flight lasted about 15 seconds or less. The frequency of flight-song display flights averaged about one every 3 minutes during the first 30 minutes of observation (5/24/14), then became more variable, with 1 to 8 minute intervals. All of the song display flights appeared to be intiated with the bird facing into a WSW wind of 5-12 mph. Close examinations of flight images showed significant wear on the outer rectrices.

Other anecdotal observations: During the entire period of continuous observation of sligthly more than one hour on 5/24/14: 0710-0815 hrs, the CASP was not seen foraging or engaged in any behavior other than singing while perched and flight-song displays. This suggested the presence of female (s), or another male, however that possibility was not confirmed. The previous morning (5/23/14: 1000 hrs. to 1119 hrs.) much less frequent "skylarking" occurred, with relatively lengthy periods of concealment among shrubs (foraging?). At one point, another birder played a loop recording of Cassin's Sparrow for several minutes, which, after a few minutes delay, brought the bird in closer briefly (about 10 yards away on a barbed wire fence). The bird then circled the area west of the roadway, occasionally landing on a shrub singing. Later that evening (5/23/14 :1710-1851 hrs.), I observed a Cassin's Finch only once as it briefly flew between clumps of rabbibrush about 80 yards away. Meanwhile, at least two Lark Sparrows and several Horned Larks sang repeatedly in the same area. A few range cattle foraged in the area during most of the observation periods. Other animals present included, Western Whiptail Lizard, Western Fence Lizard, California Quail, Red-tailed Hawk and California Ground Squirrel.

Finally, after reviewing the literature on the biology of Cassin's Sparrow (e.g. Cornell University: Birds of North America Online), together with recent (questionable) taxonomic changes, it appears to me that Cassin's Sparrow shows sufficient behavioral, ecological and morphological differences to warrant its placement in a monotypic genus, e.g. Dramaspiza.

                     Cassin's Sparrow (Peucaea cassinii) Munz Ranch Road, Los Angeles County CA  23 May 2014


                                                                                                 © 2014 Callyn Yorke



a) Stage 1: Horizontal flight-song display                                        b)  Stage 2: abruptly gaining altitude


                                                                          © 2014 Callyn Yorke

c) Stage 2-3 Approaching preferred altitude                         d) Stage 3 -cont. Fluttering-soaring flight at highest altitude


                                                                     © 2014 Callyn Yorke



Western Tanager  1 (m) in pines, s HL.

Red-winged Blackbird  2 (m) song; in cottonwood, s HL.

Tricolored Blackbird  3,500  (m,f, imm) (estimated counting by tens, groups of about 100 individuals in the marsh plus those in adjacent fields), Many fledglings joining adults in adjacent trees; some begging for food from adults though none were observed being fed. In the marsh (dominated by cattails and tules), which has filled in most of the lake since it was cleared several months earlier, the TCBL colony was dense, vocal, flighty and highly gregarious during the time of my visit (0845-1013 hrs.). Groups of adults (m,f) and immatures clustered in the marsh and adjacent deciduous trees. Adults (m,f) commuted to adjacent ruderal fields and yards, mainly to the south. A few birds were observed in and around alfalfa fields as far away as Lancaster Rd. near HWY 138, approximately 1.5 mi. south of Holiday Lake. Small flocks of adult males foraged in short grass and fields, sometimes joined by females. Immatures were not seen commuting to nearby fields with adults; instead, immatures stayed close to each other in or immediately adjacent to the marsh (photos).

Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) fledglings (left) and adult male (right)  Holiday Lake  LACO CA  24 May 2014


                                                        © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Yellow-headed Blackbird  1 (f) flushed from marsh near many TCBL, s HL.

Brewer's Blackbird   3  (m,f) in pines and on shore, s HL.

Great-tailed Grackle  2 (m,f) vocal; in willow, s HL.

Bullock's Oriole  2  (f) vocal in cottonwood, se HL.

Western Meadowlark  2  repeated song, MRR;  10 flying across roadways through farmland and pastureland.

House Finch  4  (m,f) in cottonwoods and on clubhouse lawn, s  HL.

House Sparrow  4  around clubhouse and adjacent yards, s HL.








March 15, 2014  Holiday Lake and Quail Lake (50 Species)

Holiday Lake, Los Angeles County CA,  viewing northwest    15 March 2014

                                                      © 2014 Callyn Yorke

Weather: Fair; 48F to 63F; wind  WNW 2 mph; ENE 5 - 25 mph.

Time: 0715 - 0810 (HL); 0829-1047 (QL).

Areas Covered: 1) Holiday Lake (HL): I walked a counter-clockwise route once around the entire lake, surveying all habitats. The lake water level was unusually high, attracting diving ducks and dabbling ducks to relatively extensive areas of open water and marsh.. Patches of new tule and cattail growth occurred in the central portions, surrounded by a dense formation of dead and dry marsh. The latter attracted a returning colony of Tricolored Blackbird. No other people were present at the lake during the survey. 2) Quail Lake Outlet (QLO): I surveyed a short section of the California Aqueduct from the overlook on Westfork Rd. Fire fighters had hoses set up for drawing water from the north side of the aqueduct (0829-0835 hrs.). 3) Quail Lake (QL): I cycled from Westfork Rd. (the west parking lot of QL was occupied by several emergency response vehicles due to a small brush fire about 2 miles away in the foothills adjacent to HWY 138) to the aqueduct inlet on the north side, and returned the same route. Several fishermen were on the shores around the lake. Increasing winds turned the lake surface choppy by 1000 hrs. Conditions were otherwise good for identifying bird vocalizations.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included Common Goldeneye (8) Common Merganser (2). Wilson Snipe (1), and Tricolored Blackbird (80).


American Wigeon   3 (m,f) open water near the inlet, QL.

Mallard 20 (m,f)  pairs around the edges of the lake, HL;   40 ubiquitous near shore, QL.

Cinnamon Teal  4 (m,f) HL;  6  QLO.

Northern Shoveler  4 (m,f) flushed from the marsh, e HL.

Green-winged Teal  10 (m,f) flushed from the marsh, e HL.

Canvasback  1 (m) open water near the breakwater, sw QL.

Redhead   2  (m,f) a pair swimming near shore and at the edge of the marsh, s QL.

Ring-necked Duck 4 (3 m; 1 f) males swimming with female, showing courtship posture with erect crests, HL.

Lesser Scaup 1 (m) swimming with RNDU, HL;  50 (m,f) many resting in open water, QL.

Bufflehead  2 (m,f) swimming in open water, HL;   150  (m,f) ubiquitous; diving in open water, QLO; QL.

Common Goldeneye  8  (2 m; 6 f) diving in open water and near breakwater, s; singles and one trio (m, 2 f), QL.

Common Merganser  2 (f) resting on shore of island, n QL.

Ruddy Duck  2 (m,f) HL;   160  (m,f) QL.

Common Loon  2  diving open water, central; n; one diving outside turbulent water near inlet, n QL.

Pied-billed Grebe  1 swimming amongst RUDU, n QL.

Eared Grebe  35  diving, open water and near shore in small flocks, QL.

Double-crested Cormorant  1  resting on shore of island, n QL.

Cooper's Hawk  1 (ad) flushed from pines, sw HL.

Red-tailed Hawk  1 (ad) on adjacent utility pole, w HL.

American Coot  4  HL;  60 QL.

Killdeer   4  vocal around edges of the lake, HL;  6  vocal on breakwater, s QL.

Wilson's Snipe  1 flushed from marsh next to breakwater, se QL.

Eurasian Collared Dove  2   calls; on utility line, s HL.

Mourning Dove  1 adjacent yard, s HL.

Black Phoebe  2  edge of lake, HL;  4  edge of marsh-riparian s QL.

Common Raven  4  HL;   8 QL.

Cliff Swallow  25  flying back and forth over lake, inlet and adjacent hillsides; possibly nesting under aqueduct bridge, n QL.

Barn Swallow  1  flying low over marsh, n QL.

Bewick's Wren  1 song, riparian edge, ne QL.

Marsh Wren  5  song (unseen) dry marsh, HL;  3  song, s QL.

Western Bluebird  calls (unseen) adjacent yard and chaparral, s QL.

European Starling  calls, s QL.

American Pipit  1 flushed from shore, s HL;  1 gave alarm call; flew a short distance ahead of me on breakwater, se QL.'

Orange-crowned Warbler  1  calls; pines S HL;  3 (one definite lutescens) calls; foraging with YRWA in patch of willows; s QL.

Yellow-rumped Warbler  3 (m,f) calls; in pines, HL;  15  (m,f) ubiquitous in riparian-marsh areas; several on ground , QL.

Chipping Sparrow  1  fence line at edge of puddle and ruderal-chaparral, se QL.

Lark Sparrow  1  on fence near CHSP, se QL.

Savannah Sparrow  4  in marsh, HL;  1 on breakwater, se QL.

Song Sparrow  4 vocal; marsh-riparian, s QL.

Lincoln's Sparrow 1  staying low in riparian-marsh, s QL.

White-crowned Sparrow  3  e HL;  20 s QL.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  6  edge of marsh, w HL.

Red-winged Blackbird  10 (m,f) vocal, in marsh, w HL;  30 (m,f) vocal in marsh-riparian, s QL.

Tricolored Blackbird  80 (conserv. est.) (m,f)  highly vocal and gregarious; most concealed in dry marsh; some commuting southward; s and n HL; a flock of about 15 in adjacent alfalfa field, HWY 138, north side, outside of Neenach.

Western Meadowlark  1 vocal, se QL.

Brewer's Blackbird  14 (m,f)   adjacent yard, s HL;  20  breakwater and roadside, s QL.

Great-tailed Grackle  2  (m,f) fly, calls, w HL;  5  fly, calls, s QL.

House Finch  4  vocal, HL;  20 (m,f) riparian-marsh   vocal, ubiquitous, QL.

Lesser Goldfinch  2  vocal, riparian, s QL.

House Sparrow  calls, around clubhouse, HL.







JANUARY 19, 2014  QUAIL LAKE and HOLIDAY LAKE (47 Species)

Quail Lake, viewing north (left) and Holiday Lake, viewing west (right) Los Angeles County CA  19 January 2014


                                                                            © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Weather: Partly cloudy; 50F to 62F; wind WNW 0-5 mph.

Time: 0812-1145 hrs.

Areas Covered:  1)  Quail Lake outlet of the California Aqueduct from the West Fork Rd. overlook (QLO). Using a binocular and scope, I scanned the aqueduct to the first bend southwest of the roadside hilltop near the intersection of HWY 138 (0812-0826 hrs.). 2) Quail Lake (QL). I cycled the shoreline road to and from the west parking area to the terminus at the California Aqueduct inlet on the north side of Quail Lake. Habitats surveyed included, the first section of the California Aqueduct outlet, chaparral hillsides, patches of willow riparian, freshwater marsh, shoreline (mostly inundated), grassland, ruderal fields and open water. About 50 fishermen were around the lake; most on the north bank. One said he had nearly caught, "a good size striper (Striped Bass)" while fishing on the south shore concrete breakwater. Winds were calm, auto traffic on HWY 138 was relatively light, and conditions were good for finding and identifying birds by their vocalizations (0830-1035 hrs.). 3) Holiday Lake (HL). I walked a counter-clockwise route around the entire lake. The water level was low exposing mudflats throughout. The entire lake is overgrown with cattails (currently dormant and dry). Water was being pumped into the lake at a large pipe in the southwest corner. Two people were watering vegetation around the clubhouse during the survey; their unleashed dog (a Dalmation) was running freely around the clubhouse (1106-1145 hrs.). 4) I noted birds seen while driving to and from Quail Lake, using HWY 138 and Lancaster Rd (LR/HWY 138).

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included a probable immature male Barrow's Goldeneye (1) in the southwest section of Quail Lake.


American Wigeon  2  (m,f) swimming together in the shallows, HL.

Mallard 12  resting on the south shore and north island, QL.

Green-winged Teal  13 (m,f) dabbling in the muddy shallows, HL.

Lesser Scaup  600 (m,f) ubiquitous in open water of the aqueduct and Quail Lake; many diving; most numerous in the northern section of QL.  Although many were too distant to see well, none appeared to be a candidate for Greater Scaup, which had been found here (in small numbers) during my most recent survey of December 28, 2014.

Bufflehead  150  (m,f) ubiquitous in open water of the aqueduct and Quail Lake; many diving.

Common Goldeneye  80 (m,f) ubiquitous in open water of the aqueduct and Quail Lake; many diving; several in small flocks of males and females.

Barrow's Goldeneye ?  1 (imm. male) mostly preening and resting with its head partially concealed;  it was difficult to see all the bird's features, except for the overall plumage pattern, steep angle of the forehead and relatively small, dark bill (photo); This appeared to be similar to an immature male BAGO found and photographed here by Kimball Garrett on December 28, 2013, sw QL .

Barrow's Goldeneye ?   sw Quail Lake LACO CA 19 Jan 2014

                                                              © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Common Merganser 2 (m)  a pair flying low, toward QL in the aqueduct, QLO.  3 (f) resting on an island shore, n QL.

Ruddy Duck  200 (m,f) ubiquitous in open water of the aqueduct and QL;  mostly in large flocks; a few individuals were diving.

Pied-billed Grebe   15 ubiquitous at QL; individuals diving near shore, QL.

Horned Grebe  5  diving together near shore, n QL.

Eared Grebe   25  ubiquitous; diving in pairs and singles near shore, QL.

Western Grebe  1 (probably more of both WEGR and CLGR, but too distant for positive identification)   swimming with Lesser Scaup, n QL.

Double-crested Cormorant   8  resting on n island; flying low over lake; swimming near shore, n QL.

Great Egret  2  on main shore and island, nw, n QL.

Black-crowned Night Heron 1 (ad) flew from the marsh to a post in the east pond, se QL.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1  flushed from cottonwoods, s HL.

Red-tailed Hawk  1 atop cottonwood in adjacent yard, s QL;  10  on utility poles along HWY 138 and Lancaster Rd.

Ferruginous Hawk  1 (ad) on a utility pole near 180th Street West and Lancaster Rd.

Prairie Falcon 1  on a utility pole near 160th Street West and Lancaster Rd.

American Coot   150  ubiquitous;  most often at the edge of the marsh, QL.HL.

Killdeer  3  foraging on mudflats, e HL.

Eurasian Collared Dove  calls;  in mature cottonwood, adjacent yard, s QL.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  calls,  in pines, s HL.

Northern (RS) Flicker  calls; in chaparral near adjacent yard, s QL.

Black Phoebe  1  near shore, s QL;  1 calls, HL.

Say's Phoebe   1 flying low at the edge of the aqueduct, QLO.

Loggerhead Shrike  1 (ad) flying between exposed perches in cottonwoods, n HL.

Common Raven  25  ubiquitous; several on s breakwater, QL.

Western Scrub-jay  calls, adjacent yard, s QL.

Horned Lark  10  a cohesive flock flying low across a field, 170th St W, Lancaster Rd.

Oak Titmouse  1 calls, riparian-marsh, s QL.

Bewick's Wren 1  vocal; active with a flock of WCSP at edge of marsh-riparian, s QL.

Marsh Wren  1  vocal, marsh, central-s QL.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1  vocal, cottonwoods and riparian understory, n QL; 1 in pines, HL.

Mountain Bluebird 1 flew low across road and over a large field, 160th St West, Lancaster Rd.

American Pipit  1  gave alarm call when flushed from concrete breakwater, se QL.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  2  riparian, s QL;  1 calls, HL.

Common Yellowthroat  1 calls, dense cattails-riparian edge, s QL.

California Towhee 1 calls, adjacent chaparral, s QL.

Vesper Sparrow  1 flushed to canopy of cottonwood, e HL.

Savannah Sparrow  10   calls; active at edge of marsh, s, n QL;  6  calls; active around edges and inside cattail marsh, HL.

Song Sparrow  8  song, calls; dense cattails-riparian, s, n QL; 1   calls from marsh, HL.

White-crowned Sparrow  40   vocal; in loose flocks; mostly in heavily vegetated areas, QLO, QL, HL.

Red-winged Blackbird  5  vocal; males establishing territories in marsh, s QL.

Brewer's Blackbird  8  (m,f) foraging together at roadside, QL.

House Finch  50  (m,f) ubiquitous in riparian and brushy areas, QL;  5 QLO; 3 HL.

















DECEMBER 28, 2013  QUAIL LAKE and HOLIDAY LAKE (43 Species)

Weather: Fair; 52F to 64F; wind  W, WNW 2-7 mph.

Time: 0804- 1230 hrs.

Area Covered: 1) Quail Lake Outlet (QLO): I scanned  the aqueduct from the Westfork Rd. overlook (0804-0825 hrs.).   2) I cycled from the west parking area on the southern access road paralleling HWY 138 to the northeast corner of QL. Proceeding north and west, I reached the endpoint of the survey at the California Aqueduct inlet to Quail Lake (QL). I included a brief survey of the isolated pond at the east end of QL , surveying visually from the trail on the north shore. I met and spoke briefly with Jon Fisher (around 0900 hrs.)and Kimball Garrett (around 1030 hrs.), who were each doing indepedent bird surveys of Quail Lake today.

Kimball Garrett, the ornithology collections manager at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, mentioned that his dog (presumably unleashed) had flushed some Wilson's Snipe which may have been overlooked otherwise. He also noted the vocalizations of Virginia Rail and Sora in the south shore marsh area (due to the presence of his dog?); none of those species was among the birds I found today. Another individual (non-birder) with well-controlled, leashed dogs, was present on the southern causeway as I was completing my survey. The extent to which the presence of dogs affected birds and their detectability at Quail Lake was unclear.  However, I should clarify for the general readership, allowing dogs to run unleashed in public areas is unlawful in Los Angeles County and is a chronically severe problem in wetlands throughout California. One should expect most naturalists (birders in particular) are acutely aware of this conservation issue. Please see the following link to some of my field notes on this topic:



The lake water level was relatively high, resulting in inundation of the concrete breakwater at the east shore junction. High water essentially blocked overland access to lakeside edge of the marsh on the southeastern breakwater (0830-1050 hrs.).  3) Holiday Lake (HL). I walked a clockwise circuit around the entire lake. The lake water level had increased since my most recent survey of November. 26, 2013. A relatively large, continuous body of shallow water (e.g. 4-6 inches) now occurs along the long axis of the lake (east-west), with heavy marsh re-growth largely obscuring access to the shoreline. The lake area was largely undisturbed by human activities during my survey. Birdlife was concentrated at the edge of the marsh, primarily in the southern half of the lake (1112-1230 hrs.).


Canada Goose  60  (at least two subspecies based on size, c.f. B. c. moffiti and B. c. parvipes; not including B. hutchinsii). Birds crowded together in the shallow central section; wary but reluctant to fly, HL.

American Wigeon  1 (f) swimming next to Mallards and CAGO.

Mallard  15  (m,f) resting on shore and islets, QL;  30 (m,f) dabbling in shallows, HL.

Green-winged Teal   15  (m,f)   singles and small flocks (all males in one flock of 8) dabbling near the edge of the marsh; flighty.

Lesser Scaup   600  (m,f) QLO, QL.  Many diving; some mixed sp. flocks with BUHE and GRSC; most flocks in open water; many on north side of QL.

Greater Scaup  16  (m,f)  one flock of about 12 in aqueduct, QLO; others in outlet channel on the west end of QL. An undetermined number of GRSC too distant for positive identification. One pair (m,f) swimming together in outlet channel (photos.).


Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) male (R), female (L). West Quail Lake outlet, Los Angeles County, CA  28 December 2013

                                                                      © 2013 Callyn Yorke


Bufflehead   350 (conserv. est.) (m,f)  ubiquitous; often diving in singles and small flocks, QLO, QL.

Common Goldeneye   16 (m,f) QLO;  40 (conserv. est.) scattered over entire lake in singles and pairs (photo).

Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) female. Quail Lake LACO CA 28 Dec 2013


                                                                                     © 2013 Callyn Yorke


Common Merganser   5 (f)  four resting on a shallow islet, n QL; one swimming near the rocky shore at the QL inlet, n QL.

Red-breasted Merganser  3  all singles; one diving in the aqueduct, QLO; one diving in the outlet channel, w QL (photo); one ne QL.


Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) female (same bird in both photos) w Quail Lake outlet, LACO CA 28 Dec 2013


                                                               © 2013 Callyn Yorke


Ruddy Duck  500 (m,f) most flocks resting in open water; some diving in aqueduct and in turbulent water near inlet, QLO, QL.

Common Loon  1 diving, QLO;  2  diving together near inlet, n QL; one flying over lake, se QL (photo).


Common Loon (Gavia immer) Quail Lake, Los Angeles County CA 28 December 2013

                                                                                       © 2013 Callyn Yorke


Pied-billed Grebe  30  ubiquitous; many diving in open water, QL.

Horned Grebe    6    ubiquitous; singles, pairs and small flocks diving together, n; near inlet,  n QL.

Eared Grebe   30  ubiquitous; singles, pairs and small flocks diving together, QL.

Western Grebe   5   singles diving in open water and near shore, QL.

Clark's Grebe  1  open water well off-shore, s QL.

Double-crested Cormorant   25  ubiquitous at QL; flying over lake; a few diving in open water; several resting on islands,n QL.

Great Blue Heron  1 on shore, n QL.

Black-crowned Night Heron  1 (ad) on shore, QL inlet.

Red-shouldered Hawk 2  1 ad; 1 imm; calls, flying around lake, HL.

Red-tailed Hawk  2  1 ad flushed from mature pine, sw, HL.

American Coot  200  ubiquitous, usually near shore, QL;  4  HL.

California Gull 1 (ad) flying low over the lake, n-central QL.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1 (f) calls; foraging in pines, sw HL.

Northern(RS) Flicker  1 fly, call; riparian woods, se QL; 1  calls, HL.

Black Phoebe  1  calls, adjacent ranch, s QL.

Common Raven  20  ubiquitous, QL; 6 flying around adjacent fields, HL.

Oak Titmouse  1 calls; in marsh, s QL.

Bewick's Wren  1  staying low in shrubs at the edge of the marsh, s QL.

Marsh Wren  2  calls, dense marsh, s QL;  2  calls; active at edge of marsh, s HL.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2  calls; foraging in pines and cottonwoods, s HL.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler   6  marsh and riparian areas around the lake, QL; 2 in pines and on ground, HL.

Common Yellowthroat  calls (unseen) marsh, s QL.  1 calls (unseen) marsh, se HL.

Lark Sparrow  4  flushed from rocky embankment at w QL outlet, QL.

Savannah Sparrow  10  calls; grassy and marsh areas around the lake, QL;  4 calls; edge of marsh, HL.

Song Sparrow  2  calls, marsh-riparian, sw QL.

Lincoln's Sparow  2  edge of marsh, s HL.

White-crowned Sparrow  40  ubiquitous in riparian-marsh areas around the lake;  10  foraging with DEJU at edge of marsh, HL.

Dark-eyed (O) Junco   8 (m,f) foraging beneath cottonwoods and pines, s HL.

Western Meadowlark  6  flying, ruderal edge of marsh, s QL.

Brewer's Blackbird  2  (m,f) roadside ruderal edge, s QL.

House Finch  40  (m,f) ubiquitous in riparian and marsh areas around the lake, QL;  4 HL.



















DECEMBER 8, 2013   QUAIL LAKE (48 Species)

Weather: Partly cloudy; 37F to 40 F; wind W, WNW 0-3 mph.

Time:  1000-1520 hrs.

Observers: Dan Byrne and I.

Area Covered:  From the west Quail Lake parking area, we walked the perimeter road east along the shore, then northwest to the Quail Lake inlet at the California Aqueduct. We included the eastern pond area and the concrete breakwater on the southeastern shore of Quail Lake. Habitats surveyed included freshwater marsh, open water, shoreline (mudflats, sand,rock and concrete), willow-cottonwood riparian patches, hillside chaparral, grassland and ruderal fields. We met and spoke briefly with Mark and Janet Scheel near the southeastern corner of the lake, who had just discovered an American Tree Sparrow on the concrete breakwater between the marsh and lakeshore, on the south side of Quail Lake. We observed and photographed this bird shortly thereafter and continued our survey. Upon our return westward on the shoreline road, we spotted a female Barrow's Goldeneye about 30 yards offshore in the southwestern section of the lake. Subsequently, we met and spoke briefly with Nick and Mary Freeman, who were beginning their survey of Quail Lake, providing them with directions to the locations of the above-mentioned species.

Birds of Seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Barrow's Goldeneye (1),Red-breasted Merganser (4), Hooded Merganser (8), White-tailed Kite (1) and American Tree Sparrow (1).



Mallard  15 (m,f) on concrete breakwater, s.

Northern Shoveler  1 (m) flushed from pond with other ducks, e.

Northern Pintail  1 (m) flushed from pond with other ducks, e.

Green-winged Teal   6 (m,f) dabbling near edge of pond, e.

Canvasback  2 (m,f) swimming with other ducks in pond, e.

Lesser Scaup   150  (m,f) large, cohesive flocks swimming in open water throughout the lake.

Bufflehead   80  (m,f) pairs and loose flocks in open water throughout the lake.

Common Goldeneye    18 (m,f) pairs and singles in open water throughout the lake.

Barrow's Goldeneye  1 (fem. - possibly cont. from 26 Nov.) noted steep forehead, stubby yellow bill; swimming about 30 yards offshore in open water, sw (photo).

Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) sw Quail Lake, Los Angeles County CA  8 Dec 2013


                                                                                                                                © 2013 Callyn Yorke


Common Merganser  80 ( about 70 females and 10 adult males) swimming and diving together in a feeding frenzy, e.

Red-breasted Merganser  4 (f) swimming and diving together among a large flock of COME, e.

Hooded Merganser 8  (3 m, 5 f) swimming together near the edge of the pond, e.

Ruddy Duck  100 (conserv. est.) mostly resting (a few diving) in open water throughout the lake.

Common Loon  1  swimming in the aqueduct outlet and adjacent lake, w.

Pied-billed Grebe  12  swimming and diving near shore throughout.

Horned Grebe   10  swimming and diving together in pairs and loose flocks, open water throughout.

Eared Grebe   30  swimming and diving mostly singly in open water and near shore throughout.

Western Grebe  100 (pos. ID; conserv. est.) swimming  together and singly throughout, esp. n.

Double-crested Cormorant  15  several resting on islet, n; flying; swimming and diving in open water throughout.

Great Blue Heron  1  on post in pond, e.

White-tailed Kite  1  perched in leafless willow next to pond, e; later flying over s shore (photo).

White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) Quail Lake, LACO CA  8 December 2013


                                                                                        © 2013 Callyn Yorke


Red-shouldered Hawk  1 (ad) flying over lake, ne.

Red-tailed Hawk  1 (ad) on utility pole, HWY 138, se.

American Kestrel 1 (ad) on utility line, HWY 138, se.

American Coot   120  ubiquitous, usually on or near shore.

Least Sandpiper   8  foraging on concrete breakwater; allowed very close approach, s.

Wilson's Snipe  1  flying over marsh, se.

Ring-billed Gull  12 (ad) flying low over lake, s.

California Gull  60  (90 % ad; C1, C3) a vocal flock engaged in an open water, surface feeding frenzy, e-central.

Herring Gull 1 (C1) flying around with CAGU; swimming in open water, e-central.

Northern (RS) Flicker; calls, flying around riparian area in pond, e.

Black Phoebe  calls, marsh-riparian, s.

Common Raven   20  vocal; pairs and singles flying around shorelines.

Tree Swallow  10  flying low, back and forth over the pond, e.

Bewick's Wren  1  scold calls in a leafless willow at the edge of the pond, e.

Marsh Wren  2  calls (unseen) dense cattails, s.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1  calls; active in leafless willow at edge of pond, e.

Hermit Thrush  2   one foraging with YRWA on concrete breakwater, se; another on shore of pond, e.

American Pipit     5  on concrete breakwater and rocky shore, s.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  5  (m,f) foraging on concrete breakwater and rocky shore, s.

Yellow-rumped (M) Warbler 1 (f) foraging with other YRWA on rocky shore, se.

Common Yellowthroat  1  calls (unseen) , dense cattails-riparian, s.

Savannah Sparrow  5  calls; active on ground and in shrubs, s.

Song Sparrow  10  calls; active in marsh and ruderal edge throughout (photo).

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) ne Quail Lake, LACO CA  8 Dec 2013


                                                                                   © 2013 Callyn Yorke


White-crowned Sparrow   30 (ad, imm) vocal; ubiquitous in a variety of vegetation around the lake.

American Tree Sparrow 1 (ad)  Noted this bird's relatively large size when seen next to a YRWA; bicolored bill; buffy sides and black breast spot. The bird was foraging on the concrete breakwater and at the edge of the marsh, staying mostly on the ground; a YRWA, SASP and HETH were also on the ground nearby. The bird gave a two-part, variable-pitch call when startled and flushed to the marsh. This is a casual vagrant in Los Angeles County; probably fewer than five records.

Initially, the bird was discovered by Mark and Janet Scheel around and on the concrete breakwater between a freshwater marsh and the lake shore in the southeast section of Quail Lake. Based on the Scheel's directions, we quickly located the bird, obtaining observations and photos from 15-30 yards away. Access to this particular location is obtained from the east end of the main roadway paralleling HWY 138, where there is a guard rail and trash barrel. The bird was found about 150 yards west of this location, reached on foot via the concrete breakwater (photos).

American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) same individual in both images (Right: with YRWA for size), se Quail Lake LACO CA  8 Dec 2013.


                                                                                                © 2013 Callyn Yorke


Western Meadowlark  5   roadside, HWY 138, se.

Brewer's Blackbird  20 (m,f) foraging in cohesive flocks on shore, roadside and ruderal areas,s.

House Finch  15  (m,f) a vocal, cohesive flock in a riparian patch, ne.