© Callyn Yorke



                                                         South Trail Entrance of the Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, Lancaster CA   20 February 2015


                                                                                                             © 2015 Callyn Yorke


Index to Bird Surveys

May 12, 2018

May 14, 2016

February 20, 2015



May 12, 2018  Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, Lancaster (20 Species)



Weather: Fair; 63F; wind WSW 5 - 10 mph.

Time: 1007-1256 hrs.

Observers: UCLA Extension Spring Birds of Southern California class (5 students and I).

Area Covered: We walked a meandering, roughly clockwise route through most of the preserve, largely on roped pathways. Habitats surveyed were: Joshua Tree-California Juniper Mojavean Desert Scrub and Desert Riparian (e.g. Desert Willow, Fremont Cottonwood). The borders of adjacent suburban gardens with mature deciduous trees and shrubs were included in our survey. About 30 acres was surveyed visually using binoculars and DSLR cameras. Pathways were frequented by numerous visitors, including joggers. Other animals noted included, Black-tailed Jackrabbit (3), Desert Cottontail (8), California Ground Squirrel (10), Coyote (1), Western Whiptail (3), Desert Side-blotched Lizard (2), Desert Spiny Lizard (1).





California Quail  3  vocal; running on ground, often beneath junipers.

Eurasian Collared Dove  2  flying low toward adjacent suburbs.

Mourning Dove  3  flying low over preserve.

Greater Roadrunner   2   one with whiptail lizard in beak; courtship behavior between a pair near a large juniper.

Anna's Hummingbird  3  (m) one engaged in a aerial display; others perched on junipers.

California Gull  2  (imm) flying 100 ft. agl over preserve, n.

American Kestrel  1, central.

California Scrub-Jay  2  vocal; flying low, west across site, n-central.

Common Raven  8 vocal, ubiquitous;  pairs perched together on snag near mature junipers; flying low around preserve.

Verdin  3  vocal;  individuals and a pair active in junipers, cottonwoods and low shrubs throughout.

Bewick's Wren  2  repeated song from junipers, central.

Cactus Wren  3   a pair evidently nesting in a well concealed cluster of Joshua Tree foliage at the base of the main limbs. One carrying something in its beak to the nest site near a pathway, central.

Northern Mockingbird  2  vocal; flying low over preserve toward adjacent suburb, central.

European Starling  3  flying over preserve.

House Finch  4  (m,f) vocal; pairs in junipers and on ground, central.

California Towhee  2  vocal; shrub plantings next to visitor center.

Chipping Sparrow  2-3  forgaging in shade beneath a juniper, ne.

Western Tanager  4  (m)  two males in one juniper, s; other individuals flying between junipers, n.

Black-headed Grosbeak  1 (YBH).

Bullock's Oriole  1 (f) flying over junipers, ne..







May 14, 2016  Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, 43201 35th Street West and Avenue K-8, Lancaster, CA (14 Species)


                       Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister) Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, Lancaster, LACO CA 14 May 2016


                                                                                                     © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Weather: Fair; 69F to 73F; wind WNW 0- 2mph.

Time: 0745-0931 hrs.

Observers: UCLA Extension Spring Birds of Southern California class (9 students) and I.

Area Covered: We walked around the parking area next to the visitor's center, then on the trails through the south and east-central sections, visually surveying about 50 acres. Habitats included, California Juniper- Joshua Tree, Saltbush Scrub (Atriplex spp.) and a small patch of Desert Riparian (Black Willow and Cottonwood); there was no surface water found in the preserve. Reptiles noted were, Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana), Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister - photo), and Western Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris). Mammals noted included, Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii), California Ground Squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi) and abundant sign of kangaroo rat (Dipodomys sp.). Aerial insects were fairly abundant throughout. Dozens of other people were on the trails during our survey. Note: public restrooms in the visitor center open at 10 AM.


Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Ladder-backed Woodpecker (1),Olive-sided Flycatcher (1), Cactus Wren (3), Cedar Waxwing (6) and Hooded Oriole (2).






California Quail   6  (m,f) pairs scattered around junipers and other shrubs, s (photo).



California Quail (Calipepla californica) Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, Lancaster, LACO CA  14 May 2016

                                                                                                                  © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Eurasian Collared Dove  1  flying se over the preserve, s.

Mourning Dove   6  vocal, ubiquitous.

Anna's Hummingbird  1 (m) ID: stocky; relatively straight bill; dark gorget not fully developed, c.f. BCHU;  perched on upper branches of a dead juniper; flying back and forth to nearby flowering plants.



Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) male, Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, Lancaster LACO CA  14 May 2016


                                                                                                         © 2016 Callyn Yorke





Ladder-backed Woodpecker  1 (m) foraging on Joshua Tree fruits, central (photos).




Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) same individual in both imagesPrime Desert Woodland, Lancaster LACO CA 14 May 2016


                                                              © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Olive-sided Flycatcher  1 ID: relatively heavy bill; dark streaking on sides, c.f. WWPE; sallying from perch atop dead juniper and a mulberry tree in an adjacent yard, s; Note: this relatively uncommon migrant has not yet been found on the AVC campus, located about 0.6 mi north of this location (photo).



Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) Prime Desert Woodland, Lancaster LACO CA 14 May 2016


                                                                                           © 2016 Callyn Yorke





Say's Phoebe  1 (imm) sallying from wooden cable fence along pathway, central (photo).



Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, Lancaster LACO CA 14 May 2016


                                                                                       © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Common Raven   3  flying over preserve, s.


Cactus Wren  3  vocal from conspicuous perches atop mature junipers and Joshua Trees (photo); two nests in silver cholla; one possibly used this year, s.




Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) PDWP, Lancaster LACO CA 14 May 2016

                                                                                              © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Northern Mockingbird  2  vocal; in junipers; flying to adjacent suburban yards, s.

European Starling  4  vocal, gregarious; flying over preserve and into adjacent yards, s.

Cedar Waxwing  6  a cohesive flock flying south over the preserve toward trees in adjacent yard, s.

Hooded Oriole  2 (m,f) foraging low in junipers and saltbush; a pair seen by others in the class flying off toward adjacent yards, s Note: Hooded Oriole, an increasingly common summer resident in the Antelope Valley, has not yet been found on the adjacent AVC campus.

House Finch  12  (m,f) vocal, gregarious and in pairs throughout.














February 20, 2015   Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, 43201 35th Street West at West Avenue K-8. Lancaster, CA (17 Species)

Weather:  Partly cloudy; 53F; no wind.

Time: 0820 - 0940 hrs.

Area Covered: I walked the north and south trails through the preserve, visually covering an area of about 80 acres. I observed and photographed birds found in Joshua-tree - Juniper - Saltbush (Joshua Tree - West Mojavean Desert Scrub and Alkali Scrub communities), a small oasis of Desert Riparian with surface water and  mature cottonwoods (east-central), recent plantings (drip-line watered) around the visitor center and bordering exotic trees and shrubs in the adjacent suburb. Several joggers and other visitors (some with small children) were using the reserve trails during my survey. There was no sign of domestic dog, cat or other domestic animal found in the preserve (one of several prohibited activities in the preserve), though several barking dogs were heard in adjacent yards. Mammals observed within the preserve included Desert Cottontail (abundant), Black-tailed Jackrabbit (1) and California Ground Squirrel (abundant). Most of the vegetation in the preserve appeared intact and healthy; evidence of historical brush clearing and fire (i.e. burned remains of California Juniper) was observed in the eastern portion of the park. Considerable dust was produced by vehicles entering and leaving the preserve parking area. I used a 10x42 binocular and DSLR camera for the survey.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included,  Western Scrub-Jay (2), California Thrasher (1), Verdin (1), House Wren (1) and California Towhee (1). All of the aforementioned species are rare (Western Scrub-Jay, House Wren, California Towhee) or unrecorded (California Thrasher & Verdin) on the 135-acre Antelope Valley College campus, located about 0.5 miles north of the Prime Desert Woodland Preserve. The AVC campus bird list was begun in the fall of 1984, and to date includes 120 documented bird species.


California Quail  10  (m,f)  vocal; running between shrubs in semi-open areas, s, w. (photo).

California Quail (Callipepla californica)  Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, Lancaster, LACO CA  20 February 2015

                                                                                                                                               © 2015 Callyn Yorke


Feral Rock Pigeon   2 flying; adjacent suburb.

Mourning Dove  2  flying low, e side of preserve.

Anna's Hummingbird  2  (m,f) perched on and hovering around junipers, s.

Western (Coastal) Scrub-Jay  2  ID: Coastal subspecies superciliosa (common in adjacent foothills) shows a relatively heavy bill, blue collar and white underparts; vocal; perched on junipers (photo).

Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica superciliosa) PDWP, Lancaster CA 20 Feb 2015


                                                                          © 2015 Callyn Yorke


Common Raven   8   pairs and trios flying over preserve; perched in adjacent trees.

Verdin  1 (ad), repeated vocalizations of two distinct types: 1) A dry, high-pitched single note repeated quickly many times, c.f. Anna's Hummingbird; 2) A loud chirp repeated at a much less frequent rate than (1). The first vocalization type was apparently given as an alarm call when the bird was initially flushed from dense cover adjacent to the visitor center; the second call-type was given as the bird foraged amongst the middle and upper branches of nearby mature California Juniper, saltbush and a leafless deciduous tree (photo).


Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, Lancaster LACO CA  20 February 2015


                                                                                                   © 2015 Callyn Yorke



Cactus Wren   5   repeated calls and song from top of Joshua Trees throughout the preserve.

House Wren  1  gave nasal scold call twice, suggesting Blue-gray Gnatcatcher before coming into clear view; flew from cluster of watered shrubs next to covered patio (s side of entrance road adjacent to visitor's center); then back to a leafless deciduous tree (photo).


House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, Lancaster CA  20 Feb 2015

                                                                                               © 2015 Callyn Yorke


Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1  vocal; active in junipers, s-central.

Northern Mockingbird   2   song; adjacent trees and suburbs.

California Thrasher  1  (noted relatively gray and overall pale coloration, c.f. similar individuals found at Lake Palmdale, CA, possibly representing a regionally distinct, yet unnamed subspecies); repeated song from high, exposed perches in deciduous trees near visitor center; song included recognizable mimicry of other local birds, e.g. California Quail, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Bewick's Wren and Cactus Wren (photo).

California Thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum) PDWP Lancaster CA  20 Feb 2015

                                                                             © 2015 Callyn Yorke


European Starling  1  perched in adjacent deciduous tree, n.

Yellow-rumped Warbler  1 (f) call, flying between deciduous trees around visitor center.

California Towhee 1  repeated calls from dense cover around watered shrubs next to a covered patio (on the s side of the entrance road, opposite the visitor center); found later in same area (photo).

California Towhee (Melozone crissalis) PDWP Lancaster CA  20 Feb 2015

                                                             © 2015 Callyn Yorke


White-crowned Sparrow  2  on the ground, running between shrubs, c.f. Bell's Sage Sparrow; one perched below singing California Thrasher near visitor center, central, s.

House Finch   calls   adjacent suburbs, s.