The National Audubon Society Grass Mountain Christmas Bird Count




                                          White-headed Woodpecker      © 2014 Callyn Yorke




                               The 2018 Grass Mt. CBC is scheduled for Wednesday, December 26 .

                                                                  Please contact Jayde Blair for the CAGM 2018 area assignments


                            Results of the most recent Grass Mt. CBC 's are found on the links below



                                                                                                December 26, 2015

                                                                                                December 26, 2014

                                                                                               December 14, 2013

                                                                                                December 14, 2012

                                                                                                December 16, 2011





  CAGM CBC Historical Data Summary (1972-1998: 25 Counts)


                               Elizabeth Lake (CAGM Area #6) December, 2009.                                                                         © 2009 Callyn Yorke



                THE NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY GRASS MOUNTAIN (CAGM) CBC COUNT CIRCLE   (Established in 1972)                                

                                                                                                                                                                                 © 2013 Antelope Valley College



                                               A CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT TRAVESTY:

                           The Strange Case of Overlapping Count Circles in Los Angeles County, CA


Shown below is a Google Earth Map of the existing six-square mile overlap resulting from an error by Mr. Dan Cooper, advertising himself as a "Harvard-trained biologist," who established the Santa Clarita (CACI) CBC circle in 2003 and has been the principal compiler. Assisting Mr. Cooper was Geoff LeBaron, director of NAS CBC division.   I have requested, through a series of emails to Mr. LeBaron, that NAS permanently correct this problem by either deleting the Santa Clarita count circle entirely, or relocating it in order to exclude the CAGM CBC circle, established with priority in 1972.  NAS is ultimately responsible for such errors and insuring that new count circles do not overlap pre-existing count circles. The rule of non-overlapping count circles is explicitly stated in the NAS CBC guidelines.  Mr. LeBaron's ( i.e. NAS's) final decision in this matter (January 27, 2014) was to remove the six square miles of overlap from the Santa Clarita count circle, thereby returning that area to the exclusive ownership of CAGM.  Of course this ruling means that the Santa Clarita count circle loses six square miles of habitat. Furthermore, this convenient "solution" effectively propagates a fundamental error into perpetuity. 



                                                                                                                                                                                            provided by NAS CBC 2013



                             CBC's and eBird: Citizen Science or Citizen Education?


                                                                                      © 2016  Callyn Yorke



Ever since my first Audubon Christmas Bird Count in the San Francisco Bay Area during the early 1970's, I have been impressed with the integrity of the National Audubon Society organization, particularly regarding accuracy and documentation of bird reports. Aside from cases involving overlapping count circles and related double-counting errors (see previous account), NAS generally does a fine job controlling the quality of its product. This is no trivial task. Among many possible problems facing NAS editors, is the issue of bird misidentifications. Beginners and experts alike make identification and quantitative errors during CBC's; such mistakes are often caught and examined closely by the CBC compiler and/or regional editors before the data are published in the annual report. Indeed, the fairly rigorous process of correcting CBC mistakes may discourage beginners (and some lofty experts) from further participation. Christopher Cokinos (Hope is the Thing With Feathers. 2000. pp.109-110) described this phenomenon with characteristic insight and charm.


Without a bird in the hand, observers have to rely on extremely precise descriptions of plumage, behavior and field conditions. At meetings of area birders who have just finished a census - such as the traditional Christmas Bird Counts, which gather data on wintering populations across the country - census leaders cast baleful glares at the claimants, grimly interrogating them for contradictions and weaknesses. The ornithological equivalent of a grand jury deposition, this procedure often causes the post-count chili supper to roil in the bellies of potential witnesses.


Perhaps to encourage folks without formal training in science to continue wrangling the maverick of quantitative bird surveys, an inspiring phrase was coined, Citizen Science. Officially deputized by the scientific community, everyone now wears a badge of distinction when participating in such projects as eBird surveys (Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology) and the National Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count. However, when the party is over and the results are submitted, scientific skepticism is invited to raise its ugly head. This is for a good reason. Misidentifications of birds, the most common error, can end up rendering an entire data set next to useless for scientific purposes.


Aside from problems of misidentification, eBird data may be hopelessly muddled by inconsistent methodology, reducing Ornithology to an exercise in wishful thinking. A case in point: Mapping the  annual spring and fall migration routes of the Calliope Hummingbird between Mexico and Canada:





In a recent report (see above link) produced by Cornell University eBird division, a map was produced showing apparent east/west- shifted migratory routes for this tiny bird over a period of several years, based on an unspecified number of independent eBird reports collected from amateur observers. The Cornell authors claim that these migration maps accurately reflect migratory flexibility of this species, presumably in response to shifting resource availability. Conveniently, there is no mention of methodology, such as bird survey techniques and measurements of resource availability. If a student in any of my college biology classes (beginning or advanced) turned in such a paper, I would be hard-pressed to justify awarding a grade higher than "F."


Questions remain, e.g. Is Citizen Science a worthwhile effort? The answer depends on one's point of view. Let's clarify the primary objectives of the natural sciences and those of sport birding. Whereas the goal of science is to carefully and unequivocally advance our understanding of the natural world, sport-birding has a distinctly different objective -  namely, to increase the length of a birder's personal list by day, year, yard, county, state, country or the entire planet. The latter objective now reaches the zenith of sport birding with the internet publication of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology eBird ranking of the top 100 birders, apparently based on the cumulative total of bird species found and frequency of their eBird reports.


Unfortunately, the scientific community and rational public are severely handicapped when trying to determine the authenticity of the eBird ranking system and/or the reliability of reports upon which it is based. This is an orbital issue with a pedestrian explanation. There will never be nearly enough experts available to review all incoming eBird reports. Furthermore, assuming 80% of eBird reports are reliable (a generous proportion by any measure), how would we identify the remaining 20% of erroneous reports? How many mistaken identifications equals a rejected eBird report? By convention, science tolerates a 5% probability of mistakenly accepting or rejecting testable hypotheses. Clearly, the hundreds (if not thousands) of daily eBird reports submitted throughout the United States could scarcely measure up to that level of reliability.


There is no question, however, that by encouraging folks to spend time in nature and systematically document their observations, another objective has been achieved -- raising public awareness of our dwindling natural resources. Some would argue that this particular benefit of Citizen Science outweighs whatever mistakes may be generated in the process of gathering data on bird populations and distributions. Yet, is the scientific community willing to accept the proliferation of errors in order to raise public awareness? Where is the line drawn between science and recreation? Should sport-birding be considered something akin to the Special Olympics of science?


I believe the public needs to appreciate the need for raising awareness regarding nature conservation, together with the need to maintain the integrity of the scientific method. Participation in eBird and CBC's ideally involves both goals. And if that means taking a measure of criticism, so be it. Beginners and experienced observers can and do make mistakes, particularly in the field under variable and sometimes harsh environmental conditions. Once everyone involved accepts this, there can be a true camaraderie in the endeavor, whether it be primarily for sport or scientific inquiry. Professional or amateur,  we are all humbled by the grandeur of nature and wish to share our experience with anyone willing to step into that world of inquiry.


For nature lovers in general, science brings our view into sharp focus on topics such as ecology and conservation. We depend on the reliability of the scientific process to show us the facts. There can be no compromise nor loss of integrity regarding scientific methodology. Without reliable facts, we are unable to make rational decisions regarding wildlife conservation and  management. If eBird and CBC data sets are shown to be reliable through a rigorous evaluation process, then we are on the right track. Meanwhile, we should seriously consider reclassifying Citizen Science projects as Citizen Education, comparable to what is done with students in medical and dental colleges. A disclaimer is signed by all participants, mistakes are made, casualties noted, and learning continues. Let's call eBird and CBC's what they actually are - a wonderful and worthwhile educational experience - instead of pretending what we would like them to be.



               Birds of the Grass Mountain Count Circle:  A PHOTO GALLERY


                                                        Tundra Swan (rare) Lake Elizabeth (Area #6), January, 2011  © 2011 Callyn Yorke





                                                                    Wood Duck (uncommon) Hughes Lake (Area #6)  © 2010 Callyn Yorke





                                                        Eurasian Wigeon (rare) Hughes Lake (Area #6)                                       © 2015 Callyn Yorke





Blue-winged Teal (rare) Elizabeth - Hughes Lake (Area #6)  © 2011  Callyn Yorke





Lesser Scaup (left) and Greater Scaup (right) (common; uncommon), Calif. Aqueduct (Area #1)  ©  2014 Callyn Yorke









                                                                                                      Common Goldeneye (uncommon) Calif. Aqueduct (Area #1) © 2013 Callyn Yorke







                                   Hooded Merganser (uncommon) Elizabeth Lake (Area #6)       © 2014 Callyn Yorke






                                                                                  Common Merganser (common)  Elizabeth Lake (Area #6)        © 2010 Callyn Yorke





                                  Chukar  (uncommon) North Slope (Area #1a)   © 2012 Callyn Yorke




                                                                       Mountain Quail (uncommon) Sawmill Mt. (Area # 5) © Brian E. Small







                                  American Bittern (rare) Elizabeth Lake (Area #6) © 2010 Callyn Yorke





                                      Cattle Egret (rare) Antelope Valley (Area #1) © 2013 Callyn Yorke





                                      Osprey (uncommon)  Elizabeth Lake (Area #6)   © 2009 Callyn Yorke





                                                          White-tailed Kite (rare) Elizabeth Lake (Area #6)   © 2013 Callyn Yorke





                                           Bald Eagle (uncommon) Elizabeth Lake (Area #6)  © 2012 Callyn Yorke





                               Northern Harrier  (uncommon)  Elizabeth Lake and Leona Valley (Area #5 & 6)  © 2011 Callyn Yorke




                                                                                               Ferruginous Hawk  (common) Antelope Valley and Leona Valley (Area # 1 & 2) © 2014 Callyn Yorke





                                                        Rough-legged Hawk (rare) Antelope Valley (Area #1)  © Thomas Luiten




              Golden Eagle (uncommon) Antelope Valley (Area #1)         © 2011 Callyn Yorke




      Merlin (uncommon) Antelope Valley (Area #1) © 2011 Callyn Yorke






                                  Prairie Falcon (common) Antelope Valley (Area #1)  © Brian E. Small








                                                                                        Mountain Plover (uncommon) Antelope Valley (Area #1) © Brian E. Small








                                                                   Wilson's Snipe (uncommon) Elizabeth Lake (Area #6)  © 2014  Callyn Yorke









                                                 Barn Owl (uncommon) Elizabeth Lake and Antelope Valley (Area #1, 1a & 6) © 2011 Callyn Yorke







                                            Western Screech Owl  (common) Elizabeth Lake (Area #6) © Brian E. Small




                                                   Short-eared Owl (rare) Antelope Valley (Area #1) © 2015 Vogeldagboek.nl







                                           Northern Pygmy Owl (rare) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © Brian E. Small






                                         Spotted Owl (rare) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © Brian E. Small






                                        Burrowing Owl  (uncommon) Antelope Valley (Area #1) © 2011 Callyn Yorke





                                        Long-eared Owl (uncommon) Antelope Valley (Area #1)  © 2011 Callyn Yorke







                                                                                       Lewis's Woodpecker (rare) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5)    © Brian E. Small





                                           Williamson's Sapsucker (rare) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5)  © 2013 Callyn Yorke





                                                 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (rare) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5)  © 2013 Callyn Yorke




          Red-naped Sapsucker (rare) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © 2014 Callyn Yorke





                                      Red-breasted Sapsucker (uncommon) widespread except Area #1  © 2011 Callyn Yorke






             Ladder-backed Woodpecker (uncommon) Antelope Valley (Area #1) © 2011 Callyn Yorke




                                   Hairy Woodpecker (uncommon) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © 2012 Callyn Yorke




                                  White-headed Woodpecker (rare) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5)  © 2014 Callyn Yorke




Loggerhead Shrike (uncommon) Antelope Valley and Leona Valley (Area # 1 & 2)  © 2010 Callyn Yorke




                                                    Steller's Jay (common) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © 2015 Callyn Yorke





                            Mountain Chickadee (common) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © 2011 Callyn Yorke




  Verdin (uncommon) Antelope Valley ( Area #1),   © 2010 Callyn Yorke   



                                                         Red-breasted Nuthatch (common) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © 2012 Callyn Yorke




                               Pygmy Nuthatch (common) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © 2010 Callyn Yorke






                                  Brown Creeper (uncommon) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © 2013 Callyn Yorke



              Canyon Wren (uncommon) Bouquet Canyon (Area #3) © Brian E. Small





                                                Pacific Wren (rare) Bouquet Canyon (Area #3) © Brian E. Small








                                                                        Cactus Wren (uncommon) Antelope Valley (Area #1)  © 2012 Callyn Yorke










                                                                                                         American Dipper (uncommon) Bouquet Canyon (Area #3) © 2012 Callyn Yorke





Golden-crowned Kinglet (uncommon) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5)  © 2012 Callyn Yorke





                                                                                                                     Wrentit (common) throughout except Area #1  © 2013 Callyn Yorke








                           Mountain Bluebird (common) Antelope Valley (Area #1) © 2011 Callyn Yorke









                                                                                                         Townsend's Solitaire (uncommon) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5)  © 2011 Callyn Yorke






                                                                               Varied Thrush (rare) Bouquet Canyon (Area #3)  © 2015 Callyn Yorke






               Sage Thrasher (rare) Antelope Valley (Area #1) © 2012 Callyn Yorke






                                                                                                     Yellow Warbler (rare) Elizabeth Lake (Area # 6) © 2011 Callyn Yorke






                                           Hermit Warbler (rare) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © 2014 Callyn Yorke







                 MacGillivray's Warbler (rare) Bouquet Canyon (Area #3) © 2013 Callyn Yorke








                                                                                                   Ovenbird (vagrant) Bouquet Canyon (Area #3) © 2015 Callyn Yorke







                                   Vesper Sparrow (common) Antelope Valley (Area #1)  © 2012 Callyn Yorke







                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Black-throated Sparrow (rare) Antelope Valley (Area #1) © 2013 Callyn Yorke  









     Grasshopper Sparrow (rare) San Francisquito Canyon (Area #4) © Brian E. Small







                                                                       Large-billed Fox Sparrow (rare) Elizabeth Lake (Area #6) © 2014 Callyn Yorke








                                                                                               Swamp Sparrow (rare) Elizabeth Lake (Area #6) © 2012 Callyn Yorke










                                                                                   White-throated Sparrow (rare) Bouquet Canyon (Area # 3) © 2009 Callyn Yorke






  Rufous-crowned Sparrow (uncommon) Throughout, except Area #1  © 2015 Callyn Yorke







Pink-sided Junco (rare) Throughout, except Area #1 © 2011 Callyn Yorke     Slate-colored Junco (uncommon) except Area #1 © 2011 Callyn Yorke






                                      Tricolored Blackbird (uncommon) Elizabeth Lake (Area #1 & 6) © 2010 Callyn Yorke










                                                                         Purple Finch (uncommon) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © 2014 Callyn Yorke  




                                            Cassin's Finch (rare) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © 2012 Callyn Yorke






                                                 Red Crossbill (uncommon) Sawmill Mt. (Area #5) © 2013 Callyn Yorke






                          Pine Siskin (common) Elizabeth Lake and Sawmill Mt. (Area #5 & 6) © 2011 Callyn Yorke






                                                                      Evening Grosbeak (rare) Elizabeth Lake and Sawmill Mt. (Area #5 & 6) © 2012 Callyn Yorke







                               RESULTS OF THE DECEMBER 26, 2015 GRASS MOUNTAIN CBC




Participants: Kris Ohlencamp (Area 1; 5); Allaire & Chloe Koslo (Area #1a; 6); Becky Kitto, Jane Hines, Dan Ray, Verve Leps, Jayde Blair, Merissa Mendez (Area #2), Dan Byrne and Deb Anderson (Area # 3); Cal Yorke (Area # 4,5 & 6).

Time: 0630- 1830 hrs.

Mileage by car:  65

Mileage on foot: 14

Stationary Observations (Area # 2): 5 hours.

Weather: Fair; Temp. 32F to 45F; wind WNW 15 - 50 mph.

Elevational Range:  2,300 - 4900 ft.

Notable Environmental Conditions: Persistent high winds; regional drought continuing; east and central Elizabeth Lake a dry, alkaline sink.; west Elizabeth Lake reduced to a series of frozen puddles with Russian Thistles and Tumble Mustard; Lake Hughes completely dry. About 30 % of the CAGM area (largely in Areas # 5 & 6) severely impacted by fire (Powerhouse Fire of June 2013); recent (Oct. 2015) flooding and erosion.


SPECIES TOTAL: 79 (historical average = 94)





American Wigeon  30 (m,f)  A6.


Eurasian Wigeon  1 (imm m) with AMWI, edge of pond, Elizabeth Lake Golf Course, A6; First CAGM record;  initially found by CY at 0745 hrs. 12/26/15; subsequently, seen by others and re-found at the same location on 12/28/15  (photos).


                       Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) same individual in both images, Elizabeth Lake (A6) LACO CA  28 Dec. 2015


                                                                                 © 2015 Callyn Yorke





Mallard   4  (mf) A1;A6.

Northern Shoveler  16 (m,f)   A6.

Northern Pintail  1 (f)  A6.

Green-winged Teal  6  (m,f)  A6.

Canvasback  8  (m,f)  A6.

Ring-necked Duck  14 (m,f)   A1; A6.

Lesser Scaup  15 (m,f) A1.

Scaup sp. (cf GRSC)  1 A1.

Bufflehead  15 (m,f)  A1.

Common Goldeneye  5  A1.

Hooded Merganser  6 (m,f) A1; A6.

Ruddy Duck  22  (m,f)  A1; A6.

California Quail   24  A2; A3; A4; A6.

Pied-billed Grebe  1  A6.

Great Blue Heron  2  A6.

Northern Harrier  1 A1.

Cooper's Hawk  1  A1.

Red-shouldered Hawk  2  A2; A3.

Red-tailed Hawk  7  A1; A2.

Ferruginous Hawk  1  A2.

American Kestrel  8  all areas except A2.

Merlin  1  A1.

American Coot  18  A2; A6.

Killdeer  1  A1.

Greater Yellowlegs  3  A1  (second CAGM record - KO).

Feral Rock Pigeon  10  ubiquitous, except A2.

Mourning Dove  22  A2; A1.

Eurasian Collared Dove 43    A1; A2; A6.

Barn Owl  3  A1a.

Great Horned Owl  1  A1a.

Burrowing Owl  1  A1a.

Anna's Hummingbird  1  A2.

Acorn Woodpecker  24  A2; A3; A5; A6.

Red-breasted Sapsucker  1  A3.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  2  A2; A6.

Downy Woodpecker  1  A2 (12/27/15).

Northern (RS) Flicker   24  ubiquitous.

Black Poebe 7 ubiquitous.

Say's Phoebe  3  A1; A2.

Loggerhead Shrike  2  A1.

Western Scrub-Jay 28    ubiquitous except A1, A1a.

American Crow  1  A2, A6.

Common Raven  42  ubiquitous.

Horned Lark  60  A1.

Mountain Chickadee  2  A5.

Oak Titmouse  9    ubiquitous except A1, A1a.

Bushtit  10   A2.

Bewick's Wren  1  A2.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  9  ubiquitous except A1, A1a.

Western Bluebird  6  A6.

Mountain Bluebird  55  A1.

Hermit Thrush  24  ubiquitous except A1, A1a.

American Robin  8  A2, A5, A6.

Varied Thrush  4  A3.

Northern Mockingbird  2  A2; A6.

California Thrasher  1  A2.

European Starling   60  ubiquitous.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  11  ubiquitous.

Spotted Towhee  26  ubiquitous except A1; A1a.

California Towhee   16  ubiquitous except   A1; A1a.

Vesper Sparrow  6  A1.

Lark Sparrow  80  A1; A2.

Bell's Sparrow  2  A1.

Savannah Sparrow  110  A1.

Fox Sparrow (Western) 1  A2.

Song Sparrow  1  A6.

White-crowned Sparrow  212  ubiquitous.

Golden-crowned Sparrow  42  ubiquitous except A1; A1a.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  305  ubiquitous.

Red-winged Blackbird  14  A2; A6.

Tricolored Blackbird  15  A1a.

Western Meadowlark  120  A1; A6.

Brewer's Blackbird  250  A1.

Brown-headed Cowbird  10  A1a.

Purple Finch  2  A1.

House Finch  500  ubiquitous.

House Sparrow  20  A1; A6.































                                                     RESULTS OF THE DECEMBER 26, 2014 GRASS MOUNTAIN CBC

                                                                                                                          Compiled by Cal Yorke


Participants: Kris Ohlencamp (Area 1); Al DeMartini (Area 5 & 6); Becky Kitto, Jane Hines, Jerry Jacobs, Loreen Wilson, Roger Wing (Area 6), Sue Liberto (Area 2); Merissa Mendez (Area 2); Ethan Yorke, Cal Yorke (Area 2 & 3).

Time: 0515 - 1930 hrs.

Mileage by car:  55

Mileage on foot:   12

Stationary observations (Area 2 & 3):  5 hours.

Weather: Fair; 25F to 45F; wind N, NW  5 -7 mph.

Elevational range:  2,300 - 4,800 ft.

Notable Environmental Conditions: Regional Drought continuing. About 30% of CAGM (largely Areas #5 & 6) severely impacted by Powerhouse Fire of June 2013).


SPECIES TOTAL: 74  (historical average = 94)



Gadwall  3 

Mallard  31

Northern Shoveler   9

Northern Pintail  2

Canvasback  13

Redhead  7

Ring-necked Duck  7

Lesser Scaup  15

Bufflehead  172

Common Goldeneye  7

Ruddy Duck  2

California Quail  2

Pied-billed Grebe  2

Red-tailed Hawk  8

Golden Eagle  1 (imm).

American Kestrel  3

American Coot  54

Killdeer  13

(Mountain Plover  40 + outside the count circle at 110th St. West and Avenue E - 8: AD)

California Gull  2

Feral Rock Pigeon  18

Band-tailed Pigeon  30

Eurasian Collared Dove  32

Mourning Dove  9

Great Horned Owl  2

Anna's Hummingbird  2

Nuttall's Woodpecker  4

Acorn Woodpecker  11

Northern (RS) Flicker  6

Black Phoebe  7

Say's Phoebe  1

Loggerhead Shrike  1

Steller's Jay  2

Western Scrub-Jay  25

American Crow  8

Common Raven  62

Horned Lark  10

Mountain Chickadee  2

Oak Titmouse  7

White-breasted Nuthatch  2

Rock Wren  2

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  4

Western Bluebird  46

Mountain Bluebird  37

Townsend's Solitaire  1 (AD: Area 5)

Hermit Thrush  8

American Robin  10

Varied Thrush  3  ( CY: Area 3)

Northern Mockingbird  4

European Starling  62

Wrentit  2

Cedar Waxwing  51

Phainopepla  5

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  18

Spotted Towhee  18

California Towhee  7

Vesper Sparrow  35

Lark Sparrow  51

Savannah Sparrow  5

Fox Sparrow  2  (Thick-billed (1) and Slate-colored (1): AD: Area 5)

Song Sparrow  13

Lincoln's Sparrow  5

White-crowned Sparrow   228

Golden-crowned Sparrow  6

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  70

Red-winged Blackbird  24

Western Meadowlark  60

Brewer's Blackbird  2

Purple Finch  5

Cassin's Finch  2

House Finch  51

Pine Siskin  38

Lesser Goldfinch  28

Lawrence's Goldfinch  97

House Sparrow  10




                                                        RESULTS OF THE DECEMBER 14, 2013 GRASS MOUNTAIN CBC

                                                                                                                          Compiled by Cal Yorke


Participants: Kris Ohlenkamp (Area 1,3) Becky Kitto (Area 2,3), Merissa Mendez (Area 2), Allaire Koslo (Area 5,6), Cal Yorke (Area 2,3, 5 & 6).

Time: 0745- 1900 hrs.

Mileage by car: 90

Mileage on foot:  8

Stationary observations (Area 2) 2 hrs.

Weather: Fair; 39F to 50F; wind ENE 5 - 15 mph. Thin patches of snow in shaded canyons above 3,700 ft.

Elevation range:  2,300 - 4,200 ft.

SPECIES TOTAL : 66 (historical average = 94)


American Wigeon   1

Mallard  42

Northern Shoveler   8

Northern Pintail  1

Ring-necked Duck  2

Lesser Scaup  60

Bufflehead   216

Common Goldeneye  2 (Area 1: California Aqueduct)

California Quail  16

Great Blue Heron  2

Red-shouldered Hawk  1

Red-tailed Hawk 6

American Kestrel 4

Merlin  1

American Coot   30

Killdeer   3

Least Sandpiper  16

Ring-billed Gull  3

California Gull  22

Eurasian Collared Dove  2

Mourning Dove  13

Barn Owl  2

Great Horned Owl  1

Anna's Hummingbird  3

Acorn Woodpecker  15

Ladder-backed Woodpecker  1 (Area 1: Joshua Tree woodland)

Northern (RS) Flicker  6

Black Phoebe  12

Say's Phoebe  2

Loggerhead Shrike   4

Western Scrub-jay    35

Steller's Jay  1 (Area 5: Upper Shake campground)

American Crow  50

Common Raven   12

Horned Lark  25

Oak Titmouse  10

Rock Wren   5

Bewick's Wren   2

Golden-crowned Kinglet  1 (Area 5: Upper Shake campground)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet   2

Hermit Thrush  2

American Robin  2

Mountain Bluebird  1

Western Bluebird  22

Wrentit   2

Northern Mockingbird   3

California Thrasher  3

European Starling  15

American Pipit   4

Phainopepla  2

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  25

Spotted Towhee  5

California Towhee  3

Lark Sparrow  25

Bell's Sparrow  5

Savannah Sparrow    30

Fox Sparrow  1

Song Sparrow  20

Lincoln's Sparrow   12

White-crowned Sparrow  200

Golden-crowned Sparrow    4

Dark-eyed Junco  10

Western Meadowlark  15

Brewer's Blackbird   20

House Finch   130

Purple Finch  2








                                    RESULTS OF THE DECEMBER 14, 2012 GRASS MOUNTAIN CBC

                                                                                Compiled by Cal Yorke



Participants: Kris Ohlenkamp (Area 1); Jocelyn McFaul (Area 1a); Becky Kitto, Merissa Mendez and Cal Yorke (Areas 3 & 6).

Time: 0700 - 1800 hrs.

Mileage by car: 100

Mileage on foot: 7

Weather:  Partly cloudy to overcast with increasing WSW wind 2 - 8 mph; rain from 1330 - 1730 hrs. Temperature 31F to 42F. No snow.

SPECIES TOTAL: 70 (historical average = 94)

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found: Burrowing Owl (1), Short-eared Owl (1).


American Wigeon    1

Mallard  30

Northern Shoveler   60

Northern Pintail  1

Canvasback  25

Bufflehead  22

Common Goldeneye  2

Common Merganser   1

Ruddy Duck  50

California Quail   10

Eared Grebe  2

Western Grebe  2

Double-crested Cormorant  5

Great Blue Heron  4

Great Egret  1

Red-shouldered Hawk  2

Red-tailed Hawk   2

Ferruginous Hawk  5

American Kestrel  4

Prairie Falcon  1

American Coot   150

Killdeer   2

Least Sandpiper   14

Wilson's Snipe  2

California Gull  2

Rock Pigeon   2

Eurasian Collared Dove  4

Mourning Dove  8

Burrowing Owl   1

Short-eared Owl 1: (by KO, Area 1); Details: Seen at 0745 hrs. north of Avenue J at about 130th Street East. I was on foot walking north when it flushed from the ground about 20 m away and flew north. I first noticed the long wings and thought Harrier.Then the large blunt head became obvious and I knew it was an owl. I thought Burrowing Owl but the longish wings puzzled me. As it flew away (less than 3m off the ground) I also noticed black wing tips and black marks near the shoulders. It landed about 200 m away - facing me. It seemed taller than a Burrowing Owl and did not have any noticeable ear tufts. I could not make out details of the face. By the time I retrieved my scope - the bird was gone. One hour later I returned to the same location in hopes that it also may have returned. This time I flushed what was definitely a Burrowing Owl - from almost the same spot. The differences between the two birds were striking - Kris Ohlenkamp, 12/14/2012.

Belted Kingfisher 1

Acorn Woodpecker  4

Nuttall's Woodpecker  2

Northern (RS) Flicker  8

Black Phoebe  2

Say's Phoebe  2

Loggerhead Shrike   2

Western Scrub-jay  10

American Crow   85

Common Raven   52

Horned Lark   600

Moountain Chicadee  1

Oak Titmouse   2

Bushtit   8 

Bewick's Wren  2

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  20

Western Bluebird  2

Mountain Bluebird  30

American Robin 

Northern Mockingbird   2

European Starling  75

American Pipit  5

Cedar Waxwing   6

Yellow-rumped Warbler   8

California Towhee   6

Rufous-crowned Sparrow  1

Vesper Sparrow   3

Lark Sparrow   10

Savannah Sparrow  45

Song Sparrow   12

Lincoln's Sparrow  1

White-crowned Sparrow (gambeli) 120

Golden-crowned Sparrow  1

Dark-eyed Junco  25

Western Meadowlark   50

Brewer's Blackbird    50

Great-tailed Grackle   8

House Finch   200

American Goldfinch  1

House Sparrow  25


                            RESULTS OF THE DECEMBER 16, 2011 GRASS MOUNTAIN CBC

'                                                 Compiled by Cal Yorke



Participants: David Bell (Area 1); Jocelyn McFaul (Areas 1a & 5); Cal Yorke and Merissa Mendez (Areas 5&6)

Time: 0630 - 1830 hrs.

Mileage by car:  101

Mileage on foot:   6

Weather: Fair; 34 to 52F; 2-4 inches of snow above 4,000 ft. Wind ENE 2 - 10 mph.

SPECIES TOTAL: 86 (historical average = 94)

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found:  Hooded Merganser (20 - new for the GMCBC); Great Egret (1); White-tailed Kite (1); Merlin (3); Turkey Vulture (2); Eurasian Collared Dove (2 - new for the GMCBC); White-headed Woodpecker (1); Great-tailed Grackle (8).

Link to details and photos for Areas 5 & 6 


Gadwall   2

American Wigeon  80

Mallard  182

Northern Shoveler  4

Green-winged Teal  5

Canvasback  12

Redhead  2

Ring-necked Duck  14

Lesser Scaup  2

Bufflehead  60

Common Goldeneye  12

Common Merganser  16

Hooded Merganser  20

Ruddy Duck  123

California Quail  30

Pied-billed Grebe  20

Western Grebe  12

Double-crested Cormorant  1

Great Blue Heron  4

Great Egret  1

Turkey Vulture  2

White-tailed Kite  1

Northern Harrier  3

Cooper's Hawk  1

Red-shouldered Hawk  2

Red-tailed Hawk  21

Ferruginous Hawk  3

American Kestrel  10

Merlin  3

Prairie Falcon  2

American Coot  303

California Gull  4

Rock Pigeon  5

Band-tailed Pigeon  4

Mourning Dove  69

Eurasian Collared Dove   2

Greater Roadrunner 3

Anna's Hummingbird  1

Lewis's Woodpecker 4? in flight (Upper Shake Campground - Area 5).

Acorn Woodpecker  4

Nuttall's Woodpecker  2

White-headed Woodpecker  1

Northern (RS) Flicker  2

Black Phoebe  4

Say's Phoebe  4

Loggerhead Shrike  10

Steller's Jay  8

Western Scrub-jay   9

American Crow  17

Common Raven  153

Horned Lark  1,540

Mountain Chickadee  8

Oak Titmouse   4

White-breasted Nuthatch  3

Brown Creeper  1

Cactus Wren  7

Rock Wren  1

Bewick's Wren  5

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3

Western Bluebird  14

Mountain Bluebird  45

Hermit Thrush  1

Wrentit  2

Northern Mockingbird 6

European Starling  255

American Pipit  3

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler   13

Common Yellowthroat   2

Spotted Towhee   4

California Towhee  9

Vesper Sparrow  1

Lark Sparrow   529

Savannah Sparrow  28

Song Sparrow  20

Lincoln's Sparrow  1

White-crowned Sparrow  197

Golden-crowned Sparrow  50

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco   60

Red-winged Blackbird   20

Western Meadowlark  71

Brewer's Blackbird  355

Great-tailed Grackle  8

Purple Finch  40

House Finch  602

Lesser Goldfinch  2

House Sparrow  21