SAN ANDREAS FAULT (Lake Una, Pearblossom, Devil's Punchbowl, Valyermo, Bob's Gap), Los Angeles County, CA

 Bird Surveys


October 31, 2018 Pearblossom Park, Devil's Punchbowl and St. Andrew's Abbey

November 4, 2017  Pearblossom Park and St. Andrew's Abbey

October 24, 2015 St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo

October 25, 2014  St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo

September 20, 2014  Pallett Creek Road, St. Andrew's, Valyermo Road

October 31, 2011 Pearblossom Park and Little Rock Dam

September 24, 2011 Pearblossom Park, 121 St. East and Ave. V-14.

September 5, 2011  Pearblossom Park, 121 Street East and Avenue V-14.

January 13, 2011  Longview Road, St. Andrew's, Valyermo, Jackson Lake, Table Mt., Grassy Hollow

October 2, 2010  St. Andrews, Jackson Lake, Table Mt., Grassy Hollow, Littlerock Reservoir

June 9, 2010  Lake Una, Lake Los Angeles, Bob's Gap, St. Andrews, Jackson Lake, Grassy Hollow, Table Mt.

April 25, 2010  St. Andrew's, Valyermo and Bob's Gap

April 16, 2010  Lake Una

September 30, 2009   Lake Una

June 9, 2009   North Slope of the San Gabriel Mts.  (survey and site maps)

May 4, 2009 North Slope of the San Gabriel Mts. (site map)



October 31, 2018  Pearblossom Park, Devil's Punchbowl and St. Andrew's Abbey (17 Species)



                                                        Devil's Punchbowl, Juniper Hills, LACO CA  31 October 2018


                                                                                                                                          © 2018 Callyn Yorke




                                              Chinese founder's memorial garden,  St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo    31 October 2018


                                                                                                                                                                           © 2018 Callyn Yorke




Weather: Fair; 51F to 54F; wind  ENE  2 - 17 mph.

Time: 0800-1050 hrs.

Areas Covered: 1) Pearblossom Park on 121st Street East, Pearblossom (PP). I walked the perimeter, then through the central section of the park, surveying adjacent creosote scrub, gardens, lawns and assorted deciduous (elm) and coniferous (pine) trees, totalling about 20 acres. A few dogs in adjacent yards began barking as I approached. The park was otherwise quiet and undisturbed during my survey (0800-0830 hrs). 2) Devil's Punchbowl County Park, Juniper Hills (DPB). From the parking lot, I walked about 0.1 mile northeast on the Pinyon Trail, returning to the park headquarters on a different path. Birdlife was scarce. Drought conditions persist in this region (0848-0921 hrs.). 3) St. Andrew's Abbey (SAA). I walked from the bookstore parking lot inside the main gate, to the pond, Chinese garden, and back on paths and roads through the well-watered grounds. Except for increasing, gusty winds, the area was largely quiet and undisturbed during my survey (0943-1050 hrs.).




Mallard (wild type and domestic hybrids) 18  (m,f) in main pond.

Eurasian Collared Dove 1 PP; 2 SAA around bird feeder.

Northern (RS) Flicker  2  vocal; flying through park, PP; calls, SAA.

Phainopepla  2 (m,f)  vocal; in upper level and canopy of elms heavily infested with mistletoe, PP.

California Scrub-Jay  2  flying to trees in dry creek bed near entrance, DPB;  2  edge of garden, SAA.

Common Raven  12  on dumpster at e end of park, PP; 4  flying over, DPB;  3  flying over, SAA.

Mountain Chickadee  1  in cypress, PP;  2 vocal in pinyon pines,, DPB  vocal; in shrubs and trees by pond, SAA.

Oak Titmouse  1  at bird feeder with HOFI, SAA.

Hermit Thrush  1  on ground beneath shrubs next to pond, SAA.

House Sparrow  2  vocal, nwc of park, PP.

House Finch  4 (m,f) PP;  4 (m,f)   DPB; 8  (m,f)  most around feeder, SAA.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2  foraging in trees and shrubs at n end of park, PP;  2 foraging in herb garden, SAA.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler  3  vocal; gregarious; foraging in deciduous trees, PP; 2 SAA.

White-crowned Sparrow  8  (ad, imm) vocal, gregarious; drinking from seepage at edge of garden, PP.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  2 in parking lot, DPB; 8 gregarious; foraging on lawn near main gate, SAA..

Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) Junco  1  with DE Oregon Juncos, SAA (photo)


                   Dark-eyed Slate-colored Junco (Junco hyemalis hyemalis) St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo CA 31 October 2018


                                                                                                                            © 2018 Callyn Yorke



Dark-eyed (Pink-sided) Junco  1  with Oregon and SCJU, SAA (photo),


                 Dark-eyed Pink-sided Junco (Junco hyemalis mearnsi) St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, CA 31 October 2018


                                                                                                                             © 2018 Callyn Yorke


American Goldfinch  3 (m,f) vocal in pines at edge of pond, SAA

Lesser Goldfinch vocal; with AMGO, SAA















November 4, 2017 Pearblossom Park and St. Andrew's Abbey (35 Species)



Weather: Fair; 52F; wind W 5 - 8 mph.

Time: 0705- 1330 hrs.

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

Areas Covered:  1) Pearblossom Park on 121 St. East, Pearblossom (PP). I did a solo walk-through of the park prior to the arrival of the class. Then, together we walked through the west half and south border of the park. We also including our bird survey in patches of creosote-joshua tree desert on the west and east border of the park and a small suburb. A total of about  25 acres was visually surveyed, including transitional Mojavean Desert Scrub (Creosote Bush, Joshua Tree), Parkland (watered lawns and an assortment of mature exotic conifers and deciduous trees), suburban gardens (olive trees, oleander) and ruderal roadways. Two people with dogs (one unleashed) were in the park during the early part of the survey (0705-0900 hrs.). 2) St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo (SAA): We walked a meandering route through the interior, including forays into a  partially bulldozed, dry desert riparian wash (Cottonwood, Mulefat, Arroyo Willow) within the San Andreas Fault Zone, and  transitional hillside desert scrub/lower montane chaparral (Joshua Tree, California Juniper, Whipple Yucca, Opuntia spp.. Ceanothus spp.) on the southern edge of the buildings.  We visually surveyed an area of about 40 acres. Habitats surveyed included Parkland (watered lawns and an assortment of old deciduous (Cottonwood and Poplar) and conifers (Pine and Cedar); Mojavean Desert Scrub; Mojavean Desert Riparian; ruderal fields. A few residents were present during the survey; the entire area was quiet and largely undisturbed by human activities during our visit. Many birds appeared habituated to human presence around the buildings (0919-1330 hrs.).





Wood Duck  1 (m) swimming upstream and dabbling on algae along the edge of the aqueduct north of the intersection of 121 St. E and Ft. Tejon Rd (photo).


          Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) California Aqueduct near 121 St. E and Ft. Tejon Rd., Pearblossom, LACO CA  4 Nov. 2017


                                                                                                                               © 2017 Callyn Yorke





Mallard    12  (m,f) domestic wild type and albinos, main pond, SAA.

Anna's Hummingbird   1 PP;  2 SAA.

American Coot  1  swimming with mallards, main pond, SAA.

Cooper's Hawk  1 imm perched and flying around mature trees in west-central section, PP (photo).


           Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) Pearblossom Park,  Los Angeles County CA  4 November 2017


                                                                                                                                                                     © 2017 Callyn Yorke



Red-tailed Hawk   2 (ad) soaring and flying about 100 ft. agl; being chased by ravens, SAA.

Red-naped Sapsucker  1 (m)   foraging alone in same place for several minutes on upper limbs of a deciduous tree, SAA (photo a).Another individual, apparently a hybrid Red-naped x Red Breasted Sapsucker, showing considerably more red on the face than the former individual, was found later foraging for about 30 minutes in the same place on the upper limbs of a different deciduous tree adjacent to the main pond, SAA (photo b).



                  a) Red-naped Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus nuchalis) St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo Los Angeles County CA  4 November 2017


                                                                                                                                                                                    © 2017 Callyn Yorke







                    b)   Possible hybrid  Red-naped x Red-breasted Sapsucker   St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo Los Angeles County CA  4 Nov. 2017


                                                                                                                                                                                                    © 2017 Callyn Yorke





Red-breasted Sapsucker  1  flying to upper, vertical limb of a poplar in the dry wash; foraging for a few minutes then flying n, SAA.


                          Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber) St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo LACO CA 4 Nov. 2017


                                                                                                                                   © 2017 Yvonne Burch- Hartley



Nuttall's Woodpecker  1 (f) foraging in citrus tree in parking east parking lot, SAA (photo).



            Nuttall's Woodpecker (Picoides nuttallii) female   St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo  Los Angeles County CA  4 November 2017


                                                                                                                                                                               © 2017 Callyn Yorke




Northern (RS) Flicker  1  flying around park and adjacent suburbs, PP;  2  vocal, flying, SAA.

Black Phoebe  1  vocal; edge of park and suburbs, PP;  2  vocal,  sallying to lawns, SAA.

California Scrub-Jay  2  flying to junipers on s hillside, SAA.

Common Raven  20   gregarious, vocal, ubiquitous.

Mountain Chickadee  2  vocal; in mature pines, PP.

Oak Titmouse  1  vocal in deciduous trees and pines, PP;  1  vocal in hillside junipers and adjacent deciduous trees, SAA.

Verdin  1  staying low in creosote bushes at edge of road and suburbs, PP (photo).


                    Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) Pearblossom LACO CA  4 Nov. 2017


                                                                 © 2017 Yvonne Burch-Hartley




White-breasted Nuthatch  1  vocal,  in mature deciduous tree, SAA.

Bewick's Wren  1  in creosote scrub at edge of suburb, PP;  2, vocal; hillside desert srub; one  on adjacent pavement outside of residential area, SAA.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet   3  vocal; foraging in pines and deciduous trees, PP;  3  vocal; foraging in outer foliage of deciduous trees, SAA.

Hermit Thrush  1  flying low across park, PP;  8  calls; gregarious; on ground and in trees around buildings, SAA (photo).


              Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo  Los Angeles County CA  4 Nov. 2017


                                                                                                                          © 2017 Callyn Yorke




American Robin  4 calls; foraging on inflorescences and buds in ornamental deciduous trees, SAA (photo).


                     American Robin (Turdus migratorius) St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo LACO CA  4 Nov. 2017


                                                                                                                             © 2017 Callyn Yorke




California Thrasher  1  vocal; seen briefly but staying concealed in shrubs of garden of residence, SAA.

Northern Mockingbird  1  intermittently vocal; atop weeping willow tree in suburban garden at edge of desert, PP (photo).


                     Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) Pearblossom, Los Angeles County CA  4 November 2017


                                                                                                                                © 2017 Callyn Yorke




Phainopepla  2  (m)  vocal; one flying w; another atop deciduous trees near main pond, SAA (photo).



                          Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens) male   St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo LACO CA  4 November 2017


                                                                                                                                © 2017 Callyn Yorke




House Sparrow  2  around residence and garden, SAA.

House Finch  4 (m,f) in and outside the park;  10  (m,f) vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous, SAA.

Lesser Goldfinch  2   vocal; flying north into desert riparian wash, SAA.

Orange-crowned Warbler  1  with YRWA in shrubs and trees, PP.

Yellow-rumped Warbler  12  (m,f) vocal (calls) gregarious, ubiquitous, feeding at all vegetation height levels, PP; 16 SAA.

Townsend's Warbler 1 (m) foraging in outer edges of a mature cedar, SAA.

Lark Sparrow  4   on utility wire and adjacent suburban trees with WCSP, PP (photo).



  Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) Pearblossom, Los Angeles County CA  4 November 2017


                                                                                                             © 2017 Callyn Yorke




Black-throated Sparrow  2    a pair moving slowlly in willows and mulefat; occasionally on the ground, in desert riparian wash, SAA (photo).



  Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata) St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo  Los Angeles County CA  4 Nov. 2017

                                                                                                                             © 2017 Callyn Yorke





White-crowned Sparrow   16 (mostly ad.)  in park and adjacent suburban gardens, desert and ruderal roadside, PP; 30 (mostly ad.)  on lawns and in adjacent shrubs throughout, often with DEJU, SAA.

Dark-eyed Oregon Junco  6 gregarious; foraging on ground in gardens and edge of park, PP;  20  SAA.

Dark-eyed Slate-colored Junco   1  flushed from low perch in creosote bush at edge of suburbs, PP (photo a); 1 with Oregon types on lawns, SAA.

Dark-eyed Pink-sided Junco  1-2 (note: extensive buffy-pinkish sides; pale bluish-gray head and throat with contrasting dark lores)  foraging on lawns with more numerous Oregon types, SAA (photo b).



         a) Dark-eyed Slate-colored Junco (Junco hyemalis hyemalis) Pearblossom, LACO CA  4 Nov. 2017


                                                                                                      © 2017 Callyn Yorke



                                  b)   Dark-eyed Pink-sided Junco (Junco hyemalis mearnsi) St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, LACO CA  4 November 2017


                                                                                                                                              © 2017 Callyn Yorke




Brewer's Blackbird  1 (m) at water's edge on concrete embankment in aqueduct, 121st ST. E and Fort Tejon Rd.











































October 24, 2015  St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo (32 Species)



Weather: Fair; 47F to 74F; wind WNW 1 -2 mph.

Time: 0800-1145 hrs.

Observers: UCLA Extension Autumn Birds of Southern California class (10 students) and I.

Area Covered:  We walked a counter-clockwise route to and from the welcome center parking lot, surveying lawns, ornamental trees (e.g. Sawleaf Zelkova) and shrubs (e.g. Pyracantha), a dry, desert riparian wash (Fremont Cottonwood, Arroyo Willow, Mulefat), pond, gardens and edges of Joshua Tree-California Juniper (upland Mojavean Desert Scrub) and chaparral hillsides (e.g. Ceanothus spp., Rabbitbrush, California Buckwheat). The abbey grounds were largely undisturbed by human activity, except for visitors on retreat and minor automobile traffic at the entrance. Conditions were excellent for identifying bird vocalizations.




Mallard (1 wild-type pair; 10 domestic/hybrid) swimming in fish pond, sw.

California Quail  calls (unseen); fresh tracks on sandy road, s.

Red-tailed Hawk  1 (ad) flying over an open field.

Buteo sp. (possibly RSHA) seen briefly by others, flying low at edge of parking lot, n.

Anna's Hummingbird  2  vocal; hovering around cottonwoods, n,s..

Red-breasted Sapsucker  2   foraging in mature cottonwoods near parking lot, n..

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1 (f) vocal; flying between cottonwoods near parking lot, n.

Northern (RS) Flicker  2  vocal; on ground and low in cottonwoods, n, central..

Say's Phoebe  1  perched atop cottonwood in dry wash, n.

Western Scrub-Jay  3  vocal; flying around dry wash, n.

Common Raven  6  individuals and pairs flying over the dry wash and interior sections.

Mountain Chickadee  6  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous; foraging on the ground and in a variety of trees and shrubs.

Oak Titmouse 1  vocalizations (unseen) in mature trees around Chinese garden, sw..

White-breasted Nuthatch  1  vocalizing repeatedly in mature cottonwood near parking lot, n-central..

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  12  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous in a variety of trees (photo).



Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) SAA LACO CA 24 October 2015

                                                                  © 2015 Callyn Yorke





Western Bluebird  4  (m,f)  vocal, gregarious; in trees at edge of fields, n-central..

Hermit Thrush  3  flushed from cover  in shady gardens throughout.

American Robin   2  on roadway and in tall trees at the edge of gardens near parking lot, e..

Northern Mockingbird  1  calls (unseen) trees at edge of garden with pyracantha, central.

California Thrasher  2  one making repeated vocalizations (calls and partial song) from willows in dry wash, n.

European Starling  10  vocal, gregarious; most in canopy of mature cottonwood next to parking lot, n.

Cedar Waxwing  2 (possibly more) vocal; in crown of mature cottonwood near parking lot, n (photo).



Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) SAA LACO CA 24 Oct. 2015


                                                  © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Phainopepla  2  (m,f)  a male perched in a tree-top at the edge of a dry wash, n (photo); female in a juniper on south slope.



Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens) male  SAA LACO CA 24 October 2015

                                                                    © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Yellow-rumped Warbler   20  (m,f) vocal (calls), gregarious, ubiquitous; foraging in a large variety of vegetation from ground level to canopy.

Spotted Towhee  1  flushed from edge of garden, central..

Lincoln's Sparrow  1  with DEJU in grassy drainage along exterior roadway, n.

White-crowned Sparrow  25 (ad, imm) vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous, esp. dry wash, n.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  25 (m,f) vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous; often foraging on ground with WCSP.

House Finch  20  (m,f) vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous, esp. dry wash andSawleaf Zelkova with small seed pods, ne.

Pine Siskin  4   foraging with HOFI and one AMGO in a Sawleaf Zelkova with small seed pods, n (photos).



Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus);  leaves and pods of Sawleaf Zelkova (Zelkova serrata: Ulmacea). used as food,  SAA LACO CA 24 October 2015


                                                            © 2015 Callyn Yorke



Lesser Goldfinch  calls (unseen) n, s.

American Goldfinch  1  foraging with PISI and HOFI on Sawleaf Zelkova seed pods (see above photo), ne (photo).




American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) SAA LACO CA 24 October 2015

                                                                               © 2015 Callyn Yorke













October 25, 2014  St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo (38 Species)

Weather: Fair to partly cloudy; 63F to 68F. Wind WSW 2 -5 mph.

Time: 0856-1200 hrs.

Observers:  UCLA Autumn Birds of Southern California class and I.

Area Covered: We walked on pathways and roadways throughout the grounds, including the adjacent Pallett Creek riparian wash (elevation 3500 ft.), surveying desert riparian (mulefat, cottonwood, willow), lawns,  mature ornamental plantings (e.g. pyracantha, poplar, maple, plantain), a fish pond (with koi and red-eared sliders) and ruderal fields. Generally, the abbey grounds are well-watered and manicured, creating essentially an ecological desert oasis. Adjacent Joshua Tree- California Juniper (upland Mojavean Desert Scrub) and chaparral habitats were surveyed visually and aurally. The abbey was quiet and largely undisturbed by human activities during our visit; conditions were excellent for identifying bird vocalizations.

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Red-breasted Sapsucker (2), Hammond's Flycatcher (1), Willow Flycatcher ? (1), Phainopepla (1), Cedar Waxwing (3 +), Townsend's Warbler (1) and Purple Finch (1).


Mallard (domestic albino and backcrosses)  10  swimming toward us, fish pond.

California Quail  calls (BK).

Eurasian Collared Dove    1  calls; in garden with bird feeder.

Hummingbird (probably Anna's) 1  riparian patch at edge of lawn.

Red-breasted Sapsucker  2 (1 m) a pair flushed from a cottonwood in Pallett Creek.

Nuttall's Woodpecker    3 (m,f) vocal; foraging in willows and cottonwoods at the edge of the wash.

Northern (RS) Flicker   3  vocal; foraging on lawns beneath deciduous trees; flying.

Hammond's Flycatcher  1 observed and photographed by RM in the same area with a WIFL. Photo shows small bill and conspicuous eye-ring characteristic of HAFL and easily separable from WIFL (see next entry). I did not observe this bird in the field. Its identity was subsequently confirmed by RM's photo. Note: HAFL is rare in Southern California during late October; most individuals would be far south of LACO in their wintering grounds at this time.

Willow Flycatcher ? 1  ID: inconspicuous eye-ring; long bill in side profile; frequent tail flicking;  watched for several minutes at close range silently sallying back and forth for aerial insects, 5 -15 ft agl, in shady Chinese garden-pond area. Subsequently, two members of our class independently produced photo images of a Hammond's Flycatcher from the same area. Although I was reasonably certain at the time the bird I had in view was a WIFL (see above ID notes), the fact remains no one else in the class could confirm the presence of any Empidonax besides HAFL. Therefore, I am allowing for a possible misidentification error on my part and have downgraded my original report to, possible Willow Flycatcher).

Black Phoebe  1   vocal; sallying from low to medium heights at edge of fish pond.

Western Scrub-jay  10 (one dead adult at the edge of the lawn); vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous.

Common Raven   10  vocal; pairs and trios circling riparian and adjacent desert hillsides.

Oak Titmouse  1  calls, garden with bird feeder.

Bushtit  5  calls; riparian patch along Pallett Creek.

White-breasted Nuthatch  2  calls; individuals foraging 5- 20 ft agl on trunks and main branches of mature cottonwoods.

Bewick's Wren  calls (unseen) riparian patch at edge of parking area.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet   8  calls; foraging quickly individually and in pairs, using the foliage of a variety of shrubs and trees; one individual displaying flame-colored crown feathers.

Hermit Thrush  2  active on ground and low branches in shady riparian and gardens.

Western Bluebird   10  (m,f) vocal, gregarious; sallying from low branches to ground in open areas.

American Robin   4  vocal (calls and song) gardens with fruiting shrubs and trees.

Northern Mockingbird  1 central area, (JH).

European Starling  1  vocal; edge of garden, (JH).

Cedar Waxwing  3 - 5  vocal, gregarious;  initially heard then seen briefly in flight over Chinese garden with fruiting pyracantha.

Phainopepla  calls (unseen) Chinese garden - desert hillside area.

Orange-crowned Warbler  1? by description   (JK) low in shrubs hillside chaparral at edge of parking area.

Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warbler   50 (predominantly females and immatures),  freq.calls; gregarious; foraging at all foliage height levels.

Townsend's Warbler 1 (f imm) foraging in canopy of a row of ornamental fruit trees adjacent to the parking area.

Spotted Towhee  1  calls; on and near ground in shady riparian patch between Pallett Creek wash and lawns.

California Towhee   4  calls; in pairs on ground; brushy areas and edge of lawns.

Chipping Sparrow  4  calls; foraging in pairs with WCSP and DEJU at edge of riparian patch and on lawn.

Song Sparrow  1  calls; riparian patch at edge of lawn and Pallett Creek wash.

White-crowned Sparrow  30  (ad, imm) vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous in brushy riparian and open fields.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  6  (m,f) foraging in pairs and small flocks at edge of riparian and on lawns.

Purple Finch  1 (m) perched alone in a mature willow in the Pallett Creek wash (PCW).

House Finch  30  (m,f) vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous, esp. PCW.

Lesser Goldfinch  4  (m,f) vocal; gregarious; together with AMGO, edge of lawns and PCW.

American Goldfinch    5 (m,f)  vocal, gregarious in willows at edge of lawns and PCW.

House Sparrow   3  in shrubs around buildings (JH).
















September 20, 2014  Pallett Creek Road, St. Andrew's and Valyermo Road, (52 Species)

Weather: Fair; 74F to 85F; wind WSW 2 -5 mph.

Time: 0850-1235 hrs.

Observers: D.K. Anderson and I.

Areas Covered:  1) Pallet Creek Road (PCR): Driving east from the intersection of Longview Road, we made five roadside stops (0.1 to 0.25 mi apart) to observe birds in a mature cottonwood-willow riparian woodland surrounding Pallet Creek. A small amount of water was flowing in the creek. Adjacent habitat on the north side of the road was a large continuous area of Mojavean Desert Scrub, composed of Joshua Trees, California Juniper and a large variety of desert shrubs native to the lower slopes of the San Gabriel Mts. Pallet Road roughly parallels the San Andreas Fault, producing an undulating terrain with valleys and low ridges. The perennial stream (Pallet Creek) is evidently a dominant attractive feature for wildlife in this otherwise xeric landscape (0850-0935 hrs.). 

2) St. Andrew's Abbey (SA): We walked through the property observing birds in the adjacent (dry) riparian scrub (the eastern terminus of Pallet Creek), well-watered lawns, gardens and mature deciduous and evergreen trees (Sycamore, Alder, Cottonwood, Poplar, Apple, Cypress, Pine) amidst green lawns and ruderal fields. The property includes fountains and a pond at the south end, beneath tall shade trees. There is no hunting or disturbance of wildlife allowed on the site; bird feeders have been established around the residential quarters in the west-central section of the property. Conditions were excellent for identifying bird vocalizations (0940-1200 hrs).

3) Valyermo Road (VR): We made four roadside stops, the first at a small stream and riparian patch (Mile Marker 4.04), the second at another riparian patch with stagnant water at the entrance of the Philyermo Ranch. The third was a very brief stop at the Valyermo Post Office and pond (dry); the last was at the USFS camp, where we walked to the edge of an adjacent alfalfa field, then back through the abandoned south section of the camp (1200- 1235 hrs.).

Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Ladder-backed Woodpecker (1), Hairy Woodpecker (1), Plumbeous Vireo (1), Lazuli Bunting (1) and Scott's Oriole (1).


Mallard   10 (wild type and hybrids) main pond, SA.

California Quail  5  riparian woodland, PCR;  18  gardens, SA.

Great Blue Heron  1  observing coi at the edge of the main pond, SA.

Cooper's Hawk  1  chasing but failing to capture a CAQU, PCR.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1  calls;  1 (ad) flushed from garden trees, SA.

Red-tailed Hawk  1 (ad) circling a riparian patch, VR.

American Kestrel  1 (f) hovering above the desert hillside, PCR.

Rock Pigeon  16  on a utility line near an adjacent homestead, PCR.

Eurasian Collared Dove  3  vocal, gardens with feeders, SA.

Mourning Dove  calls (DKA), PCR.

Great Horned Owl  1   on a low branch of a cottonwood in a riparian woodland, PCR.

Anna's Humminbird  1  flying around cottonwoods, PCR;  2  vocal, gardens, SA.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker  calls (unseen) riparian woods, PCR.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  3  calls; active in cottonwoods, PCR, SA, VR.

Hairy Woodpecker  calls (unseen) dense riparian woodland, PCR.

Northern Flicker   4  vocal; PCR, SA.

Empidonax sp.  (seen at too great a distance for a positive ID)   1 subcanopy of cottowood, SA.

Black Phoebe  2   around the pond and edge of field, SA; 

Say's Phoebe  1 vocal (unseen) edge of alfalfa field at the post office, VR.

Ash-throated Flycatcher  1  top of cottonwood, PCR.

Plumbeous Vireo  1  canopy and subcanopy of cottonwoods next to main pond, SA.

Warbling Vireo  1  subcanopy of cottonwoods near pond, SA.

Western Scrub-jay   12  vocal, ubiquitous.

Common Raven  4  vocal; flying over; in garden, SA.

Oak Timouse  10  ubiquitous in riparian areas.

White-breasted Nuthatch  1 calls (unseen)  in mature cottonwoods, SA.

Bewick's Wren  6  vocal, ubiquitous.

House Wren 1 calls (unseen) edge of garden, SA.

Western Bluebird  2  vocal, around apple trees, SA; 1  in alfalfa field, VR.

American Robin  1  flushed from garden and grove of poplars, SA.

Northern Mockingbird  1 vocal, edge of desert hillside and garden, SA.

California Thrasher  1 flew across road into willow thicket, VR.

European Starling   4  vocal, cottonwoods, SA.

Phainopepla  calls (DKA), PCR.

Orange-crowned Warbler  3  foraging in low vegetation at edge of lawn, SA.

Nashville Warbler  1 (imm) foraging low to medium heights in cottonwoods near pond, SA.

Yellow Warbler  1 calls; in cottonwoods, SA.

Black-throated Gray Warbler 1 (imm m) foraging in deciduous and evergreen vegetation near pond, SA.

MacGillivray's Warbler 1 (m) foraging low, secretively in hillside garden, SA.

Wilson's Warbler  4  foraging in low shrubs and cottonwoods, SA.

Western Tanager  1 (f) foraging in a fruiting apple tree, SA.

Spotted Towhee  1  in cottonwoods and low vegetation at edge of lawn and dry field, SA.

California Towhee  1  on edge of lawn, SA.

Chipping Sparrow  2  on lawn, SA.

Black-throated Sparrow  2  edge of riparian and desert scrub, PCR.

White-crowned Sparrow  4  foraging on lawn and in cottonwoods, SA.

Lazuli Bunting  calls (unseen) mature cottonwoods and edge of dry field, SA.

Scott's Oriole  1 (imm) foraging near WETA in fruiting apple tree and cottonwood, SA.

House Finch   40  vocal, ubiquitous in loose flocks.

Lesser Goldfinch  20  vocal, ubiquitous; esp. roadside sunflowers.

Lawrence's Goldfinch 1  calls; flying by garden with feeder, SA

House Sparrow  6   vocal, active in gardens around buildings, SA.






OCTOBER 31, 2011  Pearblossom County Park and Little Rock Dam, LACO, CA (22 Species)

Weather: Fair; 63F. No wind.

Time: 0853 - 1000 hrs.

Areas Covered:  1) Pearblossom County Park at 121 Street East and Ave. V-14, Elev. about 3,420 ft.(PP). I walked a clockwise route around and through the entire park, which was quiet except for the arrival of children at the preschool facility. Relatively little birdlife was apparent compared with my previous surveys this fall (see notes below).  2) I surveyed Little Rock Dam and reservoir (LD) from the entry roadway on the southwest border ($5 entry fee; a valid USFS pass is no longer accepted). The reservoir water level was extremely low (photo), resulting in waterbirds being concentrated at the north end near the dam. Only one fisherman was present on the west shore. Relatively little birdlife was apparent.

Littlerock Dam and Reservoir, viewing north  October 31, 2011                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                            © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Northern Shoveler   10 (f) dabbling in shallows at south end of reservoir, LD.

California Quail   1 (rest of covey not seen), at edge of creosote desert scrub, w, PP.

Pied-billed Grebe   2  swimming in reservoir, LD.

Eared Grebe  3  diving in reservoir, LD.

Great Blue Heron 1 walking along s shore, LD.

American Coot  5  swimming near shore, LD.

Great Horned Owl  1 flushed from tall trees; chased by ravens, PP.

Black Phoebe  1  low branches in trees, e, PP.

Say's Phoebe  1  sally-flycatching from snag on shore, LD.

Common Raven  8  fly, croaking and other calls, PP.

Oak Titmouse  1  calls, adjacent suburban garden,s PP.

Mountain Chickadee  5  active, vocal in pines, PP.

Bewick's Wren  2  calls, adjacent yards, n, s, PP.

Rock Wren  2  calls, LD.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1  calls, in pines, PP.

Western Bluebird   6 (m,f, imm) in leafless tree at base of dam, n LD.

Western Bluebird (L - male; R - female) Littlerock Dam, LACO, Oct. 31, 2011

                                                                                           © 2011 Callyn Yorke


Northern Mockingbird  3   edge of park and suburban yards, calls, PP.

Phainopepla  1 calls repeated, tall trees, PP.

Yellow-rumped Warbler  5  active, vocal in trees, PP.

Savannah Sparrow  1  calls, adjacent ruderal edge, s, PP.

White-crowned Sparrow  10  calls, song, adjacent desert scrub, ruderal, PP.

House Finch  4  calls, song, adjacent suburb, e PP.




SEPTEMBER 24, 2011  Pearblossom County Park, 121 St. East and Ave, V-14, Los Angeles County, CA (27 Species)

Weather: Partly cloudy; 60F to 70F. Winds W 0-1mph.

Time: 0726 - 1006 hrs.

Area Covered: I walked the perimeter and central sections of the entire park twice, with a 15 minute break between surveys spent in the west parking lot. A group of very loud teens were in the park during most of my survey, though confined largely to the playground in the southwest corner. Someone employed by Jesus, left their business card on my car window. Elsewhere, the park was quiet and unihabited; a few dogs in adjacent yards were noisily objecting to my presence in the park. A binocular and DSLR camera were used for the survey. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Mountain Chickadee (15), White-crowned Sparrow (2) and Golden-crowned Sparrow (1 - vocalizations heard briefly).


California Quail   3 -4  vocalizing in the adjacent Creosote Bush scrub.

Turkey Vulture  2  soaring overhead.

Cooper's Hawk  flew into a backyard tree, n.

Anna's Hummingbird   6   (f)  active, vocalizing, deciduous trees.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1  calls, drumming, n.

Ladderbacked Woodpecker  1  calls (distinctively more slurred than NUWO).

Black Phoebe   2   sally-flycatching from fences and low branches.

Western Kingbird 1 ?  called once (unseen), nw.

Western Scrub-jay  3   vocal, active in deciduous and conifer trees.

Common Raven    4  fly, call.

Mountain Chickadee  15  vocal, active in conifers and locust trees throughout park.

Oak Titmouse   1  active in conifers with MOCH; calls.

Verdin  1-2   calls, conifers and deciduous trees.

White-breasted Nuthatch    8  active in conifers; calls (photo).

White-breasted Nuthatch   central Pearblossom Park, Los Angeles County, CA   September 24, 2011


                                                                           © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Cactus Wren  3   in adjacent creosote scrub, sw.

Bewick's Wren   3  in adjacent creosote scrub, sw; in conifers, vocal, active, s.

Northern Mockingbird   2  deciduous trees and adjacent desert; vocal.

European Starling    12   utility lines, conifers; vocalizing (including imitations of other birds).

Orange-crowned Warbler   4  foraging, vocal, deciduous trees, ne.

Yellow Warbler    3  foraging in subcanopy, vocal, deciduous trees, ne, central.

Lark Sparrow   4  calls, conifers, w.

White-crowned Sparrow  2  song, edge of desert scrub, sw.

Golden-crowned Sparrow  1  song (briefly) adjacent backyard with small deciduous trees, nw.

Red-winged Blackbird  2 (m,f)  foraging with BRBL on lawn (f); song, central.

Brewer's Blackbird   18 (m,f) foraging on lawns; vocal in trees and on utility lines.

House Finch    8  calls and song; deciduous trees and conifers.

House Sparrow   10  active in trees and on lawn, w.



SEPTEMBER 5, 2011  Pearblossom County Park, 121 Street East and Avenue V-14, Los Angeles County, CA. (31 Species)

Weather: Partly cloudy; 75F to 84F; no wind.

Time: 0820 - 0950 hrs.

Area Covered: I walked the perimeter of the entire park (ca 20 acres), beginning at the west parking lot. The park contains well-watered lawns, a baseball field, mature pines, locust, elm, other deciduous tree species and a tall chain-link fence covered with desert grape  presently (in fruit) separating left field from the adjacent residential area on the north side. Initially, I was alone in the park. By the time my survey ended there were other people in the park (the children's play area) and two small dogs wandering around without an owner.  A large puddle adjacent to the baseball diamond (from sprinkler runoff) served as a bird bath for several species. Conditions were very good for finding and identifying birds. Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Eurasian Collared Dove (4), Black-chinned Hummingbird (1) and Mountain Chickadee (16). Additionally, one exotic psittacid, Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), was found flying freely along the northwest park boundary.


California Quail  6 (m,f)   crossing the roadway near the park entrance.

Mourning Dove  4   (one adult molting tail feathers), flying over the park, s.

Eurasian Collared Dove   4  calls, perched on backstop.

Budrerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) flying from an adjacent yard to trees and utility lines (photo).

Budrerigar  Pearblossom Park, LACO, CA Sept. 5, 2011

                                             © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Great Horned Owl  2   separate individuals ( identified by the pitch of their calls) calling back and forth in tall pines adjacent to the park, n.

Anna's Hummingbird  1  aerial hawking beneath a pine tree.

Black-chinned Hummingbird  1 (f) briefly seen (and heard) visiting desert grape vine, n.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1 (f)  foraging near the canopy of a large pine; repeated calls.

Western Wood Pewee  1   sally-flycatching from a tall, exposed perch in a deciduous tree, s.

Willow Flycatcher  1  hawking insects around fence with desert grape vine, n.

Black Phoebe  1  sally-flycatching low, over lawn and beneath pines; calls,

Warbling Vireo  1  calls from mature pines, central.

Western Scrub-jay   1  calls from adjacent suburb, n.

Common Raven  2  flying over park, calls.

Oak Titmouse  2   foraging in pines and locust, s.

Mountain Chickadee   16   highly vocal, foraging in pines and on locust tree fruit, central, s (photo).

Mountain Chickadee   Pearblossom Park, LACO, CA  Sept. 5, 2011 

                                                                                                   © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Verdin  1  foraging in desert grape vine, calls, n.

White-breasted Nuthatch  1  foraging on trunks and branches of pines, calls.

Bewick's Wren  1  singing in adjacent desert scrub - suburb, s

House Wren  1  singing in adjacent yard, n.

Northern Mockingbird   5  (ad, imm) foraging in desert grape; adjacent suburb, desert scrub,calls.

European Starling    18  (ad, imm) foraging on lawn; desert grape; perched in trees.

Yellow Warbler  2 (m,f)   briefly came down to the fence at the edge of a puddle where other birds were bathing.

Western Tanager  1  calls from pines (unseen).

Lark Sparrow  1  bathing in puddle with other birds.

Sage Sparrow  (ad, imm)  bathing in puddle.

Black-headed Grosbeak  1  (f) bathing in puddle with HOFI.

Brewer's Blackbird  20 (m,f)  foraging on lawn.

Bullock's Oriole  3 (f) in trees and bathing in puddle (photo).

Bullock's Oriole (f)  Pearblossom Park, LACO, CA  5 Sept., 2011

                                                                               © 2011 Callyn Yorke

House Finch   15  (m,f) ubiquitous; bathing with other birds.

Lesser Goldfinch  2  fly, call, s.

House Sparrow    5  adjacent ruderal fields and yards, n.









JANUARY 13, 2011 (Longview Rd. (S), St Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, Jackson Lake, Table Mt., Grassy Hollow) (46 Species)

Weather: Fair with some high clouds in the mountains. 40F to 50F; winds ENE 0-2mph. Patches of snow remain in canyons and north-facing slopes; 2-6 inches of snow on ground above 5,000 ft; deepest at Grassy Hollow (about 7,000 ft), Angeles Crest HWY.

Time: 0815-1500 hrs. (see below).

Observers: Debra Anderson and I.

Areas Covered: 1) A private residence near Longview Road (South) and LePage Ranch Rd. We observed a large concentration of Califronia Quail, Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, House Finch, together with Merriam's Chipmunk, next to a residence within a largely intact, upland (4,000 ft.) Joshua Tree - California Juniper chaparral habitat. Debra gave me records of sightings of Scott's Oriole at her backyard  hummingbird feeder (see below) and showed me identifiable photos ( LPR  0815- 0825 hrs). 2) St Andrew's Abbey (SAA): We walked through and around the property, surveying about 40 acres of open fields, riparian border of Pallett Creek, ponds, gardens with exotic shrubs and trees, and adjacent upland Juniper-Joshua Tree chaparral. The grounds were largely unoccupied and quiet except for some heavy machinery being used at the west end. Conditions were good for identifying bird vocalizations. This area was by far the most productive for birds (32 species) in today's survey (0841-1052 hrs.).  3) We drove south on Valyermo Rd. stopping briefly at a ranch entrance (Philyermo) adjacent to a flowing stream and dense riparian habitat ( PHR 1100- 1118 hrs). 4) Continuing south, we stopped at the Valyermo Post Office (VPO) to briefly survey the adjacent pond and mature Cottonwoods (1120-1125 hrs), adding American Coot and Ring-necked Duck to our day-list.  5) Our next stop along Valyermo Rd. was at the USFS Work Station, where a large ruderal meadow and brushy fence line produced a Ferruginous Hawk , Nuttall's Woodpecker, numerous Chipping Sparrows and Western Meadowlarks (VWS  1130-1155 hrs.). 6) Turning onto Big Pines Hwy, we  continued to climb in elevation, then stopped briefly at a large green-water pond (about 100 yards north of the Mile High Cafe), apparently devoid of waterbirds, in a small canyon surrounded by Pinyon Pine and chapparal hillsides, where we added Spotted Towhee to our list ( GP 1210-1215 hrs.). 7) We continued to Jackson Lake (JL) for lunch and a walk around the western margin. The lake surface was largely frozen and surrounded by a few inches of patchy snow cover. Conditions were good for identifying bird vocalizations. Here we added Mallard, Acorn Woodpecker, Stellar's Jay and Mountain Chickadee (1227-1325 hrs.). 8) Our next stop was Table Mt. (TM)  Although the entire resort and parking lot was empty and quiet, very little birdlife was found; no new species were added to our list (1336-1350 hrs.).  9) Continuing our drive, now westbound on the Angeles Crest HWY, we stopped at the nearly snowbound Grassy Hollow Visitor Center, about 2 miles west of Table Mt. (GH). A worker in a skip-loader was attempting to clear the entrance road to the visitor center, but failed to complete the task due to an equipment failure. After moving our vehicle out of the parking area (the entry gate would soon have been closed behind us), we walked around the visitor center in several inches of snow, checking the feeders and surveying the forest (photo) (1401-1435 hrs.). Few birds were found at this site; Pygmy Nuthatch being the only species added to our list. Our last stop in the mountains was at the west entrance to the Mt. High recreational facility which, although packed with autos in the parking areas and snowboarders on the slopes, had a few birds (most we had already encountered today) in the Pines, Firs and Oaks around the edges (WMHR). Here we added Hairy Woodpecker to our list (1445-1500 hrs.) Our surveys today were made using binoculars and a DSLR camera.

USFS Valyermo Work Station, Valyermo ( Survey Site # 5) viewing south, January 13, 2011.

                                                                                                                                                                                               © 2011 Callyn Yorke


San Gabriel Mts. and Valley, viewing south from Grassy Hollow (Survey Site # 9), Angeles Crest HWY, January 13 , 2011.

                                                                                                                                                                                                © 2011 Callyn Yorke



Mallard  2 (m,f) n edge of JL.

Ring-necked Duck 2 (m) in pond behind VP.

California Quail   20  at and around feeder, LPR.

Great Blue Heron 1 (ad) flushed into a tree from a Koi pond, SAA.

Great Egret  1  nearby GBH, also flushed into trees, SAA.

Cooper's Hawk  1 flying low through riparian, SAA.

Red-tailed Hawk  2  circling above us, PHR.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1  moving around in riparian area next to parking area; relatively tame, SAA (photo).

                                                                                          © 2011 Callyn Yorke

Ferruginous Hawk  1  flushed from tall trees adjacent to meadow, VWS; flew east then south in a wide arc (photo).

                                                                                     © 2011 Callyn Yorke

American Coot   6  in pond, VPO.

Anna's Hummingbird  3  gardens and edge of chaparral, SAA.

Belted Kingfisher  1  flushed from edge of pond; calls, flying around pond, SAA.

Acorn Woodpecker   6  in tall pines; calls; 3 WMH, on  large grainery pine.

Red-breasted Sapsucker  2 (m,f)  flying between Poplars and Willows, SAA.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1  call, fly, VWS.

Ladder-backerd Woodpecker  1  fly, call, in willow and Cottonwood, SAA.

Hairy Woodpecker  1  flying between tall pines, calls, WMH.

Northern Flicker  2  calls, SAA.

Black Phoebe  2  meadows and open riparian; on ground, SAA.

Steller's Jay  2    in dense willow thickets, JL;  2  calls, WMH.

Western Scrub-jay  4  edge of garden and riparian, SAA.

Common Raven  3  fly, call;  8  on ground in snow around restrooms and garbage cans, WMH.

Mountain Chickadee  3  in tall pines, JL;  in firs and pines, GH; 3 WMH.

White-breasted Nuthatch  1  calls, riparian, SAA.

Pygmy Nuthatch  2  GH;  2 WMH, calls; foraging on horizontal limbs of Jeffrey Pines.

Bewick's Wren  6  calls, active in chaparral and edge of riparian, SAA.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet   2  riparian and planted Poplars, calls, SAA.

Western Bluebird  10  riparian and gardens, calls, SAA.

Hermit Thrush  2  riparian edge and pine grove, SAA.

Northern Mockingbird  2  edge of riparian, calls, SAA.

California Thrasher   2   singing at edge of riparian-chaparral, brushpile, SAA;  1 singing in Calif. Juniper, GP.

European Starling  10  riparian and tall trees, SAA;  5 tall pines, calls, WMH.

Phainopepla  4 (m,f) display flights, edge of riparian, SAA.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)  5  riparian and gardens, SAA.

Spotted Towhee  1  flying at northwest edge of pond in chaparral, GP.

California Towhee   4  edge of chaparral and garden; riparian, SAA.

Chipping Sparrow   30  ruderal meadow and fence line, VWS.

Lincoln's Sparrow  1  calls from wet meadow-riparian, SAA.

White-crowned Sparrow  10  at feeder, LPR;  20 riparian and edge, SAA.

Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)   10, around feeder, LPR; 5  edge of riparian, SAA; 2 JL.

Western Meadowlark  18  tight flock moving around and over meadow, VWS.

Scott's Oriole  1   Singing briefly, sw section of property, Joshua tree-Juniper hillside; unseen SAA. Debra Anderson has excellent documentation of SCOR at her residence (LPR), showing (with photos) the presence of one to two male SCOR on the following dates: 12, 15, 28 December, 2010; 6, 8, 20 January, 2011. In addition, Jim Moore independently reported (on LACO Birds Yahoo Groups) seeing a male SCOR on Ft. Tejon Road today (January 13, 2011) near St. Andrew's Abbey. These records indicate SCOR may winter regularly at relatively high elevations (i.e. 4,000 ft.) on the north slope of the San Gabriel Mts..

Photos of two male SCOR (imm and ad) taken by Debra K. Anderson on January 20, 2011, near the intersection of LePage Ranch Rd. and Longview Rd. (South) Los Angeles County, CA at an elevation of about 4,000 ft..


  © 2011 D.K. Anderson                                                                                                                                         © 2011 D.K. Anderson


Purple Finch  1 (m) at feeder with HOFI, LPR;  2 (f) edge of riparian, SAA.

Cassin's Finch ?   2-4  calls, high above forest, TM, GH, WMH (unseen).

Pine Siskin  2  edge of riparian, SAA.

Lesser Goldfinch   2  fly, call, SAA.









OCTOBER 2, 2010 ( St. Andrews Abbey, Jackson Lake, Table mt., Grassy Hollow, Littlerock Reservoir: 61 Species)

Weather:  cloudy with intermittent thunder-showers; 66 - 85F. Winds variable, 0-5 mph.

Time: 0805 - 1600 hrs.

Observers: Debbie Anderson, Becky Kitto, Merissa Mendez and I.

Areas Covered: ( in chronological order)   1) Fort Tejon Road (FTR) across from St. Andrew's Abbey. We birded along the roadway overlooking hillside Joshua-tree- Juniper and a riparian wash grown to Cottonwood and Willow. Verdin, Phainopepla and Spotted Towhee were found here,   2) St. Andrew's Abbey (SAA). We walked around the grounds, surveying ruderal fields, mowed lawns, orchards, ponds, desert scrub and a riparian wash. The grounds were quiet this morning; conditions excellent for finding birds and identifying vocalizations. Sparrows and finches were well represented, including Lark Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Purple Finch, California Towhee and Pine Siskin 3) Several stops along the Valyermo Road leading to Wrightwood (VR), We stopped briefly to survey riparian roadside habitats, including a small farm pond. 4) Jackson Lake (JL) we birded the lake, shoreline, adjacent willow-riparian edge and coniferous forest. Many boaters and people picnicking here. Conditions were generally poor for birding. 5) Table Mountain (Ski Sunrise) (TM). We stopped briefly to bird the high-elevation (7,000 ft.) coniferous forest around the parking area. Thunder-showers forced us to retreat from the mountain top. New birds for the day-list found here included, White-headed Woodpecker and Pygmy Nuthatch. 6) Grassy Hollow (USFS Picnic, Camp and Visitor Center) (GH). We birded here during our lunch break; few species heard or seen around the visitor center (roofing materials and equipment stored next to the visitor center). Thunder-showers continuing.  7) Intersection of N6 and Angeles Crest Highway, USFS intormation center (N6ACH). We walked around the noisy intersection, birding adajacent coniferous forest and understory next to the parking areas. Added Cassin's Finch to our day-list.  8) Our final stop for the day was Littlerock Reservoir (LR). About twenty people were picnicking and/or camping around the west shore; a few were boating. Conditions were fair to poor for finding birds. Day-list birds added here included, Ring-necked Duck, Western Grebe, Cooper's Hawk, House Wren, Rock Wren and Nuttall's Woodpecker.


Littlerock Reservoir, October 2, 2010, viewing southeast.

                                                                 © 2010 Callyn Yorke



Mallard (wild type and domestic)   1 SAA; 10 LR.

Ring-necked Duck  4 (m,f)  S end of LR.

California Quail     20  edge of wash, SAA.

Pied-billed Grebe  3 (ad, imm)   JL;  2  LR.

Western Grebe  1  open water, diving (underwater for 7-10 minutes), LR.

Great Blue Heron  1  in roadside creek, VR.

Great Egret  1  roadside farm pond, VR; 2 flying, E shore, LR.

Cooper's Hawk  1 (imm) flushed from roadside, LR.

Red-tailed Hawk  1  tall perch in tree, VR.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1 (ad) flushed from tall trees on VR.

American Coot  3  JL;  15  LR.

Killdeer  2  calls, SAA.

Mourning Dove  2  FTR;  2 SAA;  2 N6LCH;  2  LR.

Anna's Hummingbird  2  riparian, SAA.

Belted Kingfisher  1  on utility line over farm pond, VR.

Acorn Woodpecker  6  JL;  4  N6LCH; calls; working granary trees; one on utility pole granary.

White-headed Woodpecker  1 flew into tall Jeffrey Pine; call; TM.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1  riparian edge of W shore, LR; calls.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker  1  riparian edge of field,  calls. SAA

Downy Woodpecker  1  in riparian wash, calls, SAA.

Hairy Woodpecker  1  in Jeffrey Pine, roadside, N6.

Northern Flicker  2  FTR; 1 SAA, calls.

Western Wood Pewee  2  tall snags and edges of mature Cottonwood; calls, SAA.

Black Phoebe  1  FTR;  2 SAA;  1 JL;  2 LR.

Western Scrub-Jay   3  FTR; 3  SAA;  2 N6LCH.

Steller's Jay   2  JL;  1  N6ACH; calls.

Common Raven  2  SAA;  2 JL;  8 TM  soaring high, N.

Mountain Chickadee   2  TM;  2  N6ACH; calls.

Oak Titmouse  2  SAA; 2 JL.

Verdin  1  FTR  calls.

Bushtit   4  riparian edge, VR.

White-breasted Nuthatch  1  SAA;  2 JL.; 2 TM.

Pygmy Nuthatch  3  TM, calls.

Rock Wren  1  calls from rocky, E slope, LR.

Bewick's Wren  2  FTR;  2 SAA;  2 VR, calls and song.

House Wren  1  singing from saltbush, LR.

Hermit Thrush  2  foraging together on ground, JL.

American Robin  1  tree-top perch, SAA.

Western Bluebird  10 SAA; 10 TM; 6 N6ACH.

Northern Mockingbird  2  FTR; 1 SAA.

California Thrasher  1  SAA; calls.

European Starling   4  FTR;  10 SAA.

Phainopepla   5 (m,f, imm)  riparian wash, FTR.

Yellow Warbler  1  in willows, JL;  1 deciduous tree, LR.

Yellow-rumped Warbler  3  mixed species flock with WBNU, DEJU, CHSP, W slope of TM.

Common Yellowthroat  1  calls from cattails in roadside creek, VR.

Western Tanager 2 (m,f)  riparian edge, SAA.

Spotted Towhee  1  calls from riparian wash, FTR.

California Towhee  1 FTR; 1 riparian wash, SAA, 1 VR.

Chipping Sparrow  10 (ad, imm) foraging in short grass and leaf-litter, SAA (photo: imm); 6 TM;  10 N6ACH.


                                                                                                                                                ©  2010 Callyn Yorke


Lark Sparrow  5  riparian edge and foraging on ground, SAA  

Lincoln's Sparrow  6  riparian edge, foraging in short grass with  CHSP, SAA.

White-crowned Sparrow (ad, imm)    4  FTR; 10 SAA;  3 JL;  2 TM;  4 N6ACH.

Dark-eyed Junco  1  SAA;  2  TM;  1 GH.

Red-winged Blackbird  4  marsh, JL; calls and song.

Brewer's Blackbird   10  road leading up to TM.

Scott's Oriole  1 (m) flew into Cottonwood at edge of parking area; riparian edge, SAA.

Purple Finch   5  riparian edge, SAA; 2 N6ACH.

Cassin's Finch   2  roadside shrubs and ground, N6ACH.

House Finch    (m,f) 4  FTR;  20 SAA.

Pine Siskin  1  in Cottonwood with HOFI and PUFI, SAA.







JUNE 9, 2010  (Lake Una, Lake Los Angeles, Bob's Gap, St. Andrew's Abbey, Jackson Lake, Grassy Hollow, Table Mt.)  (51 Species)


Weather: Fair, 71 - 75F; winds WNW  5-10 mph.

Time0703 - 1530 hrs.

Observers: Dan Byrne and I.

Area Covered: (see June 9, 2009 for details): We drove to Lake Una (LU), located on the east side of Sierra Highway, adjacent to Lake Palmdale (see aerial map of this area) and walked a clockwise route around Lake Una along paths outside of the chain-linked fence. We surveyed transitional chaparral-creosote scrub, fresh water marsh, shoreline (mud), riparian and open water habitats. Although rather distant from the lake itself, our vantage point on the hills above was adequate to identify most of the birds in and around the lake; windy conditions and traffic on Sierra Highway made identification of bird vocalizations somewhat difficult (0703-0737 hrs.).  Continuing eastward on Hwy. 138, we turned north on 170th Street East and drove into the northeastern section of Lake Los Angeles (LLA). We parked and walked around the largely dilapidated residential area in the vicinity of 165th Street East and Valeport, covering about 4 square blocks, searching specifically for Inca Dove, which was not found (0814-0908 hrs.). Continuing south on 170th Street East, our next stop was along side road in Bob's Gap (BG), along the southwest slope of a hillside (see April 25, 2010). We walked along the dirt roadway, using an IPOD and a hand-held  amplifier-speaker to play voice recordings of Gray Vireo (Peterson, Western Birds) directed toward the drainages and small canyons, but without a response from GRVI (0943-1048 hrs.). Several other resident bird species were vocalizing, e.g. Black-throated Sparrow, Bewick's Wren, Spotted Towhee and California Towhee. Also present in this area were Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californica), White-tailed Antelope Ground Squirrel (Ammospermophilus leucurus), Western Whiptail Lizard (Cnemidophorus tigris), Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister) and Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana).We also briefly searched an adjacent roadside west of this location for Black-chinned Sparrow without success. At our next stop, St. Andrew's Abbey (SAA), we walked around the well-watered, manicured lawns, gardens, ponds and artificial streams, surveying tall cottonwood, poplar, elm and a variety of exotic shrubs. The grounds were quiet, with only four or five other people. Conditions were good for identifying bird vocalizations (1110 - 1146 hrs.).

At 1235 hrs. and about 0.25 mi. north of Jackson Lake , on Big Pines Highway (HWY 2), a large (ca. 25 inch long) weasel-like animal quickly crossed the roadway about 50 feet in front of our vehicle. The short legs, undulating gait, thick body and head, buffy throat and bushy tail, fit the profile of an adult Marten (Martes americana) more closely than Gray Fox, which I thought it was at first. Dan Byrne's first impression of the animal was that of "an overgrown weasel." Subsequent research, including descriptions and photos, supported this identification, although I could find no published record of Marten in the San Gabriel Mountains. Later that evening, I sent and email message containing the initial details of our sighting to Kimball Garrett of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History for review by his colleagues in the Mammalogy Department

We continued south on Big Pines Highway (HWY 2) to Jackson Lake (JL). We walked around the picnic areas and west shoreline, surveying cedars, pines, oaks, riparian, freshwater marsh and open water. A few people were picnicking around the lake, which has a relatively low water level and algal mats in the middle. A large pile of cattails and mud had been piled up near the parking area, evidently a USFS attempt to clear marsh vegetation from the perimeter of the lake. The western shore (formerly mud and sand) is now covered with a mowed lawn.

We continued south on Big Pines Highway and then west onto the Angeles Crest Highway (open only as far as Mt. Wilson), about 3 miles to USFS Grassy Hollow Campground (GH) and Visitor Center (closed weekdays). A crew of fire-control workmen was busy carving a bench from a large fallen tree, using chainsaws. The overpowering noise of the saws forced us to abandon our survey of this site, but not before finding a White-headed Woodpecker in a nearby Jeffrey Pine (1334- 1344 hrs). Following a pleasant outdoor lunch at the Evergreen Cafe in Wrightwood, we made a brief stop at the summit of Table Mountain (TM), but found almost no birdlife, except for one Violet Green Swallow. A another fire-control work crew was just leaving the area when we arrived. We returned to the Antelope Valley via the same route, taking a short-cut from HWY 138 north on 165th Street East around Lake Los Angeles and north to Avenue M on 90th Street East.


1) Mallard  3 (f) LU; 1 SAA (m - tame).

2) Pied-billed Grebe  1 JL open water.

3) California Quail  6  LU;  4 LLA; 2 BG; 4 SAA;

4) Great Egret  1  SAA  motionless at edge of pond (initally overlooked).

5) Killdeer  1 (imm) LU   running around in parking area on W side of fence.

6) Rock Pigeon  20  LLA  flock flying around a residence.

7) Eurasian Collared Dove  1 LLA  on utility line; calls.

8) Mourning Dove  2  BG  flying low over hillside.

9) American Coot 1 LU;  4 JL.

10) Red-shouldered Hawk  1 (ad)   SAA flying over cottonwoods; chased by RWBL.

11) Black-chinned Hummingbird  2  BG.

12) Anna's Hummingbird   3  SAA; one female on nest 6 ft. high in elm next to pond.

13) Nuttall's Woodpecker  2  SAA  flying, calls.

14) Red-breasted Sapsucker  1 (m) in willow at edge of lake (photo).



Red-breasted Sapsucker  (Sphyrapicus ruber)  Jackson Lake,  Los Angeles County, CA     June 9, 2010                           © 2010 Callyn Yorke


15) White-headed Woodpecker  1 (m)  GH  in mature Jeffrey Pine.

16) Acorn Woodpecker  5  JL  in and around pines; calls.

17) Ladder-backed Woodpecker  1  BG  flying, calls.

18) White-breasted Nuthatch  1  JL  calliing in trees along N edge of lake.

19) Common Raven  1 LU; 2  LLA;  2 BG; calls, flying.

20) Western Scrub-jay  1 BG; calls.

21) Steller's Jay  1  JL  calls.

22) Barn Swallow  1 SAA flying over field.

23) Violet-green Swallow   2 JL; 1 GH; 1 TM.

24) Western Kingbird  2  BG; fly,calls.

25) Ash-throated Flycatcher   2  BG  low shrubs; calls.

26) Black Phoebe  1  SAA  near pond.

27) Bushtit  2  JL  calls from dense willows.

28) Verdin   1  LU  creosote scrub; calls.

29) Western Bluebird  4 (m,f)   SAA  around cottonwoods.

30) American Robin   4  JL  on lawns and mud at edge of lake.

31) Northern Mockingbird   1 LLA; singing.

32) European Starling  10 (ad, imm) LLA.

33) Bewick's Wren  2  BG  a pair staying low in shrubs; calls; 2 SAA; song.

34) Yellow Warbler  1  in cottonwoods near pond; song.

35) Golden-crowned Sparrow  1  JL singing in thickets at edge of forest.

36) Chipping Sparrow  1  JL singing at edge of forest

37) Black-throated Sparrow   6  BG singing from exposed perches.

38) Song Sparrow  1  LU calls from arroyo willow thicket on S side of fence.

39) Dark-eyed Junco  1  JL singing in willow thickets at edge of forest.

40) American Goldfinch  1  JL  calls in willows at edge of lake.

41) Purple Finch   2  JL  singing repeatedly from tall conifers at edge of lake.

42) Black-headed Grosbeak  2  SAA, singing repeatedly in cottonwoods;  2 JL  singing in pines; flew to ground.

43) House Finch   6 LLA;  3 BG; 8  SAA; calls and song.

44) Spotted Towhee  1  BG  singing atop a juniper.

45) California Towhee  2  BG  calls from dense cover.

46) Brown-headed Cowbird   1 SAA calls.

47) Red-winged Blackbird  5 LU (m,f); 2 SAA; 6 JL (m,f).

48) Tricolored Blackbird  15 ( m,f; ad, imm) LU   young begging for food in trees on N side of lake. Small flocks commuting to fields and Lake Palmdale.

49) Brewer's Blackbird   2 (m,f) JL  on lakeshore.

50) Scott's Oriole   3 (m,f)   BG  flying around hillside and bajada.

51) House Sparrow  20  LLA.












APRIL 25, 2010   (52 Species)

St Andrew's Abbey (SAA), Valyermo Post Office (VPO) and Bob's Gap (BG).


Bob's Gap, Los Angeles County, CA  Viewing SW  April 25, 2010


                                                                                                      Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata)  © 2010 Callyn Yorke


Weather:  Fair,  69F,  WNW winds 2-7 mph.  Heavy snow pack on San Gabriels.

Time: 1104- 1340 hrs. (SAA); 1353-1405 hrs. (VPO); 1413 - 1616 hrs. (BG)

Areas Covered: 1) I walked around St. Andrew's Abbey (SAA) beginning in the parking area opposite the new conference center. Surrounding habitats surveyed included, open, grassy fields, Cottonwood-Sycamore wash; Gardens with mature Chinese elms (blooming) and Poplars; pond (with Koy) and shady feeder stream; hillside chaparral (Juniper, Joshua Tree, Chaparral Yucca). Sunday services were being held indoors; only a few visitors wandering around, including two other birders. When the services were finished there was a mass exodus from the parking areas, and the grounds were again mostly quiet. Conditions were generally good for identifying bird vocalizations.  2) I then drove S to survey a pond and riparian area behind the Valyermo Post Office (VPO). Added Violet- green Swallow, Red-winged Blackbird and Brown-headed Cowbird to the day-list. 3) Continued driving NE to Bob's Gap (see May 4, 2009 Map and Directions), turning SE onto a poorly maintained dirt road near an old masonry kiln, and parked off the road about 0.1 mile from the turn-off (BG). I walked slowly up the road about 0.4 miles and back, suveying the surrounding rocky hillsides and canyons, and the richly diverse, Joshua-Juniper-Creosote-Cholla community in the valley below (photo). Only one vehicle passed me on the road; conditions were good for identifying bird vocalizations. I used a 10x42 binocular and DSLR camera for all surveys today. Birds were active all day at all three of the survey areas; the greatest diversity and abundance of species was found at SAA (37 Species).


1) Mallard  1 (m) SAA;  8( m,f) (including domestic hybrids) VPO.

2) California Quail   4  SAA; 2 VPO;  2 BG.

3) Great Egret  1  SAA  flushed from E end of pond.

4) Mourning Dove   4  SAA;  2  BG.

5) Black-chinned Hummingbird   1 (m) SAA; 1 BG calls.

6) Anna's Hummingbird  5  SAA.

7) Nuttall's Woodpecker  2  SAA  foraging on Cottonwood; calls.

8) Ladder- backed Woodpecker  1  BG  calls; flying through Joshua tree woodland.

9) Northern Flicker  2  SAA  calling repeatedly from riparian wash.

10) Gray Flycatcher  1  BG  staying low and concealed in junipers and other shrubs; very shy and difficult to approach (photo).

                Gray Flycatcher (Empidonax wrightii)  Dorsal View


                                                                © 2010 Callyn Yorke


11) Black Phoebe   1  SAA  around pond.

12) Ash-throated Flycatcher  2  BG   hillside chaparral; calls.

13) Western Kingbird  1  SAA;  2 BG perched and calling from Joshua Tree.

14) Warbling Vireo  1   SAA  foraging quietly at mid-level in dead conifers and blooming elms around pond.

15) Western Scrub-jay  4  SAA;  3 BG.

16) Common Raven  6   SAA;  3  BG.

17) Violet-green Swallow   3  VPO  circling over pond and landing in tall Cottonwood snag.

18) Oak Titmouse  2  SAA;  2  BG; calls and song.

19) Verdin  1  SAA   S hillside chaparral; calls.

20) Bushtit   4  BG  hillside chaparral; calls.

21) White-breasted Nuthatch  1  SAA  on trunk of Cottonwood; calls.

22) Cactus Wren  2  BG  calling from Joshua-tree woodland.

23) Bewick's Wren  1 BG singing from chaparral hillside.

24) House Wren  3  SAA  singing in Cottonwoods and other trees.

25) Rock Wren  1  BG  singing intermittently from small, rocky canyon on NE side of road.

26) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1 BG  calls from brushy canyon.

27) American Robin  1  SAA  in grassy area beneath Poplars; calls.

28) Western Bluebird  6 (m,f) SAA    a pair nesting in Cottonwoods at the edge of a grassy field.

29) Northern Mockingbird  1  SAA singing in chaparral; 1 BG  singing in Joshua Tree Woodland.

30) European Starling  20 SAA  pair nesting in Cottonwood near pond;  12  VPO  nesting and flying back and forth between irrigated fields.

31) Phainopepla  1 (m)  BG  flying W into Joshua Tree Woodland.

32) Yellow-rumped Warbler   20   SAA  ubiquitous in trees and shrubs.

33) Townsend's Warbler  2  (m,f) SAA   foraging in Poplars.

34) Wilson's Warbler  1  SAA singing from Riparian wash.

35) Orange-crowned Warbler  1 SAA calling from Cottonwoods.

36) Spotted Towhee   1  BG  staying low and well-concealed in Juniper.

37) California Towhee  1  SAA  scratching in leaf-litter around pond;  1 BG  calls from dense cover.

38) Chipping Sparrow  2   SAA with White-crowned Sparrows in Cottonwoods next to open field; calls and song.

39) Song Sparrow  1  SAA singing from Riparian wash.

40) White-crowned Sparrow  15  SAA   brushy edges of fields and gardens; calls.

41) Black-throated Sparrow   10  BG  singing and calling from mostly concealed locations in Joshua tree Woodland (photo).

42) Black-headed Grosbeak  6 (m,f)   SAA  foraging on Chinese Elm blossoms; pairs staying close; calls and song.

43) Red-winged Blackbird   2  VPO  singing around pond.

44) Brown-headed Cowbird  2  VPO  singing.

45) Bullock's Oriole   2 (m,f)   SAA in Poplars and Cottonwoods; calls and song.

46) Scott's Oriole  3-5  (m) BG  singing in Joshua Tree - Creosote Scrub and upland Chaparral (photos).


                            Scott's Oriole (Icterus parisorum) at Bob's Gap, April 25, 2010                                                                                   ©  2010 Callyn Yorke


47) Purple Finch   8 (m,f)   SAA    foraging on Chinese Elm blossoms; calls and song (photo).   

48) House Finch  12  (m,f) SAA;  4 VPO;  4 BG   foraging in fields and in Elms, Cottonwoods; Joshua-tree Woodland; calls and song.  

49) Pine Siskin  4  SAA  foraging in Elms and Cottonwoods; calls.

50) Lesser Goldfinch   4  SAA in Cottonwoods; calls.

51) American Goldfinch  6  SAA foraging in Elms and Cottonwoods; calls (photo).

52) House Sparrow  5  SAA  gardens and buildings; calls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 © 2010 Callyn Yorke


     Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus) at SAA, April 25, 2010                                       Valyermo Post Office Pond, Viewing South, April 25, 2010                 










LAKE UNA, Los Angeles County, CA


APRIL 16, 2010  (39 Species)

Weather: Hazy, 49 to 62F;  Winds WSW 5-10 mph.

Time: 0745 - 0845 hrs.

Observers: Jon Feenstra and I.

Area Covered:  Walked around the perimeter of Lake Una, outside the chain-link fence. Surveyed mixed Creosote-Juniper Scrub on rocky hillside,  adjacent Rabbitbrush Scrub, Aleppo Pines, Salt Cedar, Desert Willow, Cottonwood, Marshy edges, shoreline, open water and aerial zone, including the eastern edge of Lake Palmdale. No other people were present during our survey. We had originally scheduled a survey this morning at Lake Palmdale, but found it closed when we arrived for fishing derby preparations.


1) Gadwall  5 (m,f) near shore, east side.

2) Mallard  4  (m,)  near shore, east side.

3) Bufflehead  (m,f)  open water.

4) Ruddy Duck 2 (m,f) east side.

5) California Quail  2 SW hillside; calls.

6) Pied-billed Grebe  1  near shore.

7) Snowy Egret 2  S shore.

8) Red-tailed Hawk  1 (imm)   flushed from S shore pines.

9) American Coot  10  open water and near shore.

10) Killdeer 1  calling.

11) California Gull  10 (imm) flying NW.

12) Mourning Dove  3  flying low; calls.

13) Anna's Hummingbird  1  brushy edge; calls.

14) Black Phoebe  1  S shore.

15) Western Scrub-Jay  2  flying; calls, S.

16) Common Raven  5  flying over.

17) Tree Swallow   2  30 ft. over lake.

18) Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1   flying over hillsside and lake.

19) Barn Swallow  1  flying  NW.

20) Verdin  2  Creosote hillside; calls.

21) Bushtit  4  N hillside brushy areas.

22) Bewick's Wren   1  N hillside Creosote-Juniper scrub.

23) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1  N hillside Creosote-Juniper scrub.

24) Northern Mockingbird  1  singing in edge of field, S.

25) Cedar Waxwing 25  flying in from E; split into two flocks; calls.

26) Orange-crowned Warbler  1  in salt cedar, N shore.

27) Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)   20  ubiquitous in brushy areas around lake; calls.

28) Common Yellowthroat  1  singing from E marshy shoreline.

29) Brewer's Sparrow  1  singing on N hillside, Creosote Scrub ( photo - JF).

30) Song Sparrow 1  marshy shoreline, E; singing.

31) Lincoln's Sparrow  1  brushy hilllside, N; calls.

32) White-crowned Sparrow  30 (consevative est.)  brushy areas throughout.

33) Red-winged Blackbird 10  marsh and riparian edge of lake, W (song).

34) Tricolored Blackbird  4  flying NW.

35) Yellow-headed Blackbird   3  Riparian edge, W.

36) Great-tailed Grackle  2  Riparian edge, W.

37) House Finch  17  ubiquitous around lake; calls and song.

38) Lesser Goldfinch  7  Riparian and in pines; calls and song.

39) Lawrence's Goldfinch  2  (JF).








September 30, 2009 (45 Species)

Weather:  Fair, 49-63F; winds SSW 5-10 mph.

Time: 0856 - 1110 hrs.

Area Covered: Entered on west side of Lake Una (about 1/2 mile south of the intersection of Avenue S and Sierra HWY in Palmdale) and walked slowly around the perimeter, surveying with a 10 x 40 binocular. The water level of the lake is relatively low, exposing a few feet of muddy-salt encrusted shoreline and the base of emergent aquatic vegetation (mostly tules). Vegetation bordering the lake includes mature Aleppo pines, sandbar willow, mulefat, Tamarisk and young cottonwoods (photo). Farther from shore, to the north and east, rocky hillsides grown to a  high diversity of native desert shrubs including, creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), Nevada joint fir (Ephedra nevadensis), and silver cholla (Opuntia echinocarpa). Disturbed soils around the lake support a variety of exotic grasses and herbs, in addition to rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) and four-winged saltbush (Atriplex canescens). The latter two species of shrub attracted numerous landbirds, both resident and migratory. Birdlife was abundant in and around the lake, particularly on the east and south sides where there is abundant cover. Noise from auto traffic on Sierra HWY diminishes toward the east end of the lake, where mixed species flocks of landbirds could be more easily identified by their calls.

Near the end of my survey, the caretaker, "Striper Bill" appeared and was kind enough to give me some anecdotal information regarding the natural history and archaeology of Lake Una. This is a relatively deep, aquifer-fed lake with sign of usage (e.g rock placements) by the aboriginal  people of this region. Bill mentioned that he has been a resident near the lake since his childhood and has found a variety of mammals (e.g. raccoon and bobcat) to be fairly common. He also has an interest in rare animals found in the lake (e.g. Southwestern pond turtle, white pelican), and appreciates any reports of such by visiting naturalists. Although the lake has now been fenced and gated, Bill can be contacted (in advance) by birders or others wishing to observe the wildlife at Lake Una. His cell number is: 661 466-9232. He can also be contacted through a website:

Lake Una, viewing West from SE corner. © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke
Lake Una, viewing West from SE corner. © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke

Perch (Archoplites interruptus ?) dropped by Snowy egret on the SE side of Lake Una.  © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke
Perch (Archoplites interruptus ?) dropped by Snowy egret on the SE side of Lake Una. © 2009 Callyn D. Yorke

Birds Noted

1) Mallard  6 (m,f) open water, W.

2) Ruddy duck  1: open water, W.

3) California quail  8 : flushed from cover, E.

4) Pied-billed grebe 3: W; calls; diving.

5) Double-crested cormorant  2: one diving, W; 1 flying E.

6) Great blue heron  1: edge of tules, SW side.

7) Snowy egret  1: caught a perch (Centrarchidae) too large to swallow, collected by Bill (photo), SE shore.

8) Green heron  1 : flew low from SW to NW side.

9) Red-shouldered hawk  1 (imm): flushed from pine on SE side to NE side.

10) Red-tailed hawk  1 (imm): on top of a tall pine, SE.

11) American coot  2: open water, W side.

12) Killdeer  1: calls S shore.

13) Greater yellowlegs  1: call/ fly W to NE shore.

14) Mourning dove  1 E on tall snag..

15) Costa's hummingbird 1: call, N in creosote bushes and Tamarisk.

16) Anna's hummingbird 2 (f): flycatching in Tamarisk.

17) Belted kingfisher  2: chase/call.

18) Black phoebe  4: calls, sally-flycatch to ground from low and medium heights around lake.

19) Loggerhead shrike  1: calls, SE willow area outside of fence.

20) Western scrub jay  1: call. fly, SE.

21) Common raven  4: 2 pair in high aerial manuevers, N.

22) Horned lark  2: calls/fly, N.

23) Tree swallow 4: dipping in repeated lake fly-overs.

24) Cliff swallow 2: high over N desert scrub.

25) Oak titmouse 1: call/ foraging in Tamarisk, N.

26) Verdin  1: call/ forage in creosote bush, NW.

27) Bewick's wren  3: call (scold), sub-song; N, W, low in shrubby areas.

28) Orange-crowned warbler  6: foraging singly and in mixed flocks in Tamarisk, creosote, willows, other shrubs; calls, N, E.

29) Yellow warbler 2 (a pair): foraging mid-level with other warblers in Tamarisk, N.

30) Yellow-rumped warbler  12:calls, foraging from canopy to ground; mixed warbler flocks, ubiquitous.

31) Common yellow-throat  5: calling, low from emergent vegetaion and willow thickets, E, W.

32) Wilson's warbler  2 (f): foraging in Tamarisk with other warblers.

33) California towhee 3: in rabbitbrush-creosote scrub NW and W, calls, 2 chasing.

34) Chipping sparrow 2: water's edge SW.

35) Brewer's sparrow 1: snag at water's edge, SW.

36) Lark sparrow 2: shoreline and snags, SW and SE.

37) Savannah sparrow  2: calls, S, E.

38) Song sparrow 2: shoreline SE, calls, partial song.

39) Lincoln's sparrow  2: shoreline and scrubby areas SE and E, calls.

40) Vesper sparrow 1: shoreline and snag SE.

41) White-crowned sparrow  25: ubiquitous, esp, E side.

42) Red-winged blackbird  4: flying W over lake.

43) Brewer's blackbird 2: Flying NW over lake, calls.

44) Lesser goldfinch  2: calls E (unseen).

45) House finch  2: call/ fly S.

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