Kern County (7-7/8-2001)
- Kern County Birders, CALBIRDERS, County Listers:
On July 7, 2001, I joined John Trochet, Howard King, and Molly Pollock,
in counting birds in the South Fork Preserve along Sierra Way. The
Red-eyed Vireo was a no show. We counted Yellow-breasted Chats, Summer
Tanagers, and Black-headed Grosbeaks, Western Wood-pewee, a single
Brown-crested Flycatcher, and among the numerous Lazuli Buntings a
single Indigo Bunting showing no apparent hybridization. In the creek
bed we did find some bear tracks. Outside of our own count area we did
find Rock Wren and Warbling Vireo.
At the official count gathering we learned of a single Black Swift found
at the Cane Creek Preserve, and American Bittern along the creek at the
eastern part of the main preserve, a Ring-billed Gull at the
south-eastern corner of Isabella Lake, and an Eastern Kingbird....yes,
an Eastern Kingbird. I had reported finding two Eastern Kingbirds on
June 16, 2001 at the south portion of the South Fork Preserve. The one
found on the official count was only about 1000 feet from where I had
found the two on June 16, 2001. I have not heard whether the Eastern
Kingbird had been refound since then. During the count gathering a male
Rufous Hummingbird showed up at one of the feeders, and a Yellow-billed
Cuckoo called several times.
After the count gathering I easily refound the American Bittern which I
needed for the county; I had already had Least Bittern for the county
from Prince's Pond which is the traditional location for this species.
I joined others in trying to refind the Eastern Kingbird, but none of us
succeeded in tracking down the kingbird within this large area.
Afterwards, I headed down old Paterson Road which parallels the south
side of the South Fork Preserve and State Route 178 from the preserve's
entrance to the west past the field where the Eastern Kingbird was found
just past the "No Overnight Camping" sign. I followed this road to its
end at the east end of Isabella Lake. Here I scoped the flock of about
30 California Gulls finding the Ring-billed Gull. Overhead I found a
soaring Peregrine Falcon which was missed on the count. In the snags
were about 30 Tricolored Blackbirds.
Then I headed up to to Greenhorn Park west via State Route 155 from the
town of Wolfford Heights (Southern California DeLorme, page 50, C2). I
had learned from John Trochet that he had encountered some Cassin's
Vireos the evening before here at the campground. Here there were
Western Tanagers, Band-tailed Pigeon, Rufous Hummingbird, Western
Wood-peewee, Mountian Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned
Kinglet, MacGillivray's Warbler (new county bird), and Purple Finch.
But Cassin's Vireos were nowhere to be found. The short drive up to the
Shirley Meadows Ski Area provided little new in the range of species
The next morning I drove out to the Crane Brake Preserve which is 0.7
mile east of MP 66.0 on State Route 178 or at the eastern-most Joshua
Tree east of MP 66.0. The entrance is at the north side of the road.
Be sure to take along your bug spray. Here there were both Summer
Tanagers and Yellow-breasted Chats among other species. There was no
sign of the Black Swift or for that matter any swift species at all.
Next I headed over to Cerro Coso College Campus in Ridgecrest (Southern
California DeLorme, page 52, D2). From China Lake Blvd. near Walmart
head south on College Heights Blvd. to the campus. There had been a
pair of Red Crossbills reported from here several weeks ago. There was
no sign of the crossbills, but the eastern end of the parking lot had
Rufous Hummingbirds, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Verdin (new county
Check out the Kern River Preserve's web site at
Mike Feighner, Livermore, CA, Alameda County