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30704 Feb 11: Kern River County Park, Kern NWR, Garces Hwy., Pixley NWR

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  • Bob Barnes
    Feb 5, 2011
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      Hi,

      Ernie Flores from Valencia (Los Angeles Co.) and I enjoyed a very
      full day of birding a portion the San Joaquin Valley of Kern County
      (and a quick visit to the cranes at Pixley NWR in Tulare County),
      yesterday, Friday, February 4, 2011. We observed 96 bird species and
      good numbers of individuals while missing some hoped-for Kern County
      target species (e.g.: Swainson's Hawk, Sandhill Crane, Eastern
      Phoebe, Lark Bunting) - as the saying goes, "I am not the birder I
      use to be,... and I never was." :)

      HIGHLIGHTS included the continuing NORTHER PARULA in the Eucalyptus
      tree located just outside the southeast corner of the Kern River
      Group Picnic Area located right next to the Kern River and Kern
      River Golf Course on Kern River County Park (incorrectly marked Kern
      River State Park on the maps eBird uses). The adult male NORTHERN
      PARULA may now clearly be considered an over-wintering individual
      (vs. a late, lingering fall migrant) as it has now been observed in
      the same EUCALYPTUS TREE on at least 11/17/10, 11/30/10, 12/15/10,
      1/6/11, 1/11/11, and 2/4/11. Other highlights in terms of enjoyment,
      if not rarity, were 22 Common Goldeneye, Osprey, an adult Bald Eagle,
      Sora, White-throated Swift, Tree Swallow, Violet-green Swallow,
      Chipping Sparrow, etc., etc., etc. Actually the entire day was a
      series of highlights; ending with one thousand Sandhill Cranes
      counted at sunset and during dusk in the fields bordering the
      southern boundary of Pixley National Wildlife Refuge followed by an
      excellent dinner at Benji's French Basque Restaurant (one of
      Bakersfield's half dozen or so Basque restaurants .. all seemingly
      good to me!).

      The birding areas visited 4 Feb 11 included Kern River County Park,
      Kern National Wildlife Refuge, and the flooded fields along Garces
      Highway between Kern NWR on the west and Wildwood Ave. on the
      east. Unsuccessful attempts were made to find Lark Bunting near the
      edge of Kern River County Park, Swainson's Hawks in the Wasco area,
      Sandhill Cranes along Wildwood Ave, and the Eastern Phoebe at Kern
      NWR. Lack of our success does NOT mean the preceding species have
      abandoned these usage areas, we just did not find them yesterday
      afternoon! That's birding!

      Complete observations and numbers context follow in my three 2/4/11
      Kern County reports to eBird:

      The following reports were generated automatically by eBird
      v2(http://ebird.org/california/)

      Location: Kern River County Park
      Observation date: 2/4/11
      Observers: Bob Barnes, Ernie Flores
      Notes: 6:40am-1:10pm. Coverage: Scoping of Lake Ming from south
      side parking lot; Three miles of walking coverage of Kern River Group
      Picnic Area, then trail alongside Kern River upriver east for 0.25
      miles from below Kern River Group Picnic Area, then walk alongside
      Kern River riparian habitat downriver to Kern River Campground; then
      0.5 miles of driving coverage of Hart Park from east edge of main
      lake west to Mirror Drive. Temperatures during the walking portion of
      this survey ranged from the 30s to 60s.
      Number of species: 74
      * Canada Goose 11 HART PARK: Scattered about in small
      groups and singles in Hart Park vs. single flock during virtually all
      prior observations.
      * Wood Duck 52 HART PARK: Record number. Thought to be
      due to kayaker paddling very close by to low lying roosting snags on
      island in middle of Hart Park's main lake, thus flushing all
      individuals, even ones ordinarily hidden from view.
      * Mallard 94 74 on Lake Ming, 20 in Hart Park.
      * Common Goldeneye 22 20 on Kern River next to Kern River
      Campground, 1 on Kern River below Kern River Group Picnic Area, 1 on
      Kern River behind Lake Ming.
      * Common Merganser 6 Lake Ming.
      * Pied-billed Grebe 18 17 on Lake Ming, 1 on Hart Park's
      main lake.
      * Eared Grebe 1
      * Western Grebe 6 Lake Ming.
      * Double-crested Cormorant 11
      * Great Blue Heron 5
      * Great Egret 3
      * Turkey Vulture 6 Single kettling/soaring flock.
      * Osprey 1 Circling overhead for lengthy time in bluff
      area located just upriver (Kern River) from Lake Ming.
      * Bald Eagle 1 Adult flying just above treetop level up
      Kern River behind Lake Ming.
      * Northern Harrier 1 Male.
      * Cooper's Hawk 2
      * Red-shouldered Hawk 6
      * Red-tailed Hawk 7
      * American Kestrel 8
      * Common Moorhen 1 Lake Ming east end.
      * American Coot 500 200 on Lake Ming, 300 on Hart Park's
      main lake.
      * Killdeer 1 Lake Ming.
      * Spotted Sandpiper 1 Winter plumage individual foraging
      on mud bank with scattered rocks on north side of Kern River below
      bluffs located upriver from Lake Ming.
      * Eurasian Collared-Dove 6
      * Mourning Dove 41 35 together on fairway of Kern River
      Golf Course as viewed from inside the Kern River Group Picnic Area.
      * Rose-ringed Parakeet 3 Hart Park at east end of main lake.
      * Great Horned Owl 3 Along Kern River from Kern River
      Group Picnic Area downriver to west end of Lake Ming. All hooting in
      post-sunrise hours on a clear, blue sky morning.
      * White-throated Swift 3 Foraging above Kern River behind
      Lake Ming.
      * Anna's Hummingbird 7
      * Belted Kingfisher 1 West end of Lake Ming.
      * Acorn Woodpecker 2 Hart Park at east end of main lake.
      * Nuttall's Woodpecker 4
      * Downy Woodpecker 1 Riparian habitat between Lake Ming
      and Kern River.
      * Northern Flicker 11
      * Black Phoebe 12
      * Say's Phoebe 3
      * Western Scrub-Jay 9
      * American Crow 5 Picnic area on bluff between Lake Ming
      on the east and Kern River Campground on the west.
      * Common Raven 8
      * Tree Swallow 2 Foraging over Kern River behind Lake Ming.
      * Violet-green Swallow 1 Foraging over Kern River behind
      Lake Ming.
      * Bushtit 10 Kern River Group Picnic Area.
      * Red-breasted Nuthatch 1 Hart Park evergreens around
      restroom alongside Mirror Way.
      * Bewick's Wren 4
      * House Wren 7
      * Marsh Wren 1 Hart Park - west end of Lake Ming.
      * Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3 Foraging in riparian habitat
      between Kern River and Lake Ming.
      * Ruby-crowned Kinglet 13
      * Western Bluebird 2
      * American Robin 1 Picnic area on bluff between Lake Ming
      on the east and Kern River Campground on the west.
      * Northern Mockingbird 3
      * California Thrasher 2 Shrubby riparian habitat along
      Kern River below Kern River Group Picnic Area.
      * European Starling 19
      * Orange-crowned Warbler 2 Kern River Group Picnic Area
      and in riparian habitat between Kern River and Lake Ming.
      * Northern Parula 1 Kern River Group Picnic Area.
      Observers: Bob Barnes, Ernie Flores. Continuance since first
      detection in November 2010 (November 2010, December 2010, January
      2011, and 4 Feb 11) confirms this individual as a wintering bird vs.
      a late, lingering fall migrant. Adult Male: Last two visits has this
      individual has been found in large of two Eucalyptus just outside
      corner of low chain link fence located at the southeast corner of the
      Kern River Group Picnic Area. Extensive observation (5-10 minutes)
      above, at, and below eye level. Virtually all critical field marks
      noted: noticeably intermediate in size between nearby Ruby-crowned
      Kinglet and Orange-crowned Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warblers; bright
      white wingbars; bright white belly and undertail coverts; bright
      white, broken eye rings broken on sides; greenish yellow patch on
      upper back; bright yellow throat and chest with horizontal dividing,
      fused chest bands (dusky gray on top, chestnut on bottom); gray head,
      back on back of green patch, and upper tail; orange/yellow lower
      mandible not noticed or consciously looked for as I keep forgetting
      to do so ... over and over and over again!).
      * Yellow-rumped Warbler 60
      * Common Yellowthroat 1 In riparian habitat between Kern
      River and Lake Ming.
      * Spotted Towhee 4
      * Chipping Sparrow 3 Foraging on lawn in picnic area
      located on top of the bluff separating Lake Ming on the east and Kern
      River Campground on the west. Foraging in the company of Lark
      Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos.
      * Lark Sparrow 70 On lawn of picnic are on bluff
      separating Lake Ming on the east and Kern River Campground on the
      west. Also on the lawn in Hart Park alongside Mirror Drive in the
      vicinity of the restroom.
      * Savannah Sparrow 5 North shore of Lake Ming.
      * Song Sparrow 11
      * Lincoln's Sparrow 1 In shrubby Kern River riparian
      habitat along the trail just upriver from the Kern River Group Picnic Area.
      * White-crowned Sparrow 121
      * Golden-crowned Sparrow 11 All but a few found in
      shrubby riparian habitat below Kern River Group Picnic Area.
      * Dark-eyed Junco 45
      * Red-winged Blackbird 100 Lake Ming.
      * Western Meadowlark 68 All in open grassland habitat
      located between Kern River Golf Course and Kern River riparian
      habitat between the Group Picnic Area on the east and Lake Ming
      downriver to the west.
      * Brewer's Blackbird 80 First parking lot reached at Lake
      Ming (In response to two women who scatter feed on the pavement ever morning)
      * Great-tailed Grackle 7 Six at first parking lot reached
      at Lake Ming.
      * Brown-headed Cowbird 20 First parking lot reached at
      Lake Ming (In response to two women who scatter see on the pavement
      every morning).
      * House Finch 35
      * Lesser Goldfinch 1 Kern River Group Picnic Area.
      * American Goldfinch 16 Kern River Campground and picnic
      are on bluff adjacent to and east of campground.

      Location: Kern NWR
      Observation date: 2/4/11
      Observers: Bob Barnes, Ernie Flores
      Notes: 2:25pm-4:15pm. 58F-60F. Observing directly into the sun
      when viewing two major refuge wetland units. Route: Auto Tour Route.
      Number of species: 38
      * Greater White-fronted Goose 17 Single flock.
      * Gadwall 150
      * American Wigeon 150
      * Cinnamon Teal 40
      * Northern Shoveler 2000
      * Northern Pintail 300
      * Redhead 10
      * Ring-necked Duck 9
      * Bufflehead 10
      * Ruddy Duck 150
      * Pied-billed Grebe 15
      * Eared Grebe 10
      * Double-crested Cormorant 2
      * Snowy Egret 1
      * Cooper's Hawk 1
      * Red-tailed Hawk 12
      * Virginia Rail 8
      * Sora 2
      * Common Moorhen 20
      * American Coot 1000
      * Killdeer 8
      * Black-necked Stilt 10
      * Ring-billed Gull 1
      * Nuttall's Woodpecker 1
      * Black Phoebe 15
      * Say's Phoebe 4
      * Loggerhead Shrike 3
      * Common Raven 2
      * swallow sp. 40
      * Marsh Wren 20
      * Northern Mockingbird 1
      * European Starling 3
      * American Pipit 1
      * Yellow-rumped Warbler 15
      * Common Yellowthroat 1
      * Vesper Sparrow 1
      * Song Sparrow 25
      * White-crowned Sparrow 30
      * Red-winged Blackbird 50

      Location: Garces Hwy (north KER Co.)
      Observation date: 2/4/11
      Observers: Bob Barnes, Ernie Flores
      Notes: 4:20pm-4:55pm. Five miles of Garces Hwy. from five miles
      west of Wildwood Ave. east to Wildwood Ave. itself.
      Number of species: 21
      * Greater White-fronted Goose 19 Wigeon Duck Club.
      * Gadwall X
      * American Wigeon X
      * Mallard X
      * Cinnamon Teal X
      * Northern Shoveler X
      * Northern Pintail 700 Both sides of Garces Hwy (Wigeon
      Duck Club of north side and flooded fields on south side).
      * Great Egret 7 Wigeon Duck Club.
      * Northern Harrier X
      * Red-tailed Hawk X
      * American Kestrel X
      * American Coot X
      * Black-bellied Plover 30 Flooded fields on south side of
      Garces Hwy around flooded mobile homes.
      * Killdeer X
      * Black-necked Stilt 50 Most in flooded field on south
      side of Garces Hwy.
      * American Avocet 1 Flooded field on south side of Garces Hwy.
      * Greater Yellowlegs 1 Flooded field on south side of Garces Hwy.
      * Burrowing Owl 2
      * Common Raven X
      * European Starling X
      * Red-winged Blackbird X

      Continued Happy & Productive Birding,

      Bob Barnes, Ridgecrest, Kern County, California
      24/7 Cell Phone Number: 760-382-1260

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