South Fork Wildlife Area, Weldon, Kern County
5:40am-6:40am, Sunday, 31 July 2005
Observer: Bob Barnes
For those of you who need/want Yellow-billed Cuckoo for your life, state,
or county lists, or who "want more experience with the species,"...
During a very short investigation this morning, two Yellow-billed Cuckoos were
heard "kalping" (no "cooing" or "cueing") in the South Fork Wildlife Area
behind the KOA Kampground east of the east end of Isabella Reservoir. My first
of the year. A complete bird list of observations is found at the end of this
To reach this location, where local southwestern Willow Flycatcher Researchers
have found one nest and believe there are three nests...
***Park on the 35'40' wide Hwy. 178 right-of way just outside the west end of
the wall at the KOA Kampground in Weldon. Highway mile marker 54.50 is located
right there. There is also an official/formal "Bus Stop" sign for Kern Valley
Transit right next to the mile marker sign.
***Right behind the "Bus Stop" sign is a metal pipe, walk through stile onto
South Fork Wildlife Area property. Go through the stile and turn right and
toward the forest along the 15'-18' wide firebreak outside the fence marking
the west boundary of the KOA.
***At the end of the fence (northwest end), the firebreak turns east and a
3'-4' wide clear bare trail proceeds straight ahead.
***Go down the trail for 100 yards to the first row of trees coming to the
of the trail from the left. The trail splits here, with the main trail clearly
going straight ahead and a smaller trail bearing off to the left. From this
junction (I left a pile of branches there that I hope will be left by other
passers by.), proceed 15 feet farther down the main trail to a small trail
leading of to the right (east) at a right angle along the edge of the forest
and parallel to the back fence of the KOA.
***Turn right (east) and proceed along the trail as it takes you along the
of the forest and then into it. The first cuckoo was heard at 5:55am right
after the trail enters the forest.
***Proceed a fee hundred yards farther into the forest until coming to white
flagging with polka dots on it. The flagging seems to mark a Willow
territory as there was a bird giving the "fitz-bew" call there this morning.
***Please stay on the trail wherever flagging with polka dots is found so the
Willow Flycatchers received minimum disturbance and the researchers do not get
concerned/upset (Three researchers came upon me there this morning.).
***The second YB Cuckoo was heard quite a ways farther ahead on the trail at
***One of the researchers stated to me that they thought there were three
in the area and that if a person spent an hour birding the area they would
almost surely hear cuckoos and have a good chance of seeing one. If one is
heard, head in its direction, keep listening ,etc., until you see one.
***The researchers said bird song pretty much stops among the birds by 8am-
at this time of the nesting season.
***Western Wood-Pewees and Yellow Warblers appeared to be abundant in this
location and I HIGHLY ADVISE mosquito repellent as the reservoir receded from
here within the last two weeks and the mosquitos have taken a liking to the
***Although I did not detect any this morning, the mature forest reached by
continuing to head into the heart of the forest ahead is the stronghold of the
South Fork Valley's nesting Brown-crested Flycatcher population.
5:40am-6:40am Observations (includes the walk from and back to the parked
California Quail 2, Great Blue Heron 2, Turkey Vulture 12 (roosting), Cooper's
Hawk 1, Mourning Dove 4, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 2, Northern Flicker 1, Western
Wood-Pewee (5-10), Willow Flycatcher 1-2, Ash-throated Flycatcher 2, Common
Raven 2, Oak Titmouse 1, Bewick's Wren 1, Yellow Warbler 5-10, Common
Yellowthroat 3, Song Sparrow 6, Blue Grosbeak 1, Brown-headed Cowbird 1
House Finch 4, Lesser Goldfinch 6,...
Happy & Productive Birding,