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Antelope Valley Raptor Search Field Trip Report: 14 January, 2012

January 16, 2012

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The weather looked promising as we left LA on our way to the Antelope Valley
.  Although it was cold, it was sunny and calm as we turned off Hwy 14 and went east on Palmdale Blvd.  Our first stop was an undeveloped area along E10th St. north of Ave Q.  It was 32° F but there were a few birds stirring, including a cooperative Cactus Wren.

We went east on Ave. P, stopping at the corner of E40th St. where we found a mixed flock of White-crowned Sparrows and House Finches.

We drove north on E40th St.  At the right turn onto Ave N, we stopped to scan an agricultural field that had many birds.  We spotted the first Say’s Phoebe of the day and many Killdeer but the highlight was a flock of more than 500 Horned Larks, some of which were so close to the road that we had good looks at them.

In the fields on either side of E 40th St. between Ave. M & Ave. L we found a large flock of California Quail, more Killdeer, numerous White-crowned & Savannah Sparrows, as well as some Western Meadowlarks and Brewer’s Blackbirds.

California Quail on the irrigation wheels (C.Bragg 1/14/12)

Unfortunately there was no sign of the flock of Mountain Plovers that had been in the farm field on the east side of the road one week earlier.  Just to be sure we hadn’t missed them, we drove to the end of the block and turned east onto Ave. L and scanned the field again.  Although we didn’t see any Mountain Plovers south of Ave. L, we spotted 2 Sage Thrashers in the brush on the north side of the road.  While we were watching them, we were treated to the sight of a Prairie Falcon hunting in the distance.

As we went back toward the corner, we noticed a large number of plover-sized birds in field that where we had initially found no Mountain Plovers so we went back for a second look.  We were delighted to find 60 Mountain Plovers.  Most were close to the road so we had excellent looks at them.  We were even able to compare Killdeer and Mountain Plover in one field of view of our scopes.

Mountain Plover in a mowed field (C.Bragg 1/14/12)

As we continued north on E 40th St. we found a Merlin perched in a bare tree beside the road.  It was very cooperative, allowing for very good looks and some excellent photographs.

Merlin resting (C.Bragg 1/14/12)

Just after we turned east onto Ave. K we stopped to look at a flock of 500+ Tricolored Blackbirds that were close to the road.

We found our first Ferruginous Hawk of the day perched on a power pole beside Ave. J east of E 110th St.  There were numerous Red-tailed Hawks in the area and we found some American Pipits in the fields.  Three Northern Harriers were hunting in the field near the corner of Ave. I & E120th St.

We made a brief stop at Ave. H & E110th St. where we got a brief look at Cooper’s Hawk.

We stopped for lunch at Apollo Park where we saw the only Black Phoebe of the day.  In addition to the usual collection of “dodgy” ducks and geese, we saw Northern Shovelers, a male Redhead, Ruddy Ducks, 2 Great Blue Herons, a Black-crowned Night-Heron, some Yellow-rumped Warblers and a flock of Dark-eyed Juncos.

As we left Apollo Park, we drove north on W60th St.  A farm field north of Ave. D that had been flooded the week before was nearly dry and not productive but a little farther north we found 17 Long-billed Curlew, another Ferruginous Hawk, several Loggerhead Shrikes and a Coyote.  Another field had a Greater Yellowlegs and we had scope views of a perched Prairie Falcon.

Prairie Falcon (Cindy S 1/14/12)

We went west on Gaskell Ave. to W100th St. where we finally found a flock of Mountain Bluebirds that looked especially beautiful in the afternoon sun.  A bit farther west on Gaskell, we came upon 2 more Sage Thrashers and another Prairie Falcon.  There were numerous Red-tailed Hawks and several Ferruginous Hawks in the area.

Ferruginous Hawk scouting for prey (C.Bragg 1/14/12)

Our last stop of the day was Quail Lake where we saw many Lesser Scaup, a White-winged Scoter, Bufflehead, some Common Goldeneye, Ruddy Ducks, and a few Pied-billed, Eared and Western Grebes.

All-in-all, it was a lovely day in the Antelope Valley.  Although we were disappointed not to find any Golden Eagles, the weather conditions were ideal for viewing all the birds we found. [Cindy S.]

Link to January, 2011 trip report


Antelope Valley

No. Sat, 14 Jan 2012 – Location
Canada Goose Branta canadensis 10 Apollo Pk
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 30 Apollo Pk
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 6 Apollo Pk
Redhead Aythya americana 1 Apollo Pk
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis 300 Quail Lake
White-winged Scoter Melanitta fusca 1 Quail Lake
Bufflehead Bucephala albeola 80 Apollo Pk; Quail Lake
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula 20 Quail Lake
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis 30 Apollo Pk; Quail Lake
California Quail Callipepla californica 110 E 10th north of Ave P; E 40th north of Ave M
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 10 Quail Lake
Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis 5 Quail Lake
Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis 2 Quail Lake
Double-crested Cormorant Phalocrocorax auritus 2 Apollo Pk
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 2 Apollo Pk
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 1 Apollo Pk
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus 3 Ave I east of E110th
Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii 1 Ave H x E110th
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis 50+ widespread
Ferruginous Hawk Buteo regalis 8 Ave J x E110th; Gaskell Ave; along W Ave D
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 15 widespread
Merlin Falco columbarius 1 E40th north of Ave L
Prairie Falcon Falco mexicanus 4 Ave L x E40th; W60th north of Ave D; Gaskell Ave
American Coot Fulica americana 40 Apollo Pk; Quail Lake
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus 100 widespread
Mountain Plover Charadrius montanus 70 E40th south of Ave L; Ave I east of E110th
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca 1 W60th north of Ave D
Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus 17 W60th north of Ave D
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 30 E 10th north of Palmdale Blvd; Apollo Pk
California Gull Larus californicus 30 E 10th north of Palmdale Blvd; Apollo Pk
Rock Dove     [I] Columba livia 80 scattered sites
Eurasian Collared-Dove  [I] Streptopelia decaoto 4 Palmdale Blvd; Apollo Pk
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 4 scattered sites
Anna’s Hummingbird Calypte anna 2 E10th north of Ave Q
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus 1 Ave J x E90th
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans 1 Apollo Pk
Say’s Phoebe Sayornis saya 12 widespread
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus 15 widespread
Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica 2 Palmdale Blvd
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 5 Palmdale Blvd
Common Raven Corvus corax 150+ widespread
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 1,500+ widespread
Cactus Wren Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus 2 E 10th north of Ave P; E 110th x Ave J
Bewick’s Wren Thryomanes bewickii 1H Little Rock Wash south of Ave K
Mountain Bluebird Sialia currucoides 20 Gaskell x W100th
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 1 Ave J x E90th
Sage Thrasher Oreoscoptes montanus 4 Ave L x E 40th; Gaskell west of W 100th
European Starling    [I] Sturnus vulgaris 45 Palmdale Blvd; E 40th x Ave P
American Pipit Anthus rubescens 30 Ave J east of E110th
Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata 12 Apollo Pk
Sage Sparrow Amphispiza belli 20 Little Rock Wash south of Ave K
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 50 scattered sites
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys 300+ widespread
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis 14 Apollo Pk
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 60 scattered sites
Tricolored Blackbird Agelaius tricolor 500 E40th x Ave K
Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta 80 widespread
Brewer’s Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus 60 widespread
House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus 300+ widespread
House Sparrow     [I] Passer domesticus 30 Palmdale
[I] – Introduced Total Species – 60

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