A – Antelope Vly
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MAP OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY BIRDING REGIONS
Blue – Antelope Valley Green – San Gabriel Mountains
Orange – San Fernando Valley Violet – Northern Santa Monica Bay
Yellow – Central & Eastern L.A. County Aqua – South Bay & Palos Verdes Penn.
Airplane – LAX International Airport Anchor – Harbor for boat to see Island Scrub-Jay
Region A – Antelope Valley
Highlights: Raptors (especially in winter), field birds, high desert birds, many migrants in season. Numerous wintering birds. LeConte’s Thrasher, Burrowing Owl, Black-throated Sparrow.
Habitat: Mostly flat high desert, occasional riparian areas, chaparral hillsides, north slope of San Gabriel Mountains, several small lakes.
Best Season/time: Nov through May. Morning and early PM. Often extremely hot PM late spring to early fall.
Facilities: Paved & dirt road. Fast food, gas, phones and lodging in Palmdale and Lancaster. Camping at Saddleback Butte State Park, Big Rock Creek & Devil’s Punchbowl State Park.
Parking: Free nearly everywhere.
Disabled Access: Most birding done from or near your car on mostly paved roads. Paved bike/walking path at Apollo Lake.
General Location: Palmdale is on Fwy #14, 60 miles N of downtown LA.
Directions: From intersection #10 & 405 Fwys, #405 north 19.3 miles, #5 Fwy north 3.9 miles, #14 Fwy northeast 34.2 miles to Palmdale. The valley is laid out in a huge grid. The north-south #14 Fwy bisects the valley. Letter Avenues (A, B, etc.) run east-west: Ave. A is the northern LA County border with Kern County; Ave. B is 1 mile south of A, and so on down to Ave. T. Numbered streets run north-south: Division St., 1 mile east of the Fwy., is the starting point for east-west counting; E. 10th St. is 1 mile east of Division; W. 10th St. 1 mile west of Division; E. 50thSt. is 5 miles east of Division and so on. Strange birds show up nearly anywhere, so don’t be afraid to just cruise around, checking out interesting places. Take care not to trespass on private property. Many possible locations to visit, including:
Antelope Valley West of #14 FwyAdjust map size to see all locations. Click markers for site description.
A1. QUAIL LAKE: Hwy #138 just east of #5 Fwy, 6 miles southeast of Gorman. Wintering ducks, shorebirds, raptors. Drive across road from west end parking lot to scope view outlet stream for wintering uncommon diving ducks. Also park along north side of Hwy 138 to scope lake. Wintering Barrow’s Goldeneye shows up occasionally at E. end of lake or outlet stream.
A2. ROAD TO OSO PUMPING STATION: Hwy #138 5 miles east of Quail Lake, north onto paved 300th St. W. Check fields and trees for wintering raptors & field bird, including uncommon longspurs. If you take the 1st road to the left (west) you’ll come to a locked gate in a few miles. Turn around.
A3. HOLIDAY VALLEY LAKE AREA: From Hwy 138 (W Ave D), north on 260th St, east on Ave B to 250th, turn right, lake is on right in about 1/3rd mile, entrance on south side. Many migrant ducks, shorebirds & passerines in spring & fall. Winter has owls in trees, 4 Blackbird species at lake and in fields, field birds, winter Sage Thrashers possible in Joshua tree forest 1 mile north down Pipeline Rd. Spring Nesting Lawrence’s Goldfinches at lake, Burrowing Owls, Roadrunners in nearby fields.
A4. CALIFORNIA POPPY RESERVE: Between W Ave D and Lancaster Rd (W Ave I), 110th & 170th Sts., with entrance on Lancaster Rd. Wintering raptors and field birds, but notable for stunning spring flowers if winter rains were sufficiently heavy. Best flower displays are usually found at east end of preserve, accessible from unmarked dirt roads under the tall electricity towers. Wintering Rough-legged Hawk favors fields south side of Lancaster Rd., often best viewed from high point of 160th St. W. just SW of preserve.
A5. APOLLO LAKE: Entrance at W. Ave. G & 50th St. Great-tailed Grackle, water birds, migrants, wintering birds including owls and Red Crossbills. Picnic tables, toilets, lawns and strolling paths.
A6. WEST AVENUE A & GASKELL RD: Winter raptors especially Ferruginous Hawk, Mountain Bluebirds & field birds.
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Antelope Valley East of #14 FwyAdjust map size to see all locations. Click markers for site description.
A7. PARK AND RIDE LOT: Ave. S, Lake Palmdale exit: convenient spot to meet, park and carpool with friends. Overlooks Lake Palmdale (private and fenced).
A8. LANCASTER SEWAGE PONDS: W Ave. D & 20th St. Turn east, then immediately north into the ponds. Ask permission at office to drive around ponds. Watch where you drive! Not as good as it used to be since the ponds were expanded, but Black Terns and various ducks and shorebirds in migration are regular.
A9. LOCKHEED Way & BLACKBIRD Dr.: Area NE of Sierra Hwy & Ave. P east. Several undeveloped blocks south of the Lockheed plant. LeConte’s Thrasher, Mountain Bluebird, Cactus Wren, Scott’s Oriole, various sparrows.
A10. DESERT AIRE GOLF COURSE: E Ave. P & 40th St. An oasis for birds that need shady deciduous trees, grass or water. Bird from roadside.
A11. 50th ST. EAST: A good street to cruise in winter,, from Palmdale Blvd. North to Ave A, looking for geese, raptors, owls, Mtn. Plovers, Mtn Bluebirds, Horned Larks and Longspurs. There’s one spot where you can see onto the Palmdale sewage ponds where there are usually some ducks or shorebirds. The airport police often get quite excited about people stopping and staring onto the airport.
A12. LITTLE ROCK WASH: Runs from Pearblossom Hwy between E 50th & 90th Sts. North to E. Ave. J. LeConte’s Thrasher, Scott’s Oriole and other desert birds possible as well as migrants, raptors and owls.
A13 . ANTELOPE VALLEY INDIAN MUSEUM: Ave M & E. 160th St. Great exhibits of local Native Americana. Desert birds nearby.
A14. AVENUE J EAST: Raptors, owls and migrants in trees. Horned larks, etc. in the fields. Best between 50th and 200th Sts.
A15. SADDLEBACK BUTTE: E Ave. J & 170th St. Desert birds. Black-throated Sparrow, migrant and wintering sparrows, breeding Scott’s Oriole and Cactus Wren. Camping.
A16. Ave J & 110th St. E: Field on NE corner, up to and past Ave. I, often has Ferrugenous Hawk, Mtn. Plovers, Long-billed Curlew, Mtn. Bluebirds as well as field passerines.
A17. BIG ROCK WASH: Runs from Pearblossom Hwy between E 110th & 170th Sts. north to E. Ave. O. LeConte’s Thrasher, Scott’s Oriole, other desert birds possible as well as migrants, raptors and owls. Check out the Alpine Butte Wildlife Sanctuary at E. Ave O and 130th St.
A18. VALYERMO POST OFFICE: Valyermo Rd. near 157th St. E. Check trees and the pond behind the old P.O.
A19. BOB’S GAP: South of Pearblossom Hwy, 165th St becomes Bob’s Gap Rd. Park near the Limekiln ruins on the east side dirt road. Check for Costa’s & Black-chinned Hummers, Gray Vireo (prob. extirpated), Black-chinned and Black-throated Sparrows. A tape helps.
A20. BIG ROCK CREEK: Take N6 south from Pearblossom, left on Valyermo Rd., beyond Valyermo PO bear right twice onto Big Rock Canyon Rd. Creek and riparian areas draw many migrants in Spring. Campsites available. You can continue uphill until the road become gravel and dirt, eventually reaching Angeles Crest Hwy about 28 miles east of Buckhorn Campground and 3.2 miles west of the turnoff to Guffy Campground (see #6). Along this road desert & riparian birds are replaced by mtn. birds; nuthatches, etc.
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