Thursday, April 18, 2013

Birding Lake Pleasant

Hi everyone,

Yesterday on April 17th, 2013, I birded at the north end of Lake Pleasant (which is in Yavapai County) for over five hours starting very early in the morning.  I haven't explored this side of the lake much, and I thought it would be fun to explore more of it.

I started thirty minutes before light to attempt owling.  My result was 3-4 GREAT HORNED OWLS, as well as plenty of COMMON POORWILLS.  No Elf Owls or Western Screech-Owls in the rather short distance I covered.  I'm sure if I went further north into Castle Hot Springs Road they would'nt have been a problem to hear eventually
Once the morning light came, it turned out to be a surprisingly birdy morning.  Once driving north of the north Lake Pleasant Park area on Castle Hot Springs Road, once will soon come up on a bridge that crosses over a quiet section of the lake that is usually dry.  It was full this time and this spot was very birdy, more so than the main lake area itself.

Scanning the lake in different parts, waterfowl I came up with was highlighted by 5 female-type RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS.  CINNAMON and GREEN-WINGED TEAL were present, as well as 4 REDHEADS, and a few NORTHERN SHOVELERS.  A flock of WESTERN GREBES floated by the earlier mentioned bridge.  1 NEOTROPIC CORMORANT was present and there were at least 15 DOULBE-CRESTED CORMORANTS.  A SNOWY EGRET was present by the bridge, as well as a few GREAT EGRETS.  A BLACK-NECKED STILT, LEAST SANDPIPER, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and GREATER YELLOWLEGS were the shorebirds around the lake.  A FORSTER'S TERN flew over the waters, and there were also a few CALIFORNIA GULLS besides the common RING-BILLED GULLS.  A BELTED KINGFISHER was also present.  Flycatcher highlights included many calling ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS, two pairs of WESTERN KINGBIRDS, and a migrant GRAY FLYCATCHER.  A few BELL'S VIREOS sang in the area.  High numbers of swallows were present throughout the lake.  Four species, VIOLET-GREEN, TREE, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED, and CLIFF SWALLOWS were the four species present.  I was treated to being up super close to a perched Tree Swallow, and before it left I got to within 5 feet of it.  A few AMERICAN PIPITS flew over calling.  I had 5 warbler species, with resident LUCY'S WARBLERS singing in spots as well as migrant ORANGE-CROWNED and MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLERS, several YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS and two COMMON YELLOWTHROATS.  Sparrow wise, I had a few flocks of LARK SPARROWS, several BREWER'S SPARROWS, one LINCOLN'S, a few WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, and numerous BLACK-THROATED SPARROWS.  A male NORTHERN CARDINAL pearched and sang nicely on top of a cactus.  A few LAZULI BUNTINGS "buzzed" in the weedy areas around the lake, and two male BULLOCK'S ORIOLES were also present.

It was a pleasant morning of birding at Lake Pleasant, and I had 66 species for the result without covering the south section of the lake.  I didn't think I'd have more than 30 species here, so I was surprised.
I stopped at Glendale Recharge Ponds on the way home.  The highlight for me was three FRANKLIN'S GULLS.  Things change quick there

Tree Swallow

Forester's Tern

Turkey Vulture

Lark Sparrow

Lake Pleasant

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