Kern Audubon Society

Field Trips

Interested in taking field trips to interesting places in Kern County, to see birds, wildlife, and habitats? Kern County has a great variety of birds: a recent publication by Audubon California, Important Bird Areas, indicates 13 different places in the county that have special bird populations, based either on size or variety of the bird population or presence of protected species.

Kern Audubon usually conducts field trips on Saturday, and occasionally on Sunday or weekday mornings. Beginning birders are welcome! Experienced members will help you learn to identify birds. We try to schedule trips either to new sites, or to places we've visited before. In the past 12 months we have made trips to Kern National Wildlife Refuge, Wind Wolves Preserve, Tule Elk State Reserve, Poso Creek, Lake Ming/Hart Park, the Kern Water Bank, Kern River Preserve, Butterbredt Spring, Galileo Hill, Atwell Island Restoration Project, Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Carrizo Plain National Monument, and others.

Information about where to meet for each field trip will be announced in the monthly newsletter (the Warbler) and on the website. Carpooling is encouraged and in some instances required due to the type of field trip and parking conditions at the site. Bring binoculars, bird guides, snacks, drinks, warm or cool clothes. Sunscreen and insect repellent may be needed. The chapter does have extra binoculars that can be borrowed on field trips.

 

JUNE FIELD TRIPS

Sat. June 16, 8am – Kern River Preserve in Weldon on Hwy 178
Join Antelope Valley Audubon for a bird walk at this globally significant birding spot managed by Audubon California. Mickey Dyke, a member of both Kern and Antelope Valley Audubon, will be the leader. Best bathrooms are at the KOA campground on Hwy 178 just before the Preserve entrance. Bakersfield carpoolers may meet in the Albertson’s parking lot on Mt Vernon at Hwy 178. Questions? Email Mickey at mickeydyke -at- icloud.com.

Tues. June 19, 9:15am – Bitter Creek Condor Wildlife Refuge near Maricopa
US Fish & Wildlife staff plans to be working on condors at the capture pen, so we are likely to see a condor. We will be on the refuge from 10:00am to 2:00pm. 4-wheel or high clearance vehicles are recommended, so carpooling is important. This trip is limited to 20 people by the USF&W. So RSVP with Kevin Fahey, 661-706-7459 to reserve a place. Meeting time and place is 9:15am in Maricopa at the gas station/pkg store on the SE corner of Hwys 166 and 33. Carpoolers from Bakersfield may meet at 8:45am in the parking lot across from CSUB at Stockdale Hwy & Don Harte Dr. Bring water, lunch, sunscreen, and binoculars. Extra binocs available if needed.

Sat. August 4, 7:30am – Kern River Preserve in Weldon on Hwy 178
Ali Sheehey will lead this annual summer field trip to see the summer residents at Audubon’s Kern River Preserve (KRP): Summer Tanager ("Flying Neon Tomato"), Yellow Warbler, Willow Flycatcher (unlikely), and maybe the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo, among many others. Aug 4 date selected to try to catch the peak of Hummingbird migration. Carpoolers from Bakersfield meet at 6:00am at Albertson’s parking lot at Mt Vernon and Hwy 178. For questions, call Mac at 661-589-7768. After the group finishes at KRP, Ali will lead carte blanche birding in the Kern River Valley and Greenhorn Mountains. For early riser birding, meet Ali at dawn (5:36am) at the KOA campground in Weldon. RSVP with Ali for this at 760-417-0268. It will be hot, wear a hat, sunscreen, layered clothing, bug spray, and bring your binoculars, drinks, and snacks/lunch. If you choose to go on the afternoon excursion, we will stop for sandwiches to go and eat while we bird. Best bathrooms are at the KOA campground on Hwy 178 just before the Preserve entrance.

 

MAY FIELD TRIPS

Tues. May 8th 8am – Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area
Join Bill Moffat for a morning of birding at the Buena Vista Aquatic Rec. Area, about 30 miles west southwest of Bakersfield, a premier birding location in the southern San Joaquin Valley, where we can expect to see late migrants, as well as nesting songbirds, waterfowl, raptors and shorebirds. A great location for new birders. Loaner binoculars are available. Meet at 8:00am at the Kern River Parkway parking lot on Stockdale Hwy & Don Harte Dr. across from CSUB to carpool, or at 8:30am at the Buena Vista Rec. Area. Day use is $7 per car so carpooling is encouraged. Bring water, snacks, binocs. Lunch is optional at the BV golf course café or BYO. Return after lunch. Call Bill (661-805-0232) for more information.

Sat. May 12th 7am – A Day of Birding in SW Kern Co near the Bittercreek Condor Refuge, Toad Springs, Pine Mt. Club and Mt. Pinos
Extraordinary naturalist Alison Sheehey will be leading us on this wonderful birding adventure in the southwest corner of Kern County. We will be meeting at the Costco on Panama Lane, in the southwest section of the parking lot, to carpool, and will be leaving at 7am. People can join us in Maricopa, at the store pkg lot at the intersection of Hwy166 and Hwy33, at 7:45am. We'll be birding up Klipstein Cyn towards Bittercreek, then at Toad Springs, with birding and lunch at the Pine Mt. Club area. After lunch we'll be looking for the higher elevation birds like the Clark's Nutcracker up on Mount Pinos. We will be back to Bakersfield by around 4pm. Bring $10 for drivers, water, food, binoculars, hat, sunscreen, etc. Binocs to loan available. Ali wants not more than 5 cars, so please call Deb See(661-809-6135) for questions, to confirm and to tell about vehicle size for carpooling.

Sat. May 26th 8am – Tehachapi Mountain Park
Tehachapi Mountain Park is a county park located in the Tehachapi Mountains. We hope to see species that like the higher elevations such as Stellar's Jays and Mountain Chickadees. Meet at the Burger King at 8 am, or at Tehachapi Mountain Park around 8:30am.

 

APRIL FIELD TRIPS

Tues. Apr. 10, 8am – Kern River at the Rancheria Rd. Bridge
Join us for birding in a true riparian habitat where the Kern River emerges from the Sierras. 15 minutes from downtown. Look for spring migrants as well as residents like Great Blue Heron, Double-crested cormorants, Mergansers, Eagles, Hawks, Warblers, and Phoebes. The terrain forms a quiet, secluded dell where one hears mostly birds and flowing water. Take Hwy 178 east from Bakersfield. Rancheria Rd. meets Hwy 178 at 1.5 miles past the traffic light at Alfred Harrell Hwy (Comanche Dr.). Sign for Rancheria Rd. is near the bottom of the long hill. Rancheria Rd is on the left in the gap between two citrus orchards. Turn left and drive ½ mile to our meeting point at the large parking lot before the bridge. Rough trails along the river bank are narrow, uneven footpaths between granite boulders and patches of high, thick brush. So wear long pants, sturdy shoes, a hat and layered clothing. Bring water and sunscreen. Contact Mac McCarthy (661) 589-7768 for more information.

Sat. Apr. 21, 7am – Kern River Valley Bioregions Festival and 9am - Bird Walks at Kern River Preserve
Celebrate Earth Day at the Kern River Preserve on Hwy 78 in Weldon, 75 minutes east of Bakersfield. The Bioregions Festival celebrates the unique biological diversity of the Kern River Valley where 5 of California’s 6 bioregions converge to make a habitat for 350 bird species. Audubon’s 3000 acre Kern River Preserve sits along California’s largest remaining contiguous riparian forest in a Globally Significant Important Bird Area. For 7:00 and 9:00 Bird walks, meet at Kern River Preserve’s headquarters on north side of Hwy 178. 9:00 walk be led by Lee Sutton, past president of Kerncrest Audubon (Ridgecrest). Daylong, valley wide celebration includes activities and booths at Kernville’s Circle Park. For a complete list of Festival activities go to kern.audubon.org and scroll down to the Festival’s 2 page flyer.

Sat.-Sun. Apr. 21-22 – Desert Birding and the Amazing Spring Bird Migration at Butterbredt Spring
This year our Butterbredt Springs/Desert Birding adventure will begin midday, Saturday, piggy-backing onto another field trip that day at the Audubon Kern River Preserve in Weldon, (for those who want to combine the two trips.) Birders can join us at various times and places. At 12:30pm, after lunch at the Preserve, the first group will head East on Hwy 178 toward Walker Pass. We will be birding along the way (Pinyon Jays at pass?), and will be at the Jawbone Canyon Rec Visitor Center/Store, off Hwy 14, at 2:30pm. This is a good place to join us. At 3pm we will head to Red Rock Canyon State Park for birding, and then some other unique birding spots. Food is available at the Jawbone Canyon Store/Deli for dinner or you can bring your own food. Some of us will camp in Butterbredt's primitive offside parking area where we will arise early 5:45am the next morning to watch the thousands of migrating birds, then before noon we'll drive back towards California City to hit some more special birding spots before ending our birding outing. Bill Moffat and Deb See will be leading the trip this year, and call Deb at 809-6135 for itinerary, directions, questions, or to optionally RSVP.

Fri.-Sun. Apr. 27-29, (Fri. 6pm, Sat-Sun 6am) – Owens Lake Bird Festival in Lone Pine
Experience thousands of migratory birds at the environmental success story that is Owens Lake. Outing topics include birding, geology, and natural and human histories, so there's sure to be something for everyone. Headquarters for the Festival is Stratham Hall, 138 N Jackson St., Lone Pine. For more information, go to friendsoftheinyo.org. For specific questions, email Alex Ertaud at alex@friendsoftheinyo.org.

Sat. Apr. 28, 8am – Golden Hills Nature Park
This former golf course has been turned into a nature park that has 2 ponds and a stream with riparian vegetation. We hope to see many different bird species due to the diversity of habitats and time of year. Meet at the Burger King Parking lot at 8 am, or meet at the Nature park at around 8:15 am. Any questions? Call Greg Hargleroad: (818) 645-3664.

 

MARCH FIELD TRIPS

Tues. Mar. 13th – 9:00am - Bakersfield Sewage Ponds
Join us for a weekday field trip that is guaranteed not to stink! The Bakersfield sewer ponds are a great location to see wintering ducks, shorebirds and raptors as well as learn from some experienced local birders. Meet at the Treatment plant gate on the south end of Mt. Vernon off Highway 58 where the road ends at 9:00 where Gary File will be leading this outing. This is a driving location so we will be touring in as few vehicles as possible, please bring walkie-talkies to communicate between vehicles. Contact Geoff Grisdale (661) 203-3140 for more information.

Sat. Mar. 17th, 7:45am - Bob Powers Gateway Preserve
Join us Saturday morning for a tour of an ongoing Audubon restoration location, important birding resource and gateway to the Kern River valley. The Bob Powers Gateway Preserve is an 18-acre cattail marsh, and includes restored habitat for Kern red-winged and tricolored blackbirds, as well as rare hot springs and the Alkali Mariposa Lily. Expect to see waterfowl as well as shorebirds and spring migrating raptors and passerines.

For carpools meet at 7:45 the Albertson’s Parking lot on Mt. Vernon at Hwy 178 near the donut shop (leaving by 8:00). Please bring $10 for drivers. From there it is an hour drive to Lake Isabella where we will meet Bruce Vegter in the True Value parking lot (6050 Lake Isabella Blvd.) where he will lead us on a 2-3 hour tour of the Preserve and adjoining hot springs. For those driving separately meet the group at the True Value hardware store in Lake Isabella at 9:00. Contact Geoff Grisdale (661) 203-3140 for more information. Hope to see you there!

Sat. Mar. 24th, 8:00am - Central Park, California City
Central Park provides a much needed water source in the Mojave Desert for migrant and resident birds. We saw over 40 bird species including a Bald Eagle last year. For carpools meet at the Burger King in Tehachapi at 8am or Central Park in California City at 9am. Bring water, snacks, binoculars (loaners available). Questions? Contact Greg’s email: gregory.hargleroad@hotmail.com.

 

FEBRUARY FIELD TRIPS

Sun. Feb. 4th, 1:00pm - Kern & Pixley National Wildlife Refuges
Want a SUPER field trip instead of a Super Bowl?! Then join us for birding at two area wildlife refuges. Geoff Grisdale, Kern NWR Wildlife Biologist, will lead the afternoon and early evening outing to Kern & Pixley refuges. We will view shorebirds & waterfowl at Kern, then drive to Pixley NWR to see the Sandhill Cranes before they fly north for the spring and summer, viewing the cranes at sunset and twilight as they return to the safety of the refuge for the night. Meet at the Costco on Rosedale Hiway near the gas station at 1:00pm to carpool. Bring $10 for transportation, water, snacks, binoculars and a sack dinner (optional). We will return to Bakersfield by approximately 7pm. Contact Madi Elsea, for more information: 322-7470. If you haven't seen (or heard) the Sandhill Cranes at sunset, it is truly a wonderful experience!

Sat. Feb 10, 8am-12pm - Cesar Chavez National Monument, Keene, CA
The National Park Service has invited Kern Audubon & Kern Audubon-Tehachapi to a morning of birding the 117 acre Cesar Chavez National Monument in Keene, located between Bakersfield and Tehachapi on Highway 58. Ruben Andrade, Monument Superintendent, will speak briefly at 8:30am and Linda Mutch, Science Communications Specialist with the National Park Service will orient birders to the goal of the outing, which is to help provide a bird list for the monument. Bill Moffat & Greg Hargleroad will provide leadership for Kern Audubon and KAS-Tehachapi birders.

Tehachapi birders should meet Greg at the Tehachapi Burger King at 8:00am to carpool to the monument. Bakersfield birders meet at the Stockdale Park n Ride located between Highway 99 & Real Rd at 7:45am to carpool. Birders can also go directly to the Cesar Chavez National Monument, 29700 Woodford-Tehachapi Rd., Keene, arriving by 8:30am. Bring water, snacks, binoculars and a picnic lunch. Participants are welcome to visit the memorial gardens and the visitor center at the conclusion of the event. Questions? Contact Bill or Deb: 805-0232 or Greg: (818) 645-3664

Tues. Feb. 20, 8:30am - Truxtun Lake
Al Caetano will lead this morning of birding around Truxtun Lake. Meet in the parking lot along Truxtun Extension near the painted water tower west of Mohawk Drive. Bring water, snacks, binoculars (loaners available). Questions? Contact Al: 833-6705

 

JANUARY FIELD TRIPS

Fri.-Mon. Jan. 12-15 - Morro Bay Bird Festival
Join over 500 other birders for birdwatching on our beautiful central coast. About 200 species are usually sighted during the festival weekend. For more information go to: morrobaybirdfestival.org.

Sat. Jan. 20, 8:30am - Lake Ming
Roger Coley will lead us on a morning of winter birding along Lake Ming. Expect to see waterfowl and winter birds. From Alfred Harrell Highway turn east at the fire station onto Lake Ming Drive and follow it down to the lake. Meet at the first parking lot, dress warm, bring binocs, water, and snacks. Contact Roger for more info: 661-832-1820.

Sat. Jan. 27, 8:00am - Tehachapi Area Ponds
We will be touring some of the local ponds looking for winter migrants. Dress WARM, bring water, snacks, etc. We will meet at the Tehachapi Burger King on Tehachapi Blvd. at 8 am and proceed to local groundwater discharge ponds and other local wetlands. Contact Greg Hargleroad at 818-645-3664 or gregory.hargleroad -at- hotmail.com for more information.

 

DECEMBER FIELD TRIPS

Sat. Dec. 9, 9:00am - Panorama Vista Preserve
Join Andy Honig & Deb See for a morning walk through Panorama Vista Preserve along the Kern River. Wear good walking shoes, bring binocs, water, hat and meet at the east end of Roberts Lane at the locked gate. (Take Union Ave to Manor Drive and turn right/east on to Roberts Lane). Questions? Contact Deb See 809-6135.

Sun. Dec. 10, 8am - Tejon Ranch
This will be a docent-led outing on the San Joaquin side of Tejon Ranch. Outing is limited to 10 participants and there will be a $20/person registration fee. If interested, RSVP to Deb (809-6135) or Bill (805-0232) by Thurs. Dec. 7 as waivers need to be completed before arrival. They will provided further information about meeting place, etc. Bring water, binocs, snacks, dress warmly, Some loaner binoculars available.

Wed. Dec. 20, 8:00am - Beale & Stramler Park areas
Bill Moffet will lead a morning of birding as part of the Bakersfield Christmas Bird Count. The first stop is Beale Park and the target species is the Spotted Dove. Meet at the corner of Oleander & Dracena at 8am. Bring water, snacks, binocs (loaners available). The second area to be covered is Stramler Park and behind Sam Liynn Ballpark. Contact Bill for more information: 805-0232.

 

NOVEMBER FIELD TRIPS

Tues. Nov. 14, 8:30am - Birds & Bikes Kern River Parkway
Birds & Bikes is an opportunity to get some exercise while enjoying birds along the Kern River Parkway! Al Caetano (833-6705) will lead this outing which starts at Riverwalk Park on Stockdale Highway at Buena Vista. Meet in the parking lot toward the back near the amphitheater. The group will head west along the river and recharge ponds, stopping often to identify birds. Bring binoculars (loaners available), WATER, snacks and a bicycle. Call Al for more information.

Sat. Nov. 18 - "Return of the Cranes" Festival at Pixley 3:00pm
Sandhill Cranes are now present at Pixley National Wildlife Refuge where they will be for the winter. Pixley NWR and Kern NWR staff will host an opportunity to learn about the cranes, enjoy some refreshments and see the cranes as they fly from nearby agricultural fields to the safety of the refuges' ponds for the night. Bring a flashlight, jacket and walking shoes for the 1/2 mile walk to the viewing platform. (Handicapped access can be arranged.)
Kern Audubon is providing TWO outing opportunities for this event:
   11:30am - Deb See & Bill Moffet will lead a pre-crane festival field trip to Atwell Island and other birding spots. Meet at the Rosedale Costco parking lot near the gas station at 11:30am to carpool. Bring $5 for gas, sack lunch, snacks, water, binoculars, flashlight and a jacket for evening. This outing will finish with the Crane Festival at Pixley NWR at 3:00pm. Questions? Contact Deb (209-9279) or Bill (805-0232) for information.
   2:00pm - If you just want to attend the event at Pixley, meet Madi Elsea (549-2391) at the Rosedale Costco near the gas station at 2pm to carpool to the refuge which is located near Earlimart. Bring binocs, snacks, water, jacket & $5 for drivers. If you plan to go directly to the refuge, please note that the bridge on Rd 88 that connects to the Pixley parking lot is still out so access to the parking lot is from the north. See enclosed flier for directions.

Sat. Nov. 25, 8:00am - Brite Lake, Tehachapi
Greg Hargleroad will lead this outing to Brite Lake to see waterfowl and perhaps a Bald Eagle and shore birds. Dress warmly and meet Greg at the Tehachapi Burger King 8am or at the entrance to Brite Lake. Bring binoculars, snacks. Bakersfield birders can meet at the Stockdale ParknRide between Real Rd and Highway 99 at 7:15 to carpool. Contact Greg (818) 645-3664 for information.

 

OCTOBER FIELD TRIPS

Sat. Oct 21 , 8:00am - Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area Join Al Caetano for a morning of birding at Buena Vista lake about 30 miles west of Bakersfield where we hope to see migrating songbirds, raptors, waterfowl and shorebirds. A great location for new birders. Loaner binoculars available. Meet at 8:00 am at the Kern River Parkway parking lot on Stockdale Hiway & Don Hart Dr. across from CSUB to carpool or at 8:30am at Buena Vista Rec. Area. There is a $6.00 entry fee per car so it is a good idea to car pool. Bring water, snacks, binocs. Lunch optional at the BV golf course cafe or BYOL. Return after lunch. Call Al (833-6705) for more information.

Sat. Oct. 28, 8:00am - Meadowbrook Park, Tehachapi Meadowbrook Park is located at 21750 Westwood Blvd. in Golden Hills. We will meet at the Burger King Parking lot at 8 am or at the park 8:30 . The park has paved walkways and easy trails with little elevation change. Should see resident birds and fall migrants. Join Greg Hargleroad, leader, for this morning outing. Bakersfield birders can meet to carpool at the ParknRide at 7:15am (parkinglot between Real Rd & Hiway 99 on Stockdale Hiway.) Bring water & binocs. Call Greg for info: 818/645-3664.

 

SEPTEMBER FIELD TRIPS

Sun Sept 10, 7:30am - Wind Wolves Preserve

Meet at 7:30am at the Kern River Parkway parking lot on Stockdale Hiway at Don Hart Drive across from CSUB to carpool or meet at Wind Wolves Headquarters at 8:30am. Bring $5 for drivers, water, lunch, sunscreen, hat, binocs, etc. Al Caetano is the leader (833-6705) and at the preserve we will travel by the preserve's van.

Tues. Sept 19, 8:30am - Hart Park

A beautiful fall outing at Hart Park to see resident birds and fall migrants! Meet at 8:30am on Mirror Drive at the west end of Hart Park between the two lakes. Bring water, snacks, binocs. Walking involved. Contact Margaret Dolan for more information: dolan.m@sbcglobal.net

Sat. Sept 30, 8:00am - Horsethief Park in Stallion Springs

Join Kern Audubon-Tehachapi's Greg Hargleroad for this fall outing in the Tehachapi community of Stallion Springs. Meet at the Tehachapi Burger King at 8:00am. Bring water, binocs, etc. Call Greg for information: 818-645-3664. Bakersfield birders who’d like to carpool can meet at the Stockdale ParknRide (Stockdale Hiway between Hiway 99 & Real Rd.) at 7:15am.

 

MAY FIELD TRIPS

Wed. May 3, 8:30am - Birds n Bikes

The Kern River is flowing and the birds are abundant! We will be taking a bike ride along the western end of the Kern River bike path, starting at Enos Lane, also known as Hiway 43. We will meet at the Enos Lane parking lot which is located on Hiway 43 just north of the intersection of 43 & Interstate 5. Bring water, snacks, binoculars (we have loaners, too), sunscreen, hats and a bike. Contact Deb 809-6135 or Bill 805-0232, who will be leading the outing, for more information.

Sat/Sun May 13-14 - Desert Birding

Birding expert Alison Sheehey (natureali.org) will be leading this birding weekend to California City & vicinity and to Butterbredt Springs, an oasis in Jawbone Canyon for migrating birds. You can participate in all or part of the weekend, depending on your schedule and stamina!

The weekend begins at the Best Western Hotel in California City at 5:45am on Sat. May 13 (yes, you read that right!), so you might want to arrive the night before at the Best Western or at a hotel or campground of your choice. Birding will start on the nearby golfcourse before the golfers arrive.

If 5:45am is to early for you, you can meet Deb See & Bill Moffat at 7:00am in the parking lot of Cal City’s Central Park for birding there several hours with Ali. Central Park is known as a birding hotspot. Following lunch in California City, the group will be visiting nearby desert birding spots still being planned. The evening will end with dinner in California City, followed by motel stays there or camping at Butterbredt Springs, about an hour’s drive from Cal City, where birding will begin early Sunday morning.

On Sun. May 14th, birding begins at 5:30am, which is essential to seeing the potentially thousands of songbirds migrating across the desert to this spring and resting place before moving on to the mountains. This takes place a few hours before and after dawn! Meet Deb, Bill & Ali at Butterbredt. Depending on participants, birding may continue that afternoon in Kelso Valley or Lake Isabella. Contact Deb or Bill (see contact info above) to RSVP & info.

Sat. May 27 - Tehachapi Mountain Park

Greg Hargleroad will lead this Kern Audubon-Tehachapi outing to Tehachapi Mountain Park where we hope to see birds adapted to both oak and pine forests. Meet at Burger King at 8 am or at Mountain Park at 8:30. Bakersfield birders meet at the Park n Ride at 7:15 to carpool. The ParknRide is located on Stockdale Hiway between Real Rd & Hiway 99. Contact Greg (818-645-3664) for information.

For older field trips, see the newsletters page.