Sunday, December 18, 2022

Mojave Narrows Regional Park - California

The Mojave Narrows is a long gorge with granite walls and is where the underground Mojave River comes to the surface near Victorville, California. An area which used to be known as the North Verde Ranch, then the Kemper Campbell Ranch, was purchased by San Bernardino County in the 1960s and converted into Mojave Narrows Regional Park. The 886 acre park has two small lakes, creeks, bogs, ponds, cottonwoods, willow thickets, and green meadows and is a wonderful area for birds. 
Mojave Narrows Regional Park map
I visited for the first time on December 10, 2022 and went back a week later on December 17. Year-round fishing is available on Horseshoe Lake and the much smaller Pelican Lake. 
Pelican Lake is heavily populated by fishermen and does not appear to be a good place for bird spotting.

Horeshoe Lake has quite a number of birds, despite fairly heavy fishing activity. I found quite a few American white pelicans all around Horseshoe Lake and lots of double-crested cormorants, particularly at the northwestern end where there is a wall sticking up in the lake that was covered with cormorants both times I visited.

Ducks seemed to be most active and plentiful toward the southeastern end. My first visit I saw mallards, gadwalls, American wigeons, northern shovelers, ring-necked ducks and a pair of hooded mergansers in that area. 
Male hooded merganser

Male and female hooded merganser

American coot



American wigeon

Northern shovelers

Ring-necked ducks
The northern end of Horseshoe Lake borders on a pasture to the north and lots of large dead trees which are magnets for birds. There are also lots of cattails and brush along the sides of the trail that attract small birds. The week before I visited they saw greater white-fronted geese in the pasture and I understand an osprey is often there. I saw a red-tailed hawk there my second week. 
White-crowned sparrow

Song sparrow

Northern mockingbird

Red-winged blackbird

European starling


Great-tailed grackle
Red-tailed hawk

The northeastern end of Horseshoe Lake has lots of cottonwood trees around Picnic shelters #1 and #2. I saw a sharp-shinned hawk in those trees the first Saturday and a Cooper's hawk in the trees the second Saturday. 
Sharp-shinned hawk

Cooper's hawk

Off the northeast end of Horseshoe Lake is a trail that heads north. To the right is a large dry pasture and to the left are wetlands. As you go further north a thick area of trees is on the right and wetlands on the left with lots of ponds and dead trees. 
The northeast end of Horseshoe Lake is visible at the bottom right. 

Wetlands - lots of ponds and scattered trees.

Western bluebirds in the marsh land.

Yellow-rumped warbler

Black phoebe

Northern flicker

Common raven
The pasture land to the right of the trail and beyond the marsh also had some wonderful birds. 
Female vermilion flycatcher.

My first American pipit. 

Western meadowlark


Great blue heron. They were also all around Horseshoe Lake. 

My second week, I've already identified some of the birds I saw, but here are some more. 
Only my second sighting of a hermit thrush. 

Canada geese at Horseshoe Lake. 

Red-tailed hawk in the marsh.

A different red-tailed hawk.

A great egret at Horseshoe Lake
Pied-Billed Grebe



1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's a huge number of birds for one place, especially the first week. The photo of the mallard looks like it was carved out of wood and and polished.