A Birders Guide to Shasta County
Preliminary Copy (suggested corrections and additions appreciated)
by Bob Yutzy
This preliminary guide will help you find the less common species in Shasta County. The more common species will be found as you bird for the goodies. Please advise of suggested changes, corrections or additions (email = email@example.com).
Some of the best birds that have been found at each site are listed and each site is given a rating of 1, highest, to 5, lowest, biased toward maximizing your time in finding the counties best birds. The nearest intersection to each site is listed. Use a local map to locate sites. Sites are covered in generally adjacent or contiguous areas. Bold type delineates the best sites. The guide is divided into Central, Northeast, North, Southeast, Southwest, and South County.
CENTRAL COUNTY - Redding Area
KUTRAS LAKE (1*): Park Marina Dr. between South St. and Washington St. Gulls, ducks and geese, all waterbirds, blackbirds and grackles, falcons and eagles, and the like. Near the duck feeding area use your telescope to cover the whole bay, including the small swimming hole pond and the tops of the trees around the lake. Best birds that have been found here are Western, Glaucous-winged, Thayer’s, Mew and Laughing Gull, Red Phalarope, Pacific and Red-throated Loon; Horned and Clark’s Grebe; Red-breasted and Hooded Merganser; Bald Eagle; Merlin and Peregrine Falcon; Accipiters; Greater Scaup; Eurasian Wigeon; This is the easiest place to find Barrow’s Goldeneye.
AQUA GOLF COURSE (3*): Next parking lot to the West on Park Marina. The staff may check you out, just let them know you are birding. At the Western edge of the parking lot, take the path that goes down to the water and check the quiet bay on your left. From the Eastern or right edge of the lot, scope the birds on and around the white float barrels. On weekends you can go up the stairs to the offices next door to the right and look out over the water’s edge on the deck on the left and in between offices with sheltered and secluded views (especially good in the rain.) >From the offices be sure to check out the western side of Kutras Lake straight out towards the river flow for other Kutras specialties. In the whole area look for Green Heron, Redhead, Canvasback, other ducks, grebes, gulls, sparrows, warblers & cormorants. A flock of Cattle Egrets landed here one day!
APARTMENTS W/ ISLAND POND (3*): Next parking lot to the West on Park Marina. Drive out the right side drive and park on the gravel prior to the private drive signs. The bamboo and tall reeds on the west side of the pond are the easiest site in winter for Black-crowned Night Herons away from Fall River Mills. Look for Green Heron, Eurasian Wigeon, Canvasback, Redhead, wintering Hutton’s Vireo, sparrows and warblers. Hooded Orioles used to hang around the Palm trees in summer. You can walk across the drives into the large apartment area checking the oaks for wintering Hutton’s Vireo and looking at the waterway from different angles.
ROUND HOUSE BAY AT RIVERSIDE INN (3*): Next parking lot to the West on Park Marina. Pull in and look between the office building on the right and the tall circular motel building on the left. Scope around the round house and the whole bay for waterbirds, Eurasian Wigeon, and Hooded Merganser. Walk down the paved driveway to the water and look around to the right for Green Heron and Hooded Merganser. Lincoln’s Sparrows and warblers are often in the brush to the right. Go across the street to Kangaroo Courts and check out the winter flowering Eucalyptus trees for hummers, warblers and the like.
TURTLE BAY/CIVIC CENTER (3*): Continue West on Park Marina Dr. and turn right on Auditorium Dr. (going over 299 West) to the Civic Center. A one to two hour walk in the riparian area and along the river from one side of all the buildings to the other side of all the buildings can be good for wintering and migrating birds. Just over the freeway take the first right turn onto a gravel road traveling along the fence edge and park at the locked gate (or alternately you could park at the other end of the walk by the grass lawn and cement amphitheater platform on the river side of the Civic Center.) Take your scope to check out the waterbirds and hawks. Just behind the planted area of the trailer buildings on the right are several somewhat secluded ponds and waterways that often have Hooded Mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks and mud ducks. Eurasian Wigeon has been found here. Continue on the main trail along the river checking the water areas, river areas and the brush surrounding you for Red-shouldered Hawk, Bald Eagle, Accipiters, woodpeckers, warblers, sparrows and Hutton’s Vireo. Blue Grosbeak was found here on a Christmas Count. At the corner take the short rocky trail to the river’s edge and check the open waterway and stream edges for waterbirds and pipits. Continue back along the main trail by the river checking for Barrow’s Goldeneye and the brush for landbirds, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon (especially across the river) and Accipiters. Red-breasted and Hooded Mergansers have been seen here. Continue along the trail which eventually comes out at the amphitheater lawn area. When you first get to the beginning of the museum developed area be sure and check the secluded river area on your right for waterbirds and hawks.
POSSE GROUNDS (3*): Continue on Auditorium Drive to the parking area on the river alongside the Civic Center. Check the river for Herring Gulls, waterbirds and pipits. Check the brush along the river from here all the way to the stables for landbirds. At the stable area check for Cowbirds, Lark Sparrow and the like. There is a public restroom here.
REDDING MEMORIAL CEMETERY (2*): From 299 west into Redding, take an immediate right turn on Liberty St., then right on Eureka Way and go straight into the cemetery. A good stop for migratory landbirds and wintering species. Drive the perimeter from either side to either side, stopping and birding anytime you see activity. The corral area is best for bluebirds and sparrows. Look for Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Slate-colored Junco, White-throated Sparrow, and hawks. Townsend’s Warbler has been found here several winters. Merlin and Accipiters are regular here. On the river side you look down for Goldeneyes and Bald Eagle or Osprey.
TURTLE BAY EAST (3*): This site is across the river from Kutras Lake and a few minutes drive. Take Bechelli Lane North off Cypress Avenue and continue over and down the hill to the parking area. This area is good for sparrows, warblers, Hutton’s Vireo in winter and some of the same birds as across the river. Look for Glaucous-winged and Herring Gulls along the river. Mountain Bluebird has been found here. Follow the trail under the freeway leading along the river and you will get secluded views of the many deep water birds and gulls along here. White-winged Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Peregrine Falcon, Glaucous-winged and Herring Gull, Accipiters, and Bald Eagle may be here.
REDDING SEWAGE TREATMENT PONDS (1*): Highway 273 (Market St.) South of Redding. Take River Ranch Rd. to the East across the railroad tracks and go North or left on Eastside Rd. and go ˝ block and turn right on Metz Rd. and go to the gated fence and pull into the parking lot on the right. Allow at least 1 & ˝ to 2 hours to check the ponds out in migration. Walk the trail down toward the river and off to the right into the sewer pond area where there are ten ponds. Roads circle the ponds and go between the middle series of ponds. Take the roadway to the right along the fence line checking the trees and brush for landbirds, orioles, warblers, sparrows. This is a good migrant trap for warblers, sparrows, orioles and tanagers. In spring and summer look for Blue Grosbeak and Lazuli Bunting down in the dry reeds in the ponds and few trees and Indigo Bunting has been found here several years. Look for Wood Ducks, diving and mud ducks, gulls and terns, swifts, swallows, warblers, orioles, tanagers and sparrows. Sabine’s Gull, Red-necked Phalarope, Red Knot; Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel; Pectoral, Baird’s and even Semi-palmated Sandpiper has been found here. Vesper Sparrow and Tufted Duck have been found here. Sometimes River Otters, terns, gulls, shorebirds, mergansers and other ducks can be found in or along the river. After circling the right side trail or center trails between the ponds, return along the river edge looking for migrants and river birds. Usually the middle ponds that are doubles (one on each side) are the best for water and shorebirds but low water level and muddy edges dictate which ponds are the most active. The next to last pond on the land side sometimes has a little water and can have Solitary or Pectoral Sandpipers in it. I guarantee at least one Solitary Sandpiper on April 21st at the Sewer Ponds!
REDDING ARBORETUM (4*): Take North Market St. (Highway 273) heading North out of Redding, go across the Sacramento River, turn right at the first street in towards the mobile home park and drive to the end parking area along the river. Take the trail along the river into the arboretum area to its end. Look for sparrows, Accipiters, Peregrine Falcon, Red-shouldered Hawk, and check out the river for Barrow’s Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, herons and Spotted Sandpiper in winter.
MILLVILLE PLAINS (2*): Highway 44 East, South or right on Millville Plains Rd.; Horned Lark, Burrowing Owl, Prairie and Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Accipiters, Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawk, Loggerhead Shrike, Mountain Bluebird and Golden Eagle. Also migrating Sandhill Crane, Greater White-fronted Geese, Tundra Swan and rarely Swainson’s Hawk. Back on Highway 44, 1/4 mile or so past Millville Plains Rd., is a small seasonal pond that is sometimes good for mud ducks, blackbirds and sparrows.
LEMA RANCH (2*): Shasta View Dr. and Hemingway Dr., north of Highway 44. Take 2 plus hours to circle all the ponds and return to the main parking lot or drive to one of the other suburban entrances to have quicker access to Secluded Pond, Hidden Pond and Lema Pond. For directions see the map on the sign in the main Shasta View Drive parking lot. Look for American Bittern, Green Heron, Common Moorhen, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Great-tailed Grackle, Harris Sparrow and other sparrows, River Otter, blackbirds, Red-shouldered Hawk, Merlin, accipiters, woodpeckers and other oak woodland birds. The Minter Road suburbs access is a good central parking access.
WHISKEYTOWN LAKE (2*): Highway 299 West towards Eureka. Stop at the visitor’s center turning left at the top of the hill for rest rooms and a small natural history shop. Scope the lake from the parking area looking for loons, geese flocks, Bald Eagles, and gulls. Continue on to Brandy Creek boat launch area. Stop at each pullout (bear right at the spillway/dam), looking for loons, gulls, ducks/mergansers and geese in winter and migration. Yellow-billed Loon was found from these pullouts. Turn right into the Brandy Creek boat launch area looking for Hooded Mergansers in the quiet fingers of the lake areas, then drive to the edge near the boat launch area and scope for waterbirds and Eagles. Look for Common and Pacific Loons, Bald Eagle, Accipiters, phalaropes and other waterbirds. Great-tailed Grackle, Laysan Albatross, Red-necked Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser have all been seen here at Brandy Creek. In summer proceed on 299 West to the Tower House and bird for Spotted Sandpiper, Yellow-breasted Chat, Rough-winged Swallow, Wilson’s and Black-throated Gray Warblers.
SHASTA LAKE & HARBORS (3*)(Shasta Dam, Bridge Bay, Holiday and Jones Valley Harbors, etc.): Best birds are breeding Purple Martin and most swallows. Long-tailed Jaegar was found in fall 2003 near Shasta Dam. Look for gulls, loons and other waterbirds. Too often there are few birds on the lake.
GILMAN ROAD (4*) off Highway I-5 North or East to the McCloud Bridge: This is a fairly long drive. From the crest of the hill down for several miles is good mountain owl habitat. Pygmy, Screech, Saw-whet, Spotted and Great Horned Owl have all been heard here at night or predawn. Breeding bird counts along this route get Purple Finch, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Western tanager, House Wren, Warbling Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat; Black-throated Gray, Orange-crowned, and Wilson’s Warbler, Black and Vaux’s Swifts, Bald Eagle. Eastern Kingbird was found on a breeding bird route at Ellery Campground entrance many years ago. On the far side of McCloud Bridge after the road has turned to gravel up in the large oaks and pines have been repeated sightings of Chestnut-backed Chickadee over the years. Farther on up in a few wet canyons in the pines and Madrone trees are breeding Winter Wrens and Pacific Slope Flycatchers further along the creek going down the other side. Past the second crossing of the creek, many miles in, have been breeding Calliope Hummingbird, Townsend’s Solitaire; Hermit, Nashville and Yellow-rumped Warbler, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Northern Goshawk.
PALISADES DRIVE (2*): Hilltop Dr. over I-5, on the west side, turn south on Palisades Dr. go to the end and park. Walk out the wet field to the cliff edge and scope below for overhead views of Barrow’s Goldeneye, White-Winged Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Long-tailed Duck, Glaucous-winged, Herring, Thayer’s and Western Gull, Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle. These same birds can more easily be seen from vacant lots at the bottom of Riverbend Rd. just to the west off Hilltop Dr. but access may be limited here in the future.
FRENCH GULCH COUNTY PARK (4*): Beyond Whiskeytown on 299 west, take Trinity Mountain Rd. and the park is on your right. This is a good place for breeding Yellow-breasted Chat, Dipper, Wilson’s and Yellow Warbler, Tree and Violet-green Swallows, and other common and uncommon breeding birds. Continue birding along the stream and road edge along the way for a few miles. To find Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Mountain Quail, Wrentit, Cal. Thrasher, Orange-crowned and Black-throated Gray Warblers, Western Tanager, Lazuli Bunting and other hillside breeders take Highland Ridge Rd. (the narrow dirt road to the left heading steeply up the mountain for several miles.)^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
NORTHEAST COUNTY - Fall River/McArthur Area
RAT FARM ROAD (1*): 299 East, in the town of McArthur turn left on Main St., just east of the Fairgrounds. A high clearance vehicle is needed at times. Follow the rough dirt road through the gate going behind the fairgrounds. At the intersection with a fairly straight road (McArthur Swamp Rd.), take the road to the right going over the channel. Briefly check the channel out for Yellow-rumped Warblers or Teal. As soon as you cross the waterway note on your right there is a small sagebrush area back in the corner along the channel. This is where Brewer’s Sparrow was first found breeding and where one of the first county Northern Shrikes was found. Brewer’s Sparrows have only been found here a few times. As you drive out the road keep your eye out for Ferruginous, Rough-legged and Red-tailed Hawks, Prairie & Peregrine Falcons, Merlin and Golden Eagle, especially on the telephone/power lines and fence posts on you right. You might find Swainson’s Hawk in migration if you have the timing just right. Short-eared Owl has been seen many times on the left in the fields. You will often see wintering Horned Lark flocks (and they breed here too), check out the flocks for Lapland Longspur, found here almost annually. Park at the boat launch and restroom area. Sometimes this is a good area for sparrows and the first county Harris’ Sparrow was found here. Search the waterways and marsh areas. Look for Northern Shrike, Clark’s and Red-necked Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Osprey and Bald Eagle. This is also a good place to find White-faced Ibis. Blue-winged Teal and Long-billed Curlew have been found many times in June and probably breed here. At the boat launch area and the roadway gate on the left, walk out the lava rock road, checking the waterway and the brush down on your left. Swamp Sparrow has been found here in winter. Yellow-headed Blackbirds breed here in the summer. After you pass a small inlet, about a quarter mile further or so you will see the trail curve back to the left and there are major dike repairs. In small numbers Black Terns and Wilson’s Phalaropes breed here, especially if the dam has some notable leaking.
McARTHUR SWAMP RD. (3*): Follow the directions above to Rat Farm Rd. but go straight or bear left just prior to the water crossing and gate. A high clearance vehicle is definitely needed for this route! Search for wintering Lesser Yellowlegs and other shorebirds in the small channel on your right. Also look for Burrowing Owl, Short-eared Owl and Lapland Longspurs.
LEE ROAD (2*): Off 299 East, past the town of McArthur, turn left on Lee Road. As soon as you turn look and listen for Pygmy Nuthatch in the big pines. Continue on Lee Road checking the roadside brush for sparrows. Burrowing Owl has been seen here. Look on the power lines, fences and in the fields for Rough-legged and Ferruginous Hawks, Prairie Falcon, Merlin, Horned Larks and longspurs. A Lawrence’s Goldfinch was found in winter one year. At the intersection with Pittville Toten Road turn right and check the barns and fields out for Harris’ Sparrow and other sparrows which have been found here. Back on Lee Road, at the end at Bar D Bar Ranch (friendly to birder people) look for Northern Goshawk, Townsend’s Solitaire, Barn Owl, Porcupine, Tundra Swan and shorebirds and waterbirds in the ponds and fields.
FALL RIVER MILLS TOWN & FALL RIVER LAKE (3*): Note the Bank Swallow colony in the town of Fall River Mills just east of the river crossing across from the service station. Just west of the river crossing take the side street to the right past the ball park and continue beyond all the houses and go into Fall River Lake. More Bank Swallows nest here. Across the lake Vesper’s Sparrow’s nest and you can sometimes see Black-billed Magpie. In winter and migration look for loons, Bald Eagle, Western and Clark’s Grebe, Evening Grosbeak, Townsend’s Solitaire, Mountain Chickadee, Purple Finch and sparrow flocks.
GLENBURN CHURCH (4*) east of McArthur Rd.: Check the rice fields and fallow fields. Go straight past the Glenburn Church and check the rice fields on the left. Look for Avocet, Stilt and other shorebirds, Tri-colored and Yellow-headed Blackbird. On the right in the fallow fields check for Lapland Longspurs. Black-billed Magpies are sometimes around the ranches. A few pairs of Sandhill Cranes nest in the central Fall River/McArthur area centering around Glenburn church. At the church in the lone tiny pine tree in front Screech Owl was found on one Christmas Count. Harris’ Sparrow has been found here and at the abandoned house across the street many times in winter.
ISLAND ROAD AREA (1*), HORR RD., OSPREY RD. AND CREIGHTON RD.: North on McArthur Rd. (A19) from the Glenburn Church, turn right on Island Rd. Look for sparrows along the brushy roadsides and Rough-legged Hawk. At the first creek crossing area look for White-tailed Kite, Eurasian Wigeon, sparrows in the tall reeds and Northern Shrike. A Harlan’s Hawk was in this area for several years. Check the ranch areas and fields prior to Horr Road looking for geese, hawks and eagles. Turn right on Horr Rd. Check for sparrows, hawks and falcons, Northern Shrike, and near the end of the road look for Lapland & Chestnut Collared Longspurs with Horned Larks in the field.
THOUSAND SPRINGS RD. (2*): On McArthur Rd. heading to Dana, turn right on Thousand Springs Rd. toward Timbered Crater. Look for sparrows and hawks. On your left will be a somewhat hidden view of Spring Creek, look for waterbirds. Tufted Duck has been found here several years. Continue along the creek and cross the bridge. Stop here and check the waterways and brush. Standing on your highest ground on the right, look off to the right and scope the waterway across the cow pasture into the Spring Creek Ranch area. Hooded Merganser, Wood Duck, Green-winged Teal and Black-crowned Night Heron can be found here in winter. Black and Vaux’s Swifts, swallows and various warblers have been found here. Continue on to the next water crossing just prior to the corral and park here. Look for Pygmy Nuthatch, Townsend’s Solitaire, Purple Finch, Chipping Sparrow and Black-billed Magpie. If the corral gate is open, walk to the back of the corral and check the small pond for flycatchers, sparrows, riparian birds and mud ducks. Continue back on the road toward Timbered Crater looking for Black-billed Magpie, Bald and Golden Eagles. When the road opens up from the pines there is a tiny/small fenced impoundment area on the left. Park just beyond here and search the right side for Rock Wren, Northern Shrike and Chipping Sparrow. This is the site of one or two pairs of breeding Black-throated Sparrows in most years. Also Brewer’s Sparrows breed here. A Broad-tailed Hummingbird was in this area in migration. For a short distance you can keep looking for rocky brush birds along the road. Further on Timbered Crater is very near the county line and can have mountain woodpeckers and birds, though it is often not very birdy.
DEE KNOCH & JIM DAY RD. (2*) Intersection: The best place in the county for breeding Lawrence’s Goldfinch. The only county record of breeding Cedar Waxwing was here. Red Crossbills have been seen and heard here. Look for Purple Finch, Downy Woodpecker, House Wren, Western Bluebird, Chipping and other sparrows. During migration, Broad-tailed Hummingbird has been seen at the feeders around the first few houses on Jim Day Rd. Walk from the mobile homes on one side to the far corner of the fenced impoundment to the right angle turn. On the road back heading to the town of McArthur, look for breeding Wilson’s Snipe and Willet in the wet fields, and also Horned Lark. At the bridge crossing stop and bird for Northern Oriole, Lazuli Bunting, Yellow and Wilson’s Warbler; Cliff, Violet-green, Barn and Tree Swallows; American and Lesser Goldfinches, Green Heron, House Wren and Black-headed Grosbeak.
LAKE BRITTON (3*): Off Highway 89. Although difficult to see, Purple Martins breed here. They nest in the top of two dead tree tops on the northwest side of the lake, to the right and up above the parking area. There is a rough trail leading the ˝ mile or so up to the trees. Follow the edge of the lake while going up the mountain side. Also look around the lake for House Wren, Bald Eagle, swallows, swifts, brush birds and Purple Martins.
BURNEY FALLS PARK (3*): Off Highway 89. Black Swifts nest here. Outside the park on the highway one can see both Black and Vaux’s Swifts above the treetops. Hermit, Black-throated Gray, McGillivray’s, Wilson’s, Nashville, Yellow-rumped and Yellow Warblers can all be found here. Also look for breeding Red-breasted Sapsucker, Western Tanager, Cassin’s Vireo, Western Wood Peewee and Evening Grosbeak. Walk the main Fall’s trail on each side and bird the campground loops. Drive the park roads looking for mountain breeders, and especially, woodpeckers. Birding can also be fairly good around the boat launch and swimming area.
HAT CREEK ROADSIDE MARSH (3*): Going north on highway 89 & 44, prior to Old Station, about 1 mile east past the entrance to Big Pine Campground, just past the intersection on the left with Forest Service Rd. 34N78 is a small pullout on the right by some willows. Look for Dipper; Wilson’s, Yellow and McGillivray’s Warblers; Tree and Violet-green Swallows, Western Wood Peewee, swifts, woodpeckers, Evening Grosbeak and Brewer’s Blackbirds. A White-throated Sparrow was found here in migration.
CASSEL POND & BAUM LAKE (3*): Off Highway 89 continue past the tiny town on Cassel Fall River Rd. to the small pond on your left. Look for Lewis’s Woodpecker, Wilson’s Warbler, House Wren, and in winter Eurasian Wigeon and other ducks. Going back to the town and post office, turn right just past the river crossing into the fishing, camping and parking area. Continue past the end of the camping area taking the back road to Baum Lake. At Baum Lake take an immediate right and go across the narrow bridge and park. Bird here looking for Black-crowned Night Heron, Dipper, Wilson’s Warbler and waterbirds. Drive back to the Baum Lake parking area birding the pond on your left for rails and marsh birds and the waterway on your right. The large grove of trees on your right have had flycatchers in migration and Red-naped Sapsucker. Look for Osprey, Bald Eagle, ducks and geese, snipe, other shorebirds, swallows and blackbirds. Look for Lewis’s Woodpecker around any of the roads to and from Cassel and Baum Lake.
RISING RIVER MARSH (3*) on the southern road to Cassel: Go north on 89 prior to the intersection with 299, take Cassel Road going east. Bird the ranches and edges of forest and field. At the river crossing park and bird the marsh and riparian area. Look for Night Herons, Wilson’s and Yellow Warblers, blackbirds, woodpeckers, swallows sparrows and Marsh Wren. Broad-tailed Hummingbird and Evening Grosbeak have been seen here. Continue on to Cassel Pond and Baum Lake.
NORTH COUNTY - Squaw Valley Road area
SQUAW VALLEY ROAD (2*): North of Dunsmuir on I-5 take the McCloud highway 89 exit, at the bottom of the hill take Squaw Valley Road (Highway 11). In breeding season, stop at the small marsh on both sides of the road (in Siskiyou County) listening for Willow Flycatcher so you can get its song when you check for it later at the beginning of Squaw Valley Road. Bird from the beginning of Squaw Valley Road for five miles or so. This is the only known site for breeding Willow Flycatcher and Swainson’s Thrush in the county. Look and listen for the Swainson’s Thrush in the extensive medium height marshes on the right. Nashville, Hermit, Black-throated Gray, Yellow and McGillivray’s Warbler are all along the road. Also look for Red-breasted Sapsucker, Lazuli Bunting, Hermit Thrush, Western Tanager, Cedar Waxwing, Golden Eagle and Peregrine Falcon.
CASTLE CRAGS AREA (3*): I-5 at Castella. Bird from the beginning of the road to the Castle Crags State Park entrance. The Park is good for Mountain Quail, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Western Wood Peewee, Warbling Vireo and other riparian, coniferous forest and brush birds. Go back and take Castle Creek Road further in. Check the stream for Dipper, Spotted Sandpiper and Common Merganser, and the stream side areas for Yellow, McGillivray’s and Wilson’s Warbler, Warbling Vireo. In the forest check for Cassin’s Vireo, Black-throated Gray, Hermit and Audubon’s Warbler. On the steep hillsides as you climb, note the fantastic views of Castle Crags (worth the trip any time of the year) look for Pileated Woodpecker, mountain warblers, Dusky and Hammond’s Flycatchers, Peregrine Falcon, Northern Goshawk. At the marsh just over the top of the mountain, look for breeding Lincoln’s Sparrow, Cassin’s and Purple Finch; Hermit, Yellow-rumped, Wilson’s Warbler; White-headed Woodpecker and Red-breasted Nuthatch. Go a few miles past the marsh at the top or possibly to the first bridge on the creek (for breeding Dipper) before turning around and heading back.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
SOUTHEAST COUNTY - Lassen Park area
LASSEN PARK AREA (1*): Highway 44 East of Redding. At Manzanita Lake take the trail around the lake and bird the campground areas. Look for Dipper; Hermit, Audubon’s, Yellow, McGillivray’s, Nashville, and Wilson’s Warblers; Vaux’s and Black Swifts, Tree and Violet-green Swallows, Townsend’s Solitaire; Red-breasted Sapsucker; Black-backed, White-headed, Hairy and Downy Woodpecker. Reflection Lake is an historical spot for breeding Black-backed Woodpecker. Also look for breeding Bufflehead and Red-breasted sapsucker. At Crags Campground look for Williamson’s and Red-breasted Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpecker. At Hat Creek Lake take the trail by the lake and look for Lincoln’s and Chipping Sparrow, McGillivray’s Warbler, Spotted Sandpiper and Dusky Flycatcher. At Summit Lake Campgrounds and nature trail, spend some time looking for Williamson’s Sapsucker (best place in the county), Black-backed Woodpecker and other mountain breeders. At Bumpass Hell parking area look for Calliope Hummingbird and Blue Grouse. At Mount Lassen Peak look for Clark’s Nutcracker, Northern Goshawk and migrating hawks. Hiking the lengthy and steep trail to the mountain top may get you breeding Gray-crowned Rosy Finch over the west edge around the snow piles, as this is the only regular site in the county. At an inclement weather change, Rosy Finches were seen in the parking area.
SHINGLETOWN (3*): Take highway 44 East of Redding, on the way to Lassen Park. Around the housing developments look for Chestnut-backed Chickadees (the best area in the county), Mountain Chickadees, Purple Finch, and Chipping Sparrow. Sometimes Lincoln’s Sparrow can be found singing in the marshy woodlands around here. Pileated Woodpecker is pretty regular around the whole area.
MCCUMBER LAKE (1*): Take highway 44 East of Redding on the way to Lassen Park. This is a good birding area almost anytime of the year. Look for Pileated Woodpecker, Dusky Flycatcher, swallows; Wilson’s, Hermit, and Nashville Warblers; Chipping Sparrow, House Wren, Bald Eagle, Western Bluebird, Purple Finch, Dipper, Spotted Sandpiper, Wilson’s Phalarope, Wilson’s Snipe, Wood Duck, migrant shorebirds, Western Tanager, Western Bluebird, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Mountain Chickadee and Red-breasted Nuthatch. Drive the road around the left side of the lake birding where you can.
BUTTE LAKE (3*): Out of Old Station take highway 44 toward Susanville. Take road 32N21 to Butte Lake. This is a fairly long route that goes back into Shasta County from Lassen County. Look for Mountain Bluebird, Black-backed Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Hermit Warbler, Hammond’s Flycatcher and other high mountain breeders.
SOUTHWEST County - Igo & Ono area
IGO & ONO, PLATINA (3*): Take Placer Road (A16) out of Redding. Bird the dry river crossings all along the route. Look for Golden Eagle and Lawrence’s Goldfinch. Look for oak woodland birds, including Blue-gray Gnatcatcher everywhere. At Igo, take Zogg Mine Road past the developed area and at the intersection of another road heading to the right, look for the small colony of Grasshopper Sparrows found breeding in this general area. Look for low or short grass fields with occasional singing perches on mild hillsides. The birds are often seen on the fence lines. Continue on to Platina and check the riparian area for Wilson’s and Yellow Warblers. You can continue down to Beegum birding along the way. All along the route on steep hillsides of chemise, check for Sage Sparrows and brush birds.
South County - Anderson/Cottonwood area
LONE TREE POND (1*): On Lone Tree Road. Look for Common Moorhen, Sora, Virginia Rail, American Bittern, Yellow-breasted Chat, Marsh Wren, blackbirds, Turkey, Wilson’s Snipe, Eurasian Wigeon, Lincoln’s and other wintering sparrows.
BALLS FERRY ROAD (3?*): From Anderson take Balls Ferry Road
DARRAH SPRINGS FISH HATCHERY (4?*):
PARKVILLE ROAD (3?*): Lewis’s Woodpecker, in winter Mountain Bluebird
BATTLE CREEK WILDLIFE AREA (3?*):
COLEMAN FISH HATCHERY & FOREBAY (3?*):
READING ISLAND (3?*): Take I-5 towards Cottonwood in Southern Shasta County. Take the Gas Point Rd/ Fourth St Exit. From the south on I-5, turn right and head east thru town on Fourth Street. From the north, turn left and head over the freeway. Stay on Fourth Street a couple of miles and it will dead end on Balls Ferry Road. Turn left, and drive a few more miles to Adobe Road, which is on your right. If you get to the turn for Ash Creek Rd ( the turn for Coleman Fish Hatchery), you have gone a mile too far. Follow Adobe Rd a few miles to the end. The road dead ends right at the Reading Island BLM park. Typical oak woodland birds are here. Look for wintering House Wren, especially near the end of the trail, past the abandoned restrooms. Also, this trail looks out over the mouth of Cottonwood Creek. Combined with Lonetree pond, Anderson River Park, Coleman Fish Hatchery, Battle Creek Area, it makes a lovely morning birding Southern Shasta County. Maybe the most consistent place in the county for Phainopepla, with several repeated sightings from here. (From Rob Santry).
CLEAR CREEK riparian area (?*):