Kern River Valley

Kernville, California

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1 Review
5 out of 5
Kern River Valley must be counted as one of the best birding sites in California because of its diversity. The South Fork of the Kern River supports the largest remaining stand of Great Valley cottonwood-willow riparian forest in California, and has been designated a Globally Important Bird Area, because it is a major migration path for Turkey Vultures (28,000 per year), because of its breeding southwestern Willow Flycatchers (federally endangered species), and because almost the entire world population of Kern Red-winged Blackbird (a subspecies of Redwinged) is located in the valley. A total of 318 species of birds have been recorded in the valley, with 2,000 species of plants (almost a third of the flora of California) and 115 mammals (the highest diversity in the United States) in the immediate area. In 1997 National Audubon Society—California took over the management of the Kern River Preserve from The Nature Conservancy. Specialty birds: Resident—Western and Clark’s Grebes; Wood Duck; Golden Eagle; Prairie Falcon; Chukar; Mountain Quail; Greater Roadrunner; Nuttall’s and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers; Say’s Phoebe; Pinyon Jay; Rock, Canyon, and Cactus Wrens; Western Bluebird; California Thrasher; Phainopepla; Black-throated and Sage Sparrows; Tricolored Blackbird; Lesser Goldfinch. Summer—Cinnamon Teal; Osprey; Yellow-billed Cuckoo; Lesser Nighthawk; Common Poorwill; Black-chinned and Costa’s Hummingbirds; Western Wood-Pewee; Willow, Vermilion, Ash-throated, and Brown-crested Flycatchers; Western Kingbird; Brewer’s and Black-chinned Sparrows; Black-headed Grosbeak; Lazuli Bunting; Yellow-headed Blackbird; Bullock’s, Hooded, and Scott’s Orioles; Lawrence’s Goldfinch. Winter—Ferruginous Hawk. Migrant—Hammond’s, Dusky, Gray, and Pacific-slope Flycatchers; MacGillivray’s Warbler; Western Tanager. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information.

Kern River Valley Professional Review and Guide

"Kern River Valley must be counted as one of the best birding sites in California because of its diversity. The South Fork of the Kern River supports the largest remaining stand of Great Valley cottonwood-willow riparian forest in California, and has been designated a Globally Important Bird Area, because it is a major migration path for Turkey Vultures (28,000 per year), because of its breeding southwestern Willow Flycatchers (federally endangered species), and because almost the entire world population of Kern Red-winged Blackbird (a subspecies of Redwinged) is located in the valley. A total of 318 species of birds have been recorded in the valley, with 2,000 species of plants (almost a third of the flora of California) and 115 mammals (the highest diversity in the United States) in the immediate area. In 1997 National Audubon Society—California took over the management of the Kern River Preserve from The Nature Conservancy. Specialty birds: Resident—Western and Clark’s Grebes; Wood Duck; Golden Eagle; Prairie Falcon; Chukar; Mountain Quail; Greater Roadrunner; Nuttall’s and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers; Say’s Phoebe; Pinyon Jay; Rock, Canyon, and Cactus Wrens; Western Bluebird; California Thrasher; Phainopepla; Black-throated and Sage Sparrows; Tricolored Blackbird; Lesser Goldfinch. Summer—Cinnamon Teal; Osprey; Yellow-billed Cuckoo; Lesser Nighthawk; Common Poorwill; Black-chinned and Costa’s Hummingbirds; Western Wood-Pewee; Willow, Vermilion, Ash-throated, and Brown-crested Flycatchers; Western Kingbird; Brewer’s and Black-chinned Sparrows; Black-headed Grosbeak; Lazuli Bunting; Yellow-headed Blackbird; Bullock’s, Hooded, and Scott’s Orioles; Lawrence’s Goldfinch. Winter—Ferruginous Hawk. Migrant—Hammond’s, Dusky, Gray, and Pacific-slope Flycatchers; MacGillivray’s Warbler; Western Tanager. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Kernville
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Best Late April through July.
Local Contacts: Kern River Preserve.
Local Maps: DeLorme Northern California Atlas & Gazetteer.
Driving Directions: Directions to Kern River Valley

Recent Trail Reviews

4/27/2006
0

The Kern River Valley is an incredible area for birding, hiking, spring wildflowers, and whitewater. The riparian vegetation along the south fork of the Kern River is unrivalled in California, try the South Kern Wildlife Area, Kern River Preserve, as well as Canebrake Preserve further upstream for birds. We saw Tri-Colored Blackbirds at Canebrake! Wildflowers and birds along the Whiskey Flat Trail were also spectacular. Come in spring for birds and flowers, and beat the river-rafting and fishing crowds as well as the summer heat. Or, come in the summer and enjoy the river to keep cool.



Trail Photos