Hotspots Near You

285. Avocado Lake Park, Fresno County, California

Located east of Fresno, this county park is good for loons, eagles, Lawrence’s Goldfinch, and spring migrants.

Avocado Lake, which was originally the gravel quarry used to build nearby Pine Flat Dam, makes up almost half of this park. The park is often overlooked in favor of other birding locations in the San Joaquin Valley, but it is a first-rate birding area. Common Loons can be found here in winter. Several species of woodpecker are common, as are bluebirds and nuthatches. Phainopeplas are usually seen, as are House and Marsh Wrens. Loggerhead Shrikes have been observed here as well.

Bald and Golden Eagles are seen every year, and numerous other raptors have been observed. In spring migration, several warbler, vireo, flycatcher, and other species can be found in the riparian area along the Kings River, which forms the western boundary of the park. On the lake itself, more than 15 species of duck have been recorded. This is also one of the few places in the valley where Lawrence’s Goldfinches are seen. Ten species of sparrow can be found here. Other areas in the valley may promise more species, but Avocado Lake is a reliable place to pick up a solid list of water, oak woodland, and riparian birds.

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285. Avocado Lake Park, Fresno County, California

Directions

Avocado Lake Park is a 210-acre public park about 25 miles east of Fresno, along the Kings River. From the city, take Hwy. 180 east for about 17 miles and turn left onto N. Piedra Rd. Then drive 5.1 miles and turn left onto the park’s entrance road. Park in one of the three parking lots.

Attachments

Downloadable Files

At a Glance

Click on the coordinates below to view location:
36°46’58.15″N 119°24’34.09″W

Habitat

A man-made lake, oak woodlands, open fields, and riparian areas along a river.

Terrain

Mostly flat; some paved roads and parking areas; a few dirt roads along river.

Birds

140 species. Cinnamon Teal, Bufflehead, Wood Duck, Canvasback, Common Loon, Osprey, Bald and Golden Eagles, Red-shouldered, Sharp-shinned, and Cooper’s Hawks, Sora, Virginia Rail, Spotted Sandpiper, California Gull, Eurasian Collared-Dove, California Quail, Greater Roadrunner, White-throated Swift, hummingbirds, Belted Kingfisher, Acorn, Nuttall’s, and Downy Woodpeckers, flycatchers, Black and Say’s Phoebes, Western Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Warbling Vireo, swallows, Oak Titmouse, Mountain Chickadee, nuthatches, Bewick’s and Rock Wrens, Western Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, California Thrasher, Phainopepla, Orange-crowned, Yellow, Townsend’s, Hermit, and Wilson’s Warblers, Western Tanager, California and Spotted Towhees, Rufous-crowned and other sparrows, Black-headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Western Meadowlark, Great-tailed Grackle, Bullock’s Oriole, Lesser, Lawrence’s, and American Goldfinches.

When to go

Best from October through May. Go during the week to avoid weekend crowds.

Amenities

Restrooms on site. The nearest food concessions are a few miles down the road.

Access

County park. $5 entrance fee per vehicle. Hours: October through March, 7-7; April through September, 7-10.

Tips

Bring food and water; mosquito repellent recommended.

For more info

Avocado Lake Park 
Fresno Audubon Society

Sites nearby

Lost Lake Recreation Area, Hotspot Near You No. 36
About 19 miles north of Fresno. Bordered by the San Joaquin River. Good for waterfowl, wading birds, raptors, and songbirds.

Fresno Groundwater Recharge Ponds
Northwest of the Fresno airport, south of Ashlan Ave. Best from fall through spring for shorebirds, sparrows, and other birds. One of the few spots in Fresno area for Great-tailed Grackle.

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Larry Parmeter

Larry Parmeter is a retired English teacher from Fresno and a member of the Fresno Audubon Society. He is involved in environmental education programs for elementary school students.

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