Lost Lake Recreation Area offers some of the best birding in the Fresno area. The park is a long, narrow strip divided into daytime picnic and overnight camping areas. The San Joaquin River forms the park’s western boundary and is a good spot for waterfowl and wading birds. Many times I’ve enjoyed watching Bufflehead and Common Merganser fly upriver, and I’ve spotted Common Moorhens eating their way through duckweed on the far bank. The willows and trees along the river provide shelter for unusual birds like Eastern Phoebe, Swamp Sparrow, and Townsend’s Warbler, all recently found on Christmas Bird Counts.
Waterfowl can be seen at the 38-acre Lost Lake at the park’s southern end, along with American Bittern, Least Sandpiper, and Lesser Yellowlegs. Overhead, Bald and Golden Eagles occasionally appear. And don’t be surprised if you see more than just birds. One of my most memorable sightings was of a young bobcat and its mother walking along the shore of the river on an early spring morning. It all adds up to a wonderful place that I never tire of, no matter how many times I go. — Larry Parmeter
Larry Parmeter is a high school English teacher and a member of Fresno Audubon Society.