Area #19 - VIRGINIA LAKE
WHAT TO EXPECT: This urban lake is best known for its waterfowl and gulls, especially during fall and winter. A paved 1-mile walking and jogging path around the lake provides an excellent opportunity to scan and study the large flocks. Patient birders are often rewarded with an unusual gull or duck. More than 110 species have been recorded here.
BEST TIME OF YEAR: November through March, but birding the trees around the park during the spring can be quite productive.
NOTABLE SPECIES: Hooded and Common Mergansers, Snow and Ross's Geese, and occasional Barrow's Goldeneye and Eurasian Wigeon may be seen among the sizable flocks of wintering waterfowl, which include Redhead, Ruddy Duck, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, Gadwall, and Canada Goose. A surprising number of raptors frequent the lake. Glaucous-winged, Glaucous, Thayer's, Mew or Glaucous-winged x Western hybrid gull individuals can sometimes be found within the large flocks of California and Ring-billed Gulls, particularly in the winter. Also look for small numbers of wintering Herring Gull. Black-crowned Night-Heron have roosted in the large trees at the northeast end of the lake.
HOW TO GET THERE: From the I-80 & US 395 interchange, drive approximately 1.5 miles south on US 395 to Exit 65A Plumb Lane. Turn right on East Plumb Lane and proceed 1.5 miles west to Lakeside Drive. Turn left (south) on Lakeside Drive, drive two short blocks, and bear left to the small parking lot at the north end of the lake.
POPULAR BIRDING ROUTE: Follow the paved one-mile path around the lake. Note the small island in the south end of the lake, which has provided nesting habitat for a number of species including California Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, and Snowy Egret.