Birding at Chesterfield Reservoir

Saturday May 4, 2019

May the Fourth be with you! Star Wars Day birding.


Yellow headed blackbird

John and Bill grew up near the Chesterfield reservoir in Idaho. They went out there for a drive a year or so ago and came back telling me of how many birds and how cool it was. But, I’ve always had such a full schedule that I didn’t take them up on the offer to go and check it out. Since Melinda is here visiting I thought it might make a good evening trip. So we loaded up in the car and left at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Ground squirrel

Common loon

The first surprise for me was the shortcut just past Lava. I had looked at a map and thought I’d have to go over Fish Creek pass to get to the reservoir, but nope, not necessary. There were so many birds just along the road and the creeks and small ponds. It was awesome. And since we are still in early spring we don’t have the full complement of songbirds yet.

Reflective mallards

Cinnamon teals

The reservoir itself is deep enough to attract Common Loons. This makes me so happy. I LOVE loons and rarely get to see them. There were 5 or more in that lake. There were also many other birds, and a restored old time town naturally called Chesterfield. We birded till the light started fading.

Gray partridge


On our way back to Lava, there were two raptors on light poles. One was so very dark that I didn’t think he was a Swainson’s. I took a lot of photos, looked in my book and iBird and almost convinced myself that it was a Zone tailed hawk. We stopped in Lava for an awesome dinner at the local diner. And while we were waiting for dinner I dug through the other apps and photos I could find on my phone and looked at the image on my camera more closely. Clearly, it was a dark Swainson’s cool, but also sad. ZT would have been a new species for me and those are hard to find here for me.

Closeup of the dark morph Swainson’s hawk

Raven in flight

I will be coming back to this reservoir on a more regular basis. — Jenny

1. Starlings
2. Brewer’s blackbirds
3. Black billed mapgies
4. Yellow headed blackbirds
5. Red winged blackbirds
6. American crows
7. Common ravens
8. Rock doves
9. Mourning doves
10. White throated swift
11. Barn swallows
12. Cliff swallows
13. Vesper sparrow
14. Gray partridges
15. Western kingbird
16. Eastern kingbird
17. Bald eagle
18. Swainson’s hawks
19. Red tailed hawks
20. Osprey
21. Northern harriers
22. American kestrels
23. Prairie falcon
24. Cinnamon teals
25. American coots
26. Mallards
27. American wigeons
28. Gadwalls
29. Common loons
30. American white pelicans
31. Double crested cormorants
32. Ring billed gulls
33. Franklin’s gulls
34. American robins
35. Ruddy ducks
36. Buffleheads

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