Birding Hotspots: Crowley Lake

What's There:

Crowley Lake is a very large reservoir that attracts many birds year-round.  Thousands of ducks stage here until it the lake freezes up, usually in December.  The last few years at Crowley have produced Arctic Tern, Greater Scaup, White-winged and Surf Scoters, Chestnut-collared Longspurs, Long-tailed Jaeger, White-rumped Sandpiper, Long-tailed Duck, Red Phalaropes, Sabine's Gulls (regular in September), Short-eared Owls (in winter on the western pastures).

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Cottonwood Marshes

Best Time:

In spring and fall, Crowley Reservoir has probably the best shorebirding in the Eastern Sierra.  The best spots are the north end where the Owens River flows in and the northwest arm.  In late fall, Crowley hosts thousands of gulls, mostly California, some Ring-billed, but check for the rare Herring Gull and the rarer Thayer's Gull or other odd migrant.  Please view LADWP's Lek Access Policy and Viewing Guidelines before looking for sage-grouse in the region, to learn how you can help minimize human impacts on this species.


On highway 395, a few miles south of the Mammoth turnoff, take the Benton Crossing Road east...then...

Northwest Arm...Drive 1.2 miles and turn right on an unmarked dirt road heading toward the lake.  At 1.7 miles, take the right fork.  At the next fork, also take a right and continue to the lakeshore.  

Owens River Delta...Continue on Benton Crossing Road over the Owens River and several miles more to Layton Springs Road.  Turn right, taking the right of the two dirt road options.  At the lakeshore, follow small dirt roads north up the lake and park when above the delta.

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