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No salesman will call.
Last Friday the online journal “Slate” published a great article on the official birds of the 50 states of the union, and what they should be. If you’re serious you’ll read more than the first three paragraphs, if you’re not so determined you’ll get your laughs quickly and leave it be.
The weekend turned out to be a series of life birds for several people. Jean finally got the Pinyon Jay on Saturday at Black Rock. They were in a flock and, as Chuck Almdale pointed out, moved down the slope and across the valley as Bushtit flocks roll from bush to bush, trailing birds flying past leading birds and landing, so you are given a lot of chances to see them. When that show was over a Scott’s Oriole posed for us for several minutes, giving us every view we could wish for. Thanks to Chuck’s good eyes we even found a Brewer’s Sparrow. Then there were the Eurasian Collared-Doves with their strange sounds, Western Bluebirds, Gambel’s Quail, Cactus Wren, and Ash-throated Flycatcher.
At Morongo Canyon Preserve on Sunday, the wind was blowing about 10 knots, and we were not sure if the birding would be affected. At the entrance where the trailer sits with several bird feeders , we saw the Townsend’s Solitaire who was brown, indicating a 1st year bird and it was obviously exhausted judging by the lethargic movements. I don’t know if anyone has ever had such an opportunity to repeatedly look at a solitaire. But that wasn’t the only show. Lillian said, “is that a Calliope [Hummingbird] on the feeder?” We all looked and realized it was one.
He came back several times in case everyone had not gotten a picture and then a female started coming to the feeder. For a lot of people, that bird is not easy to get a good view of. We also had Costa’s & Black-chinned Hummingbirds at the same bird feeders. Because of the wind, it looked like a fall-out of Western Tanagers because, as someone said, you could have a binocular filled with them.
The Summer Tanagers were also around so everyone saw a least four of them and fortunately the male & female Vermilion Flycatchers were near their nest. Also, in a tree nearby, a pair of juvenile Red-tailed Hawks were found in their nest, stretching their wings. Later, we could see one of the adults hunting for food.
We did pretty well with warblers seeing seven, including the Yellow-breasted Chat, who teased us until he finally perched where all could see him. The two more unusual warblers, for Morongo, were the Hermit & the Black-throated Gray. All I can say is this was a good year so any one who didn’t attend missed a great week-end. [Jean Garrett & Liz Galton]
|Code: B – Black Rock, M – Morongo Valley|
|H – Heard only|
|Yellow-rumped Warbler – Audubon||M|
|Black-throated Gray Warbler||M|
For those who asked to whom you should write concerning the Fish and Wildlife Service’s planned long (30-50 year) “take” permit plans for wind farms, the American Bird Conservancy has prepared the outline of a letter to which you can easily add a comment. The letter will be mailed to three officials when you fill in your address and hit the send button.
Mary Prismon and I have already written on behalf of the Chapter, however, please write on your own.
It’s not too late to send an email asking that the feds drop their plans for permits that would allow wind energy companies and others to legally kill eagles at their facilities for up to 30 years, instead of the current five: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5400/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13726
Lucien Plauzoles, Co-chair Conservation
We have received and read a small storm of articles in the past five days that tell us the same sad story. The Department of Interior in this Administration seems to value wind energy investment more than the life of birds–even that of the California Condor and Bald and Golden Eagles!
So much effort and money has been spent helping those birds avert extinction, yet non-enforcement and deregulation by exception seem to rule in the current Administration. Here are two links recently posted on the American Bird Conservancy alert:
There was also a companion video link:
Another regulatory exception was announced for Tejon Ranch’s planned development of thousands of homes between L.A. and Bakersfield as noted in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.
This is probably of much lesser threat than existing and future wind farms in the Tehachepi Mountains.
We are preparing a chapter response to be filed with the US Fish and Wildlife Service within the week.
Lu Plauzoles, Co-chair Conservation
Eight-Legged Science: The Spider Lab at LMU, with Dr. Martin Ramirez – Evening Meeting Reminder: Tuesday, 7 May, 7:30pm
ALERT! PLEASE NOTE THAT MEETING PLACE IS STILL CHANGED!
With over 43,000 described species, spiders are perhaps the fifth largest animal order and are a major predatory group in most ecosystems. Yet, relative to their biodiversity and ecological importance, knowledge concerning the lives of most spider species is unknown. From its beginning in fall 1999, the Spider Lab at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) has had two goals: To seek out new science concerning a diversity of spiders, and to foster the success of LMU undergraduates, especially women and members of underrepresented groups. This talk will present some of the surprising findings the students and Dr. Ramiriz have made concerning several local spiders, spotlighting along the way how involvement in eight-legged science @ LMU can catalyze student excellence.
Martin G. Ramirez is Professor of Biology at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA. His research focuses on the conservation genetics and ecology of spiders. A native of Pomona, he received his B.S. degree in biology from LMU in 1981 and later earned his Ph.D. in Biology from UC Santa Cruz in 1990. Prior to returning to LMU in 1999, he served for several years each on the faculties of Pomona College; Bucknell University, PA; Denison University, OH; and East Stroudsburg University, PA.
We will continue to meet through May at Christine Emerson Reed Park, 1133 7th Street. (between 7th St. & Lincoln Blvd., California Ave. & Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica. This used to be known as Lincoln Park. If you’re coming from outside Santa Monica, exit the #10 Fwy at Lincoln Blvd., turn north and drive 5 blocks north to Wilshire Blvd.
Meeting Room: In mid-park Joslyn Hall, accessible from Lincoln Blvd, California Ave. and 7th St. Its glass wall faces north towards St. Monica Church on California St. If you’re walking from Lincoln Blvd., it’s located directly behind (west) of the large Miles Playhouse building. Not accessible directly from Wilshire Blvd.
Meetings begin at 7:30 sharp with a little business, and then our main presentation. Refreshments are served afterward.
Parking: The entire block between Wilshire and California Ave, 7th and Lincoln, on the sides closest to the park, is metered. Meter enforcement ends at 6PM, so free parking for the meeting! We had almost 50 attendees in February and we know of only two people who couldn’t find parking. However, the local natives are engaged in a survival-of-the-fittest scramble for free parking, so the after-6pm free parking spaces disappear quickly. We suggest that you arrive no later than 7:15 pm.
If all those spaces are filled, go south of Wilshire, not north of the park, as resident-only permit parking zones abound to the north. The east side of Lincoln Blvd. is also by permit parking only. We found plenty of spaces on 7th St. or Lincoln south of Wilshire. Most of those seem to be “until 6PM” meters also. Wherever you park, please read parking signs carefully and avoid a $40+ parking ticket.
We may return to the Ken Edwards Center on 4th St. next fall, but we are also searching for a new meeting room, as parking at Ken Edwards had become a problem. [Chuck Almdale]
A foggy morning at the lagoon, outlet closed, the water high, colored flags marking the small plants, an occasional unflagged weed and, frankly, not many birds. See the charts below and on our Lagoon Project Page for the statistics.
The ducks are dwindling as springtime calls them north. It was an off day for the shorebirds, with only five “peeps” present: two Western Sandpipers, a single Ruddy Turnstone, two Spotted Sandpipers now sporting breeding breast-spots. The gulls continue to be fewer than average: we didn’t find any Ring-bills among the few California and Western Gulls, but Heermann’s, absent since January, begin to return from their breeding grounds on islands near the tip of Baja California. A single Clark’s Grebe was out past the kelp with a small group of Western Grebes.
The Elegant Terns returned, resting en route to breeding grounds farther north. They looked great and they knew it, breasts rosy from a crustacean diet, with fine black crests. Many attempted mating. A Black-crowned Night Heron hid in the trees by the Adamson House beach fence, a White-tailed Kite searched the perimeter, eight Semipalmated Plovers combed the beach wrack, two Black Oystercatchers worked the low-tide rocks, six Caspian and three Royal Terns kept the cacophonous Elegant Terns company, and a young male Hooded Oriole – yellow, not orange – was a nice treat near the picnic table corner.
The tidal clock was working – 8 ft. 4 in. was the time, I think. A good high tide with some wave action may well open an outlet near Adamson House.
Our next three field trips: Morongo Valley Preserve, 4-5 May; Malibu Lagoon, 26 May, 8:30am; Malibu Lagoon, 23 June, 8:30am.
Our next program: Tuesday, 7 May., 7:30 pm. Eight-legged Science: The Spider Lab at Loyola Marymount University, with Dr. Martin Ramirez. The usual reminders will be emailed from the blog.
NOTE: Our 10 a.m. Parent’s & Kids Birdwalks have resumed.
Comments on Bird Lists Below
Total Birds: March total birds of 666 are 34% below average; low numbers are mainly in the Brown Pelicans (-158) and Gulls & Terns (-197).
Species Diversity: April 2013 with 56 species was 2% below the 57.2 6-year average, a minor variance.
Summary of species diversity from the 6-year average so far: June -10%, July +10%, Aug. -6%, Sep. -20%, Oct. +5%, Nov +2%, Dec -4%, Jan +2%, Feb -8%, March +9%, April -2%. Still, the only constant is change.
10-year comparison summaries are available on our Lagoon Project Bird Census Page. [Chuck Almdale]
|Tide Lo/Hi Height||L +0.5||H +3.7||H +4.57||L +0.19||H +3.67||L -1.10||Ave.|
|Great Blue Heron||2||1||4||1||2||1.7|
|Totals by Type||27-Apr||26-Apr||25-Apr||24-Apr||22-Apr||28-Apr||Ave.|
|Gulls & Terns||373||844||339||743||272||297||478|
|Gulls & Terns||7||9||9||9||7||7||8.0|
Malibu Lagoon has it’s official opening ceremony on Friday, 3 May at 11 AM.
It was a long and often acrimonious process, but now little remains to be done except watch the plants grow.
Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society has long supported this project, and we have been especially invited to attend. California State Parks asked if we could have members with telescopes on hand to help attendees see and learn about the birds. We have a couple of volunteers so far, but we need more. How about you? The more birders we have on hand, the better.
To volunteer, send an email to: webinfo49 [at] att.net.
To simply attend, just come.
Directions: Malibu Lagoon is at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Cross Creek Road. Look around for people wearing binoculars. Parking in the official lagoon lot is $12+ or by annual pass. You may also park either along PCH west of Cross Creek Road, on Cross Creek Road, or on Civic Center Way north (inland) of the shopping center. Be careful – some parts of PCH are off-limits (read the signs carefully). Lagoon parking in the shopping center lot is not permitted.
Map to Meeting Place