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WesterN

TANAGER
Volume 72 Number 6 July/August 2006 Los Angeles Audubon Society

The Big Year


by Todd McGrath

ow many species of birds can were all birds I added on day one, plus a Tropical Kingbird, and Eurasian Wigeon.

H one observer record in Los


Angeles County during a single
calendar year? In 1993 Kevin Larson
host of ducks. The winter strategy is
straightforward; get any lingering
vagrants, and any species that might be
As the winter wore on, additional good
birds turned up including Orchard and
Baltimore orioles in Culver City, and a
answered that question by recording 345 difficult later in the year. It is not about return to El Dorado Park for Least Fly-
species. Jon Feenstra broke that record in trying to see as many species as possible. catcher. My local patch in Marina del Rey
2003 with a total of 347. This is the story A few days later I was at El Dorado Park produced all three scoters, Long-tailed
of my attempt to set a new record in 2005. in Long Beach to see Pine Warbler, Duck, and Thayer’s Gull. As spring
An attempt by a single observer to migration approached, I was still on
record as many species as possible in a the fence as to whether or not this
particular geographic area (in this case would be the right year. But I was
L.A. County) is called a “Big Year”. I’ll still hopeful.
be the first to admit that such a game is One of the key groups of birds
no more sensible than smacking little for any big year in a coastal county
white balls across vast green lawns with is seabirds, and I was sure I would
a club. Still, it is a game that requires have a substantial edge over any
strategy, a good knowledge of the status competitor in that area. In 2005 I
and distribution of birds in the county, would co-lead two multi-day pelagic
luck, and that Kevin Larson have you on trips that would spend at least some
speed dial (more on that later). time in Los Angeles County along
Some big years start in earnest the continental shelf. During the
on January 1st, others are started April trip I added Black-footed and
later in the year, after a good winter Laysan albatrosses, Murphy’s
or a great spring migration. In my Petrel, Red-billed Tropicbird, and
case it was a little of both. Early in Xantus’s Murrelet, as well as more
January 2004 I started teasing Jon regular species like Black and
Feenstra that I might try to break Leach’s storm-petrels. My big year
the record. The ensuing nervous aspirations were given a huge boost
laughter from Jon was its own when Jon Feenstra, Mike and
All photos by Todd McGrath

reward, but in the back of my mind, Michael San Miguel, and I decided
I was starting to think about how to to do an L.A. County Big Day.
go about it. As 2004 ended, I was Scouting the coast was my respon-
considering the idea somewhat sibility and I was able to add Pigeon
seriously. My birding year began on Guillemot at Zuma Beach, and a fly-
January 1st with an all day trip to by Common Murre at Leo Carrillo.
the Antelope Valley. Red Crossbill, The Big Day was a spectacular
Long-eared Owl, and Tundra Swan Red-naped Sapsucker success (you can read all about that
day in Western Tanager, July/August still pull it off with a little luck.
2005). In one 24 hour period I eliminated A rather lackluster
the need to go owling (we recorded eight shorebird season (with the
species of owls) and saw a huge variety exception of Curlew and
of resident birds. Stilt sandpipers on the L.A.
At the end of the day, Big Years are River) didn’t add to my
made or broken with vagrants, and I enthusiasm, but it would all
would still need a good spring to have a still ride on the fall migration,
shot at the record. In mid-May I was and whether or not I could
able to see Black-throated Green and mop up on the few remaining
Grace’s warbler. Late May is always a resident birds I had not yet
peak time for vagrants, but each year I seen. An early September
spend the week of Memorial Day in multi-day pelagic trip was a
North Carolina, doing pelagic trips. I had huge success, I added
a feeling I would pay a price for my Cook’s Petrel, Buller’s
absence, and I did. Kevin Larson found a Shearwater, Least Storm-
stunning Golden-winged Warbler at Petrel, Long-tailed Jaeger,
DeForest Park in Long Beach while I was Arctic Tern, and Craveri’s
away. By early June, I was convinced Murrelet to the list. After my
that I would not be able to compete for return from the boat trip, I
the record, as the spring vagrant totals started putting out the word
were low, and I had missed several of that I was doing a big year. Thick-billed Kingbird
them, but June sightings of Ovenbird and That turned out to be a wise
a Red-eyed Vireo gave me a glimmer of move, because Kevin Larson rang my laden Volvo was streaking down Lincoln
hope. I was also able to add Inca Doves cell every time he found a good bird. In Blvd. towards Manhattan Beach. Kevin
after Jon Feenstra located several at the addition, he put the word out to other and I spent the next hour or so playing
eastern end of the Antelope Valley at birders such as Dave Moody, who was hide and seek with a first fall Mourning
Lake Los Angeles. By the end of June, tremendously helpful in calling me when Warbler.
I was over 300 species, with all of the something good showed up at Madrona On November 1st, I did a quick
late-summer shorebirds, fall pelagics, and Marsh. I owe Painted Redstart and Clay- check of the list to see what was left. I
vagrant landbirding still ahead. I could colored Sparrow to Dave. needed a few mountain species such as
The fall was a Clark’s Nutcracker and Townsend’s
good one, and the Solitaire. I hadn’t found dipper yet, and
vagrants fell one by I was hoping to find Red-naped and
one. Northern Yellow-bellied sapsuckers along the
Waterthrush at north slope of the San Gabriels, or out in
Madrona Marsh, the desert. November 6th I headed up to
Lucy’s and Black- the San Gabriels from La Cañada. Once
throated Blue warblers I was in the higher elevations Clark’s
at Sand Dune Park. Nutcrackers and Townsend’s Solitaires
By late October I had were relatively easy. Highway 2 was still
seen 27 species of closed at Islip saddle, so I did the long
warbler. On October drive around to the North Slope. St.
25th, I was shopping Andrews Abbey turned up Red-naped
at Costco. My cart Sapsucker, but no Yellow-bellied. It was
was full, and I was early afternoon, and I had no cell service
heading to the check- at the Abbey. I was trying to decide
out. My phone rang, it whether or not to head up the north slope
was Kevin once again. or down to the desert. I decided to pump
“Todd, I’m at Sand a handful of change into the pay phone
Dune, I’m pretty sure at the Abbey, and I was surprised to learn
I just saw a Mourning that the Scheel’s had discovered a Golden
Warbler.” I raced to the Plover at Quail Lake, and that there was
checkout, cutting at a Blackburnian Warbler at Sepulveda
large swath through the Basin. I wondered if I had enough time
Dusky-capped Flycatcher slow-moving Costco to see both, but I decided to give it a try.
shoppers. In a few It took me over an hour to get good
minutes my grocery looks at the plover, and I then raced

2 Western Tanager
down to Sepulveda. I arrived just a little my friend a voicemail, and detailed ed Warbler that was using the birdbath
while before sunset, and L.A. birders Jim directions for the SuperShuttle, but in in the evening. Kevin would call me one
Abernathy and Steve Sosensky were the end friendship won out, and I waited more time, to tell me about a Northern
for his flight. The kingbird (and Parula he had found in Gardena. I rushed
Kevin) was still there when we out in the light rain to see it. That was
arrived, but the sapsucker had disap- number 356.
peared. The next day was spent in the The last bird I recorded was a Manx
mountains and the Antelope Valley Shearwater (357) flying past Pt. Vicente
looking for dipper (dipped on it), with a large group of Black-vented
Varied Thrush (conspicuous in its Shearwaters. I had decided to do a sea-
absence), and longspurs in the western watch to try and relocate a Black-legged
Antelope Valley. We were able to see Kittiwake seen by Mike San Miguel
and hear two Chestnut-collared, but a earlier in the week. It rained most of the
bird that sounded like a Lapland was 31st, but I spent some time at El Dorado
too distant for me to be certain. I was Park looking in vain for a Brown Thrasher
now tied with Jon at 347. that would be regularly seen in January.
On November 13th Jon’s record Oh well.
fell. Jon and I were at
Banning Park trying to
track down a Scarlet
Tanager, when he
yelled “Todd, the tan-
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher ager is over here!” I
quickly circled the
photographing the bird. I finished the trees between us and saw
day with a net gain of five, and now I was the Scarlet Tanager in the
now tied with Kevin Larson with 345. treetop. After a few sec-
Things were quiet until the 10th of onds, the bird flew and
November. I was driving to LAX to pick was never refound. I sure-
up a birding friend from Delaware who ly would have missed the
was visiting for a few days, when once bird without Jon’s quick
again Kevin Larson called. “Todd, I’ve got alert. Kevin Larson was
a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Banning just a few yards away. The
Park.” I was sure my friend wouldn’t highlight of my big year
mind a little detour, so I thanked Kevin was breaking the record
and told him I would be there in about with Jon and Kevin there. Painted Redstart
an hour. About a half hour later, Kevin There were handshakes,
called again. “Todd, you might want to and high fives, and some
speed it up a bit, I just found a Thick- discussion about how many more I could To put my number in perspective,
billed Kingbird.” I thought about leaving record. Was 360 possible? 349 followed there are only two California counties with
a few moments higher Big Year totals: San Diego with 358
later when the elu- seen by Guy McCaskie (of course) and
sive Yellow-bellied Marin County with 362 seen by Rich
Sapsucker I had Stallcup. All in all a pretty satisfying effort.
missed days earlier When I look back on 2005, it is with
put in an appear- great fondness, not only because I was
ance. Over the next successful in setting a new record, but
several weeks a because I had a tremendous amount of
few more goodies fun birding places I had never been, and
showed up (like getting to know a host of Los Angeles
Fulvous-Whistling birders better than I had before. I hope
Duck and Dusky- that when my record is broken, (and it
capped Flyctcher), surely will be) I am there to shake the
and a lovely couple hand of the new champ. My guess is it
from Santa Monica will be a bird we both found out about
invited me into from Kevin.
their backyard to
Wandering Tattler see a male Hood- Please see page 4 to review “The List”.

July/August 2006 3
The List Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Sabine’s Gull
Caspian Tern
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Fulvous Whistling-Duck White-faced Ibis Royal Tern Tropical Kingbird Townsend’s Warbler
Greater White-fronted Goose Turkey Vulture Elegant Tern Cassin’s Kingbird Hermit Warbler
Snow Goose Osprey Common Tern Thick-billed Kingbird Blackburnian Warbler
Ross’s Goose White-tailed Kite Arctic Tern Western Kingbird Grace’s Warbler
Canada Goose Northern Harrier Forster’s Tern Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Pine Warbler
Cackling Goose Sharp-shinned Hawk Least Tern Loggerhead Shrike Palm Warbler
Brant Cooper’s Hawk Black Tern Bell’s Vireo Blackpoll Warbler
Tundra Swan Red-shouldered Hawk Black Skimmer Plumbeous Vireo Black-and-white Warbler
Wood Duck Swainson’s Hawk Common Murre Cassin’s Vireo American Redstart
Gadwall Red-tailed Hawk Pigeon Guillemot Hutton’s Vireo Ovenbird
Eurasian Wigeon Ferruginous Hawk Xantus’s Murrelet Warbling Vireo Northern Waterthrush
American Wigeon Golden Eagle Craveri’s Murrelet Red-eyed Vireo Mourning Warbler
Mallard American Kestrel Ancient Murrelet Steller’s Jay MacGillivray’s Warbler
Blue-winged Teal Merlin Cassin’s Auklet Western Scrub-Jay Common Yellowthroat
Cinnamon Teal Peregrine Falcon Rhinoceros Auklet Clark’s Nutcracker Hooded Warbler
Northern Shoveler Prairie Falcon Rock Pigeon American Crow Wilson’s Warbler
Northern Pintail Virginia Rail Band-tailed Pigeon Common Raven Painted Redstart
Green-winged Teal Sora Spotted Dove Horned Lark Yellow-breasted Chat
Canvasback Common Moorhen Eurasian Collared-Dove Tree Swallow Summer Tanager
Redhead American Coot White-winged Dove Violet-green Swallow Scarlet Tanager
Ring-necked Duck Black-bellied Plover Mourning Dove Northern Rough-winged Western Tanager
Greater Scaup American Golden-Plover Inca Dove Swallow Green-tailed Towhee
Lesser Scaup Snowy Plover Common Ground-Dove Bank Swallow Spotted Towhee
Surf Scoter Semipalmated Plover Red-crowned Parrot Cliff Swallow California Towhee
White-winged Scoter Killdeer Greater Roadrunner Barn Swallow Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Black Scoter Mountain Plover Barn Owl Mountain Chickadee Chipping Sparrow
Long-tailed Duck Black Oystercatcher Flammulated Owl Oak Titmouse Clay-colored Sparrow
Bufflehead Black-necked Stilt Western Screech-Owl Verdin Brewer’s Sparrow
Common Goldeneye American Avocet Great Horned Owl Bushtit Black-chinned Sparrow
Hooded Merganser Greater Yellowlegs Northern Pygmy-Owl Red-breasted Nuthatch Vesper Sparrow
Common Merganser Lesser Yellowlegs Burrowing Owl White-breasted Nuthatch Lark Sparrow
Red-breasted Merganser Solitary Sandpiper Spotted Owl Pygmy Nuthatch Black-throated Sparrow
Ruddy Duck Willet Long-eared Owl Brown Creeper Sage Sparrow
Mountain Quail Wandering Tattler Northern Saw-whet Owl Cactus Wren Savannah Sparrow
California Quail Spotted Sandpiper Lesser Nighthawk Rock Wren Fox Sparrow
Red-throated Loon Whimbrel Common Poorwill Canyon Wren Song Sparrow
Pacific Loon Long-billed Curlew Black Swift Bewick’s Wren Lincoln’s Sparrow
Common Loon Marbled Godwit Vaux’s Swift House Wren Swamp Sparrow
Pied-billed Grebe Ruddy Turnstone White-throated Swift Winter Wren White-throated Sparrow
Horned Grebe Black Turnstone Black-chinned Hummingbird Marsh Wren White-crowned Sparrow
Eared Grebe Surfbird Anna’s Hummingbird American Dipper Golden-crowned Sparrow
Western Grebe Red Knot Costa’s Hummingbird Golden-crowned Kinglet Dark-eyed Junco
Clark’s Grebe Sanderling Calliope Hummingbird Ruby-crowned Kinglet Lapland Longspur
Laysan Albatross Semipalmated Sandpiper Rufous Hummingbird Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Chestnut-collared Longspur
Black-footed Albatross Western Sandpiper Allen’s Hummingbird California Gnatcatcher Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Northern Fulmar Least Sandpiper Belted Kingfisher Western Bluebird Black-headed Grosbeak
Murphy’s Petrel Baird’s Sandpiper Lewis’s Woodpecker Mountain Bluebird Blue Grosbeak
Cook’s Petrel Pectoral Sandpiper Acorn Woodpecker Townsend’s Solitaire Lazuli Bunting
Pink-footed Shearwater Dunlin Williamson’s Sapsucker Swainson’s Thrush Bobolink
Buller’s Shearwater Curlew Sandpiper Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Hermit Thrush Red-winged Blackbird
Sooty Shearwater Stilt Sandpiper Red-naped Sapsucker American Robin Tricolored Blackbird
Short-tailed Shearwater Short-billed Dowitcher Red-breasted Sapsucker Wrentit Western Meadowlark
Manx Shearwater Long-billed Dowitcher Ladder-backed Woodpecker Northern Mockingbird Yellow-headed Blackbird
Black-vented Shearwater Wilson’s Snipe Nuttall’s Woodpecker Sage Thrasher Brewer’s Blackbird
Leach’s Storm-Petrel Wilson’s Phalarope Downy Woodpecker California Thrasher Great-tailed Grackle
Ashy Storm-Petrel Red-necked Phalarope Hairy Woodpecker Le Conte’s Thrasher Brown-headed Cowbird
Black Storm-Petrel Red Phalarope White-headed Woodpecker European Starling Orchard Oriole
Least Storm-Petrel Pomarine Jaeger Northern Flicker American Pipit Hooded Oriole
Red-billed Tropicbird Parasitic Jaeger Olive-sided Flycatcher Cedar Waxwing Baltimore Oriole
American White Pelican Long-tailed Jaeger Western Wood-Pewee Phainopepla Bullock’s Oriole
Brown Pelican Franklin’s Gull Willow Flycatcher Tennessee Warbler Scott’s Oriole
Brandt’s Cormorant Bonaparte’s Gull Least Flycatcher Orange-crowned Warbler Purple Finch
Double-crested Cormorant Heermann’s Gull Hammond’s Flycatcher Nashville Warbler Cassin’s Finch
Pelagic Cormorant Mew Gull Gray Flycatcher Virginia’s Warbler House Finch
American Bittern Ring-billed Gull Dusky Flycatcher Lucy’s Warbler Red Crossbill
Least Bittern California Gull Pacific-slope Flycatcher Northern Parula Pine Siskin
Great Blue Heron Herring Gull Black Phoebe Yellow Warbler Lesser Goldfinch
Great Egret Thayer’s Gull Eastern Phoebe Chestnut-sided Warbler Lawrence’s Goldfinch
Snowy Egret Western Gull Say’s Phoebe Black-throated Blue Warbler American Goldfinch
Cattle Egret Glaucous-winged Gull Vermilion Flycatcher Yellow-rumped Warbler House Sparrow

4 Western Tanager
Opening New Trails
n Saturday May 6, Los Angeles was blazing with color. Early in the was provided by a local church group,

O Audubon broke with its custom of


recent years, and held the annual
picnic not in the mountains, but in a city
morning Eleanor Osgood led a begin-
ner’s bird walk, which is regularly given
on the third Thursday of each month.
and the music was cool jazz and blues,
unobtrusive but very polished. An eminent
past president of our society, Bob Van
park right in the middle of our inner-city This time we had sent a mailing to neigh- Meter, was able to join us. (Thanks, Bob
geographic service area. There was a free borhood residents alerting them to this Pann, for bringing him!) We schmoozed
barbecue and a mellow jazz/blues combo special event. A few respondents who with the neighbors, talking about birds
providing ambient sound. And a lot of had never visited the park before were that they had seen, and how they could
curious strangers from the neighborhood very interested to learn how many birds take part in our activities. Each guest got
showed up to find out about birds, plants, could be found even in this urban setting. a bag full of favors and information
and our society and its activities. After the bird walk, Steve Hartman of about the Baldwin Hills, the Native Plant
The occasion was the opening of the the California Native Plant Society, guided Society, and Los Angeles Audubon.
Native Plant Trail in the Kenneth Hahn us along the native plant walk. While Before the day was out, an anonymous
State Recreation Area, which is on the pointing out and identifying the plants, donor present offered a matching grant of
east side of the Baldwin Hills. This whole he gave us extensive information on how $30,000 for educational programs in the
area is being transformed from a heavily they could be planted and maintained on Baldwin Hills. We made many new
scarred and degraded oil field into a our own yards and neighborhoods. friends, and expect to hear from them in
major multiple-use park that includes On hand also were some project the near future.
extensive natural areas. The trail was interns, formerly at-risk youths whose This event, (very well “produced” by
envisioned by our own Garry George and lives had been turned around by involve- Garry), marks an early step on a new trail
plant restoration expert Margot Griswold, ment in building the trail and restoring for Los Angeles Audubon; reaching out
and created by a team of local youth and the scrub habitat that still covers much of to our urban communities to help them
adult volunteers from the community. A the park’s steeper hillsides and canyons. enhance their own environment. It dove-
grove of eucalyptus trees was cut back They had not only learned how natural tails with the Audubon at Home program,
from a hillside, and native flowering systems work, but had discovered a new in which we will help our neighbors
plants and shrubs were planted. Further career “trail”. As LAAS develops its convert their yards and neighborhoods
up the hill, coastal sage scrub is being educational programs in the park, more into wildlife habitat by landscaping with
restored by removal of alien plants like such young people will be served. native plants. As gas gets more expensive,
castor bean, fennel, and pampas grass. Our picnic was held at the top of the and free time gets harder to come by, it
On that opening day, the hillside hill. The authentic southern barbecue becomes more difficult to drive long
Photo by Jason Stuck

Los Angeles Audubon Picnic, May 6, 2006

July/August 2006 5
distances to get to natural areas.
It’s easier for most Angelinos to
bring nature closer to home. To
help accomplish this, we will be
developing educational materials
tailored to our southern California
climate that help L.A. residents
plant and maintain natural yards
and gardens. And we will stage
more events like the picnic in
Kenneth Hahn Park.
These kinds of activities
accomplish two goals. They
increase natural habitat within
the city and recruit new active
members for Los Angeles
Photo by Lisa Fimiani

Audubon, to build up our vol-


unteer base. And there will be a
lot for volunteers to do.
Beginning this summer, we
will be developing a docent
training program to prepare
LAAS members to lead nature Past President Bob Van Meter, Ingrid Castillo (standing), Lisa Fimiani, and Bob Pann
walks in various city parks, such
as Baldwin Hills and, eventually, the Our education programs will extend the Ballona Wetlands and Sepulveda
restored Los Angeles River. Volunteers beyond the classroom and into summer Basin. In August, we will be taking bus-
will also be needed to visit classrooms to camps as we develop lessons that can be loads of kids from Plummer Park out to
present slide shows and information utilized by inner-city youth programs. natural areas. Instilling respect for the
about local plants and birds. As we For teenagers, we will build on Margot natural world today will provide for more
design our elementary education pro- Griswold’s “Weeds to Wonder” project informed and environmentally-sensitive
grams, we draw on the expertise of you, for at-risk youth in the Baldwin Hills, decisions to be made in the future.
our members. No voice is more passion- while our elementary school programs For all these activities and more, we
ate than that of a true nature enthusiast. will emulate those that work so well in need to gain more human and financial
resources. If we stay on the
trail and keep up the pace, I
think we will succeed.
Meanwhile, back at
Audubon House, our store is
taking the path into the 21st
century – it’s going online!
The catalog, now out-of-
date as soon as it’s printed,
will be online only, revisable
as soon as new items come in.
You will not have to go to
Plummer Park to see what is
available. And there will be a
shopping cart for instant
online purchases. This change
will make our bookstore more
Photo by Lisa Famiani

accessible and useful to thou-


sands of potential customers
who find it hard to get to its
physical location. Store oper-
ations will become far more
efficient, and the electronic
Executive Director Garry George, local intern Winter Williams, and Project Manager Margot Griswald automation of sales will free

6 Western Tanager
up our paid staff to spend more time on
activities that further the mission of the
LAAS, like supporting educational and
public information programs, and keep-
ing track of our membership.
We should remember that all profits
from the store go to support the pro-
grams and activities of the Los Angeles
Audubon Society. As we reach out to our
Los Angeles community, we should sup-
port our own community of birders and
conservationists, and make sure that the

Photo by Lisa Fimiani


money we spend on bird and other
nature books and optics goes back into
efforts to protect the natural world we
need and love.
Dexter Kelly, President
Dedication plaque

New at the Bookstore


Open: Monday through Thursday 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM or by appointment.
Closed: Saturdays

Native Treasures: Gardening with the Plants of California


Describes the use of plants in varying landscapes and gardens and state-of-the-art propagation techniques,
with beautiful illustrations.
M. Nevin Smith 2006 $24.95

Pete Dunne’s Essential Field Guide Companion


A comprehensive resource for identifying North American Birds. The author gives equal or more weight
to a bird’s structure and shape and the observer’s overall impression than to specific field marks.
Pete Dunne 2006 $29.95

Tanagers, Cardinals, and Finches of the United States and Canada: The Photographic Guide
200 photos illustrate age, seasonal, and sexual variation in all of these species found north of Mexico.
The text introduces the biology, identification, molts, vocalization, and distribution of the 46 species covered.
David Beadle and J.D. Rising 2006 $29.95

The Shorebird Guide


Includes 870 photos, starting with a general impression of the species and progressing to more detailed
images of the bird throughout its life cycle.
Michael O’Brien, Richard Crossley, and Kevin Karlson 2006 $24.95

Birding Babylon
The journal of a soldier who has been a birder for 24 years and is deployed to Iraq. He writes of the birds
he has seen there.
Jonathan Trouern-Trend 2006 $9.95

On your next visit to the Bookstore, check out the SALE section. Recently many titles have been put on sale.

Bookstore catalog is now available online at: www.laaudubon.org/

July/August 2006 7
CONSERVATION CONVERSATION
by Garry George

Kern County judge rules against L.A. limited use because the project area is Audubon Board Chair Donal O’Brian
and Kerncrest Audubons west of the songbirds’ spring migratory and others defeated an offshore project
Kern County Superior Court judge routes. planned for Nantucket. At the same time,
Kenneth Twisselman announced his ruling “To the extent that the Petitioners also NY investment giant Goldman Sachs and
on Friday, April 14 to a courtroom of contend that the EIR conclusion that the corporate mammoth GE continue to
spectators including Dexter Kelly, Garry project will not have a significant avian consolidate the wind energy sector by
George, Kerncrest Auduboners Brenda impact is not supported by substantial buying up wind developers, including
and Dan Burnett, Lee Sutton, Santa evidence, the court finds that that con- Horizon which is developing Pine Tree
Monica Bay Audubon’s Mary Prismon tention also fails. The gist of Petitioners’ for DWP. Wind has become green with
and Kern County resident and Butterbredt arguments is that the EIR’s conclusion is profit perhaps more than with environ-
pioneer Keith Axelson. wrong because it is based on the conclu- mental good. In locations including
From court transcript: sions of Respondents’ expert, Dr. Morrison, migratory pathways and at Altamont in
“The first issue the Court will address and he did not follow the methodology Alameda County, it is red.
is the Petitioners’ contention that there is recommended by Petitioners’s expert, On the statewide policy front, L.A.
no substantial evidence to support the Robert Hamilton. Audubon has been invited to speak at a
EIR’s conclusion that the project will “However, it is not for the Court to hearing on June 9, 2006 at the California
have no significant avian impacts. The select among conflicting expert opinion Energy Commission in Sacramento. The
Petitioners contend that the EIR’s conclu- and substitute the Court’s judgment for hearing is the first step in the CEC and
sion with regard to this issue is deficient that of the agency.” California Fish & Game creation of
because the spring migration of song- The judge ignored the evidence in guidelines for the siting of windfarms in
birds through the project area was not the EIR that the visits to the site in California. We’ll be the only advocate
adequately investigated. And they also spring 2003 were raptor surveys on asking to include proper pre-construction
contend that no study of such migration April 6-7, Tehacapi Slender Salamander and post-construction studies including
through the area at night was made. And Surveys on April 7, rare plant surveys on radar on migratory songbirds for future
the Court finds that this argument is not April 19-20, and Desert Tortoise surveys wind farm sites. The room will be filled
persuasive within the meaning of CEQA. on May 13-15, all in the late morning, with wind industry spokespersons. These
“Respondents’ expert, Dr. Morrison, early afternoon. Correct me if I’m wrong small birds do not have lobbyists or
did consider the question and concluded but aren’t salamander hunters, rare plant elected representatives, and are already
that nighttime surveys of migrating song- hunters, and tortoise hunters in the late assaulted by so many other pressures
birds in the project area would not be morning/early afternoon looking in the created by humans including domestic and
helpful. The doctor explained that noc- wrong direction at the wrong time? This feral cats, communications towers, and
turnal radar surveys would be of little is only one of the errors in the judge’s buildings that one more is unconscionable.
use because radar cannot differentiate ruling that prompted the Board of Los The cumulative effect is outrageous.
between species. He also indicated that Angeles Audubon to vote unanimously
where there was little evidence of early on May 4 to appeal the decision, and ask The Good News: Western Snowy
morning or late evening use nighttime for an injunction against the beginning of Plover To Retain Threatened Status
surveys were not normally conducted. construction on the wind farm at Pine April 6, 2006. The US Fish and
And in this case visits to the project area Tree until the outcome of the appeal. Wildlife Service announced today a
including during the spring of 2003 noted Meanwhile, NPR carried the story of finding that the Pacific Coast population
only a low level of songbird activity. the biggest offshore wind farm in the of the western Snowy Plover remains at
“Respondents’ expert also suggested nation. The project is 150 turbines risk from habitat loss, human disturbances
another reason why nighttime surveys of planned for the Gulf of Mexico near and other perils and should retain its
migrating songbirds in the project area Padre Island right in the path of migratory status as threatened under the Endangered
were not needed. And they would be of songbirds. Senator Ted Kennedy, former Species Act (ESA).

8 Western Tanager
After reviewing the best scientific Snowy Plover. The petitions contended tion of conservation groups including
evidence, the Service finds that delisting that the Pacific Coast population of the Audubon California. Funding from
the species from the federal list of western Snowy Plover does not qualify Propositions 40 and 50 is almost gone
threatened and endangered species is not either as a distinct population or as a and our water quality, habitat restoration,
warranted. The Service concluded that threatened species. and coastal protection efforts will be
the Pacific Coast western Snowy Plover The Service found that the Pacific jeopardized without passage of a resources
population is markedly separate from Coast population of the western Snowy bond this year. This workshop was
other populations and that it meets the Plover is markedly separate from other attended by Audubon chapters and envi-
requirements for protection as a distinct populations of plover due to behavioral ronmental groups throughout southern
population segment (DPS) under the ESA. differences. With only very isolated California. Keynote speaker was Mary
The western population of the tiny exceptions, the birds of the Pacific Coast Nichols, Board Chair of DWP and former
shorebird that breeds in coastal areas in breed and stay on the coast their entire Secretary of Resources for California.
California, Oregon, and Washington has lives. The discreteness of this population Full language of the Natural Resources
been listed as threatened since 1993. The meets the legal requirements to qualify Bond is available at:
current population estimate for the US as a distinct population segment (DPS) www.ca.audubon.org/2006_Bond_Funding.htm
portion of the Pacific Coast population is under the ESA. Threats to the bird
approximately 2,300, based on a 2005 remain essentially the same since the L.A. Audubon Responds To Great Blue
survey. The largest number of breeding time of listing under the ESA in 1993. Heron Drama At Silverlake Reservoir
birds occurs south of San Francisco Bay Councilmember Tom LaBonge’s
to southern Baja. It is classified as a L.A. Audubon & Audubon California office asked L.A. Audubon for help with
“distinct population segment” under the Host Resource Bond Workshop public outcry over a Great Blue Heron
ESA, separate from populations that nest June 10, 2006 chick that was seen on the ground under a
in inland areas from Nevada and Utah to L.A. Audubon partnered with nest at the Silverlake Reservoir. The public
Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Audubon California in hosting a work- was demanding that the City of Los
Today’s action was triggered by shop to encourage support of the Safe Angeles protect the chick from coyotes
two petitions filed in 2002 and 2003, Drinking Water, Water Quality and and other predators. Garry George, Dexter
respectively, by the Surf-Ocean Beach Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Kelly, and Kimball Garrett quickly
Commission of Lompoc, CA, and the City Protection Act of 2006, a $5.4 billion responded by creating an educational sign
of Morro Bay, CA, seeking to delist the water and natural resources protection that the city erected onsite. See the text
Pacific coast population of the western initiative that was developed by a coali- of that sign below.

Some facts about Great Blue Herons at the Silver Lake Reservoir:

Great Blue Herons are migratory birds and may be absent from the reservoir for long periods of time.

Great Blue Herons and their nests are protected from human interference by federal, state, and city laws.

Heron nestlings hatch over a period of many days – the youngest, latest-hatching young very often do not
survive. Great Blue Herons lay 3-4 eggs, and on average only about two young fledge per nest.

All heron chicks leave the nest to face the world. Whether the chick has been pushed out of the nest by
another chick, fallen from a branch while trying its wings, or has left the nest from natural impulses, this is a
natural stage of the process of growing up. An important part of this process is learning to survive on its own
and avoid natural predators. Human interference will only complicate this process unless the bird is injured
and needs rehabilitation.

July/August 2006 9
birds of the season
by Jon Feenstra

reetings birders, and happy but at least they’re spring Big Day- Ballona Lagoon on March 23 remaining

G spring. Our non-summer weather


in southern California is typically
atypical, and again this spring climato-
accessible. Of similar status, a few
Cackling Geese have also made the
switch to sedentary swill-scavengers
for nearly a month [DB]. A contender for
the best bird of the season, a possibly
pure-blooded American Oystercatcher
logical aberration occurred. After worries with individuals at Zuma Creek from was found at Malibu Lagoon on May 2
that the drier than average winter would April 2 to May 6 [RB], continuing at [JHo, PH]. American x Black Oyster-
wither the plant-life and set us up for Santa Fe Dam on April 28 [TW], and at catcher hybrids are more common here
destructive fires in the fall, late spring Bonelli Park also on April 28 [AL]. This than pure American Oystercatchers and
rains in April nearly made up for the was definitely a season for Long-tailed close study is needed to rule out such
winter deficit. The rains also put water in Ducks. Although one seems to pop up mixed lineage. Unfortunately, it was not
streams and flood basins and greenery on every year on the south coast, there were seen again. Although more common as
the hillsides that is usually gone by this as many as four this winter remaining fall migrants (but still quite uncommon),
time of year. Its effects on spring bird into April. The wintering female was last the season’s only Solitary Sandpiper was
migration cannot be precisely character- seen on April 2 in Ballona Creek [RB], at Bonelli Park on April 28 [AL]. A fan-
ized, but many birders have noted a and a breeding plumage female was tastic rarity, and likely the first record for
“late” feeling to the number of migrating there on April 24 [RB]. An immature the Antelope Valley, a Black Turnstone
birds this year. The author himself did not male was at Dockwieler State Beach on was found at Piute Ponds on April 26
spend enough time in the field this season April 6 [RB]. An injured male in the [DN]. Still in basic plumage at its last
to comment on this directly, but the Ballona Creek channel last appeared on reported observation on May 6, a Red
reports below seem to reflect many of the April 23 [LG], several days before it Knot spent much of the spring at Del Rey
features that we see every year – some could be ticked for the ABC competition. Lagoon [KL]. A nice find, especially due
species are early, some are late, and some Hooded Mergansers are regular visitors to its presence during the ABC competi-
are in different numbers than we expect. to L.A. in the winter but birds remaining tion, was a Laughing Gull photographed
This season also was host to an interest- in the county well into April are rather at Malibu Lagoon on April 30 [BW, JaF,
ing phenomenon, a serious effort in the noteworthy. A female was on a pond in AK]. Franklin’s Gulls typically appear
America’s Birdiest County (ABC) competi- Gorman until at least April 14 [FO] and in small numbers in April and early May
tion. This three day period, April 28 – 30, another was at Castaic Lake until the very in L.A. County, particularly in the
had Los Angeles birders spending time late date of April 30 [BW, JaF, AK]. Well Antelope Valley. This year they were more
in patches that are not normally covered offshore in late April a few Fork-tailed scarce than usual with one in Ballona
thoroughly outside of the Christmas Bird Storm-Petrels were seen in what’s Creek April 6 – 8 [RB] and only two at
Count season. Needless to say this con- considered L.A. County waters [TMc]. the Lancaster Sewage Ponds (normally
certed effort turned up a few interesting This spring a number of these irruptive ground-zero for this species), both on
birds and very possibly made L.A. the wandering birds were seen far off southern April 20 [RB, JM, JHa]. The second one
birdiest county in the country. Here’s California. Although an abundant bird on in L.A. County this year, a first-year
what was around: the coast, sightings of Brown Pelicans Glaucous Gull was a reliable fixture at
Greater White-fronted Geese, an over inland fresh water are very rare. Malibu Lagoon from April 9 to May 6
uncommon to rare winter visitor, are now One was at Harbor Park on March 12 [CT]. An extremely rare spring vagrant
likely permanent bread-eating residents and four were seen over the San Gabriel inland (rare but regular in September) was
at both Santa Fe Dam (three birds seen River on March 14. Another at Castaic an adult Sabine’s Gull at the Lancaster
on April 28) [TW] and Apollo Park Lake on April 11 was even further from Sewage Ponds April 14 – 15 [TMc,
(April 29) [JFe]. Their decision to forsake its usual nearshore ocean haunts. Not an MSM, TMi].
the migratory nature of their majestic annually occurring vagrant, a Little For terrestrial birds, Eurasian
species and remain here is unfortunate, Blue Heron was an excellent find in the Collared-Doves seemingly have receded

10 Western Tanager
slightly in abundance in the Antelope reported last on April 28 [KL]. We’re all pinnacle of unexpected weirdness or
Valley as noted last year. However, hoping that it returns next year. because of the author’s forgetfulness.
coastal reports appear to be increasing with The Bell’s Vireo that wintered at This season, the author remembered, and
two or three at Earvin Magic Johnson DeForest Park (last year, too) remained a bird was reported that transcended
Recreation Area on April 8 [RB] and one at least until March 17 when it was last weird into the realm of otherworldly
near the San Gabriel River on April 28 reported [KL]. More unusual still is bizarrity. That would be, of course, the
[LS]. An early Black Swift was reported Bell’s Vireo in migration – one was Wrentit that was observed in the Baldwin
over Evey Canyon on April 29 [LC, MC] found at West L.A. College on April 12 Hills of Los Angeles from March 18 to
and a more seasonal one (although [RB]. A wintering Plumbeous Vireo April 2 [WL]. Simply imagining this
infrequently seen in migration) was over continued at Hansen Dam until the late ultra-sedentary, stumpy-winged denizen
Hazard Park on May 9 [TMi]. Calliope date of April 28 [KGa]. Migrant Purple of foothill chaparral in flight over the
Hummingbirds were more numerous Martins (presumably the only capacity Santa Monica Freeway makes many
than usual in the lowlands this spring in which these birds still occur in L.A. birders erupt in maniacal laughter or
with a female at Hansen Dam on March 19 County) were reported from the Piute collapse in lobotomized stupor. We thank
[KGa] and up to six frequenting a Walter Lamb for reporting this bird
feeder in Arcadia from March 25 to rather than having himself committed.
April 28 [MSM]. A late Red-naped Palm Warblers were reported
Sapsucker was found at Rosedale from DeForest Park on March 17
Cemetery on March 31 [RB]. [KL] and two birds continued from
This was a very exciting time the winter season at Madrona Marsh,
for rare flycatchers in L.A. County last seen on April 28 [DM]. The
with great finds complementing the Black-and-white Warbler continued
rarities that continued from the at Polliwog Park until March 17 [DS]
winter season. One of those great and our other regular eastern warbler,
finds was a one-day-wonder American Redstart, was represented
Greater Pewee at Griffith Park on by the continuing bird at El Dorado
April 17 [RB]. Greater Pewee has Park reported until April 27 [KGi].
wintered in the area in the past, and After last winter’s veritable attack of
one can’t help but wonder if that Painted Redstarts birders kept track
bird had been hanging out nearby of these showy vagrants until their
for a few months previous to the departure in late March. The one at
sighting. A presumably wintering Bonelli Park was last reported on
Photo by Larry Sansone

Hammond’s Flycatcher was March 21 [RH] and the Elysian Park


found in the Claremont Colleges bird was last reported on March 25
complex on March 19 [CM]. The [RB]. At this same time, though, new
few continuing wintering Gray Painted Redstarts appeared. One was
Flycatchers that peppered the L.A. at a residence in Altadena March 13
Basin this winter were met with a – 16 [PS] and another was in Eaton
small push of migrants in late Greater Pewee
Canyon on March 20 [SW, MC]. It
April. It seems that a handful are Griffith Park, April 17, 2006 will be interesting to see if any show
reported every year from the San up in the San Gabriels during the
Gabriel Valley at this time, this year’s Ponds on April 7 [MSc, JSc], Soledad breeding season this summer. The
were: April 20 at Eaton Canyon [TW, Canyon on April 10 (two birds) [MSM], Clay-colored Sparrow that wintered at
LA], April 21 one each at Peck Pit and the lower San Gabriel River on April 27 Madrona Marsh was last reported
Sycamore Canyon in Whittier [AL], and [KGi, JBo], and Hazard Park on May 9 (singing) on April 28 [DM]. Two more
April 28 at Bonelli Park [AL]. A female [TMi]. Although usually fairly common were found at Sepulveda Basin the same
Vermilion Flycatcher was at El Dorado as migrants in the Antelope Valley, Bank day [JBr]. A singing Brewer’s Sparrow
Park on April 27 [KGi]. Possibly fur- Swallows are tough to find here in the was on the Palos Verdes Peninsula on
nishing the third county record, a likely L.A. Basin, making the three found this April 29 [KL]. Six Brewer’s Sparrows
Brown-crested Flycatcher was found in spring notable – one at DeForest Park on were singing and territorial in Grasshopper
Placerita Canyon on May 13 [RB]. A March 17 [KL], and two over Castaic Canyon in the upper San Fernando
vocalization was the only missed field Lake on April 11 [MSM]. The Winter Valley on April 30 [MSM, JFe]. They
mark, but visibly the bird fit the necessary Wren that wintered at DeForest Park did historically nest in such scrubby
field marks. A Tropical Kingbird con- was last seen on March 17 [KL]. areas of L.A. County so the incident
tinued at El Dorado Park from March 15 In many “Birds of the Season” would not be unprecedented. A very rare
until April 27 [RB, KGi]. The Thick- columns an actual Bird of the Season and local breeding bird in the county, a
billed Kingbird at Banning Park, one of isn’t explicitly declared, either because migrant Grasshopper Sparrow is nearly
the highlights from the winter was nothing in particular stands out at the off the chart, but one was nevertheless

July/August 2006 11
Observers:
[AK] Alex Kirschel
[AL] Andrew Lee
[BW] Bobby Walsh
found in Eaton Canyon on April 20 [TW, bound fall migrants (Wilson’s Phalaropes). [CT] Chris Tosdevin
[DB] David Bell
LA]. A Swamp Sparrow, perhaps left A visit to the Antelope Valley then could [DM] Dave Moody
over from winter, was on the lower San furnish both in one birding trip. However, [DN] Dick Norton
Gabriel River on April 23 [JBo]. White- with gas at $3.50 a gallon we may see a [DS] Don Sterba
throated Sparrows wintered in several surge of great bird reports from obscure [FO] Francis Oliver
[JaF] Jason Finley
places and their numbers were bolstered local parks at the expense of reports [JBo] Jeff Boyd
slightly by spring migrants. One at Eaton from the deserts, but perhaps our trust- [JBr] Jean Brandt
Canyon was joined by a second briefly worthy politicians and consumer-minded [JD] Julian Donahue
in late April [MSc, JSc, TW]. Two were oil companies will have it all worked out [JFe] Jon Feenstra
[JHa] Jim Hardesty
present in Big Tujunga Canyon on by then. Good luck out there. [JHo] Judy Howell
March 27 [NF, MF]. The bird at the [JM] Jim Moore
Village Green since January was last On a side note, this will be my last [JSc] Janet Scheel
seen on April 18 [DS]. A migrant was in Birds of the Season column (at least for [KGa] Kimball Garrett
[KGi] Karen Gilbert
Westlake Village in far western L.A. a while). The job that I moved here from [KL] Kevin Larson
County on April 17 [MSM]. A wintering New Jersey to do is now complete and [LA] Liga Auzin
bird at a Mt. Washington feeder was although I plan to eventually return to [LC] Lori Conrad
joined by another April 16 – 18 before L.A. to find a job, I’ll be on the road for [LG] Lucio Gomes
[LS] Larry Schmahl
both birds departed [JD]. a while and am going to miss some of [MC] Mark Conrad
We’re now several months into the the most exciting birding this place has [MC] Megan Cahill
approximately ten month period of to offer (like August shorebirds). Thanks [MF] Mary Freeman
migration that occurs here in southern to all of you who helped me learn the [MSc] Mark Scheel
[MSM] Mike San Miguel
California. Spring actually lasts until the area and reported your birds. And try not [NF] Nick Freeman
middle of June when the last of the north- to find anything too good while I’m gone. [PH] Pat Heirs
bound migrants (Willow Flycatchers) are [PS] Phil Skonieczki
overlapping with the first of the south- Cheers, Jon Feenstra. [RB] Richard Barth
[RH] Rod Higbie
[SW] Steve Wack
[TMc] Todd McGrath
[TMi] Tom Miko
[TW] Tom Wurster
[WL] Walter Lamb

Farewell.
After more than a decade as Editor and Assistant Editor, we are retiring from the
positions we have very much enjoyed. We want to thank our good friends and acquain-
tances (too numerous to list here) who have so graciously provided such wonderful
articles, photographs, and other assistance; they have made this endeavor easy and
pleasurable.
We have been proud of our contribution to Los Angeles Audubon Society for these
many years but think it’s time for a change. We are confidant your board will pass the
torch to a new editorial staff who will produce a high quality Western Tanager with
renewed energy and vision.
We wish you all good birding and hope to see you in the field soon.
Jean and Tom

12 Western Tanager
WESTERN TANAGER
Published by
Los Angeles Audubon Society,
a chapter of
National Audubon Society.

EDITOR: Jean Brandt


ASSISTANT EDITOR: Tom Frillman
CONSERVATION: Garry George
FIELD TRIPS: Nick Freeman
PELAGIC TRIPS: Phil Sayre
PROGRAMS: Mary Freeman
ORNITHOLOGY CONSULTANT:
Kimball Garrett
PRINTING: G2 Graphics Services, Inc.

pelagic trips Opinions expressed in articles or letters


herein do not necessarily express the
position of this publication or of LAAS.

PRESIDENT:
Dexter Kelly
Island and along the Santa Rosa Flats to 1st VICE PRESIDENT:
Pat Heirs
the deeper water near San Nicolas Island. 2nd VICE PRESIDENT:
Then we will return by Arch Rock at Jason Stuck
SAVE $5 – SIGN-UP EXECUTIVE SECRETARY:
Anacapa Island. Birds seen on prior Robin Gose
60 DAYS PRIOR TO ANY TRIP trips: Northern Fulmar, Pink-footed, RECORDING SECRETARY:
Elenor Osgood
Sooty, and Black-vented shearwaters, TREASURER:
Leach’s, Least, and Ashy storm-petrels, Lisa Fimiani
EXECUTIVE PAST PRESIDENT:
cormorants (3), Parasitic and Pomarine Ray Schep
jaegers, Sabine’s Gull, rocky shorebirds
Saturday, September 9 – (up to 5), Common Murre, Craveri’s and EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:
Deep water trip toward Cherry, Tanner, Garry George
Xantus’s murrelets, and Cassin’s Auklet.
and Cortez Banks. Rarities: Buller’s and Flesh-footed Annual membership in both societies is $35
This trip departs from Sea Landing in shearwaters, South Polar Skua, and per year and $20 for new members for their
the Santa Barbara Harbor at 7:00 AM on first year. Members receive the Western
Long-tailed Jaeger. Blue, Fin, and Tanager newsletter and Audubon maga-
the Condor Express and returns approxi- Humpback whales have been seen on zine, a national publication. LAAS Chapter
mately at 8:00 PM. This is the Red-billed this trip. In 2002 a Streaked Shearwater memberships do not include Audubon
Tropicbird trip. We will be offshore in magazine and are $25, $35, $50, $100, and
was seen and in 2003 a Brown Booby $250. Donations and memberships can be
three counties, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and two Manx Shearwaters were seen. made online at www.laaudubon.org
and Los Angeles. Birds expected: Black, Leaders: Todd McGrath and David
Least, Ashy, and Leach’s storm-petrels, Western Tanager subscription rates for
Pereksta. non-members are $9 per year for third
South Polar Skua, Parasitic, Pomarine, $110 – There is a snack type galley with class delivery or $15 per year for first
and Long-tailed jaegers, Sabine’s Gull, beverages. class delivery. LAAS members may
and Arctic Tern. Rarities: Black-footed receive first class delivery by paying an
additional $5. Make check payable to
Albatross, Buller’s Shearwater, Craveri’s Los Angeles Audubon Society.
Murrelet. Blue, Fin, and Minke whales REFUND POLICY FOR
as well as several species of dolphin can PELAGIC TRIPS Los Angeles Audubon Society
Headquarters, Library
be seen. If a participant cancels 31 days or more and Bookstore are open to the public
Leaders: Kimball Garrett, Todd prior to departure, a $4 service charge
will be deducted from the refund. There Monday – Thursday
McGrath, Jon Feenstra, and David is no participant refund if requested fewer 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Pereksta. than 30 days before departure, unless
there is a paid replacement available. Plummer Park
$198 – There is a complete galley that Call LAAS for a possible replacement. 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard
serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Please do not offer the trip to a friend West Hollywood, CA 90046-6694
as it would be unfair to those on the
waiting list.
(323) 876-0202 – office
All pelagic trips (323) 876-7609 – fax
Saturday, October 14 – (323) 874-1318 – bird tape
must be filled 35 days prior to sailing.
Northern Channel Islands Monument. Please reserve early.
This 9 hour trip departs from the Island WesternTanager@LAAudubon.org – e-mail
NOTE: Destinations may be changed in LAAS@LAAudubon.org – e-mail
Packer’s dock in the Ventura Harbor at www.LAAudubon.org – website
order to maximize bird sightings, or mini-
8:00 AM on the fast catamaran Islander. mize rough seas. In order to meet unexpected
After dropping off campers on Santa Cruz increases in fuel costs, there can be a $5 to
Island, we will have the boat to ourselves $10 energy surcharge per person.
and cruise around Santa Cruz Island to
the Santa Cruz Passage by Santa Rosa
Printed on Recycled Paper
July/August 2006 13
F i e l d T r i p s
Before setting out on any field trip,
please, call the LAAS bird tape at Williamson’s Sapsucker, Calliope and shorebird identification. Binoculars are
(323) 874-1318 for special instructions Rufous Hummingbirds, Hermit Warbler, always a good idea for slide programs.
or possible cancellations that may have and White-headed Woodpecker. We may Cookies and coffee. Meet at Eaton
occurred by the Thursday before the trip. go to Arrastre Creek later. It will be Canyon Nature Center, Pasadena, from
warm and there may be bugs, so come 1:00 to 5:00 PM. Limit: 80 signups. Send
July 1 through 4 – prepared. Bring lunch for a full day, and $25 and a SASE with phone number to
Quaking Aspen Camping Trip for Owls. a Forest Service Adventure Pass. Audubon House to reserve, and for
Leaders: Mary and Nick Freeman. directions. See listing for Jon’s shorebird
Campground is between Springville and Saturday, August 5 – field trip below.
Ponderosa in the southwest Sierras. A Mount Abel area. Leader: Jean Brandt.
group campsite is reserved. Owling by We are going to start the morning with a Sunday, August 13 –
night, bird walks by day! Meet Saturday “seep sit”. Bring a chair, snax, thermos Shorebird Workshop (field trip). Jon
8 AM or noon. Meal logistics and other of hot drinks and be prepared for possible Dunn will provide direction on shorebird
details in flyer. Send SASE, phone, cold. Take Hwy 5 N past Tejon Pass to identification in the field, applying infor-
e-mail and $45 to reserve. 10 sign-ups the Frazier Park offramp, turn left, and mation from the lecture. Some collateral
max., no children or pets, please. follow Frazier Mountain Park Rd. bearing identification of other families may also
Call LAAS; trip may be full. right onto Cuddy Valley Rd. Meet at the occur. Limited to prepaid lecture partici-
obvious Y-shaped dirt clearing formed pants. Send a separate check for $20
Sunday, July 2 – by the junction of Cuddy Valley Rd. and ($45 total) in your SASE to LAAS to
Topanga State Park. Ken Wheeland Mil Potrero Hwy. Depart from the “Y” at sign-up. The field trip location will be
and Chris Tosdevin will lead partici- 7:30 AM. After we have exhausted the semi-spontaneous depending upon
pants through this beautiful and diverse birds and mammals (a gray fox was seen reports and conditions; directions will be
coastal mountain area. An ideal trip for a here in 2004) that come to the seep, we handed out at the lecture. The site where
beginning birder or someone new in the will bird our way up to Mount Abel. we can view shorebirds (hopefully up
area. From Ventura Blvd., take Topanga Picnic lunch somewhere around Mt. Abel. close) will be 75 minutes or closer from
Canyon Blvd. 7 miles S, turn E uphill on Rain cancels. Anticipate the elements, and L.A., and may involve a fair amount of
Entrada Rd. Follow the signs and turn bring a Forest Service Adventure Pass. walking. Finish up around 1:00 PM.
left into Trippet Ranch parking lot. From Limit: 17. Bring ’scopes if you can, sun
PCH, take Topanga Cyn. Blvd. 5 miles to Sunday, August 6 – block, a snack, and your favorite field
Entrada Rd. Parking $2. Meet at 8:00 AM. Topanga State Park. Leaders: Ken guide.
Wheeland and Chris Tosdevin. Meet at
Saturday, July 22 – 8:00 AM. See July 2 listing for details. Sunday, August 20 –
Whittier Narrows. Leader: Ray Jillson. Sweltering Salton Sea. Nick Freeman
View colorful resident and migrating Saturday, August 12 – is too nice to dump this trip on another
birds, possibly including the introduced Shorebird Workshop (lecture). Our leader. Anticipate 95-115°F, sewer stench
Northern Cardinal. Take Peck Dr. off the speaker will be the amiable yet authorita- and dust-a-plenty. Don’t show up with-
60 Fwy in South El Monte (just west of tive Jon Dunn, who leads field trips to out lots of water (1 gallon each), good
the 605 Fwy). Take the off ramp onto far-flung locations including Alaska, health, and a reliable car with AC. This
Durfee Ave. heading W (right) and turn Thailand, and California; presently sits on is the gauntlet of SoCal car birding. So
left into the Nature Center, 1000 Durfee the California Bird Records Committee; why come? We should see Yellow-footed
Ave. $2 suggested donation. Meet at is the primary consultant for the National and Laughing gulls, Wood Stork, Black
8:15 AM. Geographic Society’s Field Guide to the Tern, Lesser Nighthawk, Abert’s
Birds of North America; and has co- Towhee, Gila Woodpecker, and possible
Sunday, July 23 – written two top-notch books on bird ID Least Bittern, Fulvous Whistling-Duck
Big Bear Lake Vicinity. Leaders: Nick and distribution with our own Kimball and Stilt Sandpiper. Perhaps most excit-
and Mary Freeman. Meet in the Aspen Garrett. As such, he is extraordinarily ing is the slim but real possibility for real
Glen Picnic Area parking lot in Big Bear qualified to speak on aspects of shore- rarities such as Brown and Blue-footed
at 7:30 AM. Take Hwy 18 or 38 to Big birds and many other North American bird boobies, Magnificent Frigatebird and
Bear Lake, then proceed about half way families. Jon will cover species routinely even stranger stuff that has popped up in
along the south side of the lake on encountered in California, as well as west August. Limit 8 paid cars with two or
Hwy 18 and turn south on Tulip Lane. coast rarities; emphasizing aging, distribu- more each. Singles will be wait-listed
The lot will be on the south side of this tion and timing of occurrence by species until they can carpool. Send $10 per per-
short street. Target birds include and age, as well as how to approach son with a SASE per vehicle to Audubon

14 Western Tanager
ecords of rare and unusual birds
House to reserve, and for the mailer with
general, lodging, and meeting details.
Camping is risky; it may not drop to
hours. From the 101 Fwy, take Coldwater
Cyn. Ave. S into the hills. Immediately
after Mulholland Dr. merges from the W
R reported in this column should
be considered tentative pending
review by the regional editors of North
American Birds or, if appropriate, by the
90°F. Meet near Brawley at 5:30 AM, and with Coldwater Canyon Ave., make a 90- California Birds Records Committee.
bird until noon or so. ’Scopes and FRS degree right turn onto Franklin Canyon Dr.
radios helpful. and continue west to the Sooky Goldberg To report birds, send observations with
as many details as possible to:
Nature Center. The lot is through a gated
Sunday, August 20 – drive on the left. Birds of the Season,
Ballona Wetlands. Bob Shanman will
be leading this trip to our nearest wet- Saturday, September 16 – North American Birds, L.A. County
land and adjacent rocky jetty. Shorebirds Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. Kimball L. Garrett
should be moving in. Meet at the Del Leader: Eleanor Osgood. This trip covers Ornithology Collections Manager
Natural History Museum of L.A. County
Rey Lagoon parking lot. Take the Marina landscaped parkland and natural coastal 900 Exposition Blvd.
Fwy (90 W) to Culver Blvd. and turn left scrub habitats and is paced for beginning Los Angeles, CA 90007
for a mile, turn right on Pacific Ave. The birders and members of the Baldwin Hills e-mail: kgarrett@nhm.org
lot is on the right. Lot or street parking is community. The park entrance is off of California Bird Records Committee
usually not a problem. Three-hour walk. La Cienega Blvd. between Rodeo Rd. and Guy McCaskie
’Scopes helpful. Meet at 8:00 AM. Stocker St. After passing the entrance P.O. Box 275
Imperial Beach, CA 91933-0275
kiosk ($4 parking fee), turn left (leading e-mail: guymcc@pacbell.net
Saturday, August 26 – to the “Olympic Forest”) and park in the
Whittier Narrows. Leader: Ray Jillson. first available spaces. Meet at 8:00 AM. To report birds for the tape, call:
Meet at 8:15 AM. See July 22 listing for Jon Fisher: (818) 544-5009 (work)
details. Sunday, September 17 – e-mail: JonF60@hotmail.com
Galileo Hills. Leader: Nick Freeman.
Sunday, August 27 – One of the best migrant traps in the state.
L.A. River Shorebird Migration. Reptiles may be encountered! Take Hwy 14
Larry Allen will help us identify and about 4 miles past Mojave, then turn right
RESERVATION
age the small sandpipers of the genus on California City Blvd. Drive through AND
Calidris. A great opportunity to get more town about a mile past the shops, turn FEE EVENTS
practice after Jon Dunn’s Shorebird left past the golf course on Randsburg- (Limited Participation)
Policy and Procedure
Workshop, and those who could not Mojave Rd., and follow the signs to the
attend the workshop fieldtrip. This is Silver Saddle Country Club. Park in lot Reservations will be accepted ONLY if
ALL the following information is sup-
prime time for Baird’s and Semipalmated by the first pond. About 2 hrs driving plied:
sandpipers, although identifying the latter time from L.A. LAAS phone sign-up 1) Trip desired
from the concrete river bank is a challenge. mandatory; no drop-ins! 12 max. Bring 2) Names of people in your party
Take the 710 Fwy S to the Willow Street lunch, sun block. Meet at 7:00 AM, finish 3) Phone numbers:
(a) usual and
offramp, head E over the L.A. River, and up 4-ish. Motel 6 in Mojave is convenient. (b) evening before event, in
take the first left on Golden Ave, the first case of cancellation
4) Separate check (no cash please) to
left on 26th, and follow this around onto Saturday, September 23 – LAAS for exact amount for each trip
DeForest Ave. Park near the river access Piute Ponds and Lancaster environs. 5) Self-addressed stamped envelope for
confirmation and associated trip infor-
by the bridge, meet along the river at Local leader Alan Brown. A good mix mation
7:30 AM, and bird until noon. No fee, no of shorebirds, waterfowl and songbirds, Send to:
LAAS Reservations
sign-up. Spotting ’scopes very helpful, with a chance for LeConte’s Thrasher P.O. Box 931057
although we will share. and Pectoral Sandpiper. Meeting place is Los Angeles, CA 90093-1057
the Wayside Café at 2835 Sierra Hwy in If there is insufficient response, the trip
Sunday, September 10 – Rosamond. We want to LEAVE the café will be cancelled two Wednesdays prior to
the scheduled date (four weeks for pelag-
Upper Franklin Canyon Birdwalk. around 8:00 AM, and finish up 3:00 PM or ics). You will be so notified and your fee
Docent Steve Botts will be escorting us so. Bring lunch, water, and sun block. To returned. Your cancellation after that time
will bring a refund only if there is a paid
around this local bird haven, with Wood reserve with LAAS, call Audubon House replacement. Millie Newton is available at
Ducks, migrating songbirds, and resident by September 19 with name, phone Audubon House on Wednesdays from noon
to 4:00 PM to answer questions about field
chaparral species expected. Franklin number, and e-mail address (optional). trips. Our office staff is also available Mon-
Canyon is located between Sherman Limited sign-up of 15. No drop-ins. day through Thursday for most reservation
services.
Oaks and Beverly Hills. Meet in the High clearance vehicles may be a plus.
parking lot at 8:00 AM, and bird for a few No cameras on base!

July/August 2006 15
EVENING MEETINGS
Meet at 7:30 PM in Plummer Park
7377 Santa Monica Boulevard West Hollywood, CA 90046-6694

no Meetings in summer

watch for upcoming events

Tuesday, September 12
Kimball Garrett
Birding On $4.00 A Gallon

Tuesday, October 10
Graham Chisholm of California Audubon
Conserving the Sierra Nevada’s Kern River: Cuckoos, Cottonwoods, and Ranchers

laas international tours


We are pleased to announce that in 2007 we plan some very exciting birding and wildlife tours -

THAILAND in January
MOROCCO in April
KENYA in October

Watch for upcoming details and check out our web page at laaudubon.org.

Olga Clarke, Travel Director


Los Angeles Audubon Society
2027 El Arbolita Dr., Glendale, CA 91208
Ph/Fax: (818) 249-9511
e-mail: oclarketravel@earthlink.net

Los Angeles Audubon Society


P.O. Box 931057 DATED MATERIAL
Los Angeles, CA 90093-1057 Please Expedite
BOOKSTORE
CATALOG
NOW
ONLINE
AT
www.LAAudubon.org

16 Western Tanager