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Volume 76, Number 2 November/December 2009

a publication of Los Angeles Audubon

—Conservation Conversation, by Garry George

Grassroots activists work to protect California desert

nvironmental global warming energy where organization leaders U.S. Department of the Interior and

E campaigns and government

policies calling for more re-
newable energy have stimulated a
call for more wind and solar, and
grassroots call for protection of pris-
tine habitat and threatened species.
National Park Service.

But after passage of the 2005

“green rush” of renewable energy in Energy Policy Act, the Bush
California. The Governor’s steroidal Case in point: California’s administration said the land could be
Executive order calls for 33% of en- Mojave, Sonora, Colorado, Joshua used for solar energy projects. The
ergy to be renewable in California by Tree, Big Morongo Valley, and Conservancy discovered that the
2020. The President’s stimulus Antelope Valley deserts, the Bureau of Land Management was
package calls for “shovel ready” re- epicenter of solar energy. taking applications for large scale
newable energy projects by Decem- wind and solar projects on the land
ber 2010 to qualify for billions in The Wildlands Conservancy’s to meet renewable energy goals. In
federal stimulus money. But, grass- acquisition of more than 587,000 February 2009, Bruce Pavlik
roots activists and conservation or- acres of desert lands in Southern reported in the LA TIMES, that there
ganizations are pushing back at the California began in 1999, cost around were applications for large scale
“green rush” as projects come online $40 million, and is the largest wind and solar projects on 1.4
that will destroy the very thing they nonprofit land acquisition donated to million acres of public lands in
are designed to protect, and they are the American people in U.S. history. California, mainly in the pristine,
using sophisticated political advo- It includes over 85,000 acres in unrestorable desert, a “green rush”
cacy powered by conservation tech- Mohave National Preserve, over fueled by federal stimulus and
nology that goes beyond the NIMBY 20,000 acres in Joshua Tree National federal and state tax breaks which
(Not in My Back Yard) opposition of Park, over 210,000 acres in 20 Bureau environmental organizations had
the past. This new grassroots advo- of Land Management wilderness fought to achieve.
cacy might just bridge the current areas, and hundreds of thousands of
Green vs. Green split in the environ- acres of important habitat. The over Alarmed, local activists pres-
mental community over renewable 587,000 acres were donated to the sured their state organizations and
lawmakers to help protect California level of protection as a monument
desert lands habitat and wildlife. and put pristine lands off limits to
The grassroots pushed the agenda. energy development.

The mission of Los Angeles Audubon Society is to In spring 2009, grassroots ac- BrightSource Energy Inc. had been
promote the enjoyment and protection of birds and tivists and top policy leaders from planning its 5,130-acre solar power
other wildlife through recreation, education,
conservation and restoration. Wildlands Conservancy, Defenders farm in a remote part of the Mojave
Los Angeles Audubon is a non-profit volunteer of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Center for Desert, but the company, based in
organization of people with a common interest in
birding and natural history. Los Angeles Audubon Biological Diversity, NRDC, Oakland, California and Jerusalem,
maintains offices, a library, and bookstore, the Audubon California, California Israel, announced in mid-September,
proceeds of which benefit all of its programs.
Wilderness Coalition, California that it would look for another site due
Los Angeles Audubon Society Desert Coalition, National Parks to opposition from environmentalists
Audubon House
7377 Santa Monica Blvd.,
Conservation Association, and a host and Senator Feinstein.
W. Hollywood, CA 90046-6694 of local desert conservation organi-
Mailing Address
zations and land trusts, met in a sum- LADWP is rumored to be
P.O. Box 931057, Los Angeles, CA 90093-1057 mit to compare GIS layers of maps withdrawing their Green Path North
(323) 876-0202 (voice/messages)
and biological data as well as transmission line project through
(323) 876-7609 (fax) “ground truthing” of personal testi- Big in Morongo Canyon, an (general email)
mony on desert sites. In a few Audubon California IBA, in favor
weeks, the group developed a criteria of existing lines along the I 10 fwy.
Board Officers
President David De Lange for siting of projects in the desert to due to opposition from local
1st Vice President Garry George
2nd Vice President Paul Fox
inform federal and state agencies and residents, California Desert
Executive Secretary
Recording Secretary
Linda Oberholtzer
Eleanor Osgood
energy developers of areas where Coalition, and local Audubon
Treasurer Lisa Fimiani their projects might meet the fewest chapters including Los Angeles and
Executive Past President Dexter Kelly
environmental obstacles, and encour- San Bernardino Valley.
Programs & Activities
Conservation Garry George age developers toward industrialized
Field Trips
Bird Walks
Nick Freeman
Eleanor Osgood
areas near already existing roads, Newsweek reported in August,
Pelagic Trips Phil Sayre cities that need jobs, transmission 2009, that large scale solar proj-
Membership Meetings Mary Freeman
Ornithology Consultant Kimball Garrett centers and lines, and away from ects were getting “vastly outpaced
Rare Bird Alert Jon Fisher
Report Rare Birds (323) 874-1318 pristine areas and wildlife corridors. by the decentralized rooftop solar
Volunteer Coordinator Eleanor Osgood
Library Dorothy Schwarz
The goal was to protect pristine approach. According to the Inter-
lands while also closing the gap on state Renewable Energy Council's
Executive Director Mary Loquvam renewable energy portfolio standards 2006-08 count, consumers added
Director of Interpretation Stacey Vigallon
Audubon House Administrator Martha Balkan through solar and wind development 522 megawatts to the grid;
Membership Services Susan Castor
in the desert. This was a surprising whereas utility generated sites
Audubon House Bookstore
Orders (888) 522-7428
moment when local and state conser- added just 96 megawatts.”
Fax (323) 876-7609 vationists and environmentalists
Bookstore Manager (323) 876-0202
Hours Mon-Thurs 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. worked for habitat protection as well AB920 from Assemblyman Jared
1st Sat. ea. month 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
as energy development. Huffman (D-San Rafael), is intended
Online Nature Store
to boost the Million Solar Roofs ini-
This new balanced movement is tiative. That package of rebates and
having results and shows the power other incentives includes selling
WESTERN TANAGER of a marriage of overarching policy electricity back to the utility grid,
Published by and local “ground truth.” currently prohibited in California.
Los Angeles Audubon Society
The bill aims to raise the number of
Western Tanager is published bi-monthly. For address changes or
subscription problems call (323) 876-0202, or write to Member
Some of the recent solar homes in California from
Services, Los Angeles Audubon, PO Box 931057, Los Angeles, CA
90093-1057. Submissions are due the 1st of the month, two months
developments: 25,000 in 2006 to 1 million in 2016.
before the date of the issue. Please send submissions as Microsoft
Word or RTF documents, or plain text files, to Linda Oberholtzer at As of late September, Senator Power (pun intended!) from
Editor Linda Oberholtzer
Layout Susan Castor
Dianne Feinstein is preparing to the grassroots!
Proofreaders Hanna Hayman, Kimball Garrett introduce legislation in Congress
Printed on Recycled Paper that could give the Mojave a higher
E2 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No.2
I n t e r p r e t i n g N at u r e
—By Stacey Vigallon,
Director of Interpretation
Students complete Baldwin Hills students. With temperatures in the with a plan to work together to
Boot Camp 2009… high 90’s for most days, these create an on-campus native plant
dedicated students nonetheless garden. We hope you enjoy these
rom August 24th through showed up to spend long hours photo highlights!

F September 3rd, 2009 students

accepted to the Baldwin Hills
Greenhouse Internship and
outdoors at Kenneth Hahn State
Recreation Area and Baldwin Hills
Scenic Overlook State Park.
The Baldwin Hills Greenhouse
Program is the result of a
Restoration Leader programs Orienteering with map and partnership between Los Angeles
completed Baldwin Hills Boot compass, soil sampling, pollination Audubon and NewFields (formerly
Camp, an intensive summer training biology, and invasive plant removal EARTHWORKS Restoration), with
session designed to prepare them were just a few of the activities on funding from the Baldwin Hills
for the challenges of conducting the schedule. In addition, Interns Conservancy and TogetherGreen.
scientific research, leading and Restoration Leaders spent Participating students are from
community volunteers during several afternoons writing an Susan Miller Dorsey High School.
habitat restoration events, and environmental curriculum for Leo This is the program’s second year.
teaching elementary school Politi Elementary School students,

Students worked hard at

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
to remove invasive fennel and pampas grass.

Interns and Restoration

Leaders built nest boxes for native bees
in addition to building soil sieves for use
during habitat restoration events.

Restoration Leaders assessed

bird abundance and species diversity
along a stretch of the
Ballona Creek in Culver City.

Dr. Margot Griswold, restoration ecologist,

During an introduction to pollination biology,
led students on a hike to identify invasive plant species
Interns dissected flowers to gain a better understanding of
at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area.
how plants and their pollinators interact.

Western Tanager November/December 2009 E3

birds of the season —by Jon Fisher

he big story was the Station Fire journey. This is also the time when birds (Richard Barth) and two American

T of late August and early Septem-

ber. There is no precedent in the
county’s recorded history for the extent
on the move tend to go wildly off course.
Both of these things are good for birders,
as vagrants tend to be easier to re-find,
Wigeon that summered at Bonelli Park
in San Dimas with sightings from June
30-August 3 (Andrew Lee).
of destruction that this event brought to and the birds can be very good ones.
the western San Gabriels. A Brown Booby was photographed
The lower LA River lived up to in the Catalina Channel on August
Years of drought and notoriously its reputation as a premier birding lo- 15, a record which falls within the
rugged terrain made for an explosive cation in the county. To the uniniti- expected window for post-breeding
combination as this fire tore through ated, the number of birds that wanderers (Jess Morton). While this
nearly 250 square miles of thick dry veg- congregate here is amazing. Aes- species breeds commonly not far
etation. It’s difficult to grasp the fact that thetically, the river doesn’t score south of us in the Gulf of California,
this fire affected a full one fourth of the high marks and junk of almost any it is rarely recorded in the county.
Angeles National Forest. kind can turn up. Dolls, tricycles,
shopping carts, suitcases, rubber Pelicans of interest included a Brown
A number of residents living near balls, plastic containers of every de- Pelican well away from the coast along
the base of the mountains provided anec- scription and a myriad of plastic the San Gabriel River in South El Monte
dotal information about increases of bags can be found. Sadly, many on July 31 (Rick Swarzentrover) and an
birds in backyards and at feeders due to view the river as a garbage dump. American White Pelican on the San
displacement as a result of the fire. Un- Gabriel River near the Pacific Coast
usual though the scope of this fire was, Though the trash and other pol- Highway on August 30 (Ron Cyger).
predictions are that more such major lutants inevitably have effects, it
fires will occur as long term drought doesn’t appear to bother the birds in The previously reported Little Blue
conditions persist the short term; they come here in Heron was reported through August 1 at
droves. Most of our scarce but regu- Del Rey Lagoon and a Cattle Egret was
Though still the middle of summer, lar shorebirds– including Solitary, on LA River in Long Beach on August 6
July and August were months of change. Baird’s and Semipalmated Sand- (Karen Gilbert).
Shorebirds were steadily increasing in pipers– had all appeared on the river
number and some waterfowl had arrived by the second week of August, but it Small numbers of White-faced Ibis
by the end of the period. Passerine wasn’t until the end of the month moved through the coastal slope during
movement was evident in July and obvi- though that two truly significant va- the period with reports roughly split be-
ous by mid-August. In addition to regu- grants turned up. tween Malibu Lagoon and the San
lar migrants, a number of minor vagrants Gabriel and LA Rivers.
were recorded over the past two months. As is typical in summer, few waterfowl
of note were to be found. One of these An interesting report was a probable
Spring migrants have a critical drive was a Cackling Goose that appeared at Sharp-shinned Hawk in the San
to reproduce and the pace is intense. In El Dorado Park in Long Beach on July Gabriel Mountains on August 15 (Lance
fall, birds travel in a more leisurely fash- 31 (Karen Gilbert). Also present was a Benner). This is a time of year when mi-
ion and may linger for days or even very worn Brant on the LA River in grants are absent, and if correct this
weeks before continuing their southward Long Beach from July 30-August 9 record suggests that a few individuals

E4 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No.2

may regularly summer and perhaps even Two Red Knots– scarce migrants in the (Karen Gilbert, Jeff Boyd).
breed locally. A very few historical county– were on the lower LA River on
breeding records do exist for the San August 13 (Karen Gilbert, Jeff Boyd) White-winged Doves are rare but regu-
Gabriels and other southern California and seven were observed there on Au- lar late summer and fall visitors. The
mountain ranges. gust 18 (Paul Weers). first of the season was one at El Dorado
Park in Long Beach on September 7
A juvenile Northern Harrier turned up The first Semipalmated Sandpiper of (Karen Gilbert).
at Santa Fe Dam in Irwindale on July 25 the fall was on the LA River from
and was seen through August 9 (Andrew August 6-10 (Richard Barth). A few Chimney Swifts- the default Chaetura
Lee), demonstrating that fall migrants others turned up later in the month, all from June until mid August– were along
can show up quite early in the season. along the LA River. the LA River in Long Beach on July 24
(Andrew Lee) with two or more being
A Common Moorhen was observed A Baird’s Sandpiper was on the LA reported in this general area at least
with young on the San Gabriel River in River in Long Beach as early as July 23 through August 22.
South El Monte on August 2. Although (Karen Gilbert, Jeff Boyd) and a number
this species is scarce in summer, appro- of Baird’s appeared on there in the Empidonax flycatchers included a Gray
priate patches of habitat occasionally– if following weeks. Sightings away from Flycatcher back for a third ‘winter’ at
not regularly– support breeding pairs that locale included two on the Rio Bonelli Park in San Dimas by August 3
(Rick Swarzentrover). Hondo near El Monte on August 10 (Andrew Lee) and a probable Least
(John Garrett) and up to five were on the Flycatcher at Ballona FWM on
The first Solitary Sandpiper of the Rio Hondo near Rosemead from August September 7 (Russell & Dorothy Stone).
fall was on the lower LA River on 21-26 (Andrew Lee, Peter Sharp). On
August 7 (Andrew Lee). A handful the desert, three were at the Piute Ponds An immature Vermilion Flycatcher
of others were found along the river on August 19 (Tom Miko). was at Kenneth Hahn Park in Baldwin
through August 26 and a few were at Hills on August 22 (Ann & Eric
other locations on the coastal slope. The first Pectoral Sandpiper reported Brooks). This was certainly a dispersing
On the desert, two were at the Piute was on the LA River in Long Beach on bird that had hatched elsewhere, rather
Ponds on August 19 (Tom Miko). August 18 (Richard Barth), with a hand- than the result of local breeding.
ful of others being encountered later in
The highlight of the fall thus far was the period. Others turned up on the Rio An Eastern Kingbird was at El
a Hudsonian Godwit seen only Hondo north of Rush Street in South El Dorado Park in Long Beach on July
briefly on the lower LA River on Monte on August 25 and on the San 14, a date that could pertain to either
August 22 (Steve Sosensky, Bruce & Gabriel River in Cerritos on August 30 a late spring bird or an early fall
Greg Aird). Only the second county (Ron Cyger) migrant (Karen Gilbert).
record, this bird vanished after a few
minutes, never to be seen again. In Quite unusual was a South Polar Skua Away from breeding areas were two
fall most of these godwits follow a seen very close to shore near San Pedro Bell’s Vireos along the LA River in
route that takes them over the on September 6 (Graham Langley). Long Beach on August 6. Another was
Atlantic Ocean. They are also rare Though regular well offshore, birds this in Long Beach on August 13 (Karen
but expected vagrants in the northern close to the coast are unexpected. Gilbert) and a report came from Peck
half of the state, but most seem to Park in Arcadia on September 6
correct course and only very rarely Also expected well offshore, but very (Andrew Lee). Increasing local breeding
appear in southern California. rare inland, was an adult Long-tailed populations are resulting in many more
Jaeger at the Lancaster Sewer Ponds on reports of migrants and dispersing birds.
This remarkable find was followed three August 22 (Mark & Janet Scheel).
days later by another very rare shorebird. A juvenile Loggerhead Shrike, unlikely
A Buff-breasted Sandpiper was found Away from the deserts– where they are to have fledged locally, was near Playa
on the river near DeForest Park in Long expected in spring and fall– was a Black Del Rey from July 14 - 20 (Jonathan
Beach from August 25-26 (Karen Tern was on the lower LA River on Coffin) and two adults were reported in
Gilbert, Richard Barth, Jeff Boyd). August 22 (obs?) with the same bird or this area by August 28 (Loretta Selinger,
another seen there on September 8 Jonathan Coffin).

Western Tanager November/December 2009 E5

A Bank Swallow– a scarce migrant any- Very early was a Yellow-rumped A Yellow-headed Blackbird was on the
where on the coastal slope- was at Santa Warbler reported at Hahamongna LA River in Long Beach on August 18
Fe Dam on August 9 (Andrew Lee) and Watershed Park in Pasadena on August (Karen Gilbert) and another was there on
many were at the Piute Ponds on August 15 (Sue Horton). August 22 (obs?).
19 where typically small numbers are
expected (Tom Miko). Wrapping up the warblers was a Black- While shorebird migration is
and-white Warbler at Madrona Marsh waning, the bulk of passerine mi-
Several sightings of White-breasted in Torrance on August 5 (Dave Moody). grants are still moving through and
Nuthatches on the coastal slope in September, October and November
July and early August seemed to in- A Brewer’s Sparrow at Peck Park in Ar- will bring some good birds.
dicate a general movement of this cadia on September 6 (Andrew Lee) was
species into the lowlands, but no the only report thus far from the coastal Experience tells us that long after
subsequent reports surfaced. slope, although this species is normally a migration has ended, vagrant songbirds
scarce but regular fall migrant away from will continue to be found well into
The first report of a migrant Hermit the deserts. December. Mild weather and exotic
Thrush came from UCLA in Westwood plantings offer the potential for unusual
on September 9 (Linda Navroth). Black-throated Sparrows– birds to be found in parks, backyards and
typically juveniles- are rare but along our river channels.
The continuing pair of Northern regular coastally in fall and one in
Parulas at the Village Green Malibu on September 9 was the only Northern Shovelers, Cinnamon Teal
Condominiums in Los Angeles were one reported thus far (Scott King) and Northern Pintails began arriving in
confirmed nesting on July 29. Soon late August, but waterfowl numbers won’t
thereafter the nest was predated and At the early end of the window for peak until November. Any pond, lake or
no sign of the young birds could be fall migrants was an adult male river channel is worth checking and can
found. A presumed fall migrant Lark Bunting found and pho- harbor a variety of waterfowl or a vagrant
showed up at this locale on tographed at the Long Beach Air- or two. Recall last year’s late November
September 8, but when a second bird port on August 13 (Matt Teutimez). Barrow’s Goldeneye at Quail Lake?
appeared there on September 10,
there was some suspicion that these A ‘Large-billed’ Savannah Sparrow In spite of the apparent devastation,
birds may have been associated with was at away from expected areas at areas burned by the Station Fire should
the earlier nesting attempt (Don Malibu Lagoon on September 7 (Jon not be neglected as birding ‘dead zones’.
Sterba). Another Northern Parula Fisher). A few post-breeding birds Once the burned areas are reopened to
was at Oak Park Cemetery in move north from Baja each year and public access– which may not be for
Claremont from September 4-6 are most commonly recorded on the some time- there will be a good opportu-
(Mike San Miguel Jr.) jetties at Marina del Rey. nity to observe the changes taking place.

Lucy’s Warblers were in Long Beach An adult male Rose-breasted A worthwhile project would be to
on July 23 and on August 18 (Karen Grosbeak was at DeForest Park in pick one or more locations in the burned
Gilbert, Jeff Boyd) and one was at Peck Long Beach on August 13 (Karen area and cover them regularly while tak-
Park in Arcadia on September 6 Gilbert, Jeff Boyd) and another was ing good notes. eBird is a great place to
(Andrew Lee). at Oak Park Cemetery in Claremont enter your data for this and of course for
on August 23 (Rick Clements). any other birding trips.
Virginia’s Warblers were at Bosque del
Rio Hondo in South El Monte on August An Indigo Bunting was on the Taking notes appears tedious at first,
30 (Steve Bernal), at Oak Park Cemetery San Gabriel River in Pico Rivera but once incorporated into your birding
in Claremont from September 4-6 (Tom on August 1 (Larry Schmahl). routine, it becomes habit. Entering trip
Miko), and at DeForest Park in Long Others were at Madrona Marsh lists into eBird also makes them readily
Beach on September 8 (Karen Gilbert, in Torrance from August 1-4 and available in a way that was never before
Jeff Boyd). and at Hahamongna Watershed possible. Note taking tends to make us
Park in Pasadena on August 15 better birders too… it’s a good deal
(Sue Horton). all around.

E6 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No.2

Bird Walk Report — by Eleanor Osgood

small group of novice bird

A watchers spent Sunday morning,

September 19th walking about
Kenneth Hahn Park looking for those
elusive coastal scrub birds. For the first
time the sparrows failed to make an
appearance at our traditional starting
point above the parking area. Despite
their absence we spent an hour at this
location stalking Epidinax flycatchers, a
wren and vireos flitting about in the
shrubs. We were finally able to get a
decent look at two of the birds, to
identify them as a Pacific-slope
Flycatcher and a Warbling Vireo, two
migrants on their way south. The wren
remained hidden despite its frequent
Gwen Moore Lake, KHP photo by Eleanor Osgood
scolding and movement throughout the
area. Usually a House Wren inhabits the
slopes and it was assumed that that is adults. We were just about to give up on We definitely had to work for our
what we were hearing. Overhead were the herons when an adult Black-crowned birds but the weather was great and
resident Western Scrub-Jays; and Night-Heron flew into a tree directly participants learned a lot along the way.
periodically we could hear a California overhead; then as we were leaving we Other birds seen that day were: Say’s
Towhee. spotted a first year bird in its juvenile Phoebe, Black Phoebe, Red-tailed
plumage perched in a different tree. To Hawk, Brewers Blackbird, Song
We then walked over to Gwen top things off we observed a Cooper's Sparrow, Allen’s Hummingbird,
Moore Lake looking for egrets and Hawk that was standing along side the Mallard, Barn Swallow, a swift,
herons. While waiting for their pathway, swoop up and land 3 feet from Mourning Doves, Nutall’s and Downy
appearance we had the opportunity to the, now highly nervous (or inquisitive), Woodpeckers, Bushtits, Northern
study the plumage of a pair of young young Black-crowned Night-Heron. Mockingbird, European Starlings,
American Coots compared with the House Finches and House Sparrows.

DONORS Stephen Dexter Virginia Shabaik
Harvey Abrams Pamela King Jean M Shreve
Sandra Ferrari Disner Karen Pinkus & Robert Kaufman Linda Michele
Lisa Fimiani
Lutheran Church Sandra Albers Gerry Haigh has passed. Gerry was
Margaret Maw Ed & Marnell Bruce our friend, a long time chapter mem-
Myra Pomerantz Dan D'Urso ber of Los Angeles Audubon, and
Paula Reynosa Nancy Freeman leader of our Topanga State Park bird
Ted & Nancy J Rose William & Bernhild Heckmann walks. He lead this walk nearly
Heidi Schwindt Paul Nelson every month since 1972, stepping
Tanis Sugden & Lisa Mark Drew Pallette down in November of 2002. Gerry
Michael Swimmer Joan L. Roach also contributed many articles to our
Gary Turner Margaret F. Sobel newsletter, the Western Tanager.
James Walters Richard Sutton
Robert Whittaker
Irwin Woldman

Western Tanager November/December 2009 E7

Field Trips
Field trips often require more time
or effort than do bird walks. They Christmas Bird Counts
delve more deeply into Sunday, December 20
identification, natural histories and Saturday, December 19 Malibu Christmas Bird Count
interactions observed in the field. Lancaster Christmas Bird Count Contact compiler Larry Allen at:
No pets or small children, please. Contact compiler Nick & Mary (626) 288-2701 or
Contact information will be to participate.
Freeman at: (818) 247-6172 or
released for carpooling unless
requested otherwise. to be
placed on a team or be given an area.
Before setting out on any event, please
call the LAAS bird tape at
(323) 874-1318, Option #4.
For a recorded message with special exit E at Ramona Expressway, for those parking at the lagoon.
instructions or possible cancellations
continue E just past Perris Blvd., No sign-up for this trip.
that may have occurred.
Same will be posted on our website. and meet at the Farmer Boys Saturday, January 9 Restaurant on the S side of the East Antelope Valley
road. Leave from here at 8:00 Leader: Stan Gray. We will be
Sunday, November 1 a.m. Bring lunch, warm clothing birding beyond 50 th Street East
Oxnard Plain and footwear for possible mud. for much of the day, in areas
Leader: Mary & Nick Freeman. Possible entrance fee. sometimes neglected by birders.
Meet at the Hueneme sod fields at However, Stan birds this area
8:00 a.m. to look over the Saturday, November 28 regularly, and knows that
American Pipits for the Red- West Antelope Valley Raptors Mountain Plover, raptors, Le
throated variety, as well as and Other Wintering Birds Conte’s Thrasher and other AV
longspurs. Golden-Plovers are Jean Brandt will lead us from specialties are sometimes easier
also possible. There may be Quail Lake east across the to find in the far eastern reaches
eastern vagrants to chase. Mugu Antelope Valley. Ferruginous of the Valley. Take Hwy 14 N to
estuary, Sycamore Canyon, and Hawk and Prairie Falcon likely. Avenue S (next to Lake
local tamarisk stands are also Wear warm clothing, bring lunch, Palmdale). Drive into the Park-
possibilities. From the 101 N, and have a full tank of gas. Meet and-Ride just to the east of the
drive S on Rice Avenue to the at Denny’s at 6:45 a.m. to offramp. Meet at 8:00 a.m. at the
end, then turn Rt. on Hueneme carpool. Take 405 N to Roxford W end of the main lot. Bring
Rd. Meet on the N (Rt) side of in Sylmar. Turn right, then right lunch and a full tank of gas for a
Hueneme Rd. a few blocks west into the Denny’s parking lot. Trip full day of splendor in the alfalfa.
of this turn, and just before leaves at 7:00 a.m. sharp. Rain No fee, no reservation. ‘Scopes
Casper Rd. Scopes helpful. Bring cancels. ‘Scopes and FRS radios and FRS radios helpful.
lunch and bird ‘till we drop. helpful.
Nominal donation suggested, Saturday, January 16
envelope provided. Sunday, December 6 Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Area
Malibu Lagoon Leader: Kris Ohlenkamp. “Freeway close”
Saturday, November 7 Leader: Irwin Woldman. morning of birding. Kris has led this walk
Lake Perris Area Wintering shorebirds, seabirds on-and-off for over 30 years, noting 240
Leader: Howard King. The Little and gulls will predominate. Sora species, and averaging 60-65 per walk.
Gulls, Ruddy Ground-Dove, and and Virginia Rails possible. Take Take the 405 fwy N into the San Fernando
Least and Vermilion flycatchers PCH N over the bridge in Valley, turn W on Burbank Blvd. and N
of past years may not be back, but Malibu, and turn right on Cross (Rt.) on Woodley Ave. to the second Rt.,
surely something will take their Creek Road for street parking which is marked “Wildlife Reserve”. Turn
places! Last year, TWO Lesser (and Starbucks). Cross PCH, and here and park in the lot at the end. Meet at
Black-backed Gulls! Take the 10 meet in the lagoon parking lot at 8:00 a.m., and bird until about 11:30 a.m.
or 60 Fwy E to the 215 Fwy S, 8 a.m., and bird until lunch. Fee

E8 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No.2

Saturday and Sunday, Rough-legged Hawk. If possible, please Sunday, February 28
January 23 & 24 carpool or avail your vehicle to others Seal Beach National Wildlife
Salton Sea when you reserve. Your phone number Refuge (in SBNWS)
Leaders: Nick & Mary Freeman. will be released for carpooling unless Refuge staff, volunteer John
Fee: $15. No Limit, but sign up you request otherwise. Send name, Nieto, and Nick Freeman will
with phone, e-mail, and SASE for phone #, e-mail, $15 per person, and lead. Excellent wintering birds,
more details. Meet at 7:00 a.m. SASE to our P.O. Box to sign up. often Nelson's (Sharp-tailed)
Saturday at the Wister Unit Reserve a room in Buttonwillow for Sparrow. U.S. citizens send SASE
parking lot, 5 miles north of Saturday night. Motel 6 is one option to Audubon House with e-mail
Niland. Calipatria Inn (800) 830- here. Limit: 14. More details next issue. and phone number (phone #
1113 and Brawley Inn (760) FIELD TRIP FEES UPDATE: required) by February 18. Meet at
344-1199 are recommended. After considerable feedback from the the main public lot at 800 Seal
More details next issue. Society’s members and leaders, LA Beach Blvd. and Forrestal Lane at
Audubon has decided to change its 7:30 a.m., and bird until noon. 24
Saturday, January 30 philosophy on trip fees, and roll back participants. No fee. Read next
Newport Back Bay fees to cover anticipated expenses only. issue for necessary information
We do listen to our members! We still
Leader: Mary Freeman. Meet at plan to award Ralph M. Schreiber
and directions.
8:00 a.m. for the 6.8’ high tide, and a Research Grants. Envelopes for
full day of birding. Hopefuls: voluntary donations to support LA aNNOUNCEMENT!
Nelson’s Sparrow and Short-eared Audubon and its field trips, will be
Owl (both rare), California distributed on some non-fee trips. Los Angeles Audubon has
Gnatcatcher, three rails, and Please consider supporting your field joined forces with Leo Politi
trips with your donations. Elementary School and
American Bittern. Take the 405 Fwy
S to the 73 Toll Road (free this far) TO RESERVE BY MAIL–
through a U.S. Fish & Wildlife
to the Campus Dr. exit, which Send SASE, fee (or donation) to: Service grant will be installing
becomes Bristol St. Turn right on a Native Habitat on 6,000
Irvine Ave., drive 1.4 miles, then Los Angeles Audubon square feet of underutilized
turn left on a small street called PO Box 931057 schoolyard! Please join us and
University Drive, park at the end, Los Angeles, CA 90093-1057 the Leo Politi School
and walk down the trail and Community and help install
boardwalk. No sign up or fee. Bring Call (323) 876-0202. the garden! Following
lunch. More details next issue. installation, we will have a
ceremony dedicating the
Saturday and Sunday, AUDUBON MORROW BAY garden to Johnny Mercer,
February 6 & 7 famous song-writer and angel
Carrizo Plain patron of Los Angeles
Leaders: Mary & Nick Freeman. Meet Audubon!
The Morro Bay Winter Bird
at 8 a.m. in Maricopa. Spectacular Come celebrate!
Festival is set for January 15 - 18,
scenery. We will see Ferruginous
2010. To register and for more
Hawks, Golden Eagles, Le Conte’s Saturday, November 7, 2009
information about the Festival,
Thrasher, and pronghorn; with likely Leo Politi Elementary School
check out the website at, or 2481 West Eleventh Street
call (805) 772-4677. Los Angeles, CA 90006
9:00 a.m. – noon
Both the brochure and online
registration will be available REFRESHMENTS SERVED!
October 1, 2009. The registration MUSIC PROVIDED!
deadline is December 31, 2009 but RSVP TO:
early signups are encouraged as the
most popular events fill up quickly.
LeConte’s Thrasher, Photo by Mary Freeman

Western Tanager November/December 2009 E9

Bird Walks
Bird Walks are appropriate for young Duck and Ring-necked Duck. We Most of the wintering birds will have
bird watchers age 6 years and older. will look for our resident birds— arrived. We are likely to see White-
Carpooling is encouraged. California Quail, Spotted and Crowned, Golden-crowned and Fox
Binoculars are provided on some California Towhees, California Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglets
walks as noted below. NO sign-up, Thrashers and Western Scrub-Jays and if real lucky a Sharp-shinned
NO fees, just show up! among others. This canyon is a Hawk Some possible wintering ducks
hidden treasure where the surrouding are American Wigeon, Ring-necked
Topanga State Park Birdwalk urban residences of Sherman Oaks Duck. We should also see the coastal
1st Sunday of every month and Beverly Hills disappear from scrub residents as well as water birds
Leaders: Ken Wheeland and view. Meet in the main parking lot of such as Black-crowned Night-Heron,
Chris Tosdevin the Sooky Goldman Nature Center. Osprey, Great Egret which are
Sunday, November 1 2009 Binoculars provided. attracted to the lake.
Sunday, December 6, 2009 Directions from the 101 Freeway: Directions: The park entrance is off
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Take Coldwater Canyon Blvd. south of La Cienega Blvd. between Rodeo
Ken and Chris will lead participants to the intersection of Coldwater Rd. and Stocker St. After passing the
through this beautiful and diverse Canyon and Mulholland Drive. Make entrance kiosk ($6.00 parking fee),
coastal mountain/riparian area. An a 90 degree right turn onto Franklin make a left at the first turn which
ideal trip for a beginning birder or Canyon Drive. There is no sign leads to the “Olympic Forest”. Park
someone new to the area. indicating the entrance to the park; in the frrst available spaces. We will
Directions from Ventura Blvd: Take the turn at Franklin Canyon Road meet there. Binoculars provided.
Topanga Canyon Blvd 7 miles S. reads “Road Closed 800 Feet” and If you wish to carpool, or for more
Turn E uphill on Entrada Rd. Follow “Sunrise to Sunset”; this is the park information, contact Eleanor Osgood
the signs and turn left into Trippet entrance. Do not make a U-turn as at or
Ranch parking lot. this will take you onto Mulholland (310)-839-5420.
Directions from Pacific Coast Hwy: Drive instead of Franklin Canyon.
Take Topanga Canyon Blvd. 5 miles Stay on paved road to reach the Ballona Wetlands Bird Walk
to Entrada Rd. Parking fee. Sooky Goldman Nature Center 3rd Sunday of the month
Contacts: Ken: (310) 455-1401 parking lot. (No walk in December); Directions from Sunset: Take Sunday, November 15, 2009
Chris: (310) 455-1270 Coldwater Canyon to Mulholland Dr. Leaders: Bob Shanman and Friends
Turn left on Mulholland. Make left Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Upper Franklin Canyon turn at the signal onto Franklin Join us for a walk through L.A.’s
(Sooky Goldman Nature Center) Canyon Dr. (refer to directions from only remaining saltwater marsh and
2nd Sunday of every month 101 Freeway). the adjacent rocky jetty. Wintering
Sunday, November 8, 2009 If you wish to carpool, or for more shorebirds and terns should be
Sunday, December 13, 2009 information, contact Eleanor Osgood present, plus the resident Black
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at or call Oystercatchers frequent the rocky
Leader: Eleanor Osgood (310) 839-5420. shores of Ballona Creek. Meet at the
Join us as we take a casual walk Del Rey Lagoon parking lot.
around the ponds and trails of this Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area Directions: take the Marina Fwy (90)
urban oak woodland nature preserve. 3rd Saturday of the month to Culver Blvd and turn left for a
The wintering birds have mostly Saturday, November 21, 2009 mile. Turn right on Pacific Ave. The
arrived. We are likely to see White- Saturday, December 19, 2009 lot is on the right. Lot or street
Crowned and Fox Sparrows, Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. parking is usually not a problem.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Western Ann and Eric Brooks (Nov); Three hour walk. ‘scopes helpful.
Meadowlarks and if real lucky a Eleanor Osgood (Dec.) Contact: Bob (310) 326-2473
Sharp-shinned Hawk. Wintering This trip covers landscaped parkland,
water birds we might encounter lake and native coastal scrub habitats
include Pied-billed Grebe, Ruddy and is paced for beginning birders.
E10 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No.2
International Birding Tours
On the Galapagos
Extension, you'll walk
some of the same trails
that Charles Darwin did
as a naturalist in 1831.
With expert guides, see
Galapagos Tortoise,
Green Turtles,
Galapagos Sea Lions,
Chatham Lava Lizard,
several types of
reptiles, including the
Turquoise-browed Motmot, Photo by Ann Brooks
ECUADOR: BEST OF colorful Marine Iguana and the
THE ANDES oversized Lava Lizard. Close views
Dec. 26, 2009 - Jan. 9, 2010 of Waved Albatross, Magnificent
Galapagos Extension Frigatebirds, Galapagos Penguins, Blue-
Jan. 8 - 13, 2010 footed and Nazca Boobies, Brown
Noddies, Galapagos Hawk and several
cuador may be one of South species of finches. Great photographic

E America's smallest countries,

but for phenomenal birding
and spectacular scenery, its extreme
opportunities throughout.
March 5 to 15, 2010
biodiversity cannot be imagined.
(Featuring an optional
You must see for yourself the extension to Panama) or
constant parade of unusual species
PANAMA Golden-hooded Tanager, Photo by Ann Brooks
of birds in these renowned highland
March 15 to 22, 2010
birding areas, the Northwestern and
Eastern slopes of the Andes. Visit near the Panama border;
wo of the world's premier
seven zones of different regions on
this serious but friendly excursion,
accompanied by a local expert
guide. Based at the famous San
T natural history destinations.
Well known by birders
throughout the world for their
Corcovado N.P. and Drake Bay in
the south Pacific with miles of
pristine beaches and tropical
rainforest; Excursion to Cano
natural riches, offering numerous
Jorge De Quito Eco-Lodge, only a Island.
species of colorful birds and other
20 minute drive from the airport in
wildlife. This action packed
Quito, we'll be birding the You may wish to extend your
itinerary for incredible neotropical
Yanacocha Reserve, Mindo, visit with an Extension to Panama,
birding will excite the novice and
Tandayapa Valley, Milpe, Papallacta or you can do Panama separately.
enthrall the expert.
Pass, Yanayuca, the slopes of the
Antisana Volcano, and more. With a short flight from Costa
We'll be birding new areas on
Dozens of species of hummingbirds Rica to Panama, we will visit many
this Costa Rica trip. Spectacular
and fruit eaters coming to feeders. of the world-famous birding areas
scenery from the Caribbean slopes
such as Soberania N.P.; Pipeline
of the Talamanca Mountains at
Road and Achiote Road; Chagres
Rancho Naturalista for both
For information and itinerary on N.P. Rainforest and a brief visit to
Atlantic and Pacific birds; Piedras
International Birding Tours, contact: the Embera native tribe; Enjoy a
Olga Clarke
Blancas N.P., in humid tropical
partial transit to experience the
Los Angeles Audubon, Travel Director primary rainforest; Las Cruces
historic passage through the
2027 El Arbolita Dr. Biological Station and Wilson
Panama Canal; ending with birding
Glendale, CA 91208-1805 Botanical Gardens in the
Ph/Fax: (818) 249-9511
in the Metropolitan N.P.
southwestern pre-montane range
Western Tanager November/December 2009 E11
Meet at 7:30 PM in the Community Building in Plummer Park
7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046

Blue-footed Boobie, by Christopher Taylor, Swallow-tailed Gull,Photo by Larry W. Allen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tom Kaminski presents: "Hooked on Galapagos Birds" Larry Allen presents:
What Gull is That ? Speciation among the
It is cast in the same mold as its predecessor, "Hooked on Larids
Hummingbirds", that is, it is both educational and entertaining.
And like its predecessor, it uses slow motion, stop motion, extreme When the next edition of your favorite North American
close-up videography and other techniques to help the viewer see field guide is published, you will note that the scientific
very clearly, some of the fascinating behaviors that they otherwise names of many Gull (and other) species will have changed:
may miss. Among other things, viewers get to: Bonaparte's Gull will be Chroicocephalus philadelphia and
Laughing Gull will be Leucophaeus atricilla for example.
• Swim with Galapagos Penguins as they slice through their prey... And, if your field guide follows AOU order, Swallow-tailed
• See a frigatebird literally drag a Blue-footed Booby through the air... Gull will be the first picture in the gull section. Larry will
• Join a Lava Heron — unique to the Galapagos Islands -- as it sneaks up on discuss the reasons for these changes and touch on the
a Sally Lightfoot Crab... history of gull systematics. We will explore some of the
• Observe Storm Petrels walking on water... problems imposed by hybridization and the comparatively
• Watch a Galapagos Hawk devour its prey, then sneeze... recent evolutionary radiation of many gull species. Larry
• Be introduced to the Flightless Cormorant, Darwin's Finches, and many, will also provide identification tips to help in
many other bird species. discriminating among the many members of this interesting
and complex group.
Maps help to orient the viewer. Tom of course couldn't resist throwing in one
of Ecuador's fabulously beautiful hummers during brief mention of places to
visit in the Quito area.


Saturday, November 7 December 5
December 12 December 19
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Regular Hours: Monday - Thursday, 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Regularly Closed: Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Holidays Closed:
Thanksgiving, November 26th - 29th, Thurs. - Sun.
Extended Hours Program Evening: Christmas, December 24th - 27th, Thurs. - Sun.
2nd Wednesday of each month New Year’s, December 31st - January 3rd, Thurs. - Sun.
9:30 a.m until 9:45 p.m.
NO Saturday openings in January 2010