You are on page 1of 16

Volume 76, Number 4 March/April 2010

WESTERN
TANAGER
a publication of Los Angeles Audubon www.laaudubon.org

FIRE ON THE CREST!


Aftermath of the Station Fire of Summer 2009
—by Mary and Nick Freeman

anta Ana Winds whip up three months after the fire started

S
terrain and limited air support
strong gusts of wind in opportunities were contributors. and about five weeks after the
Southern California. Hell Pyrocumulus clouds rising over the monstrous fire was finally
breaks loose each year when fires top of rugged mountain ridges extinguished. We observed the
erupt on dry, chaparral-covered resembled a volcano that had blown devastation firsthand. Due to snow,
hillsides. In August 2009, Los its top. Lack of winds prevented air the highway was only open as far
Angeles County suffered the largest support in many steep, inaccessible as Islip Saddle. Stopping along the
wildfire in the county’s history. areas as the fire spread. Unusually road was not permitted, and
The "Station Fire", presumably an rugged terrain prevented vehicles left parked on the road
arson fire, burned over 167,000 firefighters from moving in were ticketed. Many people
acres of the San Gabriel mountain equipment to fight the inferno as it stopped to take pictures.
range above Los Angeles. The fire marched to the east and north. Temperatures were below freezing
spread, not because of the Santa at times during the day. We
Ana Winds but as a result of dry, Nick and I scouted the Angeles ventured out to experience the first
dense vegetation fueling it. Steep Crest on December 6, which was 30 miles of Angeles Crest Highway
to see what habitat remained. We
only got as far as Chilao
Campground and Newcomb Ranch
Restaurant. The fire stopped just
short of Buckhorn Campground.
Portions of the San Gabriel
Wilderness Area away from the
highway to the southeast had
burned. Mountain slopes above the
Crest had a barren, lunar look. On
ridges, large conifers such as
Bigcone Douglas-fir and Sugar
Pine were black skeletons. Live
Oaks also suffered the fire’s wrath,
showing only brown leaves now.
According to a forestry service
source, brush fires can raise the
internal heat within the trunk
causing the leaves of the tree to
Pyrocumulus Clouds over Los Angeles, August 2009 Photo by Joe Fuhrman
turn brown. These brown trees may
Barley Flats Road, was fairly
scorched, with the dead needles of
the trees beautifully covered with a
silvery hoar-frost. Other areas that
had suffering crown fires, showed
signs of woodpecker activity. We
observed Northern Flicker, Acorn
Woodpecker, Mountain Chickadee,
and White-headed Woodpeckers at
Barley Flats Road, and a pair of
Red-tailed Hawks soaring nearby.
Up the road, Upper Big Tujunga
Canyon Road was closed off, as the
road descended into heavily burned
habitat.
When the fall and winter rains
and snows end, giving way to
spring and summer sun, there will
be new growth. Mountain
wildflowers may spring fourth in
Angeles Crest Highway, near Switzer picnic area.
Notice the burned out vegetation on the slopes.
unprecedented numbers.
Photo by Mary Freeman Ceanothus species, Chamise and
Mountain Mahogany may reclaim
have met their death, along with the saddle. This was a particularly chaparral in three to 10 years, and
charred majority of oaks throughout welcome bit of good news, as this Live Oaks may retake their place in
the chaparral and oak woodland is where we hope to eventually re- 20 to 30 years, but the loose
belt transected by the Angeles Crest find the Saw-whets. At Red Box, networks of Bigcone Douglas-fir
Highway. Whether these oaks have we found (1) Ruby-crowned and Sugar Pine, and denser stands
survived will not be seen until Kinglet; (3) California Thrashers; of Ponderosa and Coulter pines that
spring. Though fires are a healthy (2) Western Scrub-Jays; (1) were lost will not return again in
phase in the progression of Wrentit; (1) Oak Titmouse; and (1) our lifetimes.
chaparral, an intense fire such as Gray Squirrel.
the Station Fire is mostly
detrimental to oak and coniferous
forest woodlands upslope in this
mountain setting.
Chaparral shrubs are already
showing signs of regeneration on
the bases of less-intensely burned
hillsides. Deep gullies and isolated
ridges survived the fire. California
Sycamores and Incense Cedars
stand among the burned vegetation.
The bottom of Switzer canyon, and
the far hillside appear as if they
might have weathered the fire. But,
as with all of the region's
camping/hiking areas, there is no
access at this time for this to be
confirmed. The east side of Mount
Wilson Road from Red Box was California Thrasher at Red Box at the
fairly untouched as far as the Mt. Wilson Road turnoff. Photo by Mary Freeman
2 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No. 4
Thank You for sUPPORTING
lOS ANGELES AUDUBON!
The mission of Los Angeles Audubon Society is to
promote the enjoyment and protection of birds and We wish to acknowledge these “Friends and Supporters” of Los Angeles
other wildlife through recreation, education,
conservation and restoration. Audubon. Listed here are both new and long-time supporters, who have
recently shown their support. We hope to see you at our monthly programs,
Los Angeles Audubon is a non-profit volunteer
organization of people with a common interest in
field trips, bird walks, pelagic trips and other events.
birding and natural history. Los Angeles Audubon
maintains offices, a library, and bookstore, the The staff and volunteers at Audubon House are happy to assist with any
proceeds of which benefit all of its programs. questions about our chapter and our activities.
Los Angeles Audubon Society
Audubon House
7377 Santa Monica Blvd., John T. Bacon Mary Lumkin
W. Hollywood, CA 90046-6694
Claire S. Becker Donna Matson
Mailing Address Henry Borenstein
P.O. Box 931057, Los Angeles, CA 90093-1057 Lucinda Mittleman
(323) 876-0202 (voice/messages)
Lynn Bossone Deidre & John Montgomerie
(323) 876-7609 (fax)
LAAS@laaudubon.org (general email)
William Cabeen Estella Mysels
www.laaudubon.org Hilma Carey Sallie & Rob Neubauer
Board Officers
President David De Lange
Richard Castle Geoffry Oblath
1st Vice President Garry George
2nd Vice President Paul Fox Susan Chapman Eleanor Osgood
Executive Secretary Linda Oberholtzer
Recording Secretary Eleanor Osgood Friedrich Czech Archer B. Parham
Treasurer Lisa Fimiani
Executive Past President Dexter Kelly Johanna Dawes Robert Ottus Pasnau M.D.
Programs & Activities
Conservation Garry George
Shirley Eckstein Robin Prather
Field Trips Nick Freeman
Bird Walks Eleanor Osgood George & Mary Flicker Judith Raskin
Pelagic Trips Phil Sayre
Membership Meetings Mary Freeman Susan Frank Cindy Rosene
Ornithology Consultant Kimball Garrett
Rare Bird Alert
Report Rare Birds
Jon Fisher
(323) 874-1318
Georges and Germain Fusenot Carol Jean Selvey
Volunteer Coordinator Eleanor Osgood Charity Foundation
Library Dorothy Schwarz
Samuel & Stella Goren Pat Shanks
Staff
Executive Director Mary Loquvam
Margot Griswold Michael & Mildred Sondermann
Director of Interpretation Stacey Vigallon
Audubon House Administrator Martha Balkan
David Haake Laurie & George Stoneman
Membership Services Susan Castor

Audubon House Bookstore Dr. E. A. Hankins Charles & Michele Suttles


Orders
Fax
(888) 522-7428
(323) 876-7609 Margaret Oroz Haskin Michael Swimmer
Bookstore Manager (323) 876-0202
Hours Mon-Thurs 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Henry & Loretta Hersh Selinger Teresa Thompson
1st Sat. ea. month 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Curtis Johnson John & MaryAnn Thompson


Online Nature Store
www.losangelesaudubon.org/store
Gretchen Keeler Charles & Miriam Vogel
Gary Wallen
WESTERN TANAGER Dexter & Elizabeth Kelly
Hartmut Walter
Published by
Los Angeles Audubon Society
Rebecca Kuzin
Jim & Cathi Lamm Kenneth Warner
Western Tanager is published bi-monthly. For address changes or
subscription problems call (323) 876-0202, or write to Member
Arthur Langton Cindy Lee & Curt Wohlgemuth
Services, Los Angeles Audubon, PO Box 931057, Los Angeles, CA
90093-1057. Submissions are due the 1st of the month, two months
before the date of the issue. Please send submissions as Microsoft Susan Lapham Arthur Yannoukos
Word or RTF documents, or plain text files, to Linda Oberholtzer at
westerntanager@laaudubon.org.
Mary Lawrence Test Callyn Yorke
Editor Linda Oberholtzer
Layout Susan Castor John Lobel R. R. Zappala
Proofreaders Hanna Hayman, Kimball Garrett

Printed on Recycled Paper

Western Tanager March/April 2010 3


birds of the season —by Jon Fisher

his is what we call winter, and I’m A Snow Goose was at Almansor Rare along the San Gabriel River

T not complaining. True, our


mountains and deserts experience
something akin to ‘real’ weather, but the
Park in Alhambra from November 19-
January 6 (Rick Swartzentrover) and
seven were along the San Gabriel
was a Wood Duck in Pico Rivera on
November 27 (Larry Schmahl).

rest of the county must endure mild River in Pico Rivera on November 27 Eurasian Wigeons were along the
conditions ideally suited for birding. (Larry Schmahl) with what was likely LA River in Atwater Village from
the same group seen at the Rio Hondo November 20-November 28 (Richard
And the birds themselves did not spreading basins from January 1-5. Barth) and at the Ballona Freshwater
disappoint. Most often spring and fall Two more were at Balboa Lake in Marsh on November 29 (Vic Warren,
migration generate the most excitement, Van Nuys on December 17 (Jean Laurel Scott). A new bird was along
but November and December were Brandt) and another was at Harbor the LA River in Glendale from
remarkably productive. Park in Wilmington from December December 2-5 (Richard Barth) and
23-29 (Ed Griffin). another was at Hansen Dam on
A number of LA County Christmas
December 6 (Kimball Garrett).
Bird Counts took place in the latter half
Good numbers of Greater White- Females are certainly overlooked in
of December and early January and these
fronted Geese both lingered and were the region, but one was picked out of
turned up another handful of good birds.
newly discovered on the coastal slope, the wigeon flock at the Woodley Lakes
More importantly, the data from these
while up to ten Brant were at Cabrillo Golf Course in Van Nuys on
counts continues to document bird
Beach from December 27-January 2 December 17 (Jean Brandt).
numbers, including the increase or
(Tom Miko, Kathy Parker).
decline of a number of species.
A lone female Greater Scaup was
It’s been a good winter for Three Cackling Geese were at found at Almansor Park in Alhambra
waterfowl, with Snow and Greater Harbor Park in Wilmington from on December 27 (Rick
White-fronted Geese and Hooded November 12-January 2 (Ed Griffin), Swartzentrover). As usual, they were
Mergansers being present in above while another two were at Lincoln present in numbers on larger lakes and
normal numbers, while along the coast a Park in Lincoln Heights on November reservoirs in the interior.
variety of rare ducks turned up. 19 (Tom Miko) and one was at the
Earvin Magic Johnson Recreation area An ultra rarity in the county was
Glaucous-winged Gulls- largely first in Willowbrook on November 28 an immature male King Eider found
year birds– were present in significant (Richard Barth). at Cabrillo Beach on December 27
numbers last winter both inland and (David Ellsworth). This cooperative
along the coast, but this year they were A Tundra Swan was at Legg bird was seen by many very satisfied
scarce everywhere. Lake in South El Monte from birders as it remained through the end
December 16-20 (Peter Sharp) where of the period. There are only two prior
Remarkably, vagrant warblers were
it was eventually found dead. Three CBRC accepted records for the Los
virtually non-existent this winter. There
more were at the Rio Hondo spreading Angeles County.
was also little evidence of any invasive
basins in Pico Rivera from January 1-3
or irruptive species, although numbers of
(Jon Fisher). Another group of three Quite rare in the county was a
sapsuckers and Lewis’s Woodpeckers
swans, possibly also Tundras, was Harlequin Duck in the Long Beach
were above average.
reported over Claremont on December Harbor area on January 2 (Bob
Here’s a look at what was around… 13 (fide Cathy McFadden) Schallmann). Unfortunately this bird was
in a restricted area, but it could well turn
up at a publicly accessible area nearby.

4 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No. 4


A Surf Scoter was at Bonelli Three White-faced Ibis were in Always scarce in winter was a
Regional Park in San Dimas on Pico Rivera at the San Gabriel River Lesser Yellowlegs along the San
November 13 where they are rare but spreading basins from December 4-28 Gabriel River near Whittier Narrows
somewhat regular (Andrew Lee). (Larry Schmahl) and one was at El on December 19 (Jon Feenstra).
Dorado Park in Long Beach on
The waters off Dockweiler State January 7 (Maureen Sullivan). Unusual gulls included a first year
Beach in El Segundo hosted several Franklin’s Gull at Legg Lake from
Black Scoters and White-winged Often overlooked, Legg Lake in January 3-6 (Chris Akiyoshi) and a
Scoters from November 14-January 5 South El Monte was a hot birding very rare adult Lesser Black-backed
(Richard Barth). Another Black was locale in December. An excellent Gull at Torrance Beach on December
on Alamitos Bay on December 13 find here was a Wood Stork present 27 (Dave Moody).
(Robb Hamilton). Elsewhere, a few from December 12-21 (Mark & Janet
White-wingeds were at Torrance Beach Scheel). Subsequently this bird A Common Murre off Dockweiler
on December 28 (Kevin Larson) and turned up at Bonelli Park in San State Beach on November 22 was the
two were off Pacific Palisades on Dimas on December 24 (Gloria only alcid reported (Richard Barth).
December 29 (Richard Barth). Rosta) where it remained through
January 3 and finally apparently A Burrowing Owl continued at
Long-tailed Ducks showed up at moved on. This is the first coastal Playa del Rey through November 15
Dockweiler State Beach on slope record for the county since and another was in Culver City from
November 29 (Dana Quincey) and at 1984, with an interior record from November 18-December 9 (JoAnne
Malibu Pier from December 20- Piute Ponds in 1988 being slightly McKenzie). A third that was seen
January 2 (Walter Lamb). more recent. Historically this species through the period was found in early
was much more common coastally. December above Dockweiler State
Though fairly common on our Beach (Dean Schaff).
interior lakes and reservoirs, few A Golden Eagle was seen at
Common Goldeneyes were reported Bonelli Park on November 30 and At least six Lewis’s Woodpeckers
coastally. Single birds were at Del again on December 24. An adult Bald continued at Jackson Lake near
Rey Lagoon on December 13 (Barbara Eagle was also at Bonelli from Wrightwood through November 14,
Johnson) and at Topanga Lagoon on December 2-January 3 and a sub-adult while a single bird remained at the San
December 20 (Walter Lamb). was there on December 11 (all Rod Gabriel Country Club. Several were at
Higbie). Others were seen over Marshall Canyon near La Verne as of
Hooded Mergansers seemed to Claremont on December 11 (Pamela November 28 (Cathy McFadden, Paul
be everywhere and in good numbers, King), on the Lancaster CBC on Clarke) and one was at Malibu Creek
marked by a high count of twenty-nine December 19 (Mary Freeman) and at State Park through January 2 (Louis
at Hansen Dam on December 24 Castaic Lagoon on December 27 Tucker). Another was in Santa Clarita
(Kimball Garrett). (Kimball Garrett). on December 27 (Mike San Miguel).

Common along the coast, but Other raptors of note were a Always an unusual find in the
unusual inland was a Red-breasted returning Ferruginous Hawk at Playa lowlands were Williamson’s
Merganser at Balboa Lake on del Rey from November 11-January 3 Sapsuckers at Mt. Sinai Memorial
December 8 (Jim Hardesty). (Jonathan Coffin) and a probable Park near Burbank on November 23
suckleyi type Merlin – the rare dark (Richard Barth) and at Veteran’s Park
Rare at any time, but even less subspecies— along the LA river near in Sylmar on November 30 (Richard
expected after October was a Brown Glendale on November 28 (Tom Sutton). Others were in Big Dalton
Booby off Torrance Beach on Wurster, Liga Auzins). Canyon north of Glendora (Tom
December 28 (Kevin Larson). Ryan) and at slightly higher elevation
Mountain Plover are regular in at Henninger Flat on December 19
With little good habitat available, the Antelope Valley in winter, with (Darren Dowell).
American Bitterns are rare on the thirteen spotted in one field (Jean
coastal slope. Just two were found Brandt), and another ninety nearby on At least seven Red-naped
during the period, one at Harbor Park November 28 (Andrew Lee). At least Sapsuckers were found on the coastal
in Wilmington on November 14 (John forty were reported through early slope between November 12 and
Tomlinson) and another at Legg Lake January, all being in the vicinity of January 3, while Yellow-bellied
in South El Monte on December 17-28 Avenue I and J near 110th Street East. Sapsuckers included returning birds
(Steve Duncan). at Lindberg Park (Don Sterba) and at

Western Tanager March/April 2010 5


Ed Vincent Park in Inglewood Flycatcher returned as of coastal slope in San Francisquito
(Richard Barth) on November 14. December 2 to spend its third Canyon on December 27 (Russ &
Others were at Veteran’s Cemetery in winter at Creek Park in La Mirada Dorothy Stone), and a lone male
Westwood on November 15 (Jim (Jonathan Rowley). was in Glendale from January 5-6
Abernathy, Dick Norton), in Arcadia (Jon Fisher).
from November 8 on (Mike San Identifying kingbirds can be
Miguel) and at Veteran’s Park in problematic. Western and Cassin’s are Away from the mountains was a
Sylmar from December 28-January 2 readily separable, but Tropical and Townsend’s Solitaire in the Antelope
(Jeff Allison, Larry Schmahl). Couch’s are extremely similar. While valley on November 15 (Jon Feenstra).
only a single record of Couch’s has
White-headed Woodpeckers been accepted for the state, any silent Rare as a migrant away from the
away from normal areas were found at bird could conceivably be of this deserts was a Sage Thrasher at Santa
St. Andrew’s Priory near Valyermo on species. An unusual number of Fe Dam on November 21 (Tom
November 14 (Mark & Janet Scheel) presumed or confirmed Tropical Wurster, Liga Auzins). Another was
and at Henninger Flat on December 19 Kingbirds were present this winter. found in the Antelope Valley- where
(Darren Dowell) where they may be Sightings included birds at Kenneth rare in winter- on the Lancaster CBC
regular in winter. Hahn Park on November 13, at on December 19 (Mary Freeman).
Lindberg Park on November 14 (both
Also of interest was a Yellow- Don Sterba), in Mar Vista on Very few warblers of note were
shafted Flicker at Lindberg Park in November 24 (Dan Cooper), along the reported. These included a
Culver City on November 14 (Don lower LA River in Long Beach on Nashville Warbler at Heartwell
Sterba). Plenty of intergrade type November 24 (Karen Gilbert), and at Park in Long Beach on December 19
flickers with yellow underwings are Woodley Lakes Golf Course in Van (Rich Sonnenberg) and a Virginia’s
present each winter, but very few of Nuys on December 17 (Jean Brandt). Warbler in Brentwood on January 3
these are pure Yellow-shafted birds. The last one discovered was at Legg (Dan Cooper).
Lake from December 19-January 5
Moving on to passerines, (Jonathan & Libby Rowley). A Painted Redstart returned for a
Empidonax flycatchers included a fifth winter in Monrovia Canyon.
Hammond’s Flycatcher at El Dorado Any swallow other than Tree is of According to Nature Center staff it
Park in Long Beach on November 8 interest in winter. Thus six to eight was present since at least October 3,
(Andrew Lee), another on the Long Violet-green Swallows at Hansen but went unreported until November
Beach CBC on December 19 (Rich Dam December 6-13 (Kimball 22 (Darren Dowell). This bird wins
Sonnenberg), and one on Pt. Dume for Garrett) and nearly two dozen the prize for the longest-lived bird of
the Malibu CBC on December 20 Northern Rough-winged Swallows the Painted Redstart invasion of 2005.
(Kimball Garrett). Silent “Western” in Pico Rivera on December 28 (Jon
Flycatchers were at Banning Park in Fisher) were notable. Single Rough- Expected in small numbers in
Wilmington on December 1 (Richard wingeds were also recorded at several winter were Summer Tanagers at
Barth) and on the El Dorado/Long other locations. DeForest Park in Long Beach on
Beach CBC on December 19 (Rich November 10-December 19 (Jeff
Sonnenberg). Last was a Gray A Brown Creeper was away Boyd) and at Bouton Creek Park in
Flycatcher was near Magic Mountain from expected areas at Heartwell Long Beach on November 15 (Robb
in Valencia on December 27 (Dan Park in Long Beach on November Hamilton). Two more were in Elysian
Guthrie, Judy Sudgen) 15 (Robb Hamilton). Park on November 26 and one was in
the Legg Lake area through December
Common as a migrant and Numbers of Mountain 19 (both Mike San Miguel).
breeding bird, but quite rare in winter Bluebirds were in the Antelope
was an Ash-throated Flycatcher that Valley and a few also made it to the Two Vesper Sparrows were at
turned up on the Long Beach CBC on coastal slope. Up to three were at Santa Fe Dam from November 20
December 19 (Rich Sonnenberg). Santa Fe Dam from November 20- through late December (Andrew Lee)
December 19 (Andrew Lee) and as and a surprising four were at Peck
An Eastern Phoebe at Kenneth many as ten were present near Park in Arcadia on November 21
Hahn Park on November 29 (Ann & Brackett Field in La Verne from (John Garrett).
Eric Brooks) was the only one December 19-26 (Rod Higbie). Two
reported and a Dusky-capped more were between the desert and Still rare but increasingly detected

6 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No. 4


as a migrant in recent years was a Unexpected was a female Blue available to others where it can be
Grasshopper Sparrow at Peck Road Grosbeak at the Rio Hondo Basin put to good use. It’s really quite an
Water Conservation Park in Arcadia above the Whittier Narrows Dam on amazing tool, it’s fun and it’s
on November 15. Another lingered December 14, the latest one ever completely free. Visit www.ebird.org
late at Santa Fe Dam from November recorded in the county (Larry Schmahl).
20-27 (both Andrew Lee).
Aside from the usual handful of
A Swamp Sparrow at the Ballona
Freshwater Marsh near Culver City on
wintering Bullock’s, the only notable
oriole was a Baltimore Oriole at West
bIRD wALKS
November 15 was the only one found Los Angeles College on November 16 Bird Walks are geared for the begin-
(Jon Fisher). (Don Sterba). ner/intermediate bird watcher look-
ing for an introduction to local birds
Over a half dozen White-throated It seems winter has hardly begun or a less strenuous excursion. Appro-
Sparrows in the county was a higher before spring rolls around again. It’s priate for young bird watchers age 6
number than in recent years. Single the one time of year that southern years and older. Carpooling is en-
birds were at DeForest Park in Long California really looks lush and green, couraged. Binoculars are provided
Beach on November 10-December 19 especially so after a wet winter. on some walks as noted below. NO
(Jeff Boyd), in the eastern Antelope We’ve already had some significant sign-up, NO fees, just show up!
Valley on November 15 (Jon precipitation, with the bulk of the
Feenstra), at the Ballona Freshwater season’s rainfall still expected to Topanga State Park Birdwalk
Marsh on November 26 (David come. If received in the proper doses, (Topanga, CA 90290)
Haake) and at Pearblossom Park on a good year could significantly 1st Sunday of every month
November 28 (Andrew Lee). Two improve habitat and help jump start March 7 & April 4 8am-12pm
were at Placerita Canyon on December growth in burn areas without creating
14 (Bob Kaufman) and the last report a muddy mess. Franklin Canyon Sooky Goldman
was of one in Mt. Washington on Nature Center
December 21 (Julian Donahue). Spring also means that bird (2600 Franklin Canyon Dr., Beverly
activity will be in high gear. Loons, Hills, CA 90210)
Gray–headed Juncos have been scoters and brant will be heading north Second Sunday of the month
scarce in the county lately, with the only along the coast. Although shorebirds March 14 & April 11 8am-11:30am
report this winter being from La Verne won’t come close to matching the Binoculars Provided.
on November 5 (Dan Gregory). Rarer spectacle of their autumn migration,
still were two Pink-sided Juncos. One it’s nice to see them in more colorful Ballona Wetlands Bird Walk
was in the eastern Antelope Valley on alternate plumage. (Playa Del Rey, CA 90293)
November 15 (Jon Feenstra) and the 3rd Sunday of the month August
other was at Elysian Park from The lowlands will see migrants by through May, with the exception of
December 23-25 (Richard Barth). March, with swallows arriving in December.
numbers well before that. By May, the March 21 & April 18 8am-12pm
Quite unusual coastally was a mountains will be good as well.
Lapland Longspur heard flying over Resident birds will be singing, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Dockweiler State Beach on November defending territories and raising (Los Angeles, CA 90056) in Bald-
16 (Dan Cooper). broods as these migrants stream north win Hills.
with reproduction their singular goal. 3rd Saturday of the month
Grosbeaks included a female March 20 & April 17 8am-12pm
Rose-breasted Grosbeak at DeForest There’s a rush of new life and Binoculars Provided
Park in Long Beach on November 10 an undeniable sense of renewal...
(Karen Gilbert) and an immature male it’s a very enjoyable time to be out Complete details and directions to
in Baldwin Hills on November 22 in the field. Los Angeles Audubon’s Bird Walks
(Ann & Eric Brooks). Late Black- are available on our website:
headed Grosbeaks were in the Lastly, another plug for eBird… www.laaudubon.org or call
Hollywood Hills on November 18 if you don’t already use it, be sure to (323) 876-0202 during our regular
(Dave Surtees) and in Westwood on give it a try. It’s a great way to keep business hours.
November 23 (Dan Cooper). track of your trip, life and year lists
and it makes your data immediately

Western Tanager March/April 2010 7


In May, 1907, a small band of bird lovers began to take bird walks in the hills and
canyons of Garvanza. Interest grew and numbers increased, and on March 2, 1910, the
group formed the organization that was to become the Los Angeles Audubon Society.
Although the Society’s original focus was recreation and providing programs for bird
enthusiasts, the Society also has a decades-long track record of conservation advocacy.
This advocacy included not only support for establishment of bird and wildlife
sanctuaries and preserves in Los Angeles, and indeed across the country, but all
legislation effecting the welfare of living things commanded the attention of the Society.

Today, the Los Angeles Audubon Society is a California non-profit 501(c)(3)


corporation. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and protection of birds and
other wildlife through recreation, education, conservation and restoration. As we
enter our Centennial Year, we stand re-committed to our mission, and the following
examples demonstrate how our programs serve our mission:

RECREATION •Our GREENHOUSE INTERNSHIP


•Offer over 100 BIRD WALKS (an PROGRAM draws highly motivated
introduction to birding for beginners and students from Dorsey High School to
intermediates) and FIELD TRIPS (a deeper conduct year-long, resume-building
delve into identification, natural histories, scientific research on native plants at
and interactions). the Baldwin Hills Greenhouse.
•Coordinate five to six PELAGIC, or •LEO POLITI ELEMENTARY SCHOOL has
ocean voyages. in California waters to partnered with Los Angeles Audubon to
watch sea birds. expand the science-based nature activities
the school offers its students. Our premiere
•Conduct two to four INTERNATIONAL
initiative is installation of a native habitat
BIRDING ADVENTURES to exciting
on 6,000 square feet of underutilized
destinations like Costa Rica, Kenya,
school yard with a US Fish & Wildlife
and Ecuador.
Service grant of $18,000!
•Present, in cooperation with California
•Our annual SCHREIBER AWARD/RESEARCH
Audubon and the Pasadena Audubon
GRANT provides support to students and
Society, AUDUBON FILM FRIDAYS, a family
amateur ornithologists, who are not able to
and multi-culture oriented open-air festival
secure research funding through channels
of environmental films.
available to professional ornithologists.
•Our MONTHLY PROGRAMS, open to
EDUCATION members and the public alike, offer
•Los Angeles Audubon’s outdoor research highlights from leading
classrooms provide K-12 students from ornithologists from around the world.
Los Angeles’s urban core opportunities to •Los Angeles Audubon has recently
explore local ecosystems in their “own partnered with California State Parks to
backyard”, through our education develop docent-lead BIRD AND PLANT
programs at BALLONA WETLANDS, NATURALIST PROGRAMS at the new
SEPULVEDA BASIN WILDLIFE AREA, and Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State Park.
KENNETH HAHN STATE RECREATION AREA.

8 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No. 4


CONSERVATION migrants and wintering birds. The to the area. This non-native
•THREATENED SPECIES PROGRAM - The second was to emphasize species at vegetation was replaced with young
Western Snowy Plover, a federally risk in the county that did not enjoy plants and seeds representing the
recognized threatened species, roosts on protection (or at least attention) by members of the native coastal sage
Los Angeles County Beaches, but last either a legal listing (as under the state scrub plant community. Los Angeles
bred on our beaches in 1949! Working or Federal Endangered Species Acts) Audubon has partnered with several
with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, or by recognition as a California organizations to help fund and
the California Department of Fish and BSSC. Los Angeles Audubon manage this project, including
Game, Ryan Ecological Consulting and published the results of this Earthworks, the Baldwin Hills
Santa Monica Bay and Palos endeavor in its January/February Conservancy, the Los Angeles and
Verdes/South Bay Audubon Chapters, 2009 Western Tanager. Santa Monica chapters of the
Los Angeles Audubon is monitoring the •WIND POWER ADVOCACY – California Native Plant Society, and
Snowy Plover in an effort to protect it Although Los Angeles Audubon Friends of Baldwin Hills. Restoration
and provide opportunities for it to breed, supports wind energy to offset the efforts continue in the hills.
once again, on our county’s beaches. effects of green house gas •Through our RESTORATION LEADERS
•ENDANGERED SPECIES PROGRAM – emissions from coal powered PROGRAM, high school students from
Los Angeles Audubon works with the plants, since 2002, Los Angeles the urban core receive hands-on
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Audubon has been a leader in training in habitat restoration at the
California Department of Fish & advocating to minimize the new Scenic Overlook State Park and
Game, and Ryan Ecological impacts of wind power projects on Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area.
Consulting to monitor the Least Tern birds and bats by 1) participating
as a stakeholder in the creation of Please be part of our mission and
colony at Marina del Rey during the help us celebrate our Centennial by
nesting season, with volunteers the California Energy Commission
guidelines adopted in 2007; 2) joining or contributing to Los
collecting valuable data on a weekly Angeles Audubon!
basis, in an effort to increase fledge partnering with other Audubon
success. In 2008, our site was the chapters on wind projects in Palm Help us celebrate our Centennial by
most productive site on the entire Springs, Kern County and Santa supporting our education and
Barbara County; 3) advocating for conservation programs!
West coast! Here’s how you can help!
research funding to understand the
•IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS – Important
cumulative impacts of wind $50 Provides L.A. bird Identification
Bird Areas, or IBAs, are sites that guides for an elementary school class.
energy, especially on sensitive
meet rigorous criteria in an
species of birds. $100 Provides art supplies for our after
international program to protect birds school SCIENCE ILLUSTRATION PROGRAM.
and habitat. Los Angeles Audubon $250 Provides one elementary class trip to
participated in a systematic effort to RESTORATION the LEAST TERN COLONY.
identify a network of important •LEAST TERN COLONY $300 Provides T-shirts for Dorsey High
conservation sites for birds. This RESTORATION – During the non- School students participating in our
RESTORATION LEADERS PROGRAM.
effort resulted in identification of 148 breeding season, when the Least
IBAs in the state, with 9 in Los Terns have left their colony $500 Provides one scope and tripod for an
elementary school science class.
Angeles County, and the publication enclosure on Venice Beach, Los
of Important Bird Areas of California, Angeles Audubon helps host $1,000 Sponsors one Dorsey High School
internship in our year-long BALDWIN HILLS
by Daniel S. Cooper. habitat restoration days. These RESTORATION ACADEMY.
•LOS ANGELES COUNTY SENSITIVE events are an opportunity for the $5,000 Supports our LEAST TERN MONITORING
BIRD SPECIES REPORT – Los Angeles public to visit the normally off- PROGRAMfor one year.
Audubon convened the Sensitive limits site and participate in Don’t operate alone! Engage your friends,
Bird Species Working Group to invasive plant and trash removal, neighbors, birding buddies, bridge club, choir,
in preparation for the terns’ return. Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, to combine
develop a list of at-risk species resources and support Los Angeles Audubon’s
tailored to Los Angeles County. •KENNETH HAHN STATE RECREATION education and conservation programs!
There were two underlying goals of AREA NATIVE PLANT AND WILDLIFE For more information please contact:
the endeavor. The first was to GARDEN – Since 2006, more than 100 Mary Loquvam, Executive Director,
(323) 664.1294,
examine the status of all bird species volunteers from local neighborhoods maryloquvam@laaudubon.org
occurring in the county by including have helped remove plants not native or Martha Balkan, Gift Administrator,
(323) 876.0202, books@laaudubon.org.

Western Tanager March/April 2010 9


Field Trips
Field trips often require more the 10 or 210 Fwy east towards San Dimas View Inn, Bishop Elms are some of many
time or effort than do bird to the top stretch of the 57 Fwy. Proceed N hotels in Bishop.
from the 10, or S from the 210 on the 57
walks. They delve more deeply
Fwy to the Via Verde exit just N of the 10/57 Saturday, April 17
into identification, natural
interchange (at the bottom of Kellogg Hill). Big Morongo Wildlife Preserve
histories and interactions If coming from the N, turn left onto Via Leader: Howard King. Breeding desert and
observed in the field. No pets Verde, and left into the "Park and Ride" lot. oasis birds such as Vermilion Flycatcher,
or small children, please. If coming from the S, take the Via Verde Summer Tanager, Scott's and Hooded
Contact information will be offramp and proceed Rt. to the "Park and Orioles, Yellow-breasted Chat and migrating
released for carpooling unless Ride" lot on the Rt. We will meet here at Empidonax flycatchers. To get there, take
requested otherwise. 7:30 a.m. to carpool since there is a $8.00/car the 10 Fwy E about 17 miles past Banning to
park entrance fee. Rod will continue after Hwy 62 N. Pass through the town of
Before setting out on any event, lunch, if there is interest. There are picnic Morongo Valley, take a right on East Dr.,
please call the LAAS bird tape at tables and facilities. Bring lunch, if you plan then a left into the preserve. Meet at 7:30
(323) 874-1318, Option #4. to bird past noon. No limit or reservation. a.m. in the preserve parking lot, and bring
For a recorded message with lunch, water, sensible clothing and sun
special instructions or possible March 20 & 21 Weekend block. Yucca Valley and Desert Hot Springs
cancellations that may have Anza Borrego offer nearby accommodations, or camp at
occurred. Updates will also be Birds, Butterflies and Beyond Joshua Tree NP. No sign up.
posted on our website. Leader: Fred Heath. High points over the
www.laaudubon.org years: blooming desert evening-primrose Friday through Sunday, April 23-25
and indigo bush, chuckwalla, collared lizard, America’s Birdiest County Weekend
Sunday, March 7 desert bighorn (annual), Swainson’s Hawks, Lance Benner will organize this annual
Ventura County Game Preserve LeConte’s Thrasher, Long-eared Owl event, orchestrating forces where we need
Leader: Irwin Woldman. The private duck (hopeful). Suggested accommodations: coverage. Los Angeles county was national
hunting club in Ventura has a long history of Tamarisk Grove Campground (reserve champion in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, so
producing the kinds of birds that most rich, through www.reserveamerica.com), or let’s penta-peat in 2010! If you are up for it,
well-birded and disappearing habitats can lay Stanlund Motel in Borrego Springs (760) contact Lance at lbenner@charter.net,
claim to, including Sora and Virginia rails, 767-5501. Anticipate a busy weekend, and and tell him where your “county patch” is, or
American Bittern, Eurasian Wigeon, dark reserve camping (up to 3 months early) and asked to be assigned a spot.
morph Red-tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle, and motels very early. Meet at 7:00 a.m. at
one Lesser Sand-Plover. Emphasis on Yaqui Wells across from Tamarisk Grove May 1-2 Weekend
shorebirds for this date. Get to the preserve Campground. Limit 20 people. Reserve Kern River Valley Spring Nature Festival
by taking the 101 Fwy W to Rice Avenue S, with $15 fee, phone number, e-mail address, Come visit "America's Birdiest Inland
following the Rice Ave. prompts to the T- & SASE to Los Angeles Audubon to learn County" ’04 -‘07. Over 200 bird species
intersection, then take Hueneme Rd. west more details. Pleasant to warm days, cool to seen during the festival! Trips spanning
just past the buildings on the right. Meet on cold nights (30-100°F!). Central Valley/Giant Sequoias/Kern River
the side of the road at 7:30 a.m. Free. No Valley/Mojave Desert/Owens Valley. Check
sign-up required. We will walk the property, April 10 & 11 Weekend website:
so good hiking/mud shoes with energetic Owens Valley Grouse Trip http://kern.audubon.org/KRVSNF.htm.
legs inside a plus. We may have one car. Mary and Nick Freeman lead. Greater Sage Organized by Audubon-California’s Kern
Scopes & FRS radios helpful. Grouse on the lek, Sooty Grouse hooting River Preserve.
from the tree tops (but hard to see!), Gray-
Sunday, March 14 crowned Rosy-Finch, Golden and Bald Sunday, May 2
Bonelli Regional Park Eagles, and Swainson’s Hawk almost Hansen Dam Riparian Birds
Leader: Rod Higbie. Bonelli Regional Park guaranteed; and Red Crossbill, Black- Leader: Kimball Garrett. An exploration of
is a remarkable island of habitat. It contains backed Woodpecker and Pinyon Jay very one of our region's premier "Important Bird
extensive coastal sage habitat, along with a likely. Breathtaking scenery always! Meet Areas". Expect Bell's Vireos, Yellow-
large lake surrounded by park land. Birds early Saturday and Sunday mornings in breasted Chats, Blue Grosbeaks and a
regularly seen in the past include: California Bishop at Jack’s Restaurant. Limited to 20. variety of other birds of willow woodlands
Gnatcatcher, Cactus Wren, dancing grebes, To sign up, send $55, phone number, e-mail and mulefat scrub, along with numerous
and occasionally Golden Eagle. 200 other address, and SASE to Los Angeles Audubon. landbird migrants, waterbirds and marsh
species throughout the year. From LA, take More details in confirmation mailer/e-mailer. birds. We will be walking up to three miles,
Reserve rooms early. Motel 6, Mountain sometimes on narrow trails. Meet at 7:00

10 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No. 4


Field Trips
a.m. in the parking lot of the Hansen Dam Saturday, May 22 Service Adventure Pass is necessary.
Recreation Center along Foothill Blvd. just Tejon Ranch
west of the Osborne/Lake View Terrace exit Leader: Jim Moore. Los Angeles Audubon June 11-14 Long Weekend
off the 210 Fwy. For those coming from the has never before visited this working ranch High Sierra Breeding Birds
5 Fwy, exit at Osborne and go north on that was off limits to visitation until just Leader: Bob Barnes. High deserts to High
Osborne to Foothill Blvd.; turn right (east) recently. This will be a joint venture with Sierra. The most diverse, species-rich region
on Foothill Blvd. and go about half a mile to our neighbors to the north, San Fernando in the state. Meet early in Inyokern for
the entrance to the Recreation Center. (Note: Audubon. It is still by special arrangement Friday morning's start. All other days start
Our meeting area is NOT the main Hansen with escort only, as one could easily get lost early in Kernville. Likely: Goshawk,
Dam Park that is reached off Dronfield on the web of dirt roads covering this huge Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Pileated Woodpecker
Avenue). We should finish up around property. We will visit Big Sycamore and owls. 150 species likely in 4 days. Joint
11:00 a.m. Canyon and Los Alamos Creek, probably trip with our good neighbors in Sea & Sage
amounting to a few miles of easy hiking up Audubon Society. To reserve, and receive
May 8-9 Weekend the future realignment of the Pacific Crest trip information including lodging, send
Mojave Desert out of Baker Trail through the south-central portion of phone number and $15 for each day
Leaders: Nick & Mary Freeman. Your Tejon Ranch. We will see magnificent oak attended ($60 for 4 days), with e-mail
intrepid leaders will lead 12 durable birders woodlands, stunning sycamore riparian address or SASE. Lots of driving, so bring a
in search of migrating passerines and woodlands, late wildflowers, and diverse friend, and we will carpool when possible.
flycatchers, as well as Scott's Oriole and chaparral vegetation communities, as well as Contact info will be released for carpooling.
other desert birds. Should also be an the birds that call these canyons their home. Dawn to dusk (and more) birding ideal for
excellent time for herps like Chuckwalla, Take Interstate 5 north to Quail Lake Rd. enthusiastic beginning to advanced birders.
Desert Iguana, Desert Tortoise, Horned (Hwy 138). Continue east for 8.7 miles to Meet Friday at Union 76 station in Inyokern.
Lizard. Some rock-hoping and hiking, and 300th Street West. Turn north and continue Reserve Fri-Sat-Sun night rooms in
lots of driving on paved and dirt roads, so a on the paved road until it curves to the left. Kernville area early, and Thursday in
driving partner is advisable. Likely spots we At this point, leave the paved road and Inyokern (all listed in flyer). Maximum 15.
will visit include Tecopa, China Ranch, continue on the dirt road until you come to
Horsethief Springs, Kelso Station, Zzyzx, the Tejon Ranch gate. Registered Friday through Monday, July 2-5
and Baker sewage ponds. Meet in Baker at participants meet here at 7:30 a.m. Bring Quaking Aspen Cabin Trip for Owls
7:00 a.m. Saturday, 6:30 a.m., Sunday, at lunch, as we will be out most of the day. Leaders: Mary and Nick Freeman. Quaking
Pike’s Family Restaurant (formerly Those wishing to carpool can meet at the Aspen is above Springville, near Ponderosa
Denny’s). Reserve your own room in Baker McDonald’s on the east side of Interstate 5 at in the southwest Sierras. Owling by night,
for both nights (motel list in mailer). High Lake Hughes Road at 6:45 a.m. High bird walks by day! Must be a night owl. We
clearance strongly recommended. Bring clearance vehicles recommended; we will may also look at some butterflies and
enough gas, food, a spare tire (check the air), carpool into these at the ranch. Rain cancels. wildflowers! Hopeful birds: Flammulated,
and water for the weekend. Reserve with Limit: 30 participants only. Everyone please Saw-whet, Spotted and other owls, Pileated
$20, phone number & email address, register with Los Angeles Audubon by phone Woodpecker, Winter Wren, Goshawk,
have/don’t have high clearance, and SASE (323) 876-0202. Hammond’s & Dusky flycatchers and more.
(or e-mail for confirmation mailer). Contact Some are difficult, but all have been seen on
information will be released for possible Sunday, May 23 this trip! The only cabin at the campsite is
carpool/roomie information, unless Santa Anita Canyon reserved, but only sleeps 6. Late sign-ups,
requested otherwise. Leader: Mary Freeman. Take the 210 Fwy and frugal or rustic birders will want to
toward Arcadia, and take Santa Anita reserve their own campsites at
May 14-17 Long Weekend Avenue N to the parking lot at the very end www.reserveamerica.com (soon!). For all:
Kern River Valley Spring Migrants of the road. Meet at the Gabrielino Trail our first dinner will be potluck, others
Leader: Bob Barnes. This trip will be trailhead at the bottom of the lot. 4 mile RT provided or eat out. Tentatively meet
devoted to experiencing the waves of Spring moderately strenuous walk through oak and Thursday 3:00 p.m. at Quaking Aspen
migrants that push up through the mountains chaparral canyons. This area was spared by Campground (by entrance). More details in
this time of year, as well as searching out the recent Station Fire. Good selection of flyer. To reserve, send phone, $95 check for
vagrants that frequently show up with them. breeding and migrating birds including cabin (included) / $20 for campers (site not
Reservations needed. This joint field trip is warblers, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western included), and e-mail address or SASE. 4
being organized by Sea and Sage Audubon. Tanager, and Band-tailed Pigeon. Dipper sign-ups max. for the cabin, 3 min. 6
For more information and to reserve, see: possible. Pack in a lunch and water. additional sign-ups max. for campers. No
www.seaandsageaudubon.org. Meeting time 7:00 a.m. No sign up. small children or pets, please.
Nominal donation suggested. A Forest

Western Tanager March/April 2010 11


Interpreting Nature —Stacey Vigallon, Director of Interpretation

For this issue’s Interpreting Nature column, I would like to introduce Alma Alegria. A 2008 Dorsey High
School graduate, Alma was one of the first Dorsey students to volunteer for Los Angeles Audubon,
participating in Least Tern colony clean-ups, Snowy Plover surveys, and habitat restoration at the Baldwin
Hills Scenic Overlook. Alma is currently completing her sophomore year at Yale University, has spent a
summer studying film in Paris, and visited Nepal in the spring of 2009. In the essay that follows, Alma
compares her experience with nature in Nepal to her experience growing up in Los Angeles.

“If you have to go anywhere at to reality, dissolved myths about the interactions with racism, sexism, drugs,
night, please run to wherever you are third-world and made many first-world homelessness, gangs and violence that
going; do not walk” – These inhabitants look quite pathetic, foolish, came with it. Otherwise, my experience
instructions – almost taken from a weak, or inconsiderate. of nature was limited to lawns,
horror movie -- were spoken to me and I traveled to Nepal with nine other squarely-cut hedges, and trees whose
my peers by the park ranger on the undergraduates as part of a student- limbs would be hacked off every now
night we arrived at Chitwan National founded and student-run organization and then.
Park located in the South-Central region called Y(ale)Nepal. For three weeks we However, towards the end of my
of Nepal. The park guide’s warning volunteered at the Bal Mandir high school career, the creation of an
referred to the sloth bears, wild boars, Orphanage in Kathmandu. Our trip environmental club and the revival of
and other animals that might wander by served as a three-day break from the the school garden certainly changed my
our cabins searching for food; moving city and I never imagined experiencing experience of nature. I was able to
quickly at night would help avoid nature walks, an elephant safari trip, participate in the Great Backyard Bird
unsavory encounters. Our cabins faced spotting rhinoceros, deer, crocodiles and Count, Plover monitoring along the
the Narayani River amid a thin layer of wild boar. We learned about the coast, and clearing sea rocket from the
trees. Although tired from the day’s neighboring tiger reserve and the black Venice Beach Least Tern Colony.
journey and everyone else headed to sloth bear. Dorsey’s garden made me realize how
bed, my senses thirsted for the new detached I really am from the
location. It was my first time being in Even in Kathmandu, nature
constantly reminded us of itself through vegetables and fruit I consume everyday
an actual “jungle” and Nepal’s and gave me an idea of the work it takes
countryside. Here, the sound of traffic the dust in the air, the water basins
around the city, the imagery in the to grow them. Being involved with the
ceased and the chime of crickets began. Los Angeles Audubon Society taught
I traded a 9th floor hotel room view of shrines, and the monkeys that inhabited
temples. Before Nepal, monkeys only me about the delicate balance of
the Kathmandu skyline strewn with ecosystems (e.g. the snowy plover) and
Tibetan prayer flags for soil beneath my existed in TV and the LA zoo, where
they looked less energetic and lonelier the subtle differences between bird
feet and vines dangling above me from species (e.g. many gull species exist and
tree to tree. I stayed outside on my in their 6x9x8 foot cage.
there are no “sea gulls”). Previous to
cabin porch that night, filling my lungs Though interested in nature as a this knowledge, I thought the gulls that
with clean air, while my eyes scanned child, I grew up in south-central Los invaded the school cafeteria were
the star populations nestled in the Angeles where few opportunities boring, silly birds that fought over
bluish-black sky. However, a teenage supported my curiosity. Animal leftover food. By having a program that
girl’s shriek from next door tore through encyclopedias, the Discovery Channel, involved nature in an institution that I
this serene atmosphere and converted and miniature animal replicas exposed would interact with daily (school), I
Chitwan National Park into another me to nature. They provided enough took full advantage of the opportunities
Camp Crystal Lake. information for me to reenact the wild it offered and I enjoyed learning about
Some students awoke and ran with with my toys in my own apartment; the complexities behind the simple
me to her rescue, only to discover a however, as I grew older curricular things of every day life. These
defenseless, though enormous, spider as obligations determined my books. complexities make me a more
the culprit responsible. Shortly after Many of the sources to learn about wholesome person by making me
our discovery and annoyed with her nature vanished and with time I learned conscious of things other than my own
hysteria, a groggy colleague lazily they were unnecessary and inconvenient existence. The EcoClub also made me
chucked his shoe and smashed the poor to pursue. As a young adult, I did not take more initiative in learning about
spider. wander into the Museum of Natural my surroundings, answering the simple
History, despite it being a bus ride questions that would cross my mind
This and other similar incidents away. I also became blind to the
occurred on my trip to Nepal during my rather than ignore them and continue on
greenspace next to my apartment, Jim my way. —Alma Alegria, Dorsey
Spring Break of freshman year (March Gilliam Recreation Center. The trees
2009). The situations brought me closer High School Alumna
and grass were not worth the
12 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No. 4
Conservation Conversation —Garry George
A REPORT ON CONSERVATION EFFORTS BY LOS ANGELES AUDUBON

oliday joy and celebration was refusing to accept trapped feral cats, or County beaches, and recorded the first

H supreme at Los Angeles Audubon


over two major conservation
victories that have been years in the
to issue permits to city residents to trap
feral cats.
The plaintiffs in this case wished to
possible breeding behaviors since 1949.
The science inspired four years of
advocacy at the County, the California
making. ensure that the controversial TNR Coastal Commission, U.S. Fish & Wildlife
L.A. COURT RULES AGAINST program along with the maintenance of Service and California Department of Fish
feral cat colonies would not be allowed & Game by Los Angeles Audubon’s
CITY OF LOS ANGELES ON
until a complete public environmental Conservation Committee. Los Angeles
MANAGEMENT OF FERAL CAT County Department of Beaches & Harbors
analysis (under the California
COLONIES has also indicated that they will issue
Environmental Quality Act - CEQA) has
Los Angeles Audubon, Santa been completed. permits for an Los Angeles Audubon
Monica Bay Audubon, Palos docent program at the fenced site on
The City is now enjoined from
Verdes/South Bay Audubon, American Dockweiler to inform the public on the
implementing, promoting or otherwise
Bird Conservancy, Endangered Habitats Plovers and the need to protect them.
encouraging the management of feral cats
League and Urban Wildlands Group
through Trap, Neuter, Return. Further
won an important lawsuit in early
proposals to implement such a program THANK YOU!
December, 2009 against the City of Los
must undergo objective scientific review
Angeles and its Department of Animal Los Angeles Audubon owes a great
as part of the CEQA process. This
Services to stop the practice of debt of gratitude to all of the Snowy
process has been designed to allow for
encouraging feral cat colonies until the Plover volunteers as well as Stacey
public comment and for an assessment of
legally required environmental impact Vigallon and Tom Ryan, to Los Angeles
significant impacts on parks, wildlife,
reviews have been performed. County Department of Beaches &
water quality, and human health that such
Harbors new Director Santos Kreimann
The Los Angeles Superior Court a program might have.
and staff, and to Coastal Commissioners
found that the City of Los Angeles had
Los Angeles Audubon Conservation Steve Blank (former Board Chair and
been “secretly and unofficially”
Committee has been engaged in this effort current member of Audubon California
promoting “Trap-Neuter-Return”
since 2005. Board), Bill Burke and especially Sara
(TNR), a controversial program
LOS ANGELES COUNTY Wan for their support of Western Snowy
allowing feral cats to run free, even
OFFERS PROTECTION OF Plovers on LA County beaches.
while the Department of Animal
Services promised to conduct an SNOWY PLOVERS ON LOS We also owe a sincere debt of
environmental review of the program. ANGELES COUNTY BEACHES gratitude to Travis Longcore and
Catherine Rich of Urban Wildlands
In June 2005, the L.A. Board of In the fourth year of our Endangered Group, and former officers at Los
Animal Services Commissioners adopted Species program on the federally Angeles Audubon, who provided peer-
TNR as the “preferred method of dealing threatened Western Snowy Plover coastal reviewed published science, great
with feral cat populations as its official population, Los Angeles County has leadership and a lot of volunteer time on
policy.” The Department issued coupons voluntarily erected a fence to protect the the lawsuit against the City of Los
for free or discounted spay/neuter population of Plovers on Dockweiler Angeles on feral cat management.
procedures for feral cats being returned to Beach! This follows four years of science
neighborhoods and open spaces and Contributions to Los Angeles
conducted by Tom Ryan Biological with
encouraged and assisted in establishing Audubon support our conservation
Snowy Plover volunteers from chapters
new feral cat colonies at city-owned activities. Give now and help protect
along the coast that monitored and
properties, including parks and wildlife the birds you love!
mapped wintering populations on L.A.
areas. The Department also began

Western Tanager March/April 2010 13


Pelagic Trips
Saturday, May 1, 2010 Leaders: Jon Feenstra, Terry Hunefeld, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Let us know
A Condor Express Trip: A deep water Todd McGrath and Dave Pereksta if you want dinner.
trip toward the San Juan Seamount. $95 Credit Card Payment or $90 for a Leaders: Jon Feenstra, Kimball Gar-
This trip departs from the Santa cash discount price. rett, Terry Hunefeld, Todd McGrath
Barbara Harbor on the fast catamaran Reservation for this trip: Send pay- and Dave Compton
Condor Express at 7:00 a.m. and will ment, a SASE (Self Addressed $195 Credit card or cash.
return approximately by 8:00 p.m. We Stamped Envelope), include complete Reservation for this trip: Contact Sea
will cruise along the deep water shelf by contact information to: Landing in Santa Barbara at (805) 882-
the San Juan Seamount. Birds previously Los Angeles Audubon - Pelagics, 0088 or (888) 779-4253 for your reserva-
seen: Black-footed Albatross; Northern PO Box 931057, Los Angeles CA tions and trip status. 301 W. Cabrillo
Fulmar; Sooty and Pink-footed 90093-1057. Or pay with a credit Blvd. Santa Barbara 93101-3886. email:
Shearwaters: Ashy and Leach’s Storm- card (MC, Visa, Discover) by call- info@sealanding.net
petrels; Pomarine, Parasitic and ing Los Angeles Audubon at
Long-tailed Jaegers; Pigeon Guillemot; (323) 876-0202. Saturday, September 18, 2010
Xantus’s Murrelet; Cassin’s and A Condor Express Trip:
Rhinoceros Auklets. Uncommon species Note: Destinations may be changed Around the Northern Channel Islands
seen on prior trips: Laysan Albatross; to maximize bird sightings, or mini- for rare Shearwaters.
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel; Red-billed mize rough seas. With increased This 8 hour trip departs from the
Tropicbird and Tufted Puffin. fuel costs there can be an energy sur- Santa Barbara Harbor at 7:00 a.m. on
A full galley serves breakfast, lunch and charge per person. the fast catamaran Condor Express.
dinner. Let us know if you want dinner. Birds to be expected: Northern Fulmar;
Leaders: Jon Feenstra, Terry Hune- Los Angeles Audubon Refund policy: Pink-footed, Sooty and Black-vented
feld, Todd McGrath, Dave Pereksta You may receive a refund less a $5.00 Shearwaters; Black, Ashy and Leach’s
and Dave Compton. handling charge if you cancel 31 days Storm-Petrels; cormorants (3), rocky
$195 Credit card or cash. prior to departure, or if a paid replace- shorebirds (up to 5); Red and Red-
Reservations for this trip: Contact: Sea ment can be found. necked Phalaropes; Pomarine and
Landing in Santa Barbara at (805) 882- Parasitic Jaegers; Sabine’s Gull; Royal,
0088 or (888) 779-4253 for your reserva- Saturday, July 31, 2010 Common and Arctic Terns; Common
tions and trip status. 301 W. Cabrillo A Condor Express Trip: Murre; Xantus’s Murrelet; Cassin’s
Blvd. Santa Barbara 93101-3886 A deep water trip to the San Juan Auklet. Uncommon rarities that can be
E-mail: info@sealanding.net Seamount and Santa Rosa Ridge. seen: Buller’s Shearwater; Least Storm-
Depart from Sea Landing Dock in Petrel; Red-billed Tropicbird; South
Saturday, June 5, 2010 the Santa Barbara Harbor at 7:00 a.m. Polar Skua; Long-tailed Jaeger; and
A Los Angeles Area Pelagic Trip: on the fast catamaran Condor Express Craveri’s Murrelet. Great whales and
Land on Santa Cruz Island for the and return approximately at 8:30 p.m. several species of dolphins are often seen
Island Scrub-Jay & out to Sea. We will cruise along the deep water shelf this time of year.
This 8 hour trip departs from Island by the San Juan Seamount. Birds There is a full galley that can serve
Packers dock in the Oxnard Harbor at 8:00 expected: Black-footed Albatross; breakfast and lunch.
a.m. on the m/v Vanguard. We will land at Northern Fulmar; Pink-footed and Sooty Leaders: Jon Feenstra, Terry Hune-
Prisoner’s Cove where the endemic Island Shearwaters; Black, Ashy and Leach’s feld, Todd McGrath, Dave Pereksta
Scrub-Jay is easily seen. Then, we go out to Storm-Petrels; South Polar Skua; and Dave Compton
sea and return by Anacapa Island. Birds Pomarine Jaeger; Pigeon Guillemot, $125 Credit card or cash.
expected: Northern Fulmar; Sooty and Pink- Common Murre, Xantus’s Murrelet. Reservations for this trip: Contact Sea
footed Shearwaters; rocky shorebirds; South Uncommon species and rarities seen this Landing in Santa Barbara at
Polar Skua, Pomarine & Parasitic Jaegers; time of year: Cook’s Petrel; Red-billed (805) 882-0088 or (888) 779-4253 for
Sabine’s Gull; Royal Tern; Pigeon Guillemot. Tropicbird. Mega-rarities that can be your reservations and trip status.
Xantus’s Murrelet. Uncommon birds seen looked for are: Dark-rumped and 301 W. Cabrillo Blvd. Santa Barbara
on prior trips: Flesh-footed Shearwater and Stejneger’s Petrels. 93101-3886
Tufted Puffin. There is a complete galley that serves email: info@sealanding.net

14 Western Tanager Vol. 76, No. 4


mONTHLY pROGRAMS
Meet at 7:30 P.M. in the Community Building in Plummer Park
7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ed Pandolfino presents: Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Changes in the Winter Distribution of
Rough-legged Hawks in North America Greg Rubin presents
Bringing Native Ecology into the Habitat Garden:
A cold winter day in most any open country habitat Attracting Wildlife, not Fire
of northern California can be brightened by finding a
Rough-legged Hawk. These striking arctic-breeding Greg will be discussing how to create sustainable
raptors are always a treat to see. Like many of you, native chaparral landscapes that both attract appropriate
several years ago Ed noted that Rough-legged Hawks birds and butterflies while at the same time are defensible
seemed to be decreasing in California. Little did he against fire. This cutting edge presentation will describe
know that trying to answer the seemingly simple specific techniques and will show beautiful examples of
question, “Are Rough-legged Hawks really on the native landscapes. Greg has now installed over 500 native
decline here?”, would lead to years of intense data- landscapes in Southern California. Also, despite having
mining and some surprising conclusions. Ed will numerous clients with native landscapes directly in the
present the results of his work with Kim Suedkamp path of our major fire events, they have yet to lose a single
Wells that documents large scale changes in the winter home, despite neighors often burning to the ground. There
distribution of this hawk in North America over the past will also be information as to what specific birds are
few decades. Ed will also discuss some factors that may attracted to these gardens.
explain this shift.
Members of the Los Angeles Audubon Society will asked to vote on proposed Society By-law changes at the May 2010
monthly Member Meeting of the Society. Proposed By-law changes will posted on the Society's website by mid-February
2010 and will be read at the April 2010 monthly Member Meeting.
Please visit the website and/or attend the April meeting to learn about the proposed changes.

TO: ALL BIRDERS! Sponsored by the Los Angeles Audubon Society, I have been leading exciting birding and
wildlife tours for the Society to many places in the natural world for over two decades. Each tour offers superb
birding and natural history experiences. We have excellent local tour guides in each of the countries we visit,
offering exceptional accommodations, good food, and our friendly tours are appropriate for experienced and new
birders. Watch for upcoming information about our adventures to far away places. –Olga Clarke

For information and itinerary on Los Angeles Audubon’s International Birding Tours contact:
Olga Clarke oclarketravel@earthlink.net Los Angeles Audubon, Travel Director
2027 El Arbolita Dr. Glendale, CA 91208-1805
Ph/Fax: (818) 249-9511

Western Tanager March/April 2010 15


NONPROFIT ORG
Los Angeles Audubon Society US POSTAGE
PO Box 931057 DATED MATERIAL PAID
Los Angeles, CA 90093-1057 Please Expedite VAN NUYS, CA
www.laaudubon.org PERMIT NO. 1418

AUDUBON HOUSE HOURS

Regular Hours:
Monday - Thursday 9:30a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Regularly Closed:
Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Open: 2nd Wednesday of each month
9:30 a.m until 9:45 p.m.
for those attending the monthly
membership Program.
Saturday, Open 1st Sat. of the month
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

CENTENNIAL BIRDATHON
Help us celebrate our 100th birthday by joining the Los Angeles Audubon
Centennial Birdathon to take place during the week of May 1-8, 2010.
Here’s how you can participate:
1) Join one (or more) of our Centennial Super Star Teams starring:
Kimball Garrett Mike San Miguel Dan Cooper Robb Hamilton
Space is limited! Sign up now! $50 will secure you the privilege of birding with these stars!
Call Mary Loquvam (323) 664-1294 or Martha Balkan (323) 876-0202) to sign up now!

2) Sponsor a City Council Member or a local business partner as they venture into the field
with an experienced birder on a competitive hunt for the maximum number of species.
Accepting your minimum pledge of $1 per species now!
To sponsor them, call Mary Loquvam (323) 664-1294 or Martha Balkan (323) 876-0202.

3) Create your own team. Here’s how:


• Select a catchy team name.
• Select a venue that represents your interests or territory (Griffith Park, Ballona Wetlands,
or your own favorite bird spot!)
• Select 1 to 4 hours during the week of May 1-8, 2010 to conduct your count.
• Recruit colleagues, families, friends, and even neighborhood dogs and cats, to pledge $1
(or more) per bird species to be identified during your count.
• Conduct your Birdathon count.
• Gather your pledges and join Los Angeles Audubon on May 8th to determine the Big
Winner! (Venue and Time TBA)
Join teams from across Los Angeles to support
Los Angeles Audubon’s education and conservation programs
and to celebrate the creatures that share our urban habitat!

Los Angeles Audubon is available to help you coordinate your Birdathon Team!

For more information contact: Mary Loquvam, Executive Director, (323) 664-1294, maryloquvam@laaudubon.org
or Martha Balkan, Gifts Administrator, (323) 876-0202, books@laaudubon.org.