Audubon Assembly Coming to Long Beach in November

Audubon Assembly in November, Long Beach, CA, by Mary Parsell

Chapter leaders, members, and friends are invited to join Audubon California Nov. 2nd through 4th in Long Beach for the 2018 Audubon Assembly. The theme of the 2018 Assembly is Look Up! The weekend will be an opportunity to look outside our local programs and learn from each other.

This will be an exciting opportunity for you to meet with chapter leaders, members, and partners from all over the state to enjoy birding coastal wetlands and other unique areas, explore conservation opportunities/practices, share stories with leaders from various regions, and establish peer-to-peer collaborations and partnerships. This program will offer multiple interactive presentations and breakout sessions that focus on topics from advocacy, fundraising and communications to SoCal conservation and coalition building.

The last Audubon Assembly, held in Yosemite in 2016, offered a chance to connect with other California conservationists. One chapter leader said, “Feeling part of something larger was my first ‘ah ha’ moment. I was also humbled by the education, experience, accomplishments and skills of other chapter leaders.” Please visit the Audubon CA website at http://ca.audubon.org/about/chapters/audubon-california-assembly to register, reserve lodging, and see the agenda. If you have any questions, please email the Chapter Network Team at chapternetworkca@audubon.org

Refuge Update & Public Lands Day

Many thanks to Carolyn Vance and all the volunteers for their hard work at the Refuge!  To sign up for Public Land’s Day at Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, before 9/24/18, please call 562-598-1024 for a reservation and specify “Lands Day Planting”.  Also thanks to Carolyn for all her work on our Twitter Page, she posts a lot about the Refuge, check it out at https://twitter.com/edaudubon (post photo credit: Carolyn Vance)

Refuge Update, by Carolyn Vance:

A lot has happened at the Refuge over the summer! Our California Least Terns did quite well this year, with 117 nests, one with three eggs. We banded 117 chicks and picked up fewer than a dozen non-viable eggs. I will have the updated count next month. We were very lucky this year and only had one instance of predation of an adult Least Tern – just a pile of feathers on the ground, which is typical of a Peregrine take. Many thanks to new Eyes on the Colony Volunteers Betty-Jo Miller, Mort Dukehart, Bill Cullen, Maureen Sullivan for helping monitor our terns this year. Hope you will help again next year.

On July 20th, 11 Light-footed Ridgway’s Rails, captive bred at the San Diego Refuge, were released into our marsh. Our first rail release of six was in 2002. This group of birds was very feisty and one of them pecked Friends Volunteer Christa Shackleford and drew blood. Christa joined a very elite group who have bird-inflicted “war wounds”. There has now been 83 rails released in our Refuge in the last 16 years.

We’ve started a new survey at the Refuge which is really cool. We get to watch for and count the Green Sea Turtles who come into our Refuge to eat our eel grass, which is also favored by Brant. The turtles hang out in the riverbed by the warm water ejection points at the steam plant on Westminster/Studebaker. They wend their way round multiple culverts to get into (so far) three of our Ponds: 7th St., Perimeter, and Case. We watch their heads come out of the water for a quick breath. Some only nostrils; some a whole head; some watch us while swimming; some are just a quick splash while others show the top of their entire shell. This survey, at the request of the Navy/Bob Schallmann, is to help with the Navy’s Wharf Realignment Project Environmental Assessment.

Our regular Tour for September has been replaced with a National Public Lands Day event. We will plant California native plants in our Restoration area, adjacent to Case Pond, held on Sat., Sept. 29th, from 8:00 a.m. to noon. To participate, sign up before Tues., Sept. 24th. Bring water bottles, sun screen and closed-toe shoes. We will supply gloves, gardening tools and plants. Our regular Tours will resume in October.

During July, high school senior girls worked at the Refuge as part of a LEAF summer internship (Leaders in Environmental Action), paid for by the Nature Conservancy. These young ladies helped tremendously: LOTS of weeding, saw how a tide survey is done, helped with a Least Tern round up, the Green Sea Turtle survey and the Rail release. We hope they enjoyed their summer, and thank them for their help!

Birds of Note: If you follow the Chapter on Twitter, you’ve seen my tern chick photos, especially the newly hatched one with part of the shell still on top of its head, like a hat. Our NASA Island resident Killdeer raised two clutches of four eggs each inside the tern colony. I’ve seen two immature Peregrine Falcons, an immature White-tailed Kite, a Black-bellied Plover still in breeding plumage. By our October Tour, fall migration will have started in earnest, and we will have more birds on the Refuge.

Celebrating Summer, Field Trips & Events

Sneak peek of the President’s column in our June newsletter — it’s been an amazing year and a lot of upcoming activities are planned…stay tuned! 

Celebrating Summer, Field Trips and Events
Thoughts from the President – Mary Parsell

“Never Give Up Listening to the Sounds of the Birds,” -Audubon.

This summer we are looking forward to a variety of field trips and events not only in June but throughout the summer.  In June, we look forward to our Members’ and Friends’ night, field trip to Yorba Regional Park on the Santa Ana River, and El Dorado Park Cleanup.  Our Los Cerritos Wetlands field trips continue June, July, and August.

We are planning a beginning birding class to be held on a weekend in July or August (date to be determined).  Since this is the last edition of our newsletter until September, please check our website for classes, events, and walks in July and August. 

Thanks to all of you, our volunteers, who contribute your time, energy, and passion to conservation of birds and other wildlife.  We have a great group of officers, committee chairs, committee members and YOU, our members and contributors!  As we wrap up this year, we are going for another year of birding!

Thanks, and see you on the birding trail!

(Photo credit C. Crawford, Snowy Egret, location Los Cerritos Wetlands)

Cleanup at El Dorado East Regional Park Area II

Saturday June 23rd, 2018, from 8am to 12 noon join El Dorado Audubon & El Dorado Nature Center for a morning of trash cleanup in the park.  Bags and supplies will be provided by the Nature Center.   Along the way we’ll watch and ID the numerous birds common in this area.  We’ll meet at the corner of Snake Road by Horseshoe Lake, look for our signs and check-in table.  Park along the road.  Return to our table at 11:30 am with your filled trash bags to automatically be entered in the prize drawing.  Must be present to win.  Click the graphic to download the flyer.

Sadly litter such as plastics, styrofoam, fishing line and ribbon not only detract from the park but pose deadly risks to birds and wildlife.  Every year numerous birds are injured at the park becoming tangled in fishing line and hooks.  Long ribbon in the park is often used by the birds in nest building, posing a hazard should the birds become tangled.  Plastics and styrofoam are often mistaken for food and ingested by birds, fish and other wildlife.

The good news, there is something we can do to help – every piece of trash picked up can save a life!

Note:  Parking fee on weekends is $7 cash or annual pass.  Pedestrian and bicycle entry is free.

7550 E. Spring Street, Long Beach, CA 90815
Enter at the main entrance on the north side of Spring Street, just past the entrance fee booth turn right and follow the signs.

 

Keep Our Park Beautiful * Help Birds and Wildlife

Photo credits:  Crow with an injured foot looking for food in litter by C. Crawford; Double-crested Cormorant hooked in fishing lure by George Hasley; El Dorado East Regional Park near Snake Rd. & Horseshoe Lake–the location of our cleanup event, by C. Crawford. 

Help Needed! Least Tern Monitoring at Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge

By Carolyn Vance, USFWS Volunteer, Seal Beach NWR

Eyes on the Colony (EOTC), the Least Tern predator monitoring program, needs your help! Last year was not as successful as it could have been with no more than 16 fledglings ever seen at one time out of 120+ chicks. This was primarily due to all the predation by Peregrine falcons and Red-tailed hawks.  After battling Great-horned owls and Kestrels the last couple of years, and having a great 2016 year, we are dismayed with last year’s results.

We need to document any predation to the terns. Permitting standards require that we thoroughly document and identify avian predators which are taking Least terns before requesting their removal. So, the Refuge needs more help observing avian predators at times when they are active.

If you can commit to a minimum of 4 hours a week to EOTC, or just want more information, please contact Refuge Manager Rick Nye via email at:  Richard_nye@fws.gov. Historically, we watched in four hour shifts from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  You must obtain a badge from the Navy to access the Refuge by filling out some background paperwork and must be a U.S. Citizen.   Training and equipment is provided.

I adore doing EOTC! A car is the best birding blind, and besides watching our wonderful Least terns going back and forth, you get up close looks at Belding’s Savannah sparrows, swallows, and all the other birds and critters that call the Refuge home and/or breed here.

Photo Credit ©Jerry Millet

EDA in the News!

Check out this March article about El Dorado Audubon in The Grunion:

http://www.gazettes.com/news/environment/better-beach-better-world-long-beach-audubon-keeps-up-the/article_df40b570-2492-11e8-9dcf-bba0222e71d4.html

Public Workshop–Los Cerritos Wetlands EIR

By Mary Parsell

Please attend the next Public Workshop on the restoration of Los Cerritos Wetlands. Note, this is not the BOMP Oil Consolidation/Restoration Plan. The LCW Conceptual Restoration Plan (CRP) has been in the works since 2011, which included six public workshops held by the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority (LCWA).  The CRP will be developed into the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The first EIR public workshop will take place on March 28th, 6pm to 8pm at the Mary Wilson Library in Seal Beach, 707 Electric Avenue; for additional details please see http://intoloscerritoswetlands.org/the-lcws-eir/

The CRP can be found at www.intoloscerritoswetlands.org/conceptual-restoration-plan

Direct link to download the CRP http://intoloscerritoswetlands.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/FinalLCWCRP-PUBLICRELEASE8-11-2015.compressed.pdf

Please visit our Conservation page on our website and also see the video “Lost Jewel of the Coast” at www.eldoradoaudubon.org/conservation

Background:

Two Los Cerritos Wetlands restoration plans and EIRs are currently in the works, one covering the entire Los Cerritos Wetlands complex (by LCWA) and the other covering approximately 150 acres of privately owned property by Synergy Oil. The private land holders proposed their own restoration plan, via BOMP (Beach Oil Mineral Partners), in alignment with the LCWA’s plan (which appears to be a modified moderate alternative of the LCWA plan).  The two plans together would restore a minimum of approximately 350 acres of vital coastal wetlands habitat.  Fully implemented the LCWA Restoration Plan would restore up to approximately 500 acres straddling the San Gabriel River in the cities of Long Beach and Seal Beach.

We encourage public participation and comment letters from both individual members of the public and organizations throughout this process for both restoration plan EIRs.

If you need further information, please don’t hesitate to contact our Conservation Committee, 562-252-5825 (voice and text).

Photo Credit:  Cindy Crawford, location Los Cerritos Wetlands “Hellman Property”

Recap, Starr Ranch Sanctuary Field Trip

 

by Elaine Layne

Feb. 17th, 2018, EDA members were welcomed by Director of Research and Education, Sandy De Simone. The Ranch lies in unincorporated South Orange County, bordered by the Cleveland National Forest. Starr Ranch is used for various types of ecological research. Participants witnessed a special bird banding demonstration given by Ornithologist Kim Geissler. The Hutton Vireo and Lesser Goldfinch were caught, weighed, assessed for fat, age, disease and released. A guided bird walk followed. Thank you Starr Ranch staff for a beautiful day with the birds!

Pictured below, a few of the birds seen on the trip:  Hutton’s Vireo, Lesser Goldfinch, Acorn Woodpecker and a Red-tailed Hawk.  Header photo, Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom.  Photos by Jerry Millett.

 

 

Year of the Bird

Celebrating the Year of the Bird
By Mary Parsell

2018 is the Year of the Bird. The National Audubon Society, National Geographic, BirdLife International and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are joining together in a yearlong celebration of birds in commemoration of the 100year anniversary of the signing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) . This Act regulates the taking, possession, transportation, sale, purchase, barter, exportation and importation of migratory birds, their parts, nests and eggs. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for enforcing the MBTA. The 1026 bird species native to the US and its territories are pro-tected.

The MBTA was one of Audubons first major victories. See audubon.org/yearofthebird for complete information.

CBC 2017, Results are in!

By Cindy Dunbar

Thank you to all who participated in this year’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC). A special thanks to Carolyn Vance for her ongoing support and guidance. What a wonderful year we had as you can see by the count below.  See you next year.

Date: December 16, 2017
Observers: 38
Total Miles: 95
Total Hours: 99
Species: 186
Total Count: 22,761
In brief, the areas we covered: cities of Long Beach, Buena Park, Cypress, Seal Beach and Los Alamitos military bases.

 

Red-throated Loon – 1 Hooded Merganser – 1
 Common Loon – 5 Red-breasted Merganser – 17
Pied-billed Grebe – 28 Ruddy Duck – 135
Horned Grebe – 2 Turkey Vulture – 27
Eared Grebe – 20 Osprey – 14
Western Grebe – 182 White-tailed Kite – 4
Clark’s Grebe – 1 Northern Harrier – 5
White Pelican – 70 Sharp-shinned Hawk – 3
Brown Pelican – 28 Cooper’s Hawk – 13
Double-crested Cormorant – 147 Red-shouldered Hawk – 2
Brant’s Cormorant – 6 Red-tailed Hawk – 70
Great Blue Heron – 41 Ferruginous Hawk – 5
Great Egret – 33 American Kestrel – 36
Snowy Egret – 98 Merlin – 5
Green Heron – 4 Peregrine Falcon – 3
Black-crowned Night Heron – 42 California Quail – 2
Ross’s Goose – 4 Ridgway’s Light-footed Rail – 2
Snow Goose – 11 American Coot – 1,373
Cackling Goose – 6 Black-bellied Plover – 383
Canada Goose – 3,638 Pacific Golden-Plover – 1
Brant – 2 Semi-palmated Plover – 237
Green-winged Teal – 46 Killdeer – 254
Mallard – 681 Black Oystercatcher – 2
Northern Pintail – 72 Black-necked Stilt – 81
Blue-winged Teal – 49 Avocet – 29
Cinnamon Teal – 25 Greater Yellowlegs – 13
Northern Shoveler – 62 Willet – 291
Gadwall – 10 Spotted Sandpiper – 6
American Wigeon – 683 Whimbrel – 6
Canvasback – 4 Long-billed Curlew – 76
Ring-necked Duck – 5 Marbled Godwit – 72
Lesser Scaup – 54 Ruddy Turnstone – 8
Surf Scoter – 84 Red Knot – 1
Bufflehead – 53 Western Sandpiper – 2,714
Least Sandpiper – 520 Marsh Wren – 3
Western/Least (Peeps) – 600 Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 121
Dunlin – 12 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 38
Short-billed Dowitcher – 24 Western Bluebird – 51
Long-billed Dowitcher – 10 Hermit Thrush – 31
Dowitcher sp. – 90 American Robin – 24
Wilson’s Snipe – 2 Northern Mockingbird – 81
Bonaparte’s Gull – 1 American Pipit – 311
Heerman’s Gull – 22 Cedar Waxwing – 161
Ring-billed Gull – 473 Loggerhead Shrike – 2
California Gull – 209 European Starling – 661
Herring Gull – 5 Hutton’s Vireo – 20
Western Gull – 233 Orange-crowned Warbler – 38
Glaucous-winged Gull – 2 Yellow Warbler – 75
Gull sp. – 579 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle’s) – 3
Caspian Tern – 4 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) – 574
Royal Tern – 168 Black-throated Gray Warbler – 1
Foster’s Tern – 2 Townsend’s Warbler – 37
Rock Pigeon – 811 Common Yellowthroat – 51
Mourning Dove – 433 Wilson’s Warbler – 1
Eurasian Collared-Dove – 54 Spotted Towhee – 2
Mitred Parakeet – 128 California Towhee – 42
White-throated Swift – 36 Chipping Sparrow – 35
Anna’s Hummingbird – 94 Savannah Sparrow – 230
Allen’s Hummingbird – 159 Belding’s Savannah Sparrow – 59
Hummingbird sp. – 40 Fox Sparrow – 1
Belted Kingfisher – 13 Song Sparrow – 17
Nuttall’s Woodpecker – 22 Lincoln Sparrow – 24
Downy Woodpecker – 7 White-crowned Sparrow – 546
Northern Flicker – 36 Dark-eyed Junco – 14
Black Phoebe – 186 Red-winged Blackbird – 46
Say’s Phoebe – 62 Western Meadowlark – 196
Cassin’s Kingbird – 58 Brewer’s Blackbird – 95
Horned Lark – 122 Great-tailed Grackle – 63
CA Scrub Jay – 30 Brown-headed Cowbird – 133
American Crow – 343 House Finch – 323
Common Raven – 30 Lesser Goldfinch – 135
Bushtit – 461 American Goldfinch – 20
Bewick’s Wren – 5 House Sparrow – 76
House Wren – 14 Scaly-breasted Munia – 62
WRITE-IN’s
Domestic Muscovy – 23 Barn Swallow – 2
Swan Goose – 3 Lark Sparrow – 4
Barn Owl – 1 Phainopepla – 1
White-faced Ibis – 8 Cinnamon Blue-winged Teal Hybrid – 1
Vermillian Flycatcher – 7 Yellow-chevroned Parakeet – 3
Swallow sp. – 2 Greater White-fronted Goose – 12
Domestic Goose – 1 Reddish Egret – 2
Wrentit – 3 Burrowing Owl – 3
California Gnatchatcher – 8 Prairie Falcon – 1
Domestic Mallard – 12 Vesper Sparrow – 1
Pacific Slope Flycatcher – 2 Large-billed Savannah Sparrow – 2
Tropical Kingbird – 1 Green-tailed Towhee – 1
Virginia Rail – 2 Red Bishop – 1
Sora – 1 Tricolored Heron – 1
Tree Swallow – 2 White-crowned Sparrow (Gambel’s) – 36
Northern Rough-winged Swallow – 6 Graylag Goose (Domestic) – 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet – 3 Duck sp. Hybrid – 10
Cassin’s Vireo – 1 Black and White Warbler – 1
Palm Warbler – 1

 

Detailed list of areas covered in the count:

Alamitos Bay
Marine Stadium
Ralph Dills Park
Hollydale Park
La Mirada Regional & Creek Parks
Ralph B. Clark Park
El Dorado Park
San Gabriel River and Park
Seal Beach NWR
Los Cerritos Wetlands
Marketplace Marsh
Zedler Marsh
Hellman Lowlands
Rancho Los Cerritos
DeForest Park
Dominguez Gap
Scherer Park
Oak Knoll Park
Willow Park
Forest Lawn
Wardlow Park
Colorado Lagoon
Mother’s Beach
Joint Forces Training Base and Navy Golf Course
Willow Springs Park

(Post photo credit ©Cindy Crawford, location Hellman Lowlands)