Walk Recap–Los Cerritos Wetlands Oct. & Nov.

Fall is in full swing and our species counts at both our 2nd Saturday Hellman Lowlands walk and 4th Sunday Zedler Marsh walk are showing it!  To see our Facebook page photo gallery of these walks, click here.

Clark's Grebe, © Cindy Crawford

Clark’s Grebe, © Cindy Crawford

At the Zedler walk on October 28th we observed 25 species at this little pocket marsh with restored coastal sage scrub uplands, and along the trail to the marsh passing by the channel and Calloway Marsh.  Our group included all ages.  Our young birders (ages 4 and 9) were great at spotting and counting birds, and really enjoyed “Larry the Snowy Egret” (named by the locals), a rather tame Snowy who came in for a landing twice very close to the group.  Highlights included a Clark’s Grebe, a Pied-billed Grebe, Spotted Sandpiper running along a muddy bank feeding and doing the classic “tail bob”, and up close looks at Savannah Sparrow, Say’s Phoebe and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.  

 

Peregrine Falcon © Jerry Millett

Peregrine Falcon © Jerry Millett

November 10th at Hellman Lowlands our birding class attendees along with instructors Charlie Collins and Anne Maben also joined the walk to do some field work, with local Biologist Robb Hamilton also attending.  Over 45 species observed!  Sightings included hundreds of Canada Geese flying in to the retention basin, two Snow Geese, a Greater White-fronted Goose, a Peregrine Falcon, Cassin’s Kingbirds, Greater Yellowlegs, Belted Kingfisher numerous Killdeer.  We witnessed a Red-tailed Hawk catch and eat a Botta Pocket Gopher. 

 

 

Belted Kingfisher (female), © Jerry Millett

Belted Kingfisher (female), © Jerry Millett

November 4th we hosted a field trip for Audubon Assembly participants at Los Cerritos Marsh (better known as “Steam Shovel Slough”).  We observed large number of Willets, Black-bellied Plovers, Marbled Godwits and Greater Yellowlegs along with the usual Canada Geese, Cassin’s Kingbirds, various sparrow species, Red-Tailed Hawks, Kestrels and others. 

Our Hellman Lowlands and Zedler Marsh walks continue in November & December and we always expect great bird sightings this time of year.  These two monthly walks are per an agreement with the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority (LCWA), which El Dorado Audubon is a partner in the LCWA Stewardship Program.   Our monthly LCWA 2nd Saturday and 4th Sunday walks will continue in 2019, which we will post on our website once the official 2019 Stewardship Program Schedule is released. 

Remaining 2018 Los Cerritos Wetlands Walks are listed below with some adjustments for holidays.  If you would like to participate in Christmas Bird Count at Los Cerritos Wetlands leave a voicemail for our President Mary Parsell at 562-252-5825.  (To participate in the Christmas Bird Count for other locations, click here to see our CBC article.)

Nov. 25th 3pm to 5pm, Zedler Marsh

Dec 8th, 8am to 10am, Hellman Lowlands

Dec 15th, all day, Christmas Bird Count (various areas including all of Los Cerritos Wetlands)

Dec 16th, 3pm to 5pm, Zedler Marsh (moved to 3rd Sunday in Dec. due to Holidays)

September Program & Beginning of our New Fiscal Year!

We have a lot of great events and walks scheduled for our new year beginning in September.  You should be receiving our September newsletter in your mailbox soon.  Our first program of the year begins with Tom Ryan on Least Terns, details below.  At the refuge the September tour is a National Public Lands Day event, which you will find on our September calendar for your convenience along with all our regularly scheduled walks.  Note Colorado Lagoon walks will resume in October.  Also on September 15th we’ll be participating with El Dorado Nature Center for California Coastal Cleanup Day.  In October we are pleased to present our first birding class — many thanks to Anne Maben and Charlie Collins for putting this great resource together for all of us!  Finally, 2019 is our 50th Year Anniversary!  We hope you enjoy all the activities this year and look forward to seeing you soon!

September Program:

Tom Ryan — Studies of the California Least Terns: migration, dispersal and predicting the population trends

Our first general meeting of our new year kicks off with a few short announcements followed by a presentation on Least Terns by biological consultant and researcher Tom Ryan.

Mr. Ryan has been trapping and marking adult California Least Terns throughout colonies in Southern California since 2012. He has conducted studies of their movements using light-level geolocators and more recently has been attaching field readable alphanumeric bands in order to better understand movements between their colonies and to look at the population structure. Colony monitors have noted lower productivity at colonies for the past 10 years and there is fear of a population decline in the coming years. He will show how biologists are trying to study this issue and present the latest information that informs us of where their population is heading. He is also teaming with researchers in Baja California to try to determine the southern extent of the “California” least tern.

Join us for this interesting event on Thurs., Sept. 20th, at 7:30 p.m., El Dorado Nature Center, 7550 E. Spring St., LB. Doors open at 7:00 p.m., program ends 8:30 p.m. followed by a brief Q&A, doors close at 9:00 p.m. Parking is free and light refreshments will be served. Please bring recyclable cans/plastic bottles with caps removed to help support chapter activities. Hope to see you there!

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)

April Bird Walk at Rancho Los Cerritos Recap

By Carolyn Vance

Our last walk of the season wasn’t as birdy as I expected it to be, but we still saw 20 species! We had up close looks at Bushtits and were able to distinguish male from female.  I learned that, during breeding season, males have black eyes and females have pale yellow eyes.  We also got a fairly good look at a Hermit thrush and a better look at a Pacific-slope flycatcher (shown in the header photo).  A small flock (17) of Cedar waxwings were seen flying over the Rancho.  Other flyovers included nine Mallards, some way-up-high gulls and a couple of Ravens.   We heard several birds that we never could see, including Red-shouldered hawk, House and Lesser goldfinch, Orange-crowned Warbler and a Robin.

This is the last walk put on by El Dorado Audubon, but the Rancho has now started a family-and-beginner-friendly walk the fourth Saturday of every month. It also starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 9:30 a.m.  If you couldn’t attend one of our walks, and still want to bird the Rancho, this is your chance.  For more information on their walk, go to their website at: www.rancholoscerritos.org.  Many thanks to Merryl Edelstein and Jerry Millett for helping me out again in April and to Marie Barnidge-McIntyre, the Horticulturist for the Rancho, for having us in and helping.

Post photos ©Jerry Millett

Male Bushtit

Female Bushtit

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.

 

 

February Walk at Rancho Los Cerritos Recap

By Carolyn Vance
 
Another great walk at the Rancho! We started the day with a pair of Ravens flying over the parking lot, calling to each other.  Our next bird was a nice Hermit thrush, followed by a small flock of Cedar waxwings flying over.  A pair of California Scrub jays flashed their blue wings at us as did the Western bluebirds.  A Northern mockingbird stood silent watch over us, unusual for this bird.  Luckily, the Black phoebes and Allen’s hummingbirds weren’t silent as they zipped back and forth across the Rancho.

Our other fly-over birds included three Great Blue herons and 43 California gulls. A Red-shouldered hawk, heard several times, finally landed in the large oak tree for us to see, then took off again, calling.  The best part of the day, for me, was the small group (21) of Bushtits in a low, open bush, feeding.  It looked as though the bush was alive, swarming with birds in constant motion, going branch to branch.   Then leaving it, one-by-one, as Bushtits do, going to their next feeding spot.  The last bird of the day was the California towhee that we had been hearing, but couldn’t find, until he popped up on an open branch of the Toyon tree at the top of the drive.

The most asked question of the day was: Why is that rust-and-green colored hummingbird an Allen’s and not a Rufous?  Simple – Rufous hummers are only seen in this area in migration – spring and fall, so in winter-time you’re seeing Allen’s.  Also, Allen’s have green on their back and Rufous’ don’t.  Okay, okay – about 5% of Rufous’ show a little green on their back, but once again, our walk was in the middle of winter, when Rufous’ are in their wintering grounds.  Check their range map in your favorite field guide for where they are now.

Many, many thanks to Kim Moore, our bug expert; Merryl Edelstein, Rancho Garden Docent; Jerry Millett, member of El Dorado Audubon’s monthly survey here and Rancho Horticulturist Marie Barnidge-McIntyre for all their help! At the end of the walk, we had seen 19 species of bird.  Our next walk will be on Thursday, April 12th, from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.  Come join us!

(Photo credits: Allen’s Hummingbird & California Towhee by Kim Moore.  Bushtit, Hermit Thrush & Northern Mockingbird by Jerry Millett)

Walk at Rancho Los Cerritos Recap

By Carolyn Vance

 Our very first bird walk at Rancho Los Cerritos in September was a huge success! Fall migration was on, even though it was a beautiful end-of-summer day.  Not only did we see Canada geese and Western gulls flying over, we had two Olive-sided Flycatchers and a Western Wood-peewee.  Of course, we also saw the ever-present Allen’s Hummingbirds, Black Phoebes, Mourning Doves, Bushtits, and Western Bluebirds.   Robins, House Finches and California Towhees were also around, and we heard a Red-shouldered Hawk calling from outside the Rancho.

Many, many thanks to Kim Moore, our big expert; Merryl Edelstein, Rancho Garden Docent; Jerry Millett, member of El Dorado Audubon’s monthly survey here and Rancho Horticulturist Marie Barnidge-McIntyre for their help with such a large group and answering everyone’s questions!  At the end of the walk, we had seen 21 species of bird, smelled wonderful plants and had big grins on our faces from the marvelous walk.

Join us on February 8, 2018 for our second walk, which will give us our winter birds.

Pictured below birds seen on this walk, female House Finch (left), female Western Bluebird (right), photo credit Kim Moore, including the group photo — Thanks Kim!