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!

Field Trip Report

By Carolyn Vance, Trip Leader

We had a great turnout for the JPL trip in Nov. with 11 participants.  Even though we didn’t get our target bird, Phainopepla, there were plenty of other great birds to be seen.  We had several families of Acorn Woodpeckers, flying back & forth and drumming on phone poles: a large Band-tailed Pigeon flock flying so close to us we could hear their wing-beats: a conspiracy of Ravens circling high in the air and calling out to us; CA Scrub-jays flashing blue as they flew back and forth between trees, scolding us for bothering them; bushtits flitting from tree to tree; a small charm of Goldfinches, both American and Lesser feeding in a berry bush; and a secretive Bewick’s wren serenaded us as we started our walk.

But the (unexpected) bird of the day were two Wrentits!  We all know their call- the sound of a ping pong ball dropping, but they didn’t give us that thrill today, but instead came eye-to-eye with Elias, to check him out from within the safety of a tree. He wasn’t sure what they were, having never seen nor heard them before (lifer!), but finally they came out, flew back & forth between a couple of trees, giving us decent looks at them.  But not a peep to be heard out of them.  Many thanks to Kim Moore for her photos.

All in all, a total of 24 species were seen, but no Bobcat (we may have seen scat).  Join us on our next trip to Area III of El Dorado Park on Dec. 5th for our winter migrants search.  (Check the Events Calendar for details).


Cibola NWR (Dec. 27-29, two nights).

Leader:  Jeff Moore

We’re heading out to the Colorado River.  For this trip we’ll be staying in Blythe, California, which is about 5 miles east of the Arizona state line.  Our first site is the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve, 7 or 8 miles north of town.  Our main site is Cibola NWR, 15 miles south of town.  I’d describe it as a serene mosaic of farm fields, cottonwood and willow forests, and mesquite scrubland.  Expect to get close up looks at Sandhill cranes, snow geese, various waterfowl, burrowing owls, roadrunners, shrikes, and an assortment of wetland and desert birds.  Please click on the following link to see pictures from last year’s trip:

If you might be interested, please email me at and I’ll send you a document with more detailed trip info.

Thanks to Kim Moore for the pics!


JPL Trail on 11/8

Check the events calendar for details.

Thank you to long time member and past president Carolyn Vance for volunteering to lead these field trips.  She says, “Please join me to bird some of my favorite local places and some new ones I’ve been wanting to explore! If you have any questions, please call me at 562-594-7589 or email:”

These trips will be in the morning and mostly just a couple hours long.  For now I’ll list them and when I get the chance, add detailed information to our events calendar.


September 20, Tuesday- South Coast Botanic Garden, Rancho Palos Verdes

October 4, Tuesday- Golden Shores Marine Reserve, Long Beach

November 8, Tuesday- JPL Trail, Pasadena

December 5, Monday- El Dorado Park, Area III, Long Beach

January 9, Monday- Rynerson Park, Lakewood

February 7, Tuesday- Wilderness Park, Downey

March 21, Tuesday- L.A. Arboretum, Arcadia

April 4, Tuesday- La Mirada Creek Park, La Mirada

May 8, Monday- Dills Park, Paramount

June 5, Monday- River’s End, Seal Beach


Lots of good action!!!



Seal Beach NWR on January 14th

By Jeff Moore

The Seal Beach NWR serves as a significant stopover and wintering area along the Pacific Flyway for shorebirds and waterfowl.  It’s also a great location for viewing raptors and several unusual species including Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow and Ridgway’s Rail.

Sign-up is required.  Limited to 20 people.  To reserve your space, contact me at: or by phone at 562-397-2667.  Provide the following information: full name (first, middle initial, last), phone number, DOB, and zip code.  I’ll confirm your reservation.  If you sign up and cannot attend, please let me know ASAP!

Meet in the parking lot at the entrance to the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station (800 Seal Beach Blvd.) at 7:45.  Thing to bring:  A photo ID, binos, scopes, field guides, water & snacks, and sun protection.  Cameras are allowed, but ONLY for bird photography.  The trip runs from 8:00 to 12:00.  If it looks like it might rain, check back on this website the day before for updated info.

Photo by Kim Moore


DeForest Park Field Trip Report

By Kim Moore

Seven El Dorado Audubon members participated in the DeForest Park field trip.  This park is located in north Long Beach adjacent to the LA river and offers great opportunities for migratory warblers in the park and shorebirds in the river.  We saw 30 species including Wilson’s Warbler, Townsend Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak, Semipalmated Plover, and a Pectoral Sandpiper!  This was only the start of the migration and we hope many of you get back to visit.  There has been some work being done clearing brush in the south end of the park.  With the workmen there and more birders showing up, the park seems safer and the birds are being flushed more north into the park.  Recent sightings have included Summer Tanager, Palm Warbler, Virginia’s Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, and Blackpoll Warbler.

DeForest Park, Long Beach 09/24/2016

DeForest Park, Long Beach 09/24/2016

October Field Trip Report

By Carolyn Vance, Trip Leader

We had another great day of birding at Golden Shore Marine Reserve in Long Beach, increasing our species count from last month to 29.  We also got really great, up close looks at lots of shorebirds, which were our target birds(s), with 6 different species seen.  The shorebirds were a Long-billed Curlew, a Greater Yellowlegs, a Whimbrel (who was standing next to the  curlew so we got really good comparisons), a dozen Marbled Godwits, lots of Willets, and the bird of the day were 2 Spotted Sandpipers in winter plumage (no spots on their breasts).

We also had 4 terns (Royal, Elegant, Caspian & Forster’s), lots of Brown Pelicans soaring just over the water, a Belted Kingfisher on a post, lots of Double-crested Cormorants & Western Grebes and 2 Osprey.  The trees in the parking lot yielded a Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Orange-crowned & Yellow-rumped warblers as well (yes, the butter-butts are back).  The last bird of the day, which flew by us as we were leaving, was the ever delightful Black Phoebe.  (Hey, what’s a birding trip without a Black Phoebe?!?!?!)

Many thanks to Anne Belle Rice for the group photo (look above our heads & to the back) and Kim Moore for the other bird photos.  They all can be seen at the eBird website, at  Come out and join us our next birding trip to the JPL Trail on November 8th to help us increase our species and participant count, as well as search for our Target Bird, the Phainopepla.  AND, you never know what else we might see!  Oh, and follow the Chapter on Twitter (@edaudubon) as well.  (Tweet!)


South Coast Botanic Garden

Our first field trip of the season was a great success with 9 of us participating!  South Coast Botanic Garden is a beautiful place and had lots of birds that were very easy to see.  We got our target bird of Scaly-breasted Munia (aka: Nutmeg Mannikin) bathing in a fountain and in a nearby tree.  Other highlights were the newly named California Scrub-jay, one of whom had just caught a nice fat bug: California Towhees running all over the place: Mockingbirds chasing each other around: a fly-over Cooper’s hawk; a Western Wood peewee; and a Pacific-slope flycatcher, Wilson’s and Orange-crowned warblers for a total of 23 species.  Many thanks to Kim Moore for taking photos of us and our target bird. Come out and join us on our next birding trip to see what you’ve been missing!