All Audubon members are welcome to celebrate Earth Day at the garden party hosted by Catherine and Bob Waters on Sunday April 24 from 1:00 – 5:00 PM in Downey. Decades long members and supporters of the Audubon Society, they are native plant gardeners who created a small bird sanctuary and native plant garden on a vacant lot adjacent to their house. Over 130 species of birds have visited the sanctuary since its inception and we’re sure to be delighted with a variety of birds on April 24. In past years the garden has been shown on the Theodore Payne Foundation annual native plant garden tour and featured in WildBird, Hobby Farm and Backyard Birding magazines. To RSVP and get directions email cpannellwaters@yahoo.com or call Cat Waters at 562-869-6718.

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. 

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

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

Bird Walk, Rancho Los Cerritos

By Carolyn Vance

The first two bird walks at Rancho Los Cerritos have proved to be very popular, especially with novice birders. Welcome to the wonderful world of birds and bird watching! Our final walk of the fiscal year is on Thurs., Apr. 12th, at 8:00 a.m.

Meet in the parking lot of the Rancho; no reservations required. If you dont have binoculars, the Rancho has some to loan. Comfort-able walking shoes are recommend-d as we will be going up and down dirt slopes and some staircases.

The winter birds should be gone by now and the garden in bloom. We may see some nesting birds, possibly Common Raven and/or Redshouldered Hawk. Hummingbirds should abound, as well as Black Phoebes, and Bushtits. With spring migration on, we should also see several different species of warblers and swallows.

Dont know your birds? No problem. Heres some homework to get you ready for our April walk. Go to the Ranchos website (https://www.rancholoscerritos.org/) and click on Things to Doon the top. Click on Bird Watching, then download the bird check list. Look for the birds with a letter (A, C, U) in the Spcolumn (for Spring). Those are the birds you want to study. You can easily find photos online or in a field guide.

Photo credit ©Jerry Millett

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.

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)