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.

Field Trip Report–Ralph C. Dills Park, Paramount

Big thanks to Donna for leading this great walk!  Beautiful spot, very birdy – 23 species observed, see the eBird checklist at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S52901845

Field Trip Report, Ralph Dills Park, by Donna Bray:

February 16, 2019, twelve birders had the opportunity to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count by attending the field trip at Ralph Dills Park in Paramount.  After a rainy week, the sunny and clear weather was welcome.  The Nature Trail’s native plantings harbored lots of sparrows, and we were fortunate to see a White-throated Sparrow.   A perched flock of Cedar Waxwings was also a treat to see and photograph.  A quick check of the adjoining L.A. River revealed it higher and swifter than it has been in a long time.  Instead of the concrete bottom, a few gulls could only rest on the concrete sides!

Pictured below:  Allen’s Hummingbird, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Lesser Goldfinch, Black Phoebe and the group walking in Dills Park.  Photo credit © Cindy Crawford

Los Cerritos Wetlands (LCW) Project Approved by Coastal Commission

As we have shared in our announcements, the first major restoration at Los Cerritos Wetlands was recently approved by the Coastal Commission on December 13th, 2018, the BOMP Oil Consolidation/Wetlands Restoration Project, which Audubon supports.  This project is often characterized by the media as controversial because some environmentalists oppose.  Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority, Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust, Bolsa Chica Land Trust and many others support the project.  Much like Bolsa Chica, the Los Cerritos Wetlands vision has always been to return the land, highly impacted by the oil industry, to wetlands.  Unfortunately we don’t have control over what they do with oil operations removed from the wetlands, and the restoration supporters have never included “end all oil extraction” in their wetlands restoration advocacy as it is known “end oil” has a very long road ahead.  The value of coastal wetlands and the extent of the loss of California coastal wetlands is of great concern–the more we can restore sooner rather than later, the better. 

As we’ve promised, listed below are additional details, pictures and information about the first approved and funded restoration project at Los Cerritos Wetlands.  First, some ask “what is this project”? 

In brief review, the “BOMP” Oil Consolidation/Wetlands Restoration Project is:

  • Pertains to the privately owned portion of LCW owned by Synergy Oil (north of 2nd St., west of Studebaker Rd.), most importantly this portion of LCW contains the only original part of these wetlands left, aka “Steamshovel Slough” on the north side of the Synergy Oil Property.
  • The South Section of the Synergy Oil property is separated from the slough by a berm and paralleled by muted and degraded wetlands with an active oil field on these muted, filled and drilled wetlands.  The entire acreage of the Synergy Oil owned property (all historically Los Cerritos Wetlands) is approximately 154 acres. 
  • The oil company will move oil operations built to 1960’s standards off this large mostly degraded wetlands acreage and consolidate oil operations on two properties of about 5 acres each–154 acres of oil operations on wetlands, consolidated down to just over 10 or 11 acres on two adjacent industrial use and landfill sites.
  • The two approximate 5 acre oil consolidation sites (where the “new” replacement wells will go) are the “pumpkin patch” (a landfill site used for pumpkin and Christmas tree sales) and 5 acres at the corner of 2nd/Westminster & Studebaker used to store road construction supplies surrounded by a tank farm by the power plant. 
  • Included in the project is the section of oil fields adjacent to the freshwater “Marketplace Marsh” (south of 2nd Street, east of Shopkeeper Rd).  The oil operations will also be removed there opening the door for restoration in a later phase. 
  • Today eight (8) rigid pipelines crisscross the Synergy oil fields and an earthquake fault, these existing pipelines and wells have no modern failure safety measures.  This will be replaced by one pipeline crossing the fault built to withstand big quakes, with spill containment measures, and the entire new consolidated oil operations will have all the modern safety and spill containment features.  The consolidated wells will be outside the fault zone.  
  • The existing historic Bixby building used as Synergy Oil office will be moved off the fault line and converted to a wetlands visitor center.  Public access will also include a perimeter trail around the wetlands.
  • A new Synergy office building will be constructed at the Pumpkin Patch site after removal of the old landfill, and will be landscaped with native plants and designed with bird safe glass. 
  • The restoration will be phased, with Phase I just approved by the Coastal Commission this December for the 30 acres of muted/degraded wetlands parallel to the pristine “Steamshovel Slough”, which will happen in less than 5 to 10 years.  All oil operations will be consolidated off the entire 154 acres in 10 to 20 years or even less, at which time the Phase II restoration will begin as a separate plan. 
  • It is important to note this oil consolidation/wetlands restoration project is not funded by tax payer money and is separate from Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority’s plan, although the LCWA is very involved and the restored wetlands will be transferred to the LCWA.   “BOMP” or “BOM” was formed to head the oil consolidation/restoration project (Beach Oil Mineral Partners) and hopes to sell mitigation bank credits later to recoup money they spent on the restoration. 

Benefits:

A major benefit, the only natural intact piece of Los Cerritos Wetlands in existence today will be in public hands and permanently protected and managed—the 44 acre salt marsh known locally as “Steamshovel Slough”.  With the addition of another adjacent 30 acres of restored wetlands, the size of the salt marsh will be nearly doubled.  Upland habitat around the marsh, primarily taken over by invasive weeds, will be restored with plants native to the area.  Contaminated soils will be remediated, oil operations removed from 154 acres clearing the way for a second phase of restoration.  For later phases “adaptive restoration” has been mentioned briefly, which in general means restoring at higher elevations for sea level rise and allowing marsh to gradually migrate.  Along with all the habitat benefits the project includes passive public access and an educational interpretive/visitor center.  

Background:

El Dorado Audubon, Audubon California and our sister chapters have followed and participated in the restoration process of Los Cerritos Wetlands for decades, including the BOMP consolidation/restoration project.  We have reviewed EIRs, plans, we hired an attorney and our own biologist to review and advise us on the project. 

Some people are opposed to the project based on removing the oil consolidation component out of the plan completely, hence to stop all oil drilling, which legally speaking cannot be done any time in the foreseeable future.  Important to note our attorney reviewed the plan and found nothing legally wrong or illegal with the proposed consolidation/restoration plan, advised Audubon to meet with the BOMP project team regarding the restoration itself and work out our concerns.  Which we did.  El Dorado Audubon chose not to spend our limited member donations fighting an “end oil cause”–against a wetlands restoration. 

Our mission is “conservation of native birds and their habitats”, which habitat restoration is a key function in conserving native birds.  More importantly we were very concerned with the “no project” alternative.  The existing oil field is already prone to some tidal exchange as it exists today despite the fact an earthen berm exists; current oil operations are right on the edge of muted wetlands with pipe lines literally running across the wetlands.  The “no project” alternative would result in these outdated, wetlands residing oil operations continuing indefinitely as is.  Should the sea level rise predictions come to pass, this means the existing oil field with no modern safety measures would experience severe flooding impacting the adjacent “Steamshovel Slough” and Alamitos Bay.  Therefore, in this case Audubon felt the project, closely reviewed and “conditioned”, was the best choice. 

Through the process of this oil consolidation/restoration project our involvement resulted in some of the special conditions imposed on the project by permitting agencies, and we also supported other special conditions during the permitting process at City of Long Beach and California Coastal Commission.  You can read the Coastal Commission report and what was approved, including 25 special conditions, click here

It is important to note by definition we are more a conservationist organization rather than an environmentalist organization, as our mission statement indicates, although these two terms are often used interchangeably these days.  We look for practical, balanced solutions to problems, based on a variety of expert advice, research and more.  Audubon is a science-based conservation organization.  We respect and work with project proponents, government agencies, public offices and public officials, often privately and effectively in regards to our mission.  We didn’t arrive at our support for the BOMP oil consolidation/restoration project easily, much thought and review was put into this.

To address the often sensational media statements regarding this consolidation/restoration project, which are often a bit confusing and perhaps misleading such as “more drilling expected”, “sea level rise will turn restoration into mud flats”, “greenhouse gas increase”, “millions of barrels will be extracted compared to 300 barrels now”, etc. below are a few verified facts:

  • Existing operations = 33 active wells, 74 wells total including those idle (which could be put back into service)
  • “New” replacement wells = includes both oil wells and water re-injection wells (oil mixed with water is extracted, oil is separated and water is cleaned and put back in the ground preventing ground subsidence).  No fracking is allowed.  No water re-injection wells exist in the existing oil operations, therefore no ground subsidence measures are being taken in the current oil operations. 
  • The 33 wells active in the existing operations are currently producing 300 barrels a day
  • All 74 existing wells (currently on the wetlands), if running, could produce up 10,000 barrels a day; however, the project approval includes a maximum 2,500 barrel a day cap for the existing oil field which BOMP self-imposed to show good faith that they are in fact serious about getting oil operations off the wetlands.  Therefore you may see the media stating 10,000 barrels a day while the Coastal report states 2,500 barrels a day. 
  • The oil operator chooses not to maintain and run all 74 wells as moving off the wetlands to more modern consolidated operations is more cost effective/efficient. 
  • The “new” consolidation wells could produce 24,000 barrels a day (not millions).  And yes more modern technology can extract faster. 
  • The greenhouse gas (GHG) emission increases estimated for the consolidation project component are based on the 300 barrels a day, not the full capacity of all existing 74 wells running which the operator would and could legally run all 74 wells if the consolidation had not been approved.  Also the carbon sink abilities of a wetlands restoration were not factored into the GHG emissions calculations, making the estimated GHG emission for the consolidation project on the high side.  The Coastal Commission addressed the GHG with a number of special conditions to offset increases. 

Conclusion:

If you follow National Audubon and Audubon California you may notice many birds and their habitats are at risk for a variety of reasons, including those that use Los Cerritos Wetlands during their migrations and those that reside year around.  Salt marshes and mudflats are very critical foraging grounds to these birds.  Locally development is closing in, not good for either our resident or migrant birds, they need good quality replacement habitat for foraging and nesting.  We felt to wait 50 years or more to restore the wetlands (in hopes oil extraction would someday be illegal) would be detrimental to this Audubon Important Bird Area.   Had the “new” relocated consolidation wells actually been proposed on a habitat and not on industrial use sites we would have a very different position of course.  Or, if oil operations and pipelines did not already exist all over Los Cerritos Wetlands then we would have a different position about this oil consolidation project component.  However the fact is, oil is already there and the areas adjacent to the wetlands for oil well relocation are industrial sites.  As a side note, in the case of Los Cerritos Wetlands, there would be nothing left of the wetlands to restore had the area not been exploited for oil, otherwise it would have no doubt already been developed into housing or shopping centers. 

We hope this helps explain and clarify what is behind all the project “controversy” chatter online and in the media.  Hopefully those who oppose the project can eventually understand and accept that Audubon is entitled to our point of view and position on this matter, as they are entitled to theirs as well, which we don’t hold against them or criticize them for having a different view. 

As the project moves forward, wetlands restoration and oil consolidation activities will be heavily monitored and reviewed by many government agencies on an ongoing basis, which is standard protocol for such projects. 

Included below are pictures of the original/intact Los Cerritos Wetlands Marsh (aka “Steamshovel Slough”) which will now be in public hands along with pictures of the adjacent oil field to be relocated/consolidated onto two 5 acre industrial use properties, recent pictures of those two 5 acre properties to become the consolidated oil operations, the Phase I restoration area adjacent to Steamshovel Slough, the Synergy Oil Field to be removed and consolidated off the wetlands (clearing the land for a Phase II restoration) and degraded/muted wetlands, the berm between Steamshovel Slough and the Synergy Oil Field intended to keep sea water out of the oil field, a December 2018 high tide showing sea water nearly breaching the existing berm from the wetlands into the oil field and the weedy uplands area along Studebaker Rd. to become a public access trail with upland native plants.  Please also see our Conservation Page for additional photos and information.

Unusual Suspect

While participating in Cornell Lab’s “Project Feeder Watch” this season, I noticed a different visitor at my feeders.  Turns out this bright yellow bird with distinct gray cap, eye line and malar or “moustache stripe” (below the eye) is an exotic species, thought to be a pet trade escapee native to Africa, the common name is Yellow-fronted Canary.  This bird is a frequent visitor in my yard since I added a Nyjer thistle sock to attract more Goldfinches and House Finches. 

To find out more about Project Feeder Watch and how to participate, visit https://feederwatch.org/about/project-overview/

If you are looking for a good feeder and bird seed source, check out Lowe’s which carries an entire line of National Audubon Society seeds.  Also visit Audubon’s bird seed website at http://audubonbirdseed.com/

Note a variety of other exotic bird species are found in our area which include Black-throated Magpie-Jay, Pin-tailed Whydah, Scaly-breasted Munia, House Sparrow and European Starling (to name a few).  You can find more non-native examples in our Photo Gallery, included to help ID these unusual birds you might find.  It is important to note non-native species are not necessarily a good thing as they can impact our native bird species and habitats. 

Yellow-fronted Canary shown below with Goldfinches, photo credit Cindy Crawford.

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)

119th Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC), by Carolyn Vance

Join El Dorado Audubon on Saturday, December 15th for the 119th Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC)!

Started in 1900 by ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, an early officer of the National Audubon Society, he got 27 of his birding friends to go out and count birds, instead of shooting them as was the custom back then.  That first CBC netted 90 species and 25 Count Circles.  The 117th Count had 2,536 Count Circles and 73,153 participants in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.  This is the longest running citizen science survey in the world!

If you have participated in CBC with El Dorado Audubon in the past, you should have received our reminder card.  If you haven’t, you can pick one up at our General Meeting.  Donna Bray will be making assignments for us this year.  Please let her know if you want a specific area.  Her contact information is 562-743-6399 (cell) or 562-863-7617. I will be doing the tallying again this year.

If Donna Bray hasn’t preassigned you an area, meet me (Carolyn Vance) at the south end of the El Dorado Branch Public Library on Studebaker no later than 7:30 a.m. to get Count Sheets and Assignments.  Don’t forget your binoculars, spotting scopes (if you have one), field guide, pen/pencil, hat, water, Thomas Bros. map or GPS.  We count rain or shine.   We also need people to count at their feeders. 

Afterwards, we meet at Glory Days Beachside, 620 Pacific Coast Hwy, Seal Beach, starting at 4:30 p.m. for dinner and recap.  You may turn your Count Sheets to me then.  If you submit you records through eBird, please share your list with me at drabduck@yahoo.com and mark it as El Dorado’s CBC.  All data, whether physical Count Sheets or shared eBird records, need to be to me no later than Friday, December 21st.  If you need my address to snail mail sheets to me, email me or call 562-594-7589.

When you get to Glory Days Beachside, go in the door (on the side of the building) and turn left.  Go into the room at the end.  They have servers who will come in and take our orders, deliver it to us and a full bar.  The menu has a large selection of items.  I should (hopefully!) be there already.  CBC is great fun and you’ll be hooked on it once you do it.  Thank you for your help this year!

Post photo credit:  Cindy Crawford (photo taken at a past CBC)

Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge Update, by Carolyn Vance

As promised, this year’s Least Tern fledgling count:  42!  This is up from last year, thank goodness.  Many thanks to all who helped out with Eyes on the Colony and monitoring.  We will need help again staring in May of 2019.  Mark your calendars.

We celebrated National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on September 29th.  Rick Nye, the Refuge Manager went out to the Restoration area north of Case Pond and prepared an acre of land, clearing weeds, roto-tilling the soil and drilling 800 holes for plants.  Thanks to Bob Schallmann and the Navy, we received 784 plants from Tree of Life Nursery from a grant.  We had 135 volunteers come out and filled the holes with California native plants and spread mulch in between the rows and plants, to help keep down the weeds.  Then the next week, L.A. Conservation Corps came in and filled in the remaining holes with plants from our nursery and spread wildflower seeds throughout the site.  Here’s hoping we get enough rain for springtime flowers.  Many, many thanks to all involved.

On November 2nd four additional captive-bred Light-footed Ridgway’s Rails were released into the Seal Beach Refuge.  While the turnout of spectators was lower than last time, the rails were just as feisty, with one in particular screeching at us while waiting to be banded, until his eyes were covered.  We almost had one escape as he was being put back into the box, his beak pushing through the top of the carrier.  All these rails also received red metal bands for their release year of 2018.

On the way back to the Nature Center, we heard a red-tailed hawk screaming.  We looked over into a field and saw him on the ground, fighting with a Ferruginous hawk, over lunch we presumed.  Feathers flew, birds came up of the ground, wings, talons and tails all spread.  After a very short battle, the Red-tail flew off, leaving the larger Ferrugie on the ground to enjoy whatever had been caught.   Just another day at the Refuge.

The Refuge will be participating in the Annual Pacific Flyway Shorebird Survey again this year.  Think of it as an abbreviated CBC, where only shorebirds and raptors are counted.  If you need help with shorebird identification in the winter, go to:  www.migratoryshorebirdproject.org and just click on Resources – Survey.  Then under Survey Training Resources, check out Shorebird ID tips.  Great tutorial, as are the other links.

December, this year, will be quiet on the Refuge with last Saturday of the Month Tour cancelled and no Special Birding Tours scheduled.  Just like our migratory birds resting here for the winter, the Friends and Refuge Manager are taking a break.  I’ll still be out and about, so check out the Chapter’s Twitter page at https://twitter.com/edaudubon for my latest photos.  See you next year!

Post photo credit:  Carolyn Vance

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.

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!

Birding Classes!

** Class is now full**

This workshop is now closed, with 7 people on the wait list. Please contact Anne Maben at afmaben@gmail.com close to the workshop to see if there will be any openings.

For those who registered please watch your email for communications from the instructors, if you can’t make it to class please call the instructor so those wait-listed may attend. Thanks!!!

 

El Dorado Audubon is pleased to present our fall series birding class, developed and taught by Dr. Charles T. Collins and Anne Maben.   To register for this class please click here.  

A FREE series of three (4 hours each) workshops during fall bird migration are available to both our friends and members. Each interactive workshop will scaffold new concepts and skills including:

  • Bird evolution, adaptations and behavior
  • Bird form and function
  • Birding strategies for identification and appreciation
  • Understanding local habitats and best local birding spots
  • At least an hour of class time at El Dorado Nature Center/Regional park to practice new skills
  • Additional resources/training such as birding apps, hyperlinked documents on buying binoculars, wildlife cameras; digital photography tips, favorite birding field guides and links/descriptions to local field trips for birding

Workshop dates are Saturdays 8am to 12 noon:  Oct. 20th, Oct 27th and Nov. 17th (will be held near El Dorado Park).  

In addition, three optional accompanying field trips for class participants to practice their skills will be also offered on Nov. 10th (wetlands habitat, 8am to 10am), Jan. 5th (coastal ocean ecosystems, 8am to 12 noon) and Feb. 2nd (spring migrants in oak woodlands habitat, 8am to 12 noon), which participants won’t want to miss! 

Additional information and updates will be posted here on El Dorado Audubon Society’s website.  To register, please click here.  There will be a limit of 30 class participants as space is limited.  There will be a wait list should space become available due to any cancellations. 

Please contact Mary Parsell at (562) 252-5825 or by email mfp2001@hotmail.com if you are interested or have any questions.

About the instructors: 

Dr. Charles Collins is a retired CSULB Professor of Ornithology, a founding member of the El Dorado Audubon Society and continues to conduct research on swifts and local tern/skimmer species.  Anne Maben has been an educator for 45 years, a wildlife biologist studying endangered species in Micronesia and currently serves teachers as a Professional Learning presenter for the UCLA Science Project.

Photo credit:  Anne Maben