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.

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)

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)

Great Backyard Bird Count!

By Donna Bray

Co-sponsored by the National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is scheduled for February 16th through the 19th. Yes, that is the long President’s Day holiday weekend. But you can participate, staying home in your own backyard, traveling, or just birding wherever you want to go!

Over the years, when I worked on the Friday, I took folks I worked with out to bird in the surrounding neighborhood or to a local park. In fact, we used binoculars that our Chapter members had donated (thanks again!). Other Chapter volunteers have introduced school children and a local Ecology Club group to birding via the GBBC, too. The lists were all entered into the national count at www.birdcount.org or via eBird (www.ebird.org ). It feels good to be a part of the citizen science effort helping researchers build their data.

This year I’d like to emphasize the value of birding locally, going to a location that is under-birded. At the time of this writing I have accepted the eBird challenge to submit a checklist a day in January. And, I have decided that I’ll bird some of those under-birded parks in my own neighborhood. No, they probably don’t have rarities, though they might, but no one is checking! And in so doing, I am learning increasingly more about eBird and realized that an eBird hotspot doesn’t mean that there are fancy rarities there. It’s a place accessible to anyone, and that helped me decide to ask to have little old, freeway-adjacent Norwalk Park included on the Hotspot list. It caused me to take a pair of compact binoculars with me to Olvera Street, and wow, actually see birds other than pigeons at La Placita! When I submitted the list, I requested it be listed as a Hotspot too. You can see where I am going with this. Any birding you do is valuable. So really make the effort to get out once or all four days of the GBBC and submit your lists. For more information on how, go the birdcount.org website.

Photo below by Cindy Crawford, a Black-throated Gray Warbler recently spotted in her backyard, S/E Long Beach area.

 

118th Christmas Bird Count at Los Cerritos Wetlands

We’re still busy crunching the numbers for the final recap of our area CBC on Dec. 16th, 2017, but here is a little sneak peek for our Los Cerritos Wetlands IBA.  Broken down by wetlands sections, we noted 50 species at Synergy Oil Field/LCW Marsh (aka “Steamshovel Slough”), 17 species at Zedler Marsh, 16 species at Hellman Property and 6 species at the adjoining Gum Grove Park for a total of 89 different bird species seen at the Los Cerritos Wetlands that day.

Our Christmas Bird Count encompassed a much larger area of course! Watch for our entire EDA territory CBC Recap coming soon, should be published in our March newsletter.

Post photo credit: ©Cindy Crawford

Links to our Dec. 16th Los Cerritos Wetlands bird lists on eBird:

LCW Marsh “Steamshovel Slough”: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S41208592
Zedler Marsh: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S41255510
Hellman Property: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S41184924
Gum Grove Park: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S41255580