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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.

 

Los Cerritos Wetlands Zedler Marsh Field Trip

This is a new regular walk! This small tidal marsh off of the San Gabriel River is a good place to look for migratory ducks, herons, egrets, shorebirds, Belding’s Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, songbirds and more.  It will be a sunset walk (sunset is approximately 4:46pm) with a minus low tide.  Help us document the birds!  This is one of two chances per month to enter the locked gated property.  Meet at PCH and First Street, border of Seal Beach/Long Beach.  Turn inland, park off asphalt.  Bring binoculars, water, hat and sunscreen.  Closed-toed shoes required.

Los Cerritos Wetlands Zedler Marsh Field Trip

This is a new regular walk! This small tidal marsh off of the San Gabriel River is a good place to look for migratory ducks, herons, egrets, shorebirds, Belding’s Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, songbirds and more.  It will be a sunset walk (sunset is approximately 4:44pm) with a plus 3ft high tide.  Help us document the birds!  This is one of two chances per month to enter the locked gated property.  Meet at PCH and First Street, border of Seal Beach/Long Beach.  Turn inland, park off asphalt.  Bring binoculars, water, hat and sunscreen.  Closed-toed shoes required.

Los Cerritos Wetlands Hellman Lowlands Field Trip

We will be looking for Northern Harrier, White-tailed Kite, Belding’s Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Say’s Phoebe, Cassin’s Kingbird, migratory ducks, songbirds, and a variety of shorebirds. Help us document the avian species of this Audubon IBA.  This is a locked gated area and one of two chances per month to enter the property.   Meet at PCH and First Street, on the border of Seal Beach/Long Beach.  Turn inland, park off asphalt.  Bring binoculars, water, hat, sunscreen.  Closed-toed shoes required.

Citizen Science Symposium

2nd Annual Citizen Science Symposium, Aquarium of the Pacific, featuring Keynote Speaker Mary Ellen Hannibal

Anyone involved or interested in citizen science is invited to attend!  Registration required ($20) includes parking, light breakfast, fabulous presentations, panel discussions, reception and networking opportunities.  http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/cscscs

 

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