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President’s Annual Appeal for 2019

November 7, 2019

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The Western Gulls have already chipped in. (Photo: Grace Murayama 7-23-17)

It is again that time of year when we ask our fellow members and friends for their support. Remember, this is our only fund raising effort. Your help allows our all-volunteer group to accomplish much each year. Your donations are used to further our mission “to be a center for wildlife education, habitat protection, and conservation issues that involve birds.”

These efforts are of increasing importance in view of the decreasing support for environmental issues coming from the Federal Administration

You can DONATE four different ways:

  • With the self-addressed envelope enclosed with the annual appeal letter (sent to those already on our membership rolls)
  • Send a check to our mailing address: SMBAS, PO Box 35, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
  • With PayPal using the PayPal Widget located on the right side bar of the blog
  • With a Credit Card using the same PayPal Widget located on the right side bar of the blog.  You do not have to join PayPal to donate, just have your credit card “standing by.”

Please take a moment and make a donation today.

We continue our strong backing of all things bird, habitat, native plants, the environment and conservation through education, field trips, bird monitoring, speakers and grants to students and conservation groups.

Please take a minute to read the annual appeal letter below and see what we have been doing this year.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Galton

This is the time of year – and the only time of year – when we ask our fellow members and followers for their annual support.  This is our only fund raising effort by our all-volunteer group.  Many of you have seen the recent shocking headlines about the loss of one third of all birds in North America since 1970.  We need, now more than ever, to reverse this trend and address the impacts on our bird populations.  Your donation is needed to continue the strong SMBAS support of all things bird, habitat, native plants, natural environment, and conservation.

SMBAS makes particular effort to focus on:


  • We continue our support of the Student Conservation Association which provides hands-on conservation service and training in the Santa Monica Mountains and/or Butterbredt Spring area, the site of our annual Christmas Count.
  • For the Audubon Education Program at Ballona Wetlands, this year we funded ten bus scholarships to help elementary school students visit Ballona Wetlands for field trips that – for many – is their first glimpse of a natural area.
  • In February, we will again offer the very popular field class designed to improve birding skills of beginning and intermediate birders, and to learn to identify and observe the birds of the Los Angeles region.

Public Outreach

  • Our evening speaker programs are diverse and insightful. They are held the first Tuesday of October through May, except January. We meet in Santa Monica; locations vary, so keep in touch via the BLOG or or Twitter at
  • Our monthly Malibu Lagoon walks (fourth Sunday, 8:30 a.m.) and our special family walks (same day) at 10 a.m. continue to be popular and productive.  We also offer a different field trip on the second Saturday of the month.  A complete field trip calendar is enclosed.  Please verify times and locations before you venture out to join us, contact information is provided.  By signing up to receive email notifications via our BLOG,, you will always be on top of upcoming trips and meetings.  These trips are rich in opportunities and information for the beginning birder as well as the experienced.

Bird Monitoring

  • Snowy Plovers (a Threatened species). Our support for this monitoring effort (and for the Endangered Least Terns and for Brown Pelicans) into subsequent years is imperative in collaboration with State, Federal, and local agencies.  We continue our monthly Snowy Plover counts at Malibu Lagoon, Santa Monica Beach, and Zuma Beach.  Check out our Snowy Plover page (with slideshow) and videos on the blog.
  • To support the Snowy Plovers, we help fund the cost of maintaining fencing at Santa Monica beach and a plover/tern volunteer coordinator for Los Angeles County.  We also participate in the Rangewide Snowy Plover Conference.

Habitat Conservation and Research

  • We offer small, but essential, research grants to local college students.  Due to your generosity last year, we were able to increase the number of grants and provided a total of 9 grants to students from UCLA, Pepperdine, and California State University Los Angeles.  Since 2005, fifty-two grants have been awarded to thirty-nine individuals.  Follow the occasional blogs regarding their projects and their impacts on the bay and the birds.
  • We also support Friends of Big Morongo, Endangered Habitats League, American Bird Conservancy, and Birder’s Exchange.

This is your chapter and we hope you will join us in many of these activities.  We welcome your input to this diverse program of events.  If you can spare a few hours each month, we are also seeking new members to expand our Board of Directors.  If you wish to receive or continue to receive our bi-monthly, single sheet paper news update/calendar, please indicate on the enclosed remittance envelope.  (You need not donate to receive the print version).  Please remember all contributions are fully tax deductible and will be used exclusively in direct support of our programs.

We hope you will consider the solid positive impact of our group and make a contribution.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.  Your critical support matters to the environment and to the birds.


Elizabeth Galton
post office box 35  pacific palisades  california  90272


The Internet: IP Addresses & DNS | Video

December 5, 2019

The co-founder of the Internet (!) Vint Cerf and software engineer Paola Mejia take us through the ins and outs of how networks talk to each other and what makes the Internet tick.

This is Part XII (7 minutes) of the series produced by explaining computers in terms most of us can understand. This is our last posting of this series.

If you like this series and want to go through it at your own rate, or wish to recommend the series to others, the 33 (so far) videos listed HERE include the twelve which I scheduled. Having some familiarity with the topics, I watched these twelve in about an hour. It’s time well spent.

The twelve videos we’ve seen, in order, are: How Computers Work-Bill Gates Introduction; What Makes a Computer a Computer; Circuits and Logic; Binary & Data; Hardware & Software; How Search Works; HTTP & HTML; Encryption & Public Keys; Cybersecurity & Crime; Internet, Wires, Cables & WiFi; What is the Internet; Internet, INS Addresses & DNS.

The additional five videos available HERE are: Packets, Routing & Reliability; Pixels; Data Compression; Data & Medicine. Six videos on coding have been added: IF/ELSE Statements; Pair Programming; Repeat Loops; Functions; Repeat Until; Persistence & Building a Foundation. Finally there are ten very short videos designed to inspire you to learn more about computers, the internet and coding. Have fun and learn something at the same time.
[Chuck Almdale]

Back Bay Newport Rail Trip: Sat. 14 December, 8:00 AM

December 4, 2019

Despite what you may have read elsewhere, start time is 8 am.

Lesser (L) & Greater (R) Yellowlegs on the pickleweed
(R. Juncosa, Upper Newport Bay 12-8-18)

Back Bay Newport (or Upper Newport Bay) can provide great birding when the tides are right. It’s a bit of a drive for us (see below) and the difficulty of finding a Saturday with a high tide often keeps us from going. This year, the full moon falls on Dec. 12. Our Saturday trip two days later gets a good high tide of +6.21 feet at 9:37 AM. The rising tide will bring shorebirds close to shore and (we hope) rails up out of the inundated reeds. We hope to see Sora, Virginia Rail and Ridgway’s Rail, but we will of course keep our eyes open for Black Rail, which some of our members swear on a stack of bibles they have seen there. There should be plenty of ducks, grebes, waders, sandpipers, gulls, terns and skimmers on the bay and shore, raptors overhead and miscellaneous migrants in the brush. I saw my life Short-eared Owl here, decades ago, standing on a post among the reeds, so you never know what will be around. We will also search for the endangered California Gnatcatcher at one particular location along the route.

A new species for California - Ridgway's Rail!!! (formerly known as Clapper Rail) (Kirsten Wahlquist 10/11/14)

Ridgway’s Rail (Kirsten Wahlquist 10/11/14)

We’ll have lunch at nearby San Joaquin freshwater marsh, and those who wish can do some more birding. In 2017 we saw a Red-throated Pipit here, a Very Good bird.

Sora seen from 1st footbridge (C.Almdale 11/09)

Sora (C. Almdale 11/09)

Family guide: We begin with a half-mile round-trip stroll on a bay-side bike path. After that we drive to a few more spots near Jamboree Rd., then to lunch. Morning temps. start cool. Dress in layers, weather may be cool.
For future reference: Link to tide chart.

Driving Time: 50-60 minutes – 48 miles.
Meeting time: 8 am, 14 December, 2019.
Sign-up Requested:
No fee, but the leader wants to know who is coming. The drive is long: no signups, no trip.
Contact: Chuck, no later than Thursday 8 PM 12 December. (818-894-2541) or email misclists [AT] verizon [DOT] net
Food: Bring munchies & liquids and/or lunch. No services next to the bay.
Directions: From the Santa Monica Fwy (I-10)Take San Diego Fwy (I-405) 46 miles south to CA-73. CA-73 south for 2.5 miles [Do not get onto I-55 Costa Mesa Fwy] and exit at CAMPUS DR / IRVINE AVE. Right on IRVINE AVE., drive southwest 1.1 miles, turn left onto UNIVERSITY DRIVE, and then turn right at the first driveway into the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve parking lot.

There’s good birding around the parking lot where you can walk around or use the bathroom in the nature center (accessible from outside on the bay side bottom floor). It doesn’t hurt to get there early.

Link to December 2018 report.

For coffee or snacks: There are several fast food places along one-way Bristol St. just past Irvine Ave. To get back to IRVINE AVE. go right on Birch or Cypress St, south to Orchard Dr., right on Orchard and back to Irvine Ave. where you turn left and drive about 1 mile southwest as described above  Meet there. Allow at least 60 minutes travel time from Santa Monica.
Bathrooms in the interpretive Center open at 6am (entrance from outside, bayside, bottom floor).
Meet at 8:00 a.m. in the parking lot. Leaders: Chuck & Lillian Almdale (818-894-2541).
Map to Meeting Place: Back Bay Newport – NW meeting area
Use + and to zoom in or out, left click and mouse drag to reposition the map.
[Chuck Almdale]

Black Skimmer with the giant schnozz (Grace Murayama)

Why Are So Many People Allergic To Food? | PBS Science Video

November 30, 2019

More people have food allergies than ever before. Peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, eggs, and even milk… the list of possibly dangerous foods seems to get longer every day. But why do some people’s bodies have deadly reactions food? And why are food allergies on the rise? In this video we explain what food allergies really are, and what the difference is between food allergy and food intolerance. Some fellow YouTubers tell us their stories of what it’s like to live with food allergies, and we bring you the best current science on how to prevent food allergies in kids and adults. It’s a tough nut to crack.

This is an installment of the PBS – It’s OK to be Smart series. If no film or link appears in this email, go to the blog to view it by clicking on the blog title above. If the film stops & starts in an annoying manner, press pause (lower left double bars ||) to let it buffer and get ahead of you.  [Chuck Almdale]

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