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How Ticks Dig In With a Mouth Full of Hooks | Deep Look Video

April 21, 2018

Why can’t you just flick a tick? Because it attaches to you with a mouth covered in hooks, while it fattens up on your blood. For days. But don’t worry – there *is* a way to pull it out.

This is another installment of the PBS Deep Look series; this installment is adapted from the “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]


California Birds Annotated in Haiku, with Kimball Garrett – Evening Meeting: Tuesday, May 1, 7:30 p.m.

April 20, 2018

A lifelong member of the Los Angeles birding community and known to birders everywhere, Kimball Garrett (almost) needs no introduction. Nevertheless, he offers this program description:

Combine a self-professed competent birder and a lousy poet and you get May’s quirky take on birds and birding in California. You’ll hear selections from Kimball’s work on California’s birds, accompanied by his observations on bird and birder behavior that inspired his haiku. Kimball will illustrate his wry poetry with a selection of photographs of birds of California.

Kimball L. Garrett has been the Ornithology Collections Manager at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County since 1982. He oversees the care, use, and growth of these important collections which currently number over 120,000 specimens. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley in 1974 and did graduate work at UCLA before coming to the Natural History Museum. Garrett has authored or co-authored over 75 publications on birds, including the standard local reference entitled Birds of Southern California: Status and Distribution (published in 1981, co-authored with Jon Dunn) as well as the popular guide Birds of Southern California (R. W. Morse Co., 2012). He also collaborated with Jon Dunn to produce the Peterson Field Guide to Warblers of North America, published in 1997. Garrett is a past president of the Western Field Ornithologists (1995 to 1999) and is a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society. He was born and raised in the Los Angeles area and currently resides in Tujunga.

Bird song from the bush
Shhh! Canyon Wren? Sage Sparrow?
No, just Kimball, whistling

Our meetings are at Christine Emerson Reed Park, 1133 7th Street. (between 7th St. & Lincoln Blvd., California Ave. & Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica. Previously known as Lincoln Park. If you’re coming from outside Santa Monica, exit the #10 Fwy at Lincoln Blvd., turn north  and drive 5 blocks north to Wilshire Blvd.

Link to Google Map

Meeting Room: Mid-park in Joslyn Hall, accessible from Lincoln Blvd, California Ave. and 7th St.  Its glass wall faces north towards St. Monica Church on California St.  If you’re walking from Lincoln Blvd., it’s located directly behind (west) of the large Miles Playhouse building. Not accessible directly from Wilshire Blvd.

Meetings begin at 7:30 sharp with a little business, and then our main presentation. Refreshments are served afterward. Please leave your coyote at home, however much they whine to come.

Parking: The entire block between Wilshire Blvd. and California Ave, 7th St. and Lincoln Blvd., on the sides closest to the park, is metered. $2/hour meter enforcement (except on Wilshire) ends at 6PM, so free parking for the meeting! However, the local natives are engaged in a survival-of-the-fittest scramble for free parking, so the after-6pm free parking spaces disappear quickly.  We suggest that you arrive no later than 7:15 pm.

If all those spaces are filled, we found free parking as follows:
California Ave. between 6th and 7th
9th St. north of Wilshire Blvd.
10th St. north of California Ave.
Washington Ave. (next street north of and parallel to California)

If that fails, go south of Wilshire, not north of the park, as resident-only permit parking zones abound to the north. The east side of Lincoln Blvd. across from the park is by permit parking only. Spaces are more available on 7th St. or Lincoln south of Wilshire. Some of those are “until 9PM” meters also. You may need a flashlight to read & operate the meter. Wherever you park, please read parking signs carefully and avoid a big fat $40+ parking ticket.   [Chuck Almdale]

Malibu Lagoon Field Trips: Sunday, 22 April, 8:30 & 10am.

April 19, 2018


Optical illusion – this yawning Brown Pelican isn’t really trying to swallow that passing gull (G. Murayama 2-16-17)

Some of the wintering birds have left, but many remain, and our breeding birds are arriving. The air may be filled with swallows. Grebes, loons, pelicans, ducks, egrets, hawks, shorebirds, flycatchers, orioles, finches, ad infinitum.

Some of the great birds we’ve had in April are: Brant, Clark’s Grebe, Osprey, American Kestrel, Virginia Rail, Sora, Snowy Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Dunlin, Bonaparte’s Gull, Royal, Elegant & Forster’s Terns, Eurasian Collared & White-winged Doves, Tree & Violet-Green Swallows, American Pipit, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned & Wilson’s Warblers, Lazuli Bunting and Lesser Goldfinch.

Killdeer chick, as leggy as a Secretary-Bird (J.Waterman 4/21/12)

Adult Walk 8:30 a.m. – Beginner and experienced, 2-3 hours.  Species range from 40 in June to 60-75 during migrations and winter.  We meet at the metal-shaded viewing area (see photo below) next to the parking lot and begin walking east towards the lagoon.  We always check the offshore rocks and the ocean.  When lagoon outlet is closed we continue east around the lagoon to Adamson House.  We put out special effort to make our monthly Malibu Lagoon walks attractive to first-time and beginning birdwatchers.  So please, if you are at all worried about coming on a trip and embarrassing yourself because of all the experts, we remember our first trips too.  Someone showed us the birds; now it’s our turn.

Children and Parents Walk 10:00 a.m.   One hour session, meeting at the metal-shaded viewing area between parking lot and channel.  We start at 10:00 for a shorter walk and to allow time for families to get it together on a sleepy Sunday morning.  Our leaders are experienced with kids so please bring them to the beach!  We have an ample supply of binoculars that children can use without striking terror into their parents.  We want to see families enjoying nature. (If you have a Scout Troop or other group of more than seven people, you must call Jean (310-472-7209) to make sure we have enough binoculars and docents.)

Don’t let this happen to you!
Common Murre beaches itself, perhaps due to domoic acid poisoning
(G. Murayama 4-19-17)

Map to Meeting Place
Directions: Malibu Lagoon is at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Cross Creek Road, west of Malibu Pier and the bridge.  Look around for people wearing binoculars.
Parking: Parking machine recently installed in the lagoon lot: 1 hr $3; 2 hrs $6; 3 hrs $9, all day $12 ($11 seniors); credit cards accepted. Annual passes accepted. You may also park (read the signs carefully) either along PCH west of Cross Creek Road, on Cross Creek Road, or on Civic Center Way north (inland) of the shopping center.  Lagoon parking in shopping center lots is not permitted.

Prior checklists:
2017: Jan-June, July-Dec
2016: Jan-June, July-Dec 2015: Jan-May, July-Dec
2014: Jan-July, July-Dec 2013: Jan-June, July-Dec
2012: Jan-June, July -Dec 2011: Jan-June, July-Dec
2010: Jan-June, July-Dec 2009: Jan-June, July-Dec.
[Chuck Almdale]




Is Evolution Random? – 12 Days of Evolution #2 | PBS Science Video

April 17, 2018

The title describes it.  Moving on. A PBS explanation of evolution in twelve short episodes, suitable for all.

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]

Natural Selection & Sexual Selection: An Illustrated Introduction | Cornell / National Geographic

April 13, 2018

How does evolution happen? Through a gradual process called selection. Individuals that are better equipped to survive and reproduce pass those traits to their offspring. These “selected” changes accumulate over thousands of years. We tend to think of natural selection—”survival of the fittest”—but sexual selection works the same way and can be just as strong in shaping how species look and act. Filmed and photographed by Tim Laman and Ed Scholes.

There are currently seventy-two short films in the entire Birds-of-Paradise Project playlist, ranging from 26 seconds to 8:29. In the upcoming weeks, we will present some of our favorites.

A film from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 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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