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President’s Annual Appeal for 2022

November 5, 2022

This page is intentionally STUCK at the top
Scroll down for all later and earlier postings

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

We are asking you to consider giving us your support this year. Remember, this is our only fund raising effort. We don’t pester you weekly, monthly, or throughout the year. Your help allows our all-volunteer group to accomplish 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 past 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 birds, 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,

Jean Garrett
President


After a year approaching normalcy, we come to you to ask for your support.  This is our only fund raising effort by our all-volunteer group. The pressures on our natural habitat (including fire and drought) have continued unabated and are likely to require more effort than normal to find sustainable conservation solutions as we face unprecedented environmental conditions.  Your donation is needed to continue the strong SMBAS support of all things bird, habitat, native plants, natural environment, and conservation.

Currently, some of our activities – those which can be transferred to electronic discussion, or involve only small numbers of people – continue without interruption.  Even with the pandemic,  SMBAS continues to focus on:

Education

  • We continue our support of the Student Conservation Association which provides hands-on conservation service and training where possible in the Santa Monica Mountains and/or Butterbredt Spring area, the site of our annual Christmas Count.
  • For the Nature Nexux Institute (NNI), (formerly Audubon Education Program) at Ballona Wetlands, we are once again funding ten bus scholarships to help elementary school students visit Ballona Wetlands for field trips that – for many – is their first glimpse of the ocean! We have increased our funding to reflect the higher costs of the bus rental.

Public Outreach

  • Our evening speaker programs are diverse and insightful. They are held the first Tuesday of October through May, except January.  This year we will do a mix of Zoom and in-person meetings. We hope to have a new location at the Colorado Center in Santa Monica at Broadway and 26th Street.  Keep in touch for topics and access via the BLOG smbasblog.com, Twitter at http://twitter.com/SMBAudubon or Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/SantaMonicaAudubon.
  • Our ever popular monthly Malibu Lagoon walks have resumed, with Covid protocols in place. (See blog postings on how to reserve a space).  Our diverse and richly rewarding series of field trips on the second Saturday of the month also have returned. 
  • By signing up to receive email notifications via our BLOG, smbasblog.com you will always be on top of upcoming trips and meetings when they are scheduled.

Bird Monitoring

  • Western 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 and slideshow on the blog. 
  • To support the Snowy Plovers, we also 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 regional coordination efforts and the Rangewide Snowy Plover Conference.

Habitat Conservation and Research

  • We offer small, but essential, grants to support local college students with their research. Because grants last year were limited by online schooling, we are able to increase the number of grants for students from UCLA, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, and California State University Los Angeles.  Since 2005, sixty-six grants have been awarded.
  • We also support Friends of Big Morongo, Endangered Habitats League, American Bird Conservancy, and Birder’s Exchange.
  • We have sent a donation to LA County Museum of Natural History to celebrate the retirement of Kimball Garrett as Collection Manager and prime birder.
  • An additional donation was made to Friends of Big Morongo in memory of Dee Zeller, a much valued part of Big Morongo for the last 26 years.
  • We helped cover some of the costs for Dan Cooper’s survey of raptor nests within the Jawbone/Butterbredt OHV area.

This is your chapter and we hope you will join us in many of our activities, either in distance learning format, or in person when they again become available.  We welcome your input to this diverse program of events.  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 if you are in a position to do so.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and your generosity.  We very much hope you are healthy and in good spirits.  Your critical support matters to the environment and to the birds.

Jean Garrett
President
post office box 35 pacific palisades california 90272


SMBAS SCHEDULE OF FIELD TRIPS  2022-2023
Sub
ject to change.  Always check our blog for updates: smbasblog.com

Mo.

Day

Date

Event

Leader & Contact

2022

       

Nov. 

Sat.

12

Freshwater Marsh 8.00 am

Jean Garrett (310-472-7209)

Nov.

Sun.

27

Malibu Lagoon  8:30am & 10am

SMBAS******

Dec.

Tues.

6

Evening Program 7:30 pm in person

Dr. Ari Martinez,TBD Neo-Tropics field biology

Dec.

Sat.

10

Newport Back Bay 8:00am

Chuck Almdale, misclists [AT] verizon.net*****

Dec.

Sat.

17

Butterbredt Christmas Count 8:30am

Chuck Bragg weather permit (310-454-9662)

Dec.

Sat.

24

Weather date for Christmas Count

Chuck Bragg weather alternate

Dec.

Sun.

25

Malibu Lagoon 8:30am & 10am

SMBAS******

         

2023

       

Jan.

Sun.

1

LA Christmas Count S.M. area 7am

LA. Audubon Lu Plauzoles (310-395-6235) Meet at Woodlawn Cemetery

Jan.

Sat.

14

Antelope Valley Raptor Search 7am

Cindy Schotte, smbaudubon@gmail.net*****”‘

Jan.

Sun.

22

Malibu Lagoon 8:30am & 10am

SMBAS******

Feb.

Tues.

7

Evening Program 7:30 pm  in person

Dr. Pamela Yeh,  Juncos -TBD

Feb.

Sat.

11

Madrona Marsh 8:30am

Jean Garrett (310-472-7209)

Feb.

Sun.

26

Malibu Lagoon  8:30am & 10am

SMBAS******

Mar.

Tues.

7

Evening Program 7:30 pm  in person

Dr. Ryan Terrill – Bear Mtn. Divide Migrations

Mar.

Sat.

11

Sepulveda Basin 8:00 am

Chuck Almdale, misclists [AT] verizon.net*****

Mar.

Sun.

26

Malibu Lagoon 8:30am & 10am

SMBAS******

Apr.

Tues.

4

Evening Program 7:30 pm zoom

Dr. John Marzluff – Corvids TBD

Apr.

Sat.

8

Sycamore Canyon 8:00 am

TBA

Apr.

Sun.

23

Malibu Lagoon 8:30am & 10am

SMBAS******

May

Tues.

2

Evening Program 7:30 pm  zoom

Alvaro Jaramillo – TBD

May

S/S

6&7

Morongo Valley Sat 3pm/Sun 7:30am

Jean Garrett (310-472-7209)******

May

Sun.

28

Malibu Lagoon 8:30am &10am

SMBAS******

June

Sat.

17

Mt. Pinos  8:00 am

TBA

June

Sun.

25

Malibu Lagoon 8:30am & 10am

SMBAS******

July

Sun.

23

Malibu Lagoon 8:30am & 10am

SMBAS******

Aug.

Sun.

27

Malibu Lagoon 8:30am & 10am

SMBAS******

Sept.

Sat.

16

Coastal Cleanup 9am to noon

TBA

Sept.

Sun.

24

Malibu Lagoon 8:30am & 10am

SMBAS******

         

****** SIGNUP REQUIRED
If you have no internet access (or have questions) call Adrian Douglas (310-393-5493) to confirm the field trip & Location. 

Please check the blog www.smbasblog.com for changes and updates.

[posted by Chuck Almdale]

How has a remote Amazonian bird community changed after three decades? with Dr. Ari Martinez. Zoom Evening Meeting, Tuesday, 6 December, 7:30 p.m.

December 1, 2022

You are all invited to the next ZOOM meeting
of Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society

Bends in the slow-flowing river often become isolated cochas.
On December 6, 2022 at 7:30 pm, Join the Zoom Presentation by CLICKING HERE

How has a remote Amazonian bird community changed after three decades? with Dr. Ari Martinez.
Zoom Evening Meeting, Tuesday, 6 December, 7:30 p.m.

Zoom waiting room opens 7:15 p.m.

Dr. Martinez and a royal friend.

Dr. Ari Martinez is an ecologist whose research interest lies at the intersection of behavioral and community ecology. For example, how does inter-species sociality influence the organization of animal communities?  To answer this and other research questions he has spent over 10 years living and working in Latin America, using birds of the Amazon rainforest as a study system. In order to do so, he slept anywhere available — bed, tent, hammock, village sidewalk — and traveled on oxcarts, dugout canoes, motorcycles and logging trucks. In 2018, with funding from National Geographic Society, he organized a research team to re-census an entire Amazonian bird community 35 years after the initial census, and included three of the original team members. He will tell us about the challenges of surveying Amazonian bird communities and the results of this particular re-census.  He is currently an Assistant Professor at California State Long Beach, where his research program focuses on the influence of social information on animal communities, using Amazonian mixed-species flocks as a model system.

The winding Manu River.

On December 6, 2022 at 7:30 pm, Join the Zoom Presentation by CLICKING HERE

(If this button isn’t working for you, see detailed zoom invitation below.)


Meeting ID: 861 8486 3384
Passcode: 214836

One tap mobile:
+16694449171,,86184863384#,,,,*214836# US
+16699009128,,86184863384#,,,,*214836# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location
+1 669 444 9171 US
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Meeting ID: 861 8486 3384
Passcode: 214836
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kfby8Ol9A

Back Bay Newport Trip: Sat. 10 December, 8:00 AM

November 29, 2022

THIS IS A SIGN-UP TRIP.
THE DRIVE IS ONE HOUR.
THE LEADER WANTS TO KNOW WHO IS COMING.
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. 7, and the monthly high tide(s) are 6.6 ft. on both Dec. 6th & 7th. Our Saturday trip three days later gets a good high tide of +5.74 feet at 9:22 AM, giving us a good 90 minutes of rising tide. The rising tide will (we hope) bring shorebirds close to shore and flush the 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 chapter members swear on a stack of bibles (an as-yet-unverified claim) 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 things 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 or two particular locations 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 (so bring one!) probably at nearby & birdy San Joaquin freshwater marsh, and those who wish can do some more birding there. In 2017 we saw a Red-throated Pipit here, a Very Good Bird, and a Virginia Rail showed up recently However, we will also make sure to look for anything around; they usually keep a nice stock of interesting birds on hand, scattered around the many birder-sized ponds. They keep a list of sightings outside the bookshop door, AND if you’re looking for a particular bird book (say…Field Guide to Galapagos Birds) they might have it. You could call them: 949-378-6501.

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.
Link to December 2019 report.

Driving Time: 50-60 minutes – 48 miles. While there are gas stations in the area (especially right where you get off the freeway) you could get hung up there while everyone else drives on the the next birding spot to find that uber-rariety. Don’t let this happen to you! Gas up in advance.

Carpooling Drivers & Riders: If you’re willing to drive others or ride with others, send me a reply including your contact info and approx. location and I’ll circulate it to any others similarly interested. If you’re riding, the polite thing is to get yourself to the driver’s starting location rather than try to get them to drive to your house to pick you up. They’re already in for a 2-4 hour drive time for the trip – don’t add to it. And riders should inquire of drivers about their masking requirements, if any.

Meeting time: 8 am, 10 December, 2022. Get there early and find California Gnatcatchers!

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 8 December. 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 not-terrifically-well-marked UNIVERSITY DRIVE (NOT Campus Drive or University Drive alongside the UC-Irvine campus, NOT, NOT!!!), and then turn right at the first driveway into the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve parking lot. Write down these directions and look at the map linked to below!!! There are certain people who get themselves lost every year! You know who you are!

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 2019 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.
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 schnozzola. (Grace Murayama)

Malibu Lagoon trip is a go: Sunday, 27 Nov. 2022

November 25, 2022

Link to prior announcement here.

We still have a few spaces open. Send your reservation to Chuck: click here [not to the blog.]

Black Turnstone at lagoon’s edge (L. Loeher 10/25/19)

Suggestions:

  • Bring your mask. You may want to wear it at least during the first 30-45 minutes when the group is more compact and crowded.
  • If you feel sick, stay home and isolate.
  • If you have been around anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19, or who is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, please be considerate of others, and stay home.
  • Latest Covid data (weekly) LA county per week: 10,000 new cases; 30 new deaths.

National Weather Service predicts: Mostly sunny & breezy (5-10mph), then sunny, low of 52° climbing to high of 65°F.
High tide of 6.04 ft. is at 10:45 am! Thus rising throughout the walk to a high level.

To reiterate a few rules:

  • If I checked your Covid card last month, I won’t check it again.
  • For all others, bring your covid vax card. Yes, I have a list.
  • Trip has a few openings. Send me an email if you want to be on it.
  • Email to Chuck: misclists@verizon.net. [PLEASE – not to the blog]
  • Masks are not required but are appreciated.
  • Temperature likely to be in mid-to-high 60’s.
  • It will be, as one birder succinctly commented in 1452: “A courerete of cootys!” 

The prior rules, still in force

  • Registration required, max. 30 people. No drop-ins, please.
  • Bring your Covid-19 Vaccination Record Card and a photo ID card. They will be checked. If you do not have two shots and a booster (preferably three boosters) recorded on your card, you must wear a mask while you are with the group.
  • If we checked your Covid card last month, we won’t check it this month.
  • Bring your own binoculars.
  • All Field Trips are designed to maximize your safety, while also enjoying birds. CDC Guidelines are followed. Participants are encouraged to observe safe distancing, and face coverings are required for those who are not fully vaccinated (2 shots + booster) for Covid-19.
  • Participation in social activities, such as field trips, comes with an inherent risk of exposure to infectious disease. Prospective participants should self-evaluate or discuss with their doctor if their participation merits this risk. If you’re sick or experiencing any symptoms that indicate you might be sick, STAY HOME.
  • The 10am Children & Parents Walk is NOT reinstated. Not yet, anyway.
  • For general questions or help registering, contact Chuck: misclists@verizon.net
  • Additional information on our permanent Covid-19 blog page:

Canada Goose keeps a steely eye on that Killdeer, a notorious sneak. (R. Juncosa 5-26-19)

Black-naped Pheasant-Pigeon Rediscovered after 140 years

November 21, 2022

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

From American Bird Conservancy (ABC):

A team of scientists and conservationists has rediscovered the elusive Black-naped Pheasant-Pigeon, a large, ground-dwelling pigeon that only lives on Fergusson Island, a rugged island in the D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago off of eastern Papua New Guinea. Like other pheasant-pigeons, the Black-naped Pheasant-Pigeon has a broad and laterally compressed tail, which, along with its size, makes it closely resemble a pheasant. The bird has been observed several times over the years by local hunters, but the newly taken photographs and video are the first time the bird has been documented by scientists since 1882, when it was first described. Ornithologists know very little about the species, but believe that the population on Fergusson is very small and decreasing.

Voice: A loud. far-carrying “wu-huwoooooa” rising and falling in pitch before trailing off at the end.

Video from ABC

Video from ABC

Link to ABC text report.

Link to IUCN Red List Edge of Extinction report on Black-naped Pheasant-Pigeon Otidiphaps insularis.

Link to Re:Wild Search for lost birds report on 10 missing species.

Other Text Reports
Audubon Society News
CNN Report
CBS News
BBC News

Nearshore flocks on Santa Monica Bay

November 18, 2022

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

Winter is the season for nearshore flocks on Santa Monica Bay. By “nearshore” I mean 25-500 yards from the shore. While there are flocks of gulls, I’m primarily talking about sea ducks and grebes. There can be many flocks of either, numbering from a dozen to many thousands of birds. Many of these birds also occur in and near lagoons, channels, bays, harbors and rivers, where they’re usually closer and easier to see. A telescope is not absolutely essential for the (much) closer birds — only 98% essential. The information below is a very rough guide.

If you’ve never seen some of the birds listed below, the time to get out out and look for them begins now. The several western capes/points (e.g. Point Dume, Mugu Rock) can be good and whales occasionally pop up there, plus dolphins and seals. The several miles of beach around Dockweiler Beach often has the largest nearshore flocks, but parking is tricky. The beach directly in front of the Hyperion water treatment can have large beach flocks of many species, including Mew Gulls, which seem attracted to sewage facilities.

The impetus for this posting was the following comment from LACoBirds chatline, which linked to a couple of photos. Richard Barth is a very well-known and long-time LA area birder who frequently checks the nearshore flocks in season:
Thurs 17 Nov
This morning a Surf Scoter flock south of Grand Ave (El Segundo Beach) had a White-winged Scoter and two Black Scoters. Poor photos on my eBird post, I scrambled to get some grainy long shots. https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S122581435
Richard Barth, West Hollywood

Richard’s Photos below:

Scoter Ducks
As 99% of scoters will be Surf, what you’re really doing is scanning for those that aren’t. Learn their field marks ahead of time and/or carry a field guide.
Surf Scoter: The most common sea duck
Black Scoter: Roughly 0.1-3.0% of scoter flocks
White-winged Scoter: About the same as Black

Other Ducks
The few eiders & Long-tailed I’ve seen were in small “harbors”, such as Redondo Beach and Ventura.
Common Eider: Accidental on West Coast
King Eider: Accidental on West Coast
Long-tailed Duck: Rare
Harlequin Duck: Rare

Grebes
They can stay underwater for several minutes. Be prepared for them to suddenly pop up.
Western Grebe: Most common species by far in nearshore grebe flocks
Clark’s Grebe: About 1% of a Western Grebe flock will be Clark’s
Eared Grebe: On fresh & salt water; previously super-abundant on Salton Sea
Horned Grebe: Less common than Eared on fresh and salt water
Red-necked Grebe: Rare on SoCal coast, among westerns, likes bays, harbors, etc.
Pied-billed Grebe: Seen more often on brackish or salt water

Loons
Loons appear in small numbers nearshore. At Malibu they can be near the surf zone, very rarely in the lagoon. When feeding they dive a lot, can stay down several minutes, and may swim far underwater. Percentages below are for Surfrider Beach nearshore. They fly low to the water and constantly flap because they’re relatively heavy for their wing surface area.
Common Loon: 25%
Pacific: 60%
Red-throated Loon: 15%
Yellow-billed Loon: Rare; usually seen in bays or lakes.
Arctic Loon: Rare

Alcids
These tend to be farther offshore, where some flocks may be large, but they occasionally show up nearshore or in bays and harbors. All of them dive a lot and stay down for minutes, except when resting. You’re not likely to see any of them from the shore, but they are listed here in rough order of probability. They also fly low and constantly flap.
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Cassin’s Auklet
Rhinoceros Auklet
Marbled Murrelet
Scripp’s Murrelet
Guadalupe Murrelet

Shearwaters
All shearwaters “shear” the water, long glides between rows of waves, wingtips almost touching the water, rarely flapping; similarly-sized and shaped gulls flap a lot & fly higher.
Black-vented Shearwater: The most common close enough to shore to be at all visible; seasonal.

There are of course many other species out there flying around, diving and resting. This list is not intended to mention all possible birds.

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