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Cancellation Announcements Through August’20

March 17, 2020

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

0.3 Microns. Or less.** So small you can’t see it.

In order to help keep people safer longer from Corona virus COVID-19 (also known as SARS-CoV-2 or novel coronavirus), SMBAS has officially canceled the following programs and field trips. We will continue to re-evaluate the situation. When there is no longer a risk for people gathering together, we will resume our field trips and meetings.

Evening Program Tuesday April 7, 2020 on John James Audubon
Evening Program Tuesday May 5, 2020 on Birds of Northeastern Brazil
Field Trip Sunday March 22, 2020 to Malibu Lagoon
Field Trip Saturday April 11, 2020 to Sycamore Canyon
Field Trip Saturday-Sunday April 25-26, 2020 to Butterbredt Spring area

The two programs above will be rescheduled to the 2020-21 program season beginning October 6, 2020.

The following field trips have not yet been officially canceled:

But they may be as their dates approach. If you do not see announcements for them appearing on the blog, assume they have been cancelled. Announcements for Malibu Lagoon precede the event by three days. Announcements for other trips precede the event by ten days and three days.

Field Trip Sunday April 26, 2020 to Malibu Lagoon
BirdLA Day Saturday May 9, 2020
Field Trip Sat-Sun May 9-10, 2020 to Morongo Valley
Field Trip Sunday May 24, 2020 to Malibu Lagoon
Field Trip Saturday June 20, 2020 to Mt. Piños
Field Trip Sunday June 28, 2020 to Malibu Lagoon
Field Trip Sunday July 26, 2020 to Malibu Lagoon
Field Trip Saturday August 15, 2020 to Lower Los Angeles River
Field Trip Sunday August 27, 2020 to Malibu Lagoon

** Opinions on COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) viral particle size differ.
The Star – 10 nanometers for corona virus in general.

National Center for Biotechnology Information article 1 – 70-90 nanometers

National Center for Biotechnology Information article 2 – 60-140 nanometers

AFP Fact Check – 60-140 nanometers (.06-.14 microns or micrometers)

N95 respirators

The New Yorker says that the N95 respirator is 95% effective in removing particles greater than 3 microns. Compare to CDC below.

The CDC says “An N95 FFR (filtering facepiece respirator) removes particles from the air that are breathed through it. They filter out at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) particles. N95 FFRs are capable of filtering out all types of particles, including bacteria and viruses.

1 nanometer = 1 thousandth of a micron (micrometer) = 1 billionth of a meter = 0.00000004 inches
1 micron = 1 micrometer = 1 millionth of a meter = 0.00004 inches
80 nanometers = 0.08 microns =  0.0000032 inches

Therefore, if the N95 FFR filters out particles larger than 0.3 microns at 95% effectiveness, and the corona virus particle is 0.14 microns (140 nanometers) in diameter at the largest, or slightly less than 1/2 the particle size filtered by the mask, it sounds to me like these masks cannot filter out a naked & unprotected SARS-CoV-2 virus. Fortunately, the viral particle is not “naked & unprotected” but is carried on droplets or (even smaller) aerosolized droplets which are larger than 0.3 microns.

[Chuck Almdale]

Reprise: Malibu Lagoon Fish Life

April 7, 2020

Editor’s Note: Entry number three in our tenth-year “blasts from the past” celebration, originally posted July 6, 2014, and number twenty on our popularity list. The mullets continued to “go forth and multiply” in the lagoon. Then August, 2018 arrived (read about it). Extreme temperatures continued for weeks, the shallow lagoon became overheated. Even the ocean was exceptionally warm and an oceanic “blob” of hot water extended northward from Baja California to Santa Barbara. Lagoon waters rose to 84°F., ten degrees above the survival point of the mullet. Warm waters lose dissolved oxygen. Fish rose to the surface, gulping air. Within a week, they died en masse. Over four thousand mullet dead were collected and counted by emergency workers. The dead dismayed beach-goers; most of us were stunned to discover that the lagoon held so many fish. The mullet are recovering, jumping again in fewer numbers, but our delight is tempered by the knowledge of what may happen again.  [Chuck Almdale]


Striped Mullet (Wikipedia)

Striped Mullet (Wikipedia)

According to Wikipedia, Striped Mullet goes by many names, including:  Black mullet (Cuba, US), Bully mullet (Australia, Vietnam), Callifaver mullet (Cuba, Netherlands Antilles, US), Common grey mullet (UK), Common mullet (Cuba, Netherlands Antilles, US), Flathead grey mullet (India, Philippines, UK), Flathead mullet (Europe, FAO, UN), Grey mullet (Thailand, Turkey, Australia, Taiwan, Cuba, Fiji, Hong Kong, Mauritius, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Spain, Tonga, UK, US, Mediterranean, Egypt), Hardgut mullet (Australia), Mangrove mullet (Australia), and Sea mullet (Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, UK).

Decades ago, British and American bird mavens decided to agree on English names for all the world’s birds. They’ve made much progress, with some exceptions such as when the bird Americans knew as Common Gallinule was renamed Common Moorhen to satisfy British intransigence (recently rectified), whereupon some American birders pointed out that we don’t have moors, they’re not all hens, and they’re not all that common. LAAS’s Western Tanager newsletter, highlighting this problem of multiple nomenclature once ran an article, by Kimball Garrett & Jon Dunn, detailing how to differentiate between three then-widespread egrets: Common, Great and American. [It was an April first issue in I forget which year.]

Fish lovers have made no such progress, as any piscivore should know. Surely you are aware that Chilean sea bass was previously known as Patagonian toothfish; the name change was a marketing decision – sea bass sounded far more scrumptious than toothfish, and anyway, no real red-blooded American knows where Patagonia is. [The friendly sales people at REI will gladly direct you towards the clothing racks.]

Which brings us around to the mullet many have seen leaping friskily from Malibu Lagoon in recent months. The New England Aquarium says they are also called jumping mullet or jumping jack (take that, Wikipedia!) because of this behavior. I couldn’t find out if this is a courting display, a feeding behavior, an attempt to shake off parasites or a recreational activity. [Anyone out there know?]

If you haven’t personally witnessed this phenomenon, check out the Dance of the Striped Mullet slideshow on Bob Purvey’s EcoMalibu website.

EcoMalibu also has a video page of forty different films pertaining to Malibu Lagoon and the reconfiguration project.  The following is a list of short underwater films taken near the water monitoring stations (those posts with vertical depth gauges) ; you’ll be surprised at how much life is swimming around down there.  This list, along with many other delights, is on our permanent Malibu Lagoon Project page. [Chuck Almdale]

1. Aug. 7, 2013 Length 1:48 minutes “Life Below the Surface”
2. Aug. 12, 2013 Length 9:20 minutes “Malibu Lagoon Aquarium”
3. Sep. 9, 2013 Length 4:55 minutes “Malibu Lagoon Aquarium III”
4. Sep. 30, 2013 Length 1:47 minutes “Shrimpfest”
5. Oct. 2, 2013 Length 2:42 minutes “Malibu Lagoon Aquarium IV”
6. Oct. 22, 2013 Length 8:31 minutes “Fish, Fish, Fish”
7. Nov. 4, 2013 Length 0:57 minutes “The Big Fish”
8. Apr. 30, 2014 Length 3:36 minutes “Lagoon Crustaceans”
9. Jun. 18, 2014 Length 3:49 minutes “Aquarium & Aviary”
10. Jun. 25, 2014 Length 2:21 minutes “Got Fish? Malibu Lagoon Does”
11. Jun. 25, 2014 Length 2:08 minutes “Shrimpfest II”
12. Jul. 7, 2014 Length 1:56 minutes “Mullet Adult School”

COVID-19 Information Sites

April 6, 2020

0.3 Microns. So small you can’t see it.

Here are four more sites with data updated daily, plus other useful information.
Following these sites are links to three articles, filled with charts, which will give you an excellent understanding of all that is involved with this outbreak. Very highly recommended, and thanks to Roy Juncosa for sending it to me. [Chuck Almdale]




California Department of Public Health:
Ages and genders of confirmed cases, hospitalizations of confirmed & suspected cases, fatalities.

Los Angeles County COVID-19 Dashboard:
Known cases, deaths & recovered for Local Cities, County, State, USA & World

Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard
Numbers for world, all nations, U.S. States & Counties. Charts, news & information. Lots to look at.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CVC) COVID-19 page:
U.S. and states numbers. I think the Johns Hopkins site is better.


Three Important Articles by Tomas Pueyo (Buzzfeed article on Pueyo)

Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now. March 10, 2020 Part one of three.
Politicians, Community Leaders and Business Leaders: What Should You Do and When?
We all should have read this a month ago. Cases and deaths have risen since then, but the charts and analysis are still valid. Not dumbed-down.

Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance. March 19, 2020 Part two of three.
Summary of the article: Strong coronavirus measures today should only last a few weeks, there shouldn’t be a big peak of infections afterwards, and it can all be done for a reasonable cost to society, saving millions of lives along the way. If we don’t take these measures, tens of millions will be infected, many will die, along with anybody else that requires intensive care, because the healthcare system will have collapsed.

Some charts and comments from this article are below.

Coronavirus: Out of Many, One. April 1, 2020 Part three of three.
Summary: It makes political and economic sense for the US to suppress the coronavirus. For that, states and the federal government each have their own roles that they need to adjust.

Some excerpts from article two, Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance.

Above chart 9: Chinese authorities were able to determine, through after-the-fact interviews, just when actual cases (blue-gray bars) began, as opposed to known cases (orange bars). Actual cases began to drop within two days after lockdown, but known cases continued to rise.

Above chart 3: The cost of doing nothing is catastrophic.


Above chart 7: Under suppression (not just mitigation) death rates plummet.


Above chart 13: “Hammering” the virus through suppression for 3-7 weeks, should be followed by “The Dance,” keeping the transmission rate at one transmission per infected person rather than the 2.4 or higher we are now seeing.

Above chart 13.b. Compared to other countries, the U.S. was not doing well at making necessary changes as of 3-19-20. Are we doing better now?

Commentary from the article:

This shows how countries who were prepared, with stronger epidemiological authority, education on hygiene and social distancing, and early detection and isolation, didn’t have to pay with heavier measures afterwards.

Conversely, countries like Italy, Spain or France weren’t doing these well, and had to then apply the Hammer with the hard measures at the bottom to catch up.

The lack of measures in the US and UK is in stark contrast, especially in the US. These countries are still not doing what allowed Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan to control the virus, despite their outbreaks growing exponentially. But it’s a matter of time. Either they have a massive epidemic, or they realize late their mistake, and have to overcompensate with a heavier Hammer. There is no escape from this.

But it’s doable. If an outbreak like South Korea’s can be controlled in weeks and without mandated social distancing, Western countries, which are already applying a heavy Hammer with strict social distancing measures, can definitely control the outbreak within weeks. It’s a matter of discipline, execution, and how much the population abides by the rules.

Once the Hammer is in place and the outbreak is controlled, the second phase begins: the Dance.

Above chart 14: About 50% of transmissions occur before the infected person has any symptoms.


Above chart 15: What our authorities need to know and need to do to get the contagion rate below one rate per infected person.

The Superb Lyrebird – Song Breakdown | Bird Kind Video

April 5, 2020

The Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae) is the arguably the finest songster in the world. Famed for its ability to imitate almost any sound it hears, the Lyrebird has been incorporating the calls of other birds long before adding chainsaws and cameras to its repertoire. In this 7 minute clip taken in Dhurug National Park NSW (Australia), we break down the amazing variety of bird calls a single lyrebird can replicate in its song.

List of species imitated in this recording: Grey Butcherbird Laughing Kookaburra Yellow-faced Honeyeater Australian King Parrot Pied Currawong Little Wattlebird Satin Bowerbird Eastern Whipbird Lewin’s Honeyeater Noisy Friarbird Crimson Rosella Grey Shrikethrush Noisy Miner White-eared Honeyeater Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo.

This is an installment of the Bird Kind 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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