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Snowy Plover & Least Terns Volunteer Monitors Wanted!

April 17, 2019

And now a message from Stacey Vigallon at the Los Angeles County Snowy Plover and Least Tern Master Command Control Center.

Snowy Plover with a rusty crown
(Grace Murayama 3-24-19 Malibu Lagoon)

Hi Snowy Plover Volunteers!

Many thanks to the volunteers who headed out to survey beaches in March! During the March survey, plovers again popped up outside some of their usual roost locations. Plovers were present at Zuma, Malibu Lagoon, Santa Monica, and Hermosa, but skipped their usual Dockweiler roost site near the protective enclosure to again make an appearance at the central Dockweiler beach and Venice instead. Overall, volunteers observed over 140 plovers, which is fewer than were observed in March 2018. We will likely see plover numbers continue to dwindle as we move into late spring and summer. Dogs – both on- and off-leash – continue to be observed at areas with suitable plover habitat, including Malibu Lagoon.

The next plover survey is coming up May 16th-24th! This window is set by USFWS, and unfortunately it only encompasses one weekend this time around. I will be in touch over the next month about beach assignments. If you’re someone who has sat the last few surveys out and you’d like to jump in, please send me an email so I can connect you with a team.

Will plovers nest again in LA County? Help us find out! In 2017 and 2018 plovers started nesting on our beaches in April. Beaches in counties north and south of us have already confirmed the presence of nests for 2019 (take a visit to Coal Oil Point Reserve if you can!). We would love your help with weekly monitoring of key sites to better detect nesting activities and to keep an eye on any nests that are found. If you would like to participate, please let me know, and I will add you to the schedule. For now, sites will be Dockweiler, Santa Monica, and Malibu Lagoon.

We’re also welcoming new volunteers for Least Tern monitoring as well, with upcoming trainings scheduled for April 18th, April 25th, and May 5th. Interested volunteers can contact me directly.


Stacey Vigallon
Los Angeles Audubon
I’m often in the field and/or working with students. Your email correspondence is important to me, but it may take me some time to get back to you. Thanks for your patience!

Citizen Science? – Check out

April 16, 2019

Think of it as crowdsourcing or “wisdom of the crowd”
applied to modern science.

Computers can calculate enormously faster than we humans can, but we are still far better at some things. Pattern recognition is one of those things. There are a lot of projects where you can make a real contribution by using your ability to recognize patterns that supercomputers could examine for days and get nowhere.

Zooniverse is a one-stop site for these projects looking for human helpers. As it says on their site:

The Zooniverse Works


Classifications so far by 1,757,426 registered volunteers

A vibrant community.

Zooniverse gives people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to participate in real research
with over 50 active online citizen science projects. Work with 1.6 million registered users
around the world to contribute to research projects led by hundreds of researchers.

Their sites shows that there are currently 91 projects running in the following eleven general divisions: Arts, Biology, Climate, History, Language, Literature, Medicine, Nature, Physics, Social Science, and Space.

In the Biology division the have the following projects involving birds: The Cornell Lab – Hawk Talk, The Cornell Lab – Battling Birds, London Bird Records, Interior Least Tern and Piping Plover Predators, Penguin Watch, Project Plumage, and Seabird Watch.

Here’s a few of their other projects:

GALAXY ZOO -To understand how galaxies formed we need your help to classify them according to their shapes. If you’re quick, you may even be the first person to see the galaxies you’re asked to classify.Look at telescope images of distant galaxies.Explore the sky. What will you find?  “In the decade the project has been running, Galaxy Zoo volunteers have helped understand the Universe and made spectacular discoveries. We hope you’ll join us for the next stage of the adventure. ”

WEATHER RESCUE – We’re asking for your help to unearth some of the long-forgotten secrets about the UK’s weather. By helping us to digitize these records, we can unlock answers to questions about our weather and changing climate, as well as contribute to new discoveries.  “The fastest way to collect new weather observations is by looking back in time!”

SHAKESPEARE’S WORLD – Transcribe handwritten documents by Shakespeare’s contemporaries and help us understand his life and times. Along the way you’ll find words that have yet to be recorded in the authoritative Oxford English Dictionary, and which will eventually be added to this important resource.

CHIMP & SEEWelcome to Africa—home of the chimpanzee. Our cameras have taken thousands of videos of these and other animals. Now we need your help to study, explore, and learn from them.

Link to Zooniverse.
[Chuck Almdale]

A Sand Dollar’s Breakfast is Totally Metal | Deep Look Video

April 15, 2019

Their skeletons are prized by beachcombers, but sand dollars look way different in their lives beneath the waves. Covered in thousands of purple spines, they have a bizarre diet that helps them exploit the turbulent waters of the sandy sea floor.

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]

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