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Malibu Lagoon Monthly Field Trip: Sunday, 24 April 2022

April 10, 2022

SMBAS is again offering an open Malibu Lagoon
trip
after two years of pandemic hiatus.
The following rules will be in effect:

  • Registration required, max. 30 people. No drop-ins, please.
    Register to Chuck: misclists@verizon.net.
  • Masks are not required but will be appreciated.
  • 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 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 and telescope. Sharing of equipment not recommended, do so at your own risk.
  • 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.
  • For general questions or help registering, contact Chuck: misclists@verizon.net
  • Additional information on our permanent Covid-19 blog page:

Our Western Snowy Plovers such as nr:gy above, are beginning to get excited about breeding. (Larry Loeher 2-25-18 Malibu)

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.

It will be, as they so often say: “A dyssymylacyon of bryddys!

View of east end of north channel (L. Johnson 3-24-19 Malibu Lagoon)

Adult Walk 8:30 a.m., 4th Sunday of every month.  Beginner and experienced, 2-3 hours.  Species range from 40 in June to 60-75 during migrations and winter.  We move slowly and check everything as we move along.  When lagoon outlet is closed we may 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. Bring your birding questions.

Children and Parents Walk: Still canceled due to Covid-19 pandemic, immunization and masking problems, especially with young children.

Not all ducks look the same: Mallard (23″ long) & Green-winged Teal (14.5″) (Grace Murayama 2-24-19)

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 signs carefully) on either of 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 (i.e. they tow cars).

Prior checklists:
2021: Jan-July
July-Dec
2020: Jan-JulyJuly-Dec  2019: Jan-June, July-Dec  
2018: Jan-June, July-Dec  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]

Ballona Freshwater Marsh | Safety Update #4 | LA Times

April 8, 2022

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

But wait! There’s more! Unfortunately it doesn’t involve a super-spud-slicer. The three prior updates are: 7 Apr 2021, 11 Feb 2021 and 29 Jan 2021. Changes are afoot. Maybe.

If you recall from yesterday’s posting, there are hundreds [well…a lot, anyway] of RV’s in varying states of repair parked near the Ballona Freshwater Marsh, and it’s become unsafe and/or impossible to look at birds there, not to mention the accumulated trash and worse.

Due to the pandemic, people out-of-work, jobs and housing lost, the city stopped towing RV’s and/or telling their occupants to move. RV’s are all over town, not just in a few well-known areas of congregation. Here’s a guesstimate: In 90% of L.A. City you won’t have to drive more than ten minutes (maybe only five!) to find at least one such parked & occupied RV.

Los Angeles lifts moratorium on towing RVs, pledges to move problem campers
L.A. Times | Rachel Uranga & Ruben Vives | 7 Apr 2020 | 5 min read
From the article:

Hundreds of people living in recreational vehicles parked on Los Angeles streets have largely avoided towing thanks to a pandemic-era moratorium on impounding oversized vehicles used as homes.

But on Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted to lift the moratorium amid growing complaints from residents who say some RV dwellers dump human waste on streets, use drugs and accumulate trash.

City officials say they will begin to enforce the regulation next month, prioritizing RVs and campers that are unregistered, inoperable or heavily damaged, as well as ones that interfere with construction, pose a safety hazard by blocking driveways or traffic or have had multiple responses from the Department of Sanitation. Officials will also resume towing cars that violate posted parking restrictions.


We’ll close with a not-uncommon denizen of the Ballona Freshwater Marsh, usually seen cruising low over the adjacent field.

Female Northern Harrier (Chris Tosdevin BFWM 2/8/20)

Ballona Freshwater Marsh | Safety Update #3

April 7, 2022

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

You can tell by the title that this is a continuing problem. The two prior updates are 11 Feb 2021 and 29 Jan 2021. Nothing good has happened since then.

There was a recent flurry of emails on our local county bird hot line LACoBirds. The pertinent ones are below, names changed to protect the annoyed.

Least Bittern (C. Tosdevin Feb. 8, 2020 at_BFWM)

Initial comment, Birder One, 4 Apr 2022, 3:22pm:

Those of you who visit (bird) Ballona Freshwater Marsh already know that the line of broken down RVs along Jefferson has gotten longer than ever. Today I drove by there and not only was there no parking anywhere for birders or casual (nonbirder) observers/tourists, but now tall plastic orange netting has been installed at the [gate] entrance [to the marsh] on Jefferson. I realize that birders aren’t supposed to enter that gate. I also realize that Loyola Marymount students and local residents routinely hike or jog [by passing through the gate] on the same dirt path where birders have gotten (trespassing) tickets. 

At this point you cannot even bird the area while trying to do so legally (because you cannot park on Jefferson and stare in from the street), and if you parked somewhere else and walked over to the marsh you could encounter people who have mental health or substance abuse issues and aggressive dogs off leash (I have repeatedly experienced this).

Also, the unhoused citizens who live there on Jefferson spill a lot of solid and liquid waste onto the dirt walkway and yes, you can see trash inside the preserve from them. This is an environmental issue with plastics and organic liquids including radiator fluid entering the water and soil of a nature preserve. 

There are no porta-potties anywhere. Where are the 200 to 300 people here going to the bathroom? I seriously doubt that the toilets in their RVs work. The City and County and the State have all neglected their obligations. 

What are local Audubon chapters doing about this???


Birder two, 4 Apr 2022, 5:08pm:

This issue is very important to me. I am willing and able to help. We need to do something. This was my patch and quite frankly I have been intimidated away.


Greater Yellowlegs (Ray Juncosa BFWM 11/3/18)

Birder three, 4 Apr 2022, 7:24pm:

I’ll take a crack at responding, and maybe others can chime in.

When I was first hired as a subcontractor to monitor the Ballona Freshwater Marsh (“BFM”) 20 years ago, it was obviously well prior to the explosion in outdoor encampments and RV camps across California. There was a brief debate as to who would manage BFM, and I felt at the time it was be a really bad idea to have Playa Vista manage the site, with the State of CA managing a contiguous Ecological Reserve over a split-rail fence. Why not just put it all under the State, managed as a whole, for nature? I was clearly outvoted (not that I actually ever had a say).

To sort out who can do anything about it, one needs to unpack what’s actually going on, if it’s actually illegal, who is responsible for enforcement, etc. Sure, local Audubon chapters can write op-eds or contact their local officials (as can you, or I), but ultimately, enforcement of encampments appears to be mediated by the city council district in which an encampment has formed. You may have read that Mike Bonin, who controls the area, came up with zero encampments recommended for remediation, even as other council members submitted hundreds of sites in their own districts. (No need to hash out that issue on this forum, just search it up.) But it explains why there’s no enforcement of the parking/living situation, the logic being that the RV residents are “home”, and that city can’t “evict” “residents” from “homes”.

As for the management of the site, I believe the BFM itself is managed by Playa Vista’s Ballona Wetlands Conservancy (set up years ago to manage BFM), but they really have no control over who parks their RV where – all they can do is constantly repair fences, clean up feces and needles, etc., which they have for years, as the problem gets worse and worse.

I recently wrote the director of local conservation group at Ballona urging them to pen an editorial in the L.A. Times about how the situation was truly intolerable, how precious wetland function and nature habitats were just getting degraded day after day, etc. I received what can only be described as a brush-off, told that help was coming. This was last fall, soon after four homeless men were shot there. Haven’t gotten around to writing it, but should.

[Birder One], I don’t know what the solution is at this point, I wish I did. Bonin isn’t running for re-election, so perhaps the new council member for the district will value nature. The pandemic restrictions are clearing. The L.A. Co. Sheriff recently announced more clean-ups of encampments where the city hasn’t been interested. 

I’ll add that it is not safe to bird (my opinion), particularly to bird alone, and parking is best done across the street on Playa Vista property. I do think, however, that with community will and commitment by the city, it can recover – look at Harbor Park now vs. 20 years ago. BFM is truly a gem of a birding/bird site in the region, one of the best freshwater marsh habitats along the coast, home to many rare and declining species, and an unparalleled location to get people into birding. Though others have apparently done so, I won’t give up on it.


Birder One, 4 Apr 2022, 10:19pm:

We need to generate a list of an ad hoc committee of people (including me) who are angry about this. 

I’m going to answer everybody else’s emails tomorrow after I get 8 hours of sleep.

I am heartened by [Birder Three]’s optimism and his example of the restoration of Harbor Park.


Miniature Flying Dragon (Ray Juncosa BFWM 11/3/18)

Birder Four, 6 Apr 2022, 3:16pm:

Obviously the situation at the Freshwater Marsh is far from ideal for the health of the ecological reserve, for accessibility by nature watchers, and for the RV residents themselves. I agree with [Birder Three]’s comments that things will get better as pandemic policies are slowly eased back. I also agree that it was unwise to leave the Freshwater Marsh out of the ecological reserve and will note that that policy could still be revised.

While I don’t want to disregard anyone’s perceptions about this situation, I do want to say that I ride my bike past the RVs quite often and just this morning stopped to photograph various water fowl in the seasonal wetland areas just south of Jefferson. I have also walked the portion of the FWM path that runs parallel to Lincoln and not had any issues. Each person will have their own comfort level at this area.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is that the bird watching community has been largely uninvolved in discussing the current and long-term management policies for the complex and very important greater Ballona Wetlands ecosystem. There are unused parking lots in the reserve that should not be there, extensive weeds that could be managed with basic stewardship, expensive habitat projects with no success criteria that aren’t yielding expected results, plans to bury one of the most iconic views of the wetlands (that is also existing nesting habitat for Belding’s Savannah Sparrow) under a new berm, plans to surround the salt pan with another engineered berm that would only extend the life of that critical habitat by a mere 10 years, little league baseball fields in the ecological reserve where elementary students are not allowed entry for ecological study or stewardship, etc. I would respectfully suggest that we have an obligation as a nature-focused community to worry more about long term impacts to wildlife habitats than on impacts to our personal bird watching experiences. I am happy to discuss the Ballona Wetlands with anyone who is interested off-line.


Ballona Fresh Water Marsh west end. Source: Friends of Ballona

Sketches of Spain, with Luke Tiller. Zoom Evening Meeting reminder, Tuesday, 5 April, 7:30 p.m.

April 5, 2022

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

Eurasian Wryneck.
Small member of woodpecker family, able to turn its head 180°

On April 5, 2022 at 7:30 pm, Join the Zoom Presentation by CLICKING HERE

Sketches of Spain, with Luke Tiller.
Zoom Evening Meeting, Tuesday, 5 April, 7:30 p.m.

Zoom waiting room opens 7:15 p.m.

As a professional hawkwatcher and guide Luke Tiller has been lucky enough to visit some of the planet’s most incredible places to witness bird migration. This talk will cover one of his favorite “birding bottlenecks”, where the breathtaking spectacle of migration enhances already remarkable year round birding. This talk focuses on spring migration from Africa into Europe through the Strait of Gibraltar but also touches upon the other places to visit in this amazing country. We cover the birds to see, the places to visit and important tips for getting the best out of what I consider Europe’s premier country for birding. It would be impossible not to touch upon the incredible Spanish cuisine, culture and history too.

Common Kingfisher

Luke Tiller, originally from London, England, transplanted to the United States in 2003. As a professional hawkwatcher he has traveled the world to witness raptor migration and has experience counting raptors in North America, Europe and the Middle East. He has written about birds and birding for publications here in the US and in Europe including Audubon Magazine, Birdwatch Magazine and ABA’s Birding Magazine. Luke is currently based in Altadena, California ,and employed as both a Wildlife Biologist and as tour guide by companies including Rockjumpers, Raptours and Wildside Nature Tours. You will find him at most birding festivals working on the ZEISS Sports Optics booth.

On April 5, 2022 at 7:30 pm, Join the Zoom Presentation by CLICKING HERE

Luke Tiller in Israel

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


Meeting ID: 864 0681 3403
Passcode: 302900
One tap mobile:
+16699009128,,86406813403#,,,,302900# US (San Jose)
+13462487799,,86406813403#,,,,302900# US (Houston)

Dial by your location
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
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+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
Meeting ID: 864 0681 3403
Passcode: 302900
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kmfGl61VJ
[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

A Cornucopia of Collective Nouns of the Venery

April 1, 2022

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

Collective nouns of the venery (“the hunt”) were created over many centuries, beginning in the 15th and continuing into the 21st century. These often used nouns are useful and fun to know. What birder hasn’t heard of “an exaltation of larks,” “a murder of crows” or “a parliament of owls.” They are obviously fun to invent as well, and “reams of paper” and “pots of ink” have been devoted to recording and keeping track of them.

A Parliament of Owls by Scott Gustafson

The forty collective nouns listed below are for the express delectation of our birding friends. These are the ones you will most enjoy knowing and the one you are most likely to use. Have fun! Sprinkle them into your next birding conversation and watch the faces of your companions light up with delight!

They were selected from a longer list of 934 collective nouns pertaining only to birds, which itself is a portion of a longer list of 7,305 collective nouns in categories ranging from Abstract Nouns to Viruses.

A Murder of Crows – CBC

Should you be so inclined to peruse this largest compendium, you will find it here:
https://sites.miamioh.edu/meyersde/the-collective-noun-catalog/

However, if you wish only for the collective nouns pertaining to birds, we extracted them at great labour from the longer list. There are two lists, both arranged as is the list below, and downloadable copies in Adobe PDF are available for both.

Pots of Ink – Etsy

List 1: 288 collective nouns of the venery for the period 1400-1614 CE; a double list, alphabetical by bird and by noun, sources given at end.
List 2: 934 collective nouns of the venery for the period 1400-2018 CE, a double list, alphabetical by bird and by noun, sources given at end.

Following are two tables of our forty selections, the first arranged in alphabetical sequence by bird name, the second arranged alphabetically by the collective noun. Following these tables are the written sources from whence they came.



AlphabeticalFirst Use
Sequence by BirdDateSource
A cegee of betterys1400s30
A dyssymylacyon of bryddys145227
A pype of chekynnysse145227
A courerete of cootys145227
A fflyȝt of coṝmeravnttys1400s30
A mursher of crowys145227
A badelynge of dokys149603
A padelynge of dookysse145227
A fflẏth of dowẏs1400s31
A jye of ffesauntȝ1400s26
A tremynge of goldefynchis1400s29
A chermyng of goldfȳchys1400s28
A fflyȝt of goshavkys1400s30
A gagulle of gyse1400s30
A brode of hennys149603
A doppyng of herles1400s29
A sege of heyrōnys1400s28
An exsalttynge of larkys1400s30
A desyte of lepewẏkes1400s31
A fflusche of mallardys145227
A waycche of nyghtynggalys145227
A monstyr of pecockys145227
A couy of pertrikkys1400s28
A congregacon of plouerys1400s30
A tygenes of pyes158614
A bevee of quaylys1400s28
A vnkyndenesse of rauons1400s29
An onkyndenes of ravynnys1400s28
A byldynge of rookys1400s30
A walke of snyttys1400s30
A hoste of sparowẏs1400s31
An oste of sparrowys145227
A mormeracyoii of staris1400s30
A chaterẏng of starẏs1400s31
A fflẏth of swaleus1400s31
A turbe of teles142015
A mutacyon of threstyllys1400s30
A duell of turtylles149603
A ffalle of woodeclckys145227
A heerde of wrennys1400s29

Alphabetical SequenceFirst Use
By Collective NounDateSource
A badelynge of dokys149603
A bevee of quaylys1400s28
A brode of hennys149603
A byldynge of rookys1400s30
A cegee of betterys1400s30
A chaterẏng of starẏs1400s31
A chermyng of goldfȳchys1400s28
A congregacon of plouerys1400s30
A courerete of cootys145227
A couy of pertrikkys1400s28
A desyte of lepewẏkes1400s31
A doppyng of herles1400s29
A duell of turtylles149603
A dyssymylacyon of bryddys145227
An exsalttynge of larkys1400s30
A ffalle of woodeclckys145227
A fflusche of mallardys145227
A fflyȝt of goshavkys1400s30
A fflyȝt of coṝmeravnttys1400s30
A fflẏth of dowẏs1400s31
A fflẏth of swaleus1400s31
A gagulle of gyse1400s30
A heerde of wrennys1400s29
A hoste of sparowẏs1400s31
A jye of ffesauntȝ1400s26
A monstyr of pecockys145227
A mormeracyoii of staris1400s30
A mursher of crowys145227
A mutacyon of threstyllys1400s30
An onkyndenes of ravynnys1400s28
An oste of sparrowys145227
A padelynge of dookysse145227
A pype of chekynnysse145227
A sege of heyrōnys1400s28
A tremynge of goldefynchis1400s29
A turbe of teles142015
A tygenes of pyes158614
A vnkyndenesse of rauons1400s29
A walke of snyttys1400s30
A waycche of nyghtynggalys145227

Sources
3. “The manere of hawkynge & huntynge: and also of diuysynge of Cote armours.” The Boke of Saint Albans. Wynkyn de Worde, 1496. Reproduced in Facsimile. 50-52.
14. Berners, Dame Juliana (attrib). Hawking, Hunting, and Fishing, with the True Measures of Blowing. Newly Corrected and Amended. 1586. Printed by Edward Allde.
15. Cambridge, Trinity College Library. Femina Manuscript. 1420. No. B.14. 40. Folio 88-89b.
26. London, British Museum. Addl. Manuscript 33,994. 15th Century. Folio 26b.
27. London, British Museum. Egerton Manuscript 1995. Circa 1452. Begins on folio 555.
28. London, British Museum. Harley Manuscript 2340. 15th Century. Begins on folio 51a.
29. London, British Museum. Harley Manuscript 541. 15th Century. Begins on folio 225a.
30. London, British Museum. Porkington Manuscript 10. Begins on Folio 184a.
31. London, British Museum. Robert of Gloucester Manuscript, College of Arms. 15th century.

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