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Newsletter - Redwood Region Ornithological Society

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Kite Tales
Volume 50 Number 4
December 2014
Winter Evening, at Gray Lodge WMA, by Ken Wilson
RROS General Meeting
December 11, 2014, 7p.m.
at Laguna Wastewater Treatment Facility,
4300 Llano Road, Santa Rosa
Members' Media Night - Our December meeting will be members' media night. It is an
opportunity for our members to show their images of birds, birders and birding. In
addition to our many fine photographers, RROS has many talented artists who create
sculptures and paintings of birds. We encourage all of our creative members to share their
creations at this meeting.
Kite Tales
Page 2
December 2014
IMPORTANT NOTICE~
This December 11, 2014 meeting will be our last meeting at the Llano Rd. Sewage
Treatment Plant. Beginning with the first meeting of the New Year, January 14, 2015,
we will be meeting at the hall of the First United Methodist Church, at 1551 Montgomery
Dr., Santa Rosa, between Talbot Ave. and California Ave. This is currently the monthly
meeting place of Madrone Audubon. Directions from 101 will be provided in the January
Kite Tales.
Save the Date:
Monthly Meeting for Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 7 p.m.
Colors in Birds~ Why are birds so brightly colored? Where does the color come from?
What makes hummingbirds so special? Robert Lewis of Wingbeats will answer these
questions and discuss feather structure, molt and bird behavior. His presentation will be
illustrated with his outstanding photographs.
Directions to the DECEMBER meeting: From Hwy 101, take Hwy 116 West toward
Sebastopol. Turn right (north) on Llano Rd. and go ~ 1 mile to Laguna Wastewater
Treatment Plant at 4300 Llano Rd, Santa Rosa. Look for an open gate on right. Proceed
to Administration Bldg. at SE corner of the plant. From Hwy. 12, take Llano Rd. south
about 3 miles. Plant is on left.
Dinner Before the monthly meeting: This month, join us at 5:30pm at the
Outback Steakhouse, 4619 Redwood Dr., Rohnert Park. Take the Golf Course Exit
from Highway 101. The restaurant is located at the north end of the Wal-Mart Center
just west of Hwy 101.
FIELD TRIPS – Autumn 2014:
December 2014: Christmas Bird Counts. Santa Rosa, Sunday, December 14; Sonoma
Valley, Friday, December 27; West Sonoma County Sunday, December 29.
January 10-11, Saturday and/or January 11, Sunday, 2015: January 10,
Saturday: Walnut Grove/Thornton wintering waterfowl concentrations and the
Consumnes River Reserve. Ken Wilson will lead. Meet at the junction of Stanly Road and
State Highway 12/29 just south of Napa at 8 AM. We will then proceed through Fairfield
on Highway 12 to State Highway 113, then north to Flannery Road to look for Mountain
Plovers and Burrowing Owls. Then continue on Highway 12 to I-5, then north to Thornton
(exit 493), then west to Staten Island Rd. where winter flocks of ducks, geese, swans,
cranes, and ibis as well as winter raptors should be in force. Lunch at the Consumnes
River Reserve north of Thornton. After lunch we will head north through Sacramento, then
west to near Davis to watch for Short-eared Owls at sunset. If you have just one day free,
you can head home from here on I-80. Otherwise, proceed north on State Highway 113 to
Yuba City for the night. The Bonanza Inn in Yuba City is recommended. It might be a good
idea to reserve a room early as it is hunting season. January 11, Sunday: Prime targets
are the Gray Lodge State Wildlife Management Area and the Sacramento National Wildlife
Refuge. Expect a rather different mix of species here than near Thornton. If you stayed the
night in Yuba City, after an early breakfast we will leave from the Bonanza Inn to bird the
base of the Sutter Buttes. Otherwise, plan to meet at the entrance to Gray Lodge, on
Almond Orchard-Pennington Rd. south from the Colusa Highway (6.5 miles w of Gridley),
at 9:30 AM. If you are coming from home direct, it is approximately 2.5 hours from Santa
Rosa via Clear Lake or from Petaluma via Vacaville. Leader TBA. For more info
see http://www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/wa/region2/graylodge/
Kite Tales
Page 3
December 2014
January 24, 2015, Saturday: Gulls of the Sonoma County coast. Meet at Bodega Bay at
the large dirt lot along Bay Flat Rd. at Westshore Rd, at 8:00 am. We will check Bodega
Bay, Bodega Head, Salmon Creek beach, and Goat Rock Beach (and points between) for
roosting flocks of gulls (and other birds of interest). The usual suspects include (of all
ages): Heermann’s, Mew, Ring-billed, Western, California, Herring, Thayer’s, Glaucouswinged, and maybe Bonaparte’s, with the slim possibility of rarities such as Glaucous,
Black-legged Kittiwake, Iceland, and/or Slaty-backed (but don’t hold your breath), plus
hybrids (aarrrgh!). There will be lots of non-gulls to look at also. Gene Hunn leads
(enhunn323@comcast.net, 707-981-7301). Bring lunch or forage on route. Heavy rains
cancel.
FIELD TRIP REPORTS:
Tolay Lake RP, Saturday, November 8th: The field trip was ably led by Andy Lacasse.
Though bone dry out there, the raptors put on a good show, especially the Peregrine and
Prairie Falcons herding massive murmurations of starlings (several thousand strong). Also
noted, a quick flyby by a Merlin, lots of American Kestrels, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed
Hawks, two Ferruginous Hawks (an adult and an immature), and three Golden Eagles (two
adults with a youngster, no doubt locally raised). A Varied Thrush posed for
photographers in the oak woodland on the trail towards the East Peak. Steller’s Jays at
the headquarters reflected this species seasonal wanderings, much noted elsewhere this
fall. A flock of 20 Long-billed Curlews had arrived for the winter, despite the drought. Lots
of Loggerhead Shrikes (the local resident family), and Say’s Phoebes. We failed to find
Burrowing Owls but heard rumors of one elsewhere in the park. Access to this Regional
Park property is restricted to those who have “qualified” for a pass (by attending an
orientation session), or to organized groups.
Lynch Canyon and Rush Ranch, Saturday, November, 22nd: A small but hardy crew of
birders joined our leader Dave Barry on an invigorating morning hike in Lynch Canyon
Open Space Park (Solano County), with an afternoon extension to Rush Ranch Open
Space off Grizzly Island Road. We persevered through the tail end of the morning’s rain to
enjoy clearing skies and broad views with lots of raptors drying and stretching their wings.
Lots of Red-tailed Hawks of all phases and ages, lots of Northern Harriers and American
Kestrels similarly various, several White-tailed Kites, a single PEREGRINE, in hot pursuit
of a duck, a soaring ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (Lynch Canyon) and a distant
FERRUGINOUS HAWK (over Rush Ranch). Perhaps the raptorial highlight was three
GOLDEN EAGLES out hunting (two at Lynch Canyon, one at Rush Ranch). Also a
Loggerhead Shrike, three Barn Owls (Rush Ranch), various sparrows, tons of
meadowlarks, lots of Say’s and Black Phoebes, and to top it off at least 100 Long-billed
Curlews along Grizzly Island Road and a colony of at least half a dozen LEWIS’S
WOODPECKERS and a pair of ROCK WRENS, both on the North Ridge at Lynch Canyon.
Observations: Oct. 21, 2014-Nov. 20, 2014
Specie/s
Grtr Wht-frntd Goose
Cackling Goose
Tundra Swan
Eurasian Wigeon
Eurasian Wigeon
White-winged Scoter
White-winged Scoter
White-winged Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Compiled by David A. Hofmann
Date/s
Location
County
10/26-11/7/14 widespread in county SON
10/28-11/5/14 Salmon Crk estuary
SON
11/12/14
Bridgehaven
SON
10/29-11/5/14 Salmon Crk estuary
SON
11/14-18/14 Salmon Crk estuary
SON
10/24/14
Bodega Head St. Pk
SON
10/26/14
Bodega Head St. Pk
SON
10/28/14
Bodega Head St. Pk
SON
10/28/14
Salmon Crk estuary
SON
11/12/14
Duncan's Landing
SON
#
Observer/s
100's
mob
2
BiG,BrO,DAH,BDP
8
BrO
1
BrO,DAH,BDP
1
EuH,MoF.DeH,WiG
1
ROD
1
EuH
1
RAR
1
BiG
photo
1
BrO
Kite Tales
Page 4
Long-tailed Duck
Red-necked Grebe
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel
American Bittern
Least Bittern
Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Merlin
Merlin
Merlin
Prairie Falcon
Snowy Plover
Lesser Yellowlegs
Long-billed Curlew
Spotted Sandpiper
Red Knot
Marbled Murrelet
Ancient Murrelet
Cassin's Auklet
Cassin's Auklet
Cassin's Auklet
Cassin's Auklet
Burrowing Owl
Poorwill
Lewis's Woodpecker
Hammond's Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Tropical Kingbird
Nashville Warbler
Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Harris's Sparrow
10/28/14
Salmon Crk estuary
11/12/14
Duncan's Landing
10/31/14
Bodega Head St. Pk
11/19/14
Foothill Reg. Park
11/16-20/14 Foothill Reg. Park
10/21/14
Shorttail Gulch Trail
11/8/14
Tolay Lake Reg. Pk
11/14/14
Hwy 37 X Lakeville
11/15/14
East Railroad Ave.
11/15/14
Ellis Creek Ponds
11/7/14
Rail Ponds
11/8/14
Tolay Lake Reg. Pk
11/15/14
Ellis Creek Ponds
11/8/14
Tolay Lake Reg. Pk
11/9/14
Doran Regional Park
11/3/14
Shollenberger Park
11/3/14
Shollenberger Park
10/27-11/7/14 Diekmann's Store
10/28-11/8/14 Doran Regional Park
11/7-8/14
Bodega Head St. Pk
11/8/14
Bodega Head St. Pk
11/2/14
Salmon Creek Beach
11/4/14
Bodega Head St. Pk
11/5/14
Doran Regional Park
11/8-9/14
Bodega Head St. Pk
10/29/14
Bodega Head St. Pk
11/6/14
Bodega Marine Lab
11/2/14
Thorn Rd/Sebastopol
9/26/14
Owl Canyon
10/21/14
Shorttail Gulch Trail
10/24/14
Hwy #1 X Birdwalk Pk
11/2/14
Diekmann's Store
10/21-22/14 Shorttail Gulch Trail
11/15/14
Reclamation Road
11/7/14
Rail Ponds/Bayflat Rd
11/20-21/14 Bird Walk Reg. Park
December 2014
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
SON
1m
BiG
photo
1
BrO
10
ScC
1
EuH
1
Cr&AnRo,RAR,DoK
1
LiH
2
AnL, mob
2
MiB photos
1
AlW
1
BrO
1
MiH
1
AnL, mob
1
BrO
1
AnL, mob
10
BoL, mob
2
EuH
2
EuH
1
BrO, MiH
1
RAR, ChD, mob
1
BrO, RuS, mob
4
RuS, mob
6
JaS photos
1
LiH
1
DAH, BDP photos
1
ChD, BoL, mob
1
BrO
1
JaS photos
1
WeP
1
LaS
1-2
DeF, EuH, LiH
1
BrO
1
BrO
1
LiH, RAR
1
BrO
1
MiH
1
DeH, WiG, DeF
Observers for this period: Michael Berry, Scott Carey, Chris Dunford, Dea Freid, Mookie
Fudemberg, Will German, Bill Grummer, Mike Heffernon, Denise Herzberg, David A. Hofmann,
Lisa Hugg, Eugene Hunn, Don Kirker, Andy LaCassse, Bob Lewis, Brook O'Connor, Rob O'Donnel,
Benjamin D. Parmeter, Wendy Peterson, Craig & Annette Roth, Ruth Ann Rudesill, Rusty Scalf,
Jackie Sones, Lang Stevenson, Alan Wight
The compiler apologizes and takes full responsibility for omissions or errors regarding this list.
Pishing with Parmeter~ The “Big” Big Day
On 4/30/83, I was part of a Big Day team with the objective to set a new North American
Big Day record. The existing record number at that time was 235 in Texas. Our team
consisted of Laurie Binford, Geri Langham, Don Roberson, John Parmeter, Roger Tory
Peterson, and I. National Audubon sponsored us, putting us on a two engine plane, with a
pilot at our disposal.
The count was to be completed within California. We started at midnight on the west side
of the Colorado River at Yuma. Our first stop was at a place called West Pond where we got
all the rails and several other species. By daybreak we had a list of about 25. We then flew
to Salton Sea where, at the south end of the sea, we knew a spot to see Yellow-footed Gull.
The pilot took the plane down to within a few hundred feet of land, banked at an island in
Kite Tales
Page 5
December 2014
the sea, and the gull was visible to all. Then, we were on to Yucca Valley where a waiting
vehicle took us to Big Morongo. I recall that at Big Morongo we were all gazing at a
Hammond’s Flycatcher when a photographer got in front of us and took a photo of our
group. The flash caused temporary blindness for all of us. We next flew to Big Bear in the
San Bernardino Mts. where we searched for mountain species.Then it was back in the
plane for a flight to Monterey, where we spent the remainder of the day. We took in Point
Pinos, Carmel River, and other known birding sites. I remember seeing Canada Goose
(which was still a scarce bird then) by flashlight. We ended up in Upper Carmel Valley
owling, where we got all the regular owls. Throughout the day, the count had been
announced periodically. After owling, the count was 235. We had tied the record. Went to
Monterey Pier where we hoped to see or hear a Black-crowned Night Heron, but no luck.
235 was the total count. I recollect my son, John, saying to me at midnight, “The day
count is zero.”
The next month there was an article in Birding Magazine by the Texas team which had
seen 235 species. The article mentioned the team hearing a Groove-billed Ani across the
Rio Grande River in Mexico (this was illegal according to ABA Big Day rules). The following
month there were several letters to the editor of the magazine pointing out this error. Their
count had to be reduced to 234. The succeeding month the magazine published a brief
article declaring our team the holder of the U.S. Big Day record! Mike~
Letters to Santa Claus
From a Duck...
Dear Santa, please bring lots of rain,
'Cuz dabbling in dirt goes against the grain,
And all my buds who get food by diving,
Need deep water to keep on thriving.
From an Eagle...
Dear Santa, I just love to soar,
In a crystal sky where the air is pure,
Don't make me cough and wheeze in a fog,
Of car exhausts and urban smog.
From a Snowy Plover...
Santa, I'll tell you one damned thing,
I'm sick and tired of wearing bling,
So in twenty-fifteen here's what I beg,
Let no one put bracelets on my leg.
From a Brown Pelican...
Dear Santa, here's my Christmas wish,
For a healthy ocean full of fish,
And that I never again would crash,
Into a raft of floating trash.
From a Turkey...
Santa, I ask on bended knees,
For an upgrade to my image please,
Instead of your average barnyard fowl,
Make me just as smart as the wisest owl,
And I've got just one more request,
Have folks stop staring at my breast.
Terry Haag~
Kite Tales
Page 6
December 2014
Redwood Region Ornithological Society (www.rros.org) was organized in 1962 “to encourage
the study and conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their natural habitat.” Meetings are
held the second Thursday of each month September through May, at 7:00 pm at the Laguna
Waste Water Treatment Plant, 4300 Llano Road, Santa Rosa California, unless otherwise
announced. Dues are $20 per family, $15 per individual or $5 per student for a one-year
membership. Send dues to RROS Treas. Don Howard, 979 Hogwarts Circle, Petaluma CA
94954.
RROS Officers
President – Bill Doyle 1966 Belmont Ct., Santa Rosa, 95404
shortbill@comcast.net
483-8773
Vice Pres - Terry Haag 1340 Big Plum Dr., Sebastopol 95472 teresitahaag@comcast.net
823-8527
Secretary – Rita Bevins 237 Deanna Pl. Windsor, Ca. 95492
ritanbill@comcast.net
484-3704
Treasurer - Don Howard 979 Hogwarts Circle, Petaluma 94954 binkybunji2@comcast.net
637-0868
Committee Chairs
Field Trips – Gene Hunn, 204 Fair Ave., Petaluma, 94954
enhunn323@comcast.net
981-7301
Observations- David Hofmann 2021 Pioneer Wy #47 Santa Rosa 95403 nnamfoh@comcast.net 546-0325
Christmas Count – Bill Doyle 1966 Belmont Ct., SRosa, 95404
shortbill@comcast.net 483-8773
Kite Tales - – Bill Doyle 1966 Belmont Ct., SRosa, 95404
shortbill@comcast.net
483-8773
Kite Tales Deadlines: Submit observations to David Hofmann, all other items to Bill Doyle by
the 20th of the month.
KITE TALES
979 Hogwarts Circle
Petaluma CA 9954
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