Fresno Audubon Society | April 2018 Yellowbill
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April 2018 Yellowbill

31 Mar April 2018 Yellowbill

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President’s Message

April 2018 will be the busiest month of the year for Fresno Audubon Society. In addition to our general meeting and three field trips, we are offering a birding class, leading two birding trips to Sierra Foothill Conservancy (SFC) preserves and staffing an educational booth at Earth Day Fresno. All of these events are described in detail below.

Our April general meeting should be exceptional. Barry Boulton, president of Central Sierra Audubon Society, is an accomplished videographer, and will be presenting videos he has made that reveal much about bird behavior. I hope you will be able to attend this outstanding presentation.

In addition to our usual offering of two Wednesday field trips and one Saturday trip, there will be two trips as part of our joint birding program with Sierra Foothill Conservancy. On Saturday 7 April, Gary Woods will lead a trip to McKenzie Preserve and on Saturday 28 April Gary will lead a trip to Black Mountain Preserve. We will also be birding Black Mountain on Wednesday 25 April as part of our Wednesday Walk series.

As part of our joint efforts with the SFC and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Lynda Schafhauser will be teaching Introduction to Birding at BLM’s San Joaquin River Gorge property. Please recommend the course to anyone you know who might be interested in learning about birding.

Robert Snow, President

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April Meeting
Tuesday 10 April 2018 at 7:00 pm
Insights into Bird Behaviors
Barry Boulton
President, Central Sierra Audubon Society

Tricolored Blackbird ©Gary Woods
Tricolored Blackbird ©Gary Woods

As birds navigate their lives in an always-precarious world, their behaviors are varied and fascinating, having evolved and adapted with many different patterns. Using high definition video sequences for cranes, egrets & herons, blackbirds, bluebirds, ospreys, sapsuckers, owls, and grebes, we will observe and analyze topics such as courtship displays, sexual selection, sibling rivalry, altruism, speciation, natural selection, and convergent evolution. In doing so, we will discuss how and why different species responded variously to the demands of survival. Despite 300M years since our last common ancestor (dinosaurs versus mammals), we can appreciate so much commonality between avian and human behaviors.

We will take a brief look at the rise of bird conservation including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (now under grave threat), and we’ll also simulate the dramatic loss of habitat in California since the mid-1800s, relating that to current conservation crises such as the fate of the Tricolored Blackbird.

Barry Boulton is current President of the Central Sierra Audubon Society (Tuolumne & Calaveras Counties) and has been Newsletter Editor for the last five years.  He is an avid bird videographer and uses this technology to present avian behaviors to many regional community groups in order to raise awareness of birds as sentient beings that deserve care and conservation.  That is, they are more than cute backyard attractions, or beautiful photos on calendars but, rather, have their own personalities and cultures with fascinating and meaningful behaviors.

The meeting will be held at UC Center, UC Center, 550 E Shaw Ave, Fresno, CA 93710.

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In Memoriam
by Pat Libby

Over the part 12 months Fresno Audubon Society has lost some of its long-time members. Most recently Larry Baker had a heart attack and drove himself from his home in Squaw Valley to a Fresno hospital where he passed away on 27 January 2018 during emergency surgery.

Other deaths in the past 12 months include:

  • Vicki Smith, 3 March 2017
  • Ed Moon, 2 July 2017
  • Ransome Poythress, 9 July 2017, age 100

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Earth Day

Earth Day will be celebrated this year in Fresno on Saturday 14 April with an event at Radio Park from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The event will feature the following:

  • Food
  • Green Vendors
  • Bike Show
  • Live Entertainment
  • Educational Exhibits
  • Children’s Activities

More information on the event can be found at their website https://earthdayfresno.org.

Fresno Audubon Society is a sponsoring supporter this year and will participate with an educational booth. We are looking for volunteers to help staff the event. If you are interested in helping, please contact board member Judy Johnson at jajohn1@comcast.net.

Map to event:

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Field Trips

Fresno Audubon offers field trips on Wednesdays (twice per month) and Saturdays (once per month) from September through June. Our website has a great calendar that allows you to see all the details of an upcoming trip as they become finalized. Included in the details is a map showing the meeting point for the trip. The calendar is subscribable, which allows you to integrate it into whatever electronic calendar you use. Updates to events will appear as they are made. We encourage you to subscribe.

April Field Trips

Saturday 7 April 2018. McKenzie Preserve with Gary Woods

Sierra Foothill Conservancy Event

SFC, Fresno Audubon Society, and the San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area (BLM) have joined forces to offer a collective birding series that combines instruction, exploration, and fun! Please join us for one or more of the five opportunities that will be offered this season.

Join Gary Woods and come experience the birds of the McKenzie. On the hike you will discuss local inhabitants, bird migration and bird identification.

The hike will involve a relatively easy 3.7 mile hike along the McKenzie Preserve Discovery Trail. Birders of all skill levels and children are welcome. Bring binoculars, lunch, water and sun protection. There is no charge for this event, but registration is required. Register now as spots are limited! You can register here: https://sierrafoothill.org/event/birding-hike-on-mckenzie-april7/?instance_id=840

**SPECIAL NOTE:  PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS IS A GUIDED HIKE AND PARTICIPANTS WILL NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO ENTER AND EXIT THE PROPERTY AT THEIR LEISURE. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO HIKE WITH A DOCENT OR YOU ARE UNABLE TO COMMIT TO THE TIME FRAME SCHEDULED, YOU MAY CONSIDER VISITING OUR PRESERVES DURING AN OPEN PRESERVE DAY WHERE THERE ARE FEWER CONSTRAINTS.  THOUGH THE GATE WILL REMAIN LOCKED DURING THE EVENT, WE ASK THAT YOU PLEASE NOT LEAVE ANYTHING VALUABLE IN YOUR VEHICLE.**

Map to trip location:

Wednesday 11 April 2018. Mendota with Judy Johnson

Join leader Judy Johnson for a trip to Mendota Wildlife Area. Last year’s trip yielded several Swainson’s hawks along with numerous waterfowl species, sparrows and early season Bullock’s orioles. Even though many of the waterfowl will have moved north for breeding, expect to see lots of interesting species that make the refuge their home year round.

We will meet in the Walmart parking lot at Ashlan and Blackstone at 7:45 for a 8:00am departure. We should get to the Mendota Wildlife Area headquarters at around 8:45-9:00am.

Checklist: binoculars, scope, field guide, snacks, lunch, water, sunscreen, hat, radios.

Map to meeting location:

Wednesday  25 April 2018. Black Mountain Preserve with Robert Snow

Join Robert Snow birding the Sierra Foothill Conservancy’s Black Mountain Preserve. The Mary Elizabeth Miller Preserve has two quite distinct habitats: dense, woody chaparral on the north-facing slope and grassland/oak woodland on the south-facing slope. Because of its elevation, about 3,600 feet above sea level, Black Mountain receives a lot of rain and can be a migrating bird trap. In fact, it receives about twice as much precipitation as the valley floor. As a result of this extra moisture, the plant and bird life is abundant and extremely varied. The property is not open to the public, but we have arranged access in cooperation with the Sierra Foothill Conservancy.

We will meet at 7:45 at the Target Parking lot in RiverPark. There is a second meeting location at the Park & Ride lot at Hwy 168 and Lodge Rd.

Checklist: binoculars, scope, field guide, snacks, lunch, water, hat.

Map to the meeting point:

Map to second meeting location:

Saturday 28 April 2018. China Creek Park with Daniel Jeffcoach and Chris Rempel

Daniel Jeffcoach and Chris Rempel will lead this field trip to China Creek Park in Centerville, with possible additional stops at the Orange Cove water treatment plant and Crawford Avenue.

We will meet in the parking lot east of the Sunnyside Educational Employees Credit Union (5640 E. Kings Canyon Road) at 6:45 am, and leave promptly at 7:00 am. First stop will be at China Creek Park, a 120-acre undeveloped park along a small tributary of the Kings River. The park includes two small lakes and a nearly 2-mile nature trail. We expect to walk the entire trail. Be aware that there are no restrooms at the park. We will stop somewhere for that purpose after leaving the park.

Other destinations will depend on how much time we spend at China Creek. Bring lunch and be prepared for a few miles of walking at the park. Contact Chris (chrisrempel85@gmail.com) or Daniel (danieljeffcoach@gmail.com) if you have further questions.

Checklist: binoculars, scope, field guide, snacks, lunch, water, hat, radios.

Map to meeting location:

Saturday 25 April 2018. Black Mountain Preserve with Gary Woods

Sierra Foothill Conservancy Event

Join Gary Woods birding the Sierra Foothill Conservancy’s Black Mountain Preserve. The Mary Elizabeth Miller Preserve (aka the Black Mountain Preserve) has two quite distinct habitats: dense, woody chaparral on the north-facing slope and grassland/oak woodland on the south-facing slope. Because of its elevation, about 3,600 feet above sea level, Black Mountain receives a lot of rain and can be a migrating bird trap. In fact, it receives about twice as much precipitation as the valley floor. As a result of this extra moisture, the plant and bird life is abundant and extremely varied.

Checklist: binoculars, scope, field guide, snacks, lunch, water, hat

This is a Sierra Foothill conservancy event and you must pre-register at: https://sierrafoothill.org/event/fresno-audubon-bird-walk-on-black-mountain-2/?instance_id=875

Map to preserve:

Birding Class

Beginning Birding Spring Class at the San Joaquin River Gorge

SFC, Fresno Audubon Society, and the San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area (BLM) have joined forces to offer a birding class that combines instruction, exploration, and fun! Beginning birders will see and learn about spring migratory birds visiting the San Joaquin River Gorge. Birders will discover easy ways to identify migrating and year-round, local birds. The class will include a walk looking for birds in the spring habitat found on the scenic hillsides of the River Gorge. Lynda Schafhauser will be teaching this class.

Bring binoculars, lunch, water and sun protection.  Cost is FREE but registration is required!  Register here: https://sierrafoothill.org/event/beginning-birding-at-the-gorge-spring18-class-2/?instance_id=850

There is a $5 day-use fee at the BLM property.

Map to class location:

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FRESNO-MADERA BIRDS
by Jeff Davis
photos by Gary Woods
Including reports for the period of
February 16, 2018 to March 15, 2018

Our first Swainson’s Hawk of the season was over Mountain View

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk

Cemetery February 18 (ph. KM). The historical Merlin roost near Belmont

Merlin

Merlin

and McDonough avenues north of Centerville hosted five birds at dusk on February 28 (ED). This was the first report from this location in several years. A Red-naped Sapsucker east of Auberry March 10 (DJ, CR) was the only one reported this winter.

Red-naped Sapsucker

Red-naped Sapsucker

A Green-tailed Towhee at China Creek County Park February 17 (ph. KER,

Green-tailed Towhee

Green-tailed Towhee

CR) provided a rare winter record for our area. Chipping Sparrow is

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

normally present in small numbers in winter, so 20+ at Scout Island from early January through March 10 was unusual (JS). Good numbers of Sagebrush Sparrows continued in the Panoche Hills, with six there

Sagebrush Sparrow

Sagebrush Sparrow

February 22 (JC). Three White-throated Sparrows were at China Creek

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

County Park February 21 (ph. RS), up from the two found there February 15. Less than annual in winter, a Hooded Oriole visited a hummingbird feeder

Hooded Oriole

Hooded Oriole

near Nees and Sunnyside in Clovis February 24 (RS). The “Dusky” Orange-crowed Warbler first found in a northwest Fresno neighborhood in

"Dusky" Orange-crowned Warbler

“Dusky” Orange-crowned Warbler

November was last detected there March 7 (GW). A Black-throated Gray Warbler at China Creek County Park March 2 (JN) added to an above-average number of wintering birds.

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Cited Observers: Jim Chiropolos, Ellen Davies, Kevin Enns-Rempel, George Folsom, Daniel Jeffcoach, Karen McClure, Jeremy Neipp, Chris Rempel, Rick Saxton, Jeff Seay, Gary Woods. ph. = photographed by.

If you make an interesting observation, we’d love to hear about it. We are especially interested in birds listed as casual or rare on the Fresno Audubon checklist and those found out of season, out of normal habitat, or in unusually large numbers. Please submit reports to Jeff Davis (246-3272, jndavis@ucsc.edu), the Fresno County Birders e-mail list, or eBird.

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