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Fresno Audubon Society | January 2018 Yellowbill
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January 2018 Yellowbill

03 Jan January 2018 Yellowbill


President’s Message

I would like to thank all the people who have volunteered for Fresno Audubon in 2017. This includes the field trip leaders and organizers, board members, meeting host, surveyors, record keepers and birding teachers. Thank you for all you do for Fresno Audubon.

The board of Fresno Audubon Society met in December to evaluate our performance for 2017 and to elect officers and board members for two-year terms.  In our evaluation we considered our basic operations such as field trips, monthly lectures, birding classes and citizen science. We were satisfied with the number of events, which included 30 field trips, 9 lectures, 2 birding classes, 4 Christmas Bird Counts and 3 surveys. We agreed to increase the number of birding classes by working together with the San Joaquin River Parkway to offer classes at the River Center. We were also pleased with the update to the website that includes automatic scaling for mobile devices and a subscribable calendar.

Elected officers are the following: Robert Snow, president; Radley Reep, vice-president; Barbara Bailey, secretary; Rich Gilman, treasurer. Other board members elected were George Folsom, Nancy Griesser and Judy Johnson. Retiring from the board are Marian Orvis and Jane Manning. Thanks Marian for her many years of service first as secretary and most recently as a director at large. Thanks to Jane for her work as conservation chair. I hope you will thank these board members for their generous service when you see them next.

With 7 board members we are at the minimum required by our by-laws. Also, Rich Gilman would like to resign as treasurer but has agreed to stay on until a new treasurer is found. If you are interested in joining the board and/or becoming treasurer, please let me know by email at

Our speaker this month on 9 January is our own Judy Johnson. Judy is a retired entomologist as well as birder, and she will be talking about insects, primarily parasitic wasps. This promises to be a fascinating talk.

We have three field trip scheduled in January, one to River West with /George Folsom on Wednesday 10 January, one to San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) with Larry Parmeter on Wednesday 24 January and a Saturday trip to the Madera grasslands and Merced NWR with Jeff Seay.

Here’s to a great 2018!


January Meeting
Aliens Among Us: Lifestyles of the Small and Creepy
with Judy Johnson
Tuesday 9 January 2018
UC Center

The parasitic wasp Goniozus legneri and its prey the naval orangeworm larva

The parasitic wasp Goniozus legneri and its prey the naval orangeworm larva

Join us Tuesday, 9 January 2018, at 7:00pm at the UC Center for a presentation by retired USDA Research Entomologist Judy Johnson. While developing non-chemical controls for postharvest insect pests of dried fruits and nuts, Judy studied the minute parasitic wasps that help to naturally control pest populations. She will share time lapse videos detailing the biology and behavior of these evolutionary marvels.

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



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.

January Field Trips

Wednesday 10 January 2018. River West with George Folsom

Wednesday, January 10 we will be birding the River West area. It is a flat walk but we may walk as much as 3 miles on dirt trails and through wet grass. This is the area where we saw the Vermillion Flycatcher last year. He hasn’t been spotted yet this year, but there are lots good birds in this pond and river habitat. It’s not unusual to record more than 40 species this time of year. Recent sightings have included American Bittern and Virginia Rail, as well as Blue-gray gnatcatchers and Ruby-crowned kinglets. We will also be able to see the habitat restoration that the SJR Parkway and Conservation Trust has been working on for the past few years.

We will meet outside the gate at the intersection of W Riverview Dr and W Bluff Ave at 8:00am. Riverview Drive may be closed for utility work, if so, turn off W Audubon toward the river on N Churchill Ave, turn right on W Bluff and go to W Riverview Dr where the trail begins on the left.  There is plenty of on street parking in this area. There is a port-a-potty available on the premises. We plan on finishing by 11:30 am.  For a direstions to the meeting location click here
Checklist: binoculars, scope, field guide, snacks, water, sunscreen, hat, water resistant shoes.
Trip leader: Susan Estep (402) 212-1215,
Looking forward to seeing you on the first Wednesday walk of the New Year!

Saturday 20 January 2018. Madera County foothills/Merced NWR with Jeff Seah

Information to follow by eblast when available.

Wednesday 24 January 2018. San Joaquin River NWR with Larry Parmeter

Ross's Goose Blue Morph by Jane Manning

Ross’s Goose Blue Morph by Jane Manning

We will head north to the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge, which is off Highway 132 west of Modesto. We will meet in front of the Target at El Paseo Shopping Center in northwest Fresno (at Herndon and 99) at 8:00 am and go from there. The refuge is along the San Joaquin River and has a variety of habitat, including riperian, open fields, wetlands, and wooded areas. Expect to see Snow and Ross’s Geese, owls, several species of raptors, and many riperian and woodland birds. The refuge is mostly walking, but well worth the time and effort. Bring a lunch and plan on a longer day due to the drive to the refuge.

For more information contact Larry Parmeter at 559-276-8753 or at

Map of meeting place:


by Jeff Davis
Including reports for the period of
November 16 to December 15, 2017

The adult female Costa’s Hummingbird first detected in a northwest Fresno neighborhood

Costa's Hummingbird

Costa’s Hummingbird

November 3 was seen off and on through November 28 (GW). Six Snowy Plovers at the Fresno

Snow Plover

Snow Plover

Wastewater Treatment Plant December 14 (ph. RSa) established our third winter record for this species. Exceptional at any season, a Solitary Sandpiper visited River West Open Space Area

Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

November 24–25 (ph. KER, ph. GF, ph. RSa, ph. GW). Two Wilson’s Phalaropes at Mendota

Wilson's Phalarope

Wilson’s Phalarope

Wildlife Area December 1 (GF, RSn) furnished our first winter record. The juvenile female Vermilion Flycatcher along the Madera Canal lingered until November 21 (ph. FO, LP).

Vermillion Flycatcher (juvenile)

Vermillion Flycatcher (juvenile)

An Ash-throated Flycatcher at Fresno Pacific University December 15 (ph. JN) provided a rare

Ash=throated Flycatcher

Ash=throated Flycatcher

winter record for our area. Also rare in winter, two Lawrence’s Goldfinches were near Squaw

Lawrence's Goldfinch

Lawrence’s Goldfinch

Valley December 11 (JH); four others were at Los Gatos Creek County Park November 26 (FM). Two Sagebrush Sparrows at the Tumey Hills Recreation Area November 19 (ph. TW) provided further

Sagebrush Sparrow

Sagebrush Sparrow

evidence that this species may occur regularly in small numbers in our area. An Orange-crowned Warbler showing characteristics of the Channel Islands breeding race sordida visited a northwest

Orange-crowned Warbler sordida with diagnostic dusky streaking

Orange-crowned Warbler sordida with diagnostic dusky streaking

Orange-crowned Warbler sordida

Orange-crowned Warbler sordida

Fresno neighborhood November 12–28 (ph. GW). This subspecies differs from lutescens, the form that breeds and commonly winters in our area, by having a longer bill, duller and darker plumage, and broad dusky streaks on the underparts including the undertail coverts. This bird showed all those features. Although sordida winters along the mainland California coast, it is unrecorded inland. With this record, all four subspecies of Orange-crowned Warbler have now been documented in our area.

Cited Observers: George Folsom, Joshua Holman, Frank Mayer, Jeremy Neipp, Frances Oliver, Linda Pittman, Rick Saxton, Robert Snow, Torin Waters, Gary Woods.

m.ob. = many observers, 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,, the Fresno County Birders e-mail list, or eBird.

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