"Eclipse" widgeon at Pudding Creek


On Saturday 10/13 amongst the American widgeons an Pudding Creek, I
saw one in plumage that my nat. geo. guide described as "eclipse."
Bright color in the bill, rusty sides, but no white mohawk. I hadn't
noticed those before...are they common?

"Mysteries of Migration" slideshow/lecture tomorrow night


Please pass this along to your friends!

Mysteries of Migration:
Slideshow and Lecture by Ron Levalley

by Kate Marianchild

Bird migration has mystified humans since we acquired a sense of
wonder. Birds disappeared in the fall and arrived in the spring, and no
one had any idea where they had been in the meantime. Ancient people
would have been astonished to know that the beautiful flyers that came
and went twice a year were more familiar with distant and exotic lands
than they were. As humans began traveling long distances across the
world by ship and by air we gained knowledge of the destinations of
migrant birds, and over the last several decades we have learned that
birds navigate by the sun, the stars, magnetic fields, and smells. But
no one has ever known exactly what happens during migration: do the
birds stop to eat or drink? if they eat, what do they eat? do they
sleep? do they fly a straight course or meander? how high do they fly?
The mystery has always been compounded by the fact that many birds
migrate exclusively at night.

Well, exciting new developments are on the wing. With the use of tiny
transmitters and satellites scientists can now sit in front of computer
screens and watch migrating birds all around the world as they eat,
sleep, and veer off course to feed on islands in the middle of the
ocean. Ron LeValley, an eminent biologist, ornithologist, and
photographer, will deliver a slideshow lecture on this fascinating
subject on Thursday, October 18, at the Ukiah Civic Center at 7 p.m.
LeValley’s talk will focus on seabirds that migrate extraordinarily
long distances and the challenges facing small-population migrants.
This Peregrine Audubon Society event is free to the public but
donations will be gratefully accepted.

It is a common and comfortable myth that migrating juvenile birds are
led to their wintering grounds by their parents. In fact it is only
among geese, cranes, and some other fresh-water waterfowl that such
parental shepherding occurs. One of the birds that LeValley will talk
about is the Bristle-thighed Curlew, a long-legged shorebird that nests
in a small area of western Alaska called Beringia. The adult females of
the species desert their chicks as soon as the chicks can fly, at four
weeks old, and fly to a food rich area in the Yukon where they fatten
up for their upcoming migration. The males soon take off as well,
leaving the chicks to frantically feed and practice flying on their
own. In late August and early September the adults begin their
migration, the endpoint of which is sometimes 5,000 miles away on
remote islands in the South Pacific. They make the flight non-stop, as
they lack waterproof plumage and therefore cannot rest on the water.
The juveniles leave a few weeks later and fly the same distance without
adults to guide them, relying on genetically programmed cues. No one
knows exactly how either the adults or juveniles find their tiny island
destinations in the vast Pacific, but most arrive safely.

Another bird we will learn about is the Laysan Albatross, a seabird
that nests on the northwest Hawaiian islands and flies several thousand
miles to the coasts of California and Alaska to collect oil-rich squid
and other fish for its chicks. LeValley will also bring us up to date
on avian migration records. The Arctic Tern, which migrates 22,000
miles round trip from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica, may now be
challenged for its title as the longest-distance migrant in the world.

Ron LeValley is founder and senior biologist of Mad River Biologists in
McKinleyville. He is the California coordinator for the Pacific Coast
Joint Venture, a public/private partnership funded by the North
American Wetlands Conservation Act to promote conservation. LeValley
lectures all over the western United States at Audubon meetings, bird
festivals, and ornithological conferences, where he is frequently the
keynote speaker. He is also a founding member of the Mendocino Coast
Photographer Guild and Galley in Fort Bragg, where he displays his
nature and wildlife photographs. His passion for the natural world is
rivaled only by his desire to share that passion.

The Ukiah Civic Center is at 300 Seminary Avenue. From 101 take Perkins
west to State Street (3rd light). Go left on State Street and turn
right on Seminary. Take Seminary to the end. To join Peregrine Audubon
Society and receive a newsletter with articles and announcements about
programs and field trips, please send $15 to PAS, P.O. Box 311, Ukiah,
CA 95482.

Re: Yellow Parrot

Jim Armstrong <jimarm@...>

I got a much better view of this bird yesterday. It is a parakeet
with a bright green, almost chartreuse, back, yellow tipped tail and
yellow wings with black speckles and black spots on its face and neck.
Its cere is brownish, so perhaps it is a female.
I can't see any leg bands, but apparently the practice is much less
common than it used to be.
Several reponses I got predicted a very short life expectancy, but it
is a month or more since first sighting.

--- In, "Jim Armstrong" <jimarm@...> wrote:

For the second time in two weeks, I have a small, uniformly bright
yellow parrot (or large yellow parakeet) in my yard in SE Potter
Valley. It was here briefly on George and Chuck's Big Day, but
refused to be seen when they came by.
While I assume it is an escapee from a home or collection, it is far
from tame, flushing from my seed feeder area with wild-bird speed
I go out.
I haven't noticed any call or song.
Any one know where it might belong?

Common Poorwill

Robert J. Keiffer <rjkeiffer@...>

13 October 2007 - Saturday - I just wanted to mention that I had a
Common Poorwill on my dirt-road driveway here in Hopland. This bird
was in the same spot on the road as COPO have been observed at in
years past (same bird?). Mid-October to early November seems to be
the time period that this species migrates south and passes through
our county. The bird was seen on the road just at dusk ...and was
later foraging nearby. Good birding - Bob Keiffer

Robert J. Keiffer
Principal Supt. of Agriculture
UC Hopland Research & Extension Center
4070 University Road
Hopland, CA 95449
(707) 744-1424 FAX (707) 744-1040
HREC website:

"It is not the critic who counts... not the one who points out how
the strong person stumbles... or where the doer of deeds could have
done better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the
arena." Theodore Roosevelt

Birds Along the North MEN Coast

Karen Havlena <jkhavlena@...>

A Canvasback, at least 8 White-winged Scoters, a couple of
Black Scoters and a Pacific Golden Plover were at various areas
of MacKerricher SP today. I could not find very many small,
colorful passerines, except Townsend's and Yellow-rumped
Warblers. Yesterday, I looked from Juan Creek to Lake Cleone.
This morning the Canvasback had arrived at Lk Cleone. The
scoters in many, large flocks flew south past Laguna Point.
I tried to find a Rock Sandpiper but had no luck.

The Pacific Golden Plover was called in to me by Becky and
Win Bowen. They saw it in the dry sand north of Ward Ave.

Karen Havlena
North of Fort Bragg

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Birds At MacKerricher State Park

fred_andrews99 <mendocoast@...>

This afternoon was beautiful after the storm moved on.

At Lake Cleone I observed a male and female Greater Scaup, a male and
female Lesser Scaup, a few Pied-billed Grebes, dozens of American
Coots, some Mallards, a Double-crested Cormorant and dozens of Western

Along the Lake Cleone trail there was a Winter Wren, two Stellars Jays
and an immature White-crowned Sparrow.

At the Laguna Point headlands there were about two dozen Heerman's
Gulls, a few Black Oystercatchers, one Brown Pelican, several Pelagic
Cormorants and two Willets.

And there was a Western Grebe in a tidal area next to the Haul Road.

Fred Andrews

Ducks in a Row - Glass Beach

Karen Havlena <jkhavlena@...>

Four, beautiful, male Harlequin Ducks stood side by side
on a rock just off Glass Beach in Fort Bragg this morning.
It was quite breezy, so virtually all litttle birds stayed in
the low willows.
Glass Beach is at the west end of Elm St. After walking
out to the beach, the ducks were just to the north on a
rock with some whitewash on it. They were very close
to shore.

Karen Havlena
Near Fort Bragg

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Ukiah area birds 10/5

Chuck & Barbara Vaughn

Greetings Mendobirders- I visited the Ukiah Sewage Treatment Plant this morning and saw 3 CACKLING GEESE on the south pond. None of them had white-collars so I assume they were probably not "Aleutians". Despite the large expanse of muddy puddles on the draining middle pond, the only shorebirds besides some LEASTS were 2 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS. Two PEREGRINE FALCONS , an adult and an immature, made several noisy and half-hearted strafes over the ducks on the south pond. A much more stealthy MERLIN was also working the area. There were several hundred swallows out there, but all I could find were VIOLET-GREENS. This afternoon I have had a late WESTERN TANAGER eating what remains of my zinfandel grapes at home. On 10/3 a "V" of about 110 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE flew over the HREC office area headed SSE. They were definitely not going to Clear Lake.


Chuck and Barbara Vaughn
Ukiah, CA 95482

Peregrine Falcon gets Big River Fall Bird Surveys off to a good start

matt coleman <mcoleman@...>

The Big River Stewards spotted a pergrine falcon at Station 1 (Big
River Beach parking lot)and again at station 4 (the Quarry)during the
first survey of the West Haul Road this Fall.

For the past four years experienced surveyors from the Mendocino
Coast Audubon Society have joined with volunteers from the Mendocino
Land Trust's Big River Stewards program to conduct Fall Bird surveys
at various locations on Big River.

An Eared Grebe(possibly new to the surveys), was also observed near
the mouth of Big River, as were a pair of Harlequin Ducks. Volunteers
also observed a juvenile Sea Lion hauled out on the Beach and Harbor
Seals at Station 2 (Haul Road Gate.)

Further upriver, strong winds made surveys challenging but Brown
Creepers were heard at both Stations 7 and 8 (about 2 miles up the
haul road)and a Brandt's Cormorant was observed at Station 9 (New

Other birds heard or seen included Northern Flickers, Acorn and Downy
Woodpeckers, Ruby Crowned Kinglets, Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue
Herons and the "usual suspects."

Black-capped Chickadee at Manchester

Larry A Siemens

While birding with the group from Albion on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 29,
in the campground at Manchester Beach State Park I found a Black-capped
Chickadee in a flock of Chestnut-backed Chickadees. Views of the birds
were short as they moved through the pines and cypress trees. But the
one Black-capped Chickadee gave a striking view as it worked over a group
of exposed cones on a bare cypress branch for half a minute before moving
behind the greenery. I hope someone else can find this bird again.
Larry Siemens
Redding, CA

Mendocino Coast Audubon Program

Charlene McAllister

Mendocino Coast Audubon Society

Program Meeting for Monday, October 15, 2007

7:00 Pm College of the Redwoods Room 111

Mendocino Audubon Society

Speaker: Matthew Matthiessen presents Birds of Cameroon

For further information, contact, call 937-4463 or check the
web site at

Charlene McAllister
P.O. Box 332
Little River, CA 95456

Northern Mendo coast 10-1-07

John Hunter


Gjon Hazard and I birded northern Mendocino County on 10-1-07.

We started the day at Usal Campground/mouth of Usal Creek. We had more
migrant landbirds here than anywhere else today; the other coastal patches
we checked were had very few birds. The highlight for me was the Swamp
Sparrow out in the low veg near the mouth. There were also 3 Willow
Flycatchers about. We had a few warblers (including a MacGillvray's
Warbler), vireos, and Pacific-slope Flycatchers.

Later in the morning, about 200 feet up Usal Road from Highway 1, there was
a termite hatch going on that was being attended by a flock of warblers
(Yellow, Townsend's, Black-throated Grey, Wilson's), Warbling Vireos,
kinglets, etc. The highlight was a Chestnut-sided Warbler. The scene
reminded us of something you'd see in the tropics with antbirds and army
ants, and was really fun to watch up close since the birds ignored us in
their feeding frenzy.

Also, there was a single Pectoral Sandpiper at the mouth of Virgin Creek.

BTW-we birded Del Norte County on 10-2-07 with Alan Barron, and there were
exceedingly few landbird migrants there too. We had only one Yellow
Warbler (at Klamath River Boat Ramp) in a full day of birding the chickadee
flocks! We did have a total of 5 Western Tanagers at Endert's Beach Road
and Elk Creek Park.

John E. Hunter
Arcata, CA

Double Crested Cormorants are back

Elaine Lindelef

I saw my first double-crested cormorant of the fall, a juvenile,
yesterday above the Russian River in Potter Valley. It's funny how
in the spring they're so plentiful that I get a little bored with them,
but I missed having big birds in the trees all summer.

I also got a pretty nice and very lucky photo of a flock of wood
ducks flying over me that I've added to my Potter Valley album.

Elaine Lindelef
Potter Valley

No Ruff, No Buff - Monday 10/1/07

Karen Havlena <jkhavlena@...>

After searching the entire Virgin Creek area in MacKerricher SP
in Fort Bragg, I could find neither Ruff nor Buff. I included looking
at the bluff area south of the creek mouth, the pond at the SW
corner of the Baxman Gravel property, and the beach as far
north as I could go. Also at Virgin Creek beach:
There was a Cackling Goose with a narrow, white neckband,
probably an Aleutian and 14 godwits of the Marbled variety.
A female Black Scoter played in the surf with other scoters.

Jim Havlena saw 4 Harlequin Ducks flying north very close to
shore at Seaside beach, north of Ten Mile River.

Karen Havlena
North of Fort Bragg

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HREC Vesper Sparrow

Chuck & Barbara Vaughn

Greetings Mendobirders- This morning there was a VESPER SPARROW in an open pasture above the office area at the UC Hopland R&E Center. The COMMON MOORHEN continued on the southern sag pond at noon.


Chuck and Barbara Vaughn
Ukiah, CA 95482

Re: Ruff and Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Virgin Creek

AlbionWood <albionwood@...>

Floyd Hayes wrote:
during the Albion
Birding Weekend.
The WHAT? I hadn't heard of that... How does one hear of such things in advance?

Tim in Albion

Ruff and Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Virgin Creek

Floyd Hayes

On Saturday the 29th I stumbled across a juvenile
female RUFF at Virgin Creek. It was well observed and
photographed by a group of birders during the Albion
Birding Weekend. We followed it from 9:00-10:00 am as
it moved from the mouth of the creek southward along
the rocks, where it foraged with Black Turnstones and
Surfbirds in the surf. I just uploaded two photographs

We searched for it unsuccessfully on Sunday afternoon,
but met a couple of birders who mentioned that one had
been seen over the weekend at Pudding Creek. If so,
I'd be interested in knowing the details (none posted
on Mendobirds).

On Friday the 28th a juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER
was seen just north of the mouth of Virgin Creek by
Stan Snyder and several other birders. Stan, a very
experienced birder familiar with both Ruff and
Buff-breasted Sandpiper, also saw the Ruff on Saturday
and says it was a totally different bird than the
Buff-breasted Sandpiper they saw on Friday.

Other shorebirds seen at Virgin Creek during the
weekend included a juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPER and a

Floyd Hayes
Hidden Valley Lake, CA

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Yellow Parrot

Jim Armstrong <jimarm@...>

For the second time in two weeks, I have a small, uniformly bright
yellow parrot (or large yellow parakeet) in my yard in SE Potter
Valley. It was here briefly on George and Chuck's Big Day, but
refused to be seen when they came by.
While I assume it is an escapee from a home or collection, it is far
from tame, flushing from my seed feeder area with wild-bird speed when
I go out.
I haven't noticed any call or song.
Any one know where it might belong?

Female Brewer Blackbird

Richard Hubacek

I forgot to mention that two of the pictures of the blackbird are
posted to the photos section.

Richard Hubacek

Partial amelanism in a female Brewers Blackbird

Richard Hubacek

My wife came back from shopping today and said she saw a strange bird
in the Fort Bragg Safeway's parking lot. She had her camera with her
and chased it around the lot taking it's picture. It turned out to be
a female Brewers Blackbird with partially white feathers. I've haven't
seen many birds with "abnormal coloration" and thought it interesting
in light of the most recent issue of ABA's "Birding" magazine.

Richard Hubacek

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