Full story: The Farallon Islands slideshow next Thursday with Ron LeValley


"The Farallon Islands: Forty Years Later Ė A Conservation Success Story"

Article by Kate Marianchild

"Ten thousand years ago, Mother Earth was shivering through the last
major ice age. The world's oceans were as much as 330 feet lower and
the polar ice masses extended much closer to the equator. The west
coast of California extended 35 miles west of its present day
location. At the edge of this coastline were foothills similar to Mt.
Tamalpais. The ice began to melt, the water began to rise, and those
little foothills became the isolated orphans that we now call the
Farallon Islands."*

Comprised of seven major islands jutting from the Pacific Ocean, the
Farallon Islands add up to 211 barren and largely uninhabitable acres
Ė uninhabitable to humans, that is! Birds and marine mammals see
things differently. The islands, which are set in the midst of one of
the world's most biologically diverse environments, have been home to
as many as 400,000 seabirds during a single breeding season Ė the
largest colony of breeding seabirds in the contiguous United States.
Six species of marine mammals also haul out on the islands to breed,
and 36 species of marine mammals feed in the surrounding waters,
including the largest population of whales found anywhere on earth.
Great White Sharks are common in the nearby waters, probably due to
the large populations of seals and sea lions.

What makes these islands and the waters that bathe them so rich in
animal life? Ron LeValley, biologist and photographer extraordinaire,
will answer that question and more during a slide lecture on
Thursday, November 20 at 7 p.m. at the Ukiah Civic Center. LeValley
was one of the first biologists to study wildlife on the islands
after a research station was established there in 1968. He has
visited and worked on the islands several times since, including for
two weeks this past summer, and will discuss and illustrate the
changes he has seen over 40 years.

The wildlife of the Farrallones was subjected to heavy predation by
humans between 1810 and 1889 Ė originally for Northern Fur Seals and
later, during the Gold Rush, for seabird eggs. The islands are now a
shining example of successful conservation policies Ė efforts that
began with Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 and culminated with the protection
of waters surrounding the islands in 1981. Conservationists and the
general public alike were ecstatic when, in 1996, the first Northern
Fur Seal pup was born on the islands after an absence of 150 years.

Ron LeValley is founder and Senior Biologist of Mad River Biologists,
a biological consulting firm in Arcata California. Best known for his
work on the identification and distribution of Pacific Coast birds
and for his CD's of bird songs, Ron also has a broad understanding
plants and animals in general. One of his outstanding attributes is
his enthusiasm in sharing his knowledge with others. As a
professional photographer, Ron has compiled over 70,000 wildlife
photographs for use in presentations and publications. He is also a
founding member of the Mendocino Coast Photographer Guild and Gallery
in Fort Bragg, where his photographic art can be seen.

This Peregrine Audubon presentation is free to the public, though
donations will be happily accepted. To join Peregrine Audubon Society
and receive a newsletter with regular announcements about programs
and field trips, please send $15 to PAS, P.O. Box 311, Ukiah, CA
95482. For more information and directions go to

*From article by Danny Sedevic at
farallonislands.php. Permission to quote granted by Bob Wilson,
interim director of Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association.

Evening Grosbeak?


Rain, a birder who lives up the hill from me (near Ukiah), wrote this.

I swear I heard an Evening Grosbeak flying over today. Have you ever
heard of one being around here? I sure miss them from Oregon.


Can anyone answer this?

4 White-throated Sparrows


I just saw four White-throated Sparrows and one White-crowned in a
brush pile on my property in Fort Bragg. White-throated Sparrows have
always been solitary in my previous sightings (which amount to a grand
total of two).


11/11 Long-tailed & Harlequin Ducks - Pudding Ck, Ft Bragg

Karen Havlena <jkhavlena@...>

Tues, 11 Nov 2008 - Dorothy "Toby" Tobkin called to say that she
saw a LONG-TAILED DUCK and a HARLEQUIN DUCK in the ocean
just off Pudding Creek.  The LTDU was far out, so she could not tell
the gender, but the HADU was a male. 
One will need a spotting scope to bird here.  Park just north of the
Pudding Creek bridge in the public parking lot between the Surf &
Sand and Beachcomber motels, then walk out to the bluffs.

11 Nov at Ocean Meadows, a/the N Mockingbird was in the yard,
and that Cooper's Hawk just won't go away.

Mon, 10 Nov 2008 - Near dusk, I drove east on Pudding Ck Rd and
then north on Bald Hill Rd, hoping for Burrowing Owl in the darkening
skies - still no luck.  There were about 20 Gtr White-fronted Geese and
hundreds of Canada's mixed with some Cackling (minima & Aleutian)

For Toby Tobkin
& Karen A. Havlena
Fort Bragg, CA

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Lesser Black-backed Gull at Clearlake

dhecomovich <heco@...>

Today. along with 2 Chico birders, we refound and viewed from 9:00-9:30
am the Lesser Black-backed Gull at the Clearlake Landfill. The gull was
still present when we left. The road to the landfill was closed because
of the Veterans' Day Holiday, but we were able to achieve good viewing
by taking the Quackenbush Mountain Road immediately above the landfill

Peregrine Audubon Webiste Photos

Karen Havlena <jkhavlena@...>

Hi all--  I was just looking at the home page of Peregrine Audubon's website.
George Chaniot has put up a new set of photos just two days ago.  These
portraits are particularly lovely, and George's positioning pf them is great.

Viewers should take particular note of Ron LeValley's photo in the upper left
corner.  This is a wonderful comparison of the SNOW vs ROSS's GOOSE.
Not only the bill differences can be studied, but also note the length of each
bird's neck.  One can tell, even without seeing the entire bodies, the significant
size difference in the birds.       Thanks!

Karen Havlena
North of Fort Bragg, CA

Mendo weekend birds 08-09 November 2008

Cindy Lieurance

MendoBirders -

Along with Rich Stallcup and a bunch of good friends, Les and I
enjoyed a rainy Saturday and a sunny Sunday morning mostly along the
Mendocino Coast. We did not see Karen, Toby, nor David, but we do
have a few other highlights to report.

Friday, 07 November 2008 (late afternoon)
1 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE on the beach at Little River

Saturday, 08 November 2008
2 HARLEQUIN DUCKS at Glass Beach

Sunday, 09 November 2008
From the platform at Laguna Point we saw:
1 ROCK SANDPIPER - we saw this little beauty around 8:30 AM in great
light - it was, as usual, with the BLACK TURNSTONEs & SURFBIRDs

And at the Garcia River we saw 1 FERRUGINOUS HAWK.

Cindy Lieurance
San Francisco CA U.S.A.

Immature Yellow-billed Loon at Bodega Bay

Richard Kuehn <windnsea@...>

If any of you happen to be driving south on Highway 1 into Sonoma County
during the next couple of days, you may wish to swing into Bodega Bay for a
few minutes and attempt to locate an immature Yellow-billed Loon, which was
discovered there Saturday by Rusty Scalf. Though the bird apparently dives
for extended periods of time when feeding, it has been well seen by others.

Alan Wight, a birder from Petaluma who Dean Schuler and I met high in the
French Alps several years ago as we searched for Alpine Choughs,
photographed the bird yesterday. He has placed a couple of images of this
bird on his website at

Here is one of Alan’s images-Yellow-billed Loon

The Yellow-billed Loon, known in Britain as the White-billed Diver, is a
relatively rare bird that nests in the arctic tundra regions of North
America and Eurasia. This species is closely related to the Common Loon and
often confused with it. However, it is distinguished from the latter by bill
shape and color. The Yellow-billed Loon generally breeds further north of
the range of its smaller and more widespread relative, although the two
species overlap considerably on marine wintering grounds in the Pacific
Northwest. Increasingly Yellow-billed Loon has been recorded wintering well
inland in North America, a phenomenon that probably stems as much from
improved information on field identification of loons in Basic plumage as
from any shift in their range.

HTH and Good Birding,


Richard Kuehn

WindandSea at The Sea Ranch

N 38¬į45'02" W 123¬į 31'27"

HTTP:// <>

TSR Wave n Sheep Logo

Life is NOT a dress-rehearsal!

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Weekend Coastal Birds 8-9 Nov

Karen Havlena <jkhavlena@...>

Sun, 9 Nov 2008 - I saw ten White-fronted Geese on Bald Hill Rd,
off Pudding Creek Rd.  There were many Canada and a few
Cackling Geese in the fields also.  No Burrowing Owl nor Ferrugious
Hawk, as yet here.
Also Sunday 11/9 - Toby Tobkin saw a Black-legged Kittiwake
from Laguna Point in MacKerricher SP.  No Rock Sandpipers yet.

Sat, 8 Nov 2008 - David Jensen found a Ferruginous Hawk south
of Elk along Hwy 1.  We also saw many Red-tails and Kestrels,
Wst Bluebirds and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Karen Havlena
Fort Bragg, CA

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White-throated Sparrow

Becky Stenberg

I have a wts here in Glen Blair also. Glad I read the digest and
looked it up so I could quit being baffled by the odd-looking
White-crowned Sparrow with the Song Sparrowish face! So I guess I
shouldn't pay so much attention to the range maps? ;oP

Becky Stenberg
Glen Blair

Lesser Black-backed Gull - Clearlake


Haven't seen any posting on this bird today, so just to let you know the Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen by a number of birders on the roof of the Walmart in Clearlake 8.30 - 9.00 am this morning (and didn't fly off while we were there - Bill Doyle and I left it to go see the Yellow-billed Loon at Spud Point, Bodega Harbor). Lisa Hug found at least one Thayer's among the other gulls present and was checking out the others when we left.

Helen Kochenderfer
Santa Rosa

white throated sparrow

J Rosen <mendojanet@...>

Just walked over to the kitchen window to check out the bird feeder/compost pile and there was one w.t.s. in what looked like bright shiny new plumage all fluffed up and posing on top of the fence.

Janet Rosen
Zanshin Art
"When I feed the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor are hungry they call me a communist" - Helder Camara

Re: Lesser Black-backed Gull at Clearlake

Floyd Hayes

Nick Shepherd, Mike Stanley and I saw the LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at Austin Park from 7:25-7:55 this morning. Barbara Dolan joined us later and we relocated it on the roof of WalMart from 9:15-9:45.

The landfill will not allow any birders to enter but the gulls can still be viewed from the road above the landfill. Nevertheless, there were only a few hundred gulls and most departed when an employee began firing at them with a paintball gun.

To my dismay we could not find a Heerman's Gull.

Floyd Hayes
Hidden Valley Lake, CA

Ron LeValley on the Farallon Islands, Thurs., Nov. 20, Ukiah


"The Farallon Islands: Forty Years Later" Ė
Ron LeValley Slide Lecture on November 20

Visible on a clear day from the Golden Gate Bridge, the Farallon
Islands are home to the largest colony of breeding seabirds in the
continental United States Ė sometimes as many as 250,000 birds. Three
kinds of whales ply the nearby waters and five species of seals and
sea lions come ashore on the islands, in some cases to breed. The
large population of seals and sea lions is no doubt responsible for
the Great White Shark population in the vicinity. The islands are
also a rest-and-refuel sanctuary for many migratory birds, some of
which have never been seen anywhere else in the continental United

Why does so much life abound on these rocky islands? Ron LeValley,
biologist and photographer extraordinaire, will answer that question
and more during a slide lecture on the Farallon Islands on Thursday,
November 20 at 7 p.m. at the Ukiah Civic Center. LeValley's first
working visit to the islands occurred in 1968, one year before the
Farallon National Wildlife and Wilderness Refuge was created. He has
participated in research projects there several times since,
including for two weeks this past summer, and will give a
presentation on the changes he has seen over the years. For more
information go to

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Re: N. MEN Coast 11/06/08 Tri-colored Blkbirds, etc


Hi Karen,
Speaking of Peregrine Falcons, I got a shot of one at Virgin Creek today on the rocks I call "Frog Eye" just south of the creek itself and along the headland cliffs. . .the rock with the two 'eye holes' above and just south of where the Harbor Seals lay on the flats there.
It was an adult. The photos weren't that good.
If anyone wants to see. ..I will e mail them privately. . .just let me know :)

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N. MEN Coast 11/06/08 Tri-colored Blkbirds, etc

Karen Havlena <jkhavlena@...>

Thur, 6 Nov 2008 -- Today seemed liked a good day for birding. Low
pressure and cloudy skies beckoned me out to see what was about.
** North Coast-  I went north to Hardy Creek and drove south to locations
along Hwy 1.  Hoping for good alcids, no small alcids were at the usual
At Westport STP,  there was a N MOCKINGBIRD.  Earlier in the week,
we had a N Mockingbird in our yard at Ocean Meadows (perhaps the
same bird ??).
At mm 72.00, I saw about 40-50 TRI-COLORED BLACKBIRDS near
a small herd of cattle north of the large turn-outs on Hwy 1.  This is
the old site of Newport.
There has been an imm. Peregrine Falcon and a Cooper's Hawk in the
Ocean Meadows neighborhood, as well, for a couple of days.

** Toby Tobkin had a MERLIN at Virgin Creek by the small bridge over
the creek.  Also, there were 6 Snowy Plovers and 50 BBPL's.

Karen A Havlena  &  Toby Tobkin
Fort Bragg, CA


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11/5 Lapland Longspur

Karen Havlena <jkhavlena@...>

Wed, 5 Nov 2008 -- Dorothy "Toby" Tobkin ventured out today and
saw yet another LAPLAND LONGSPUR at Mendocino Headlands
St Park by the sister city plaque.

Also, Toby still has a tan-striped White-throated Sparrow and a
male "Slate-colored" Junco coming to her feeder at her home in
Fort Bragg.  Jim and I saw both of these birds on Monday.

For Toby Tobkin
(K A Havlena)
Fort Bragg, CA

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Re: White-throated Sparrows

George Chaniot

Mon, 03 Nov 2008 -- I also had three WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS at my feeders
here in Potter Valley today. This is an unusual concentration here. One was
white-striped and two were tan-striped.

George Chaniot
Potter Valley, MEN, CA

From: "richhubie" <>
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2008 02:40:54 -0000
Subject: [Mendobirds] White-throated Sparrows

Sunday 2 November 2008. I had 3 White-throated Sparrows today (late
morning)at the Little River Airport. They were in a mixed sparrow flock
of mainly Golden-crowned Sparrows. There were 2 white-striped and 1 tan-
striped. The most I've ever seen at once has been one.

Richard Hubacek

Lesser Black-backed Gull Continues

George Chaniot

Wed, 05 Nov 2008 -- This morning Cheryl Watson, Larry Petrie, and I observed
the LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at Austin Park in the city of Clearlake. It
was sitting at the water's edge on the beach with a group of California
Gulls and Bonaparte's Gulls - a nice view at good range. We had it under
observation from 11:05 to 11:35 at which time it was flushed by a boat and
flew off to the east in the direction of Redbud Park.
Earlier, Cheryl and I searched from 9:00 to 11:00 starting at the
landfill at the end of Davis Street. They would not let us in even if we
paid, so we walked up Quackenbush Road a short way and scoped from there.
Next we went to Wal-Mart where there were several hundred gulls on the roof
- no luck. Thirdly we went to Redbud Park where there were many gulls on the
water and on the docks. There we found two HEERMANN'S GULLS on the water
among California Gulls - maybe the fourth and fifth birds for Lake County.
When we arrived at Austin Park the LBBG was an easy find.
We also stopped at Borax Lake where we saw a wigeon which was probably
a hybrid AMERICAN/EURASIAN WIGEON and a distant bird which appeared to be a
totally albino EARED GREBE.

George Chaniot
Potter Valley, MEN, CA

Cackling Goose/Lake County

Dave Woodward <dlwoodward@...>

This morning a Cackling Goose joined the flock of domestic geese
behind the Lake County Vector Control Office at 410 Esplanade in
downtown Lakeport. The goose was found by Jamie Scott and appears to
be of the Aluetian race.
Last week on 10/28/08 I drove onto the Lake County side of Sanhedrin
Mtn. There were two Sooty Grouse along the road to Tule Lake. One was
standing on the road about a mile west of Tule Lake. The other flew
out of the top of a Douglas-Fir just west of the lake. There were also
two Wild Turkeys at Towhead Flat, elevation 4030 ft.
Dave Woodward

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