Nesting Osprey


There is a pair of osprey checking out an osprey nest on Old River Rd. south of Talmage. Going south on Old River Rd, look for mile post 8.80. Go three tenths of a mile further south. On the right hand side of the road in a tall snag there is an osprey nest that was used last year. The pair has been there since the middle of last week if not before. I saw one osprey perched above the nest shortly after 5pm today 3/23. Janet

Re: Leucistic Amercan Robin

George Chaniot

About that same time Earl Preffer, a busdriver for Potter Valley Schools,
reported seeing a white robin in about that same location. I went by once
but didn't find it.

George Chaniot
Potter Valley, MEN, CA

Leucistic Amercan Robin

My neighbor photographed a Leucistic Amercan Robin in your area, and e-mailed the photo to me yesterday, asking for an ID. I have posted the photo in the photo area of Mendobirds in an album called Leucistic Amercan Robin. The photo was taken on March 2, 2009, 2:07 PM. Location: Mendocino County, 19870 Ridgeway Highway, Potter Valley, CA. That is about 6 miles outside Potter Valley. Or it is about 28 miles Northeast of Ukiah, out in the country on a dead-end road.

I am curious to know whether anyone else on this list has seen it.

Dotty Calabrese
Mountain View, CA
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society

TUVU # 92

Robert J. Keiffer <rjkeiffer@...>

22 March 2009 - Sunday - On Highway 175 within 1/4 mile off Hwy 101
near Hopland I observed Turkey Vulture # 92. About 30 TUVUs were
tagged last August and September here at the UC Hopland Research &
Extension Center as part of a state-wide research project. All of
the captured birds were fitted with large, round white "patagial"
tags with bold black numbers stencilled onto them. These numbers
are fairly easy to read "top and bottom" so the tag numbers are
visible when the bird is perched or in flight (dorsal or ventral
view). Please keep an eye out for such tagged birds as many of these
may be returning from the wintering grounds in Central and South
America. Any sightings provide valuable data to the researchers ...
especially helping them figure out if specific birds are resident or
migratory. By posting the sightings on Mendobirds one will get the
information to the researchers (via myself). Thanks & 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

Godwit Days


Just wanted to remind everyone about Godwit Days, the weekend of April 17th. I have been attending for 6 or 7 years, it's great and we are so fortunate to live so close to Arcata. If anyone is interested in ride sharing to Arcata, I am leaving on the morning of the 15th, returning on the afternoon of the 20th. I live just south of Willits. If you've never attended, I encourage you to check out the website.

Snow brings out Rufous-Crowned Sparrow


Today is the second time a rufous-crowned sparrow has visited my feeding stations. A male, seems to be traveling alone. I only see him when it is snowing. Fortunately, I am able to view him just outside my slider, about five feet away, a rare pleasure.

hooded oriole


There's a stunning male hooded oriole in our back yard, drinking nectar from one of our "oriole" feeders. The earliest arrival to our yard that I have noted in the handful of years I've been keeping track.

Good birding,

David Smith-Ferri

Call for papers: Western Field Ornithologists' September 2009 meeting

David Quady and Nancy Boas

Hi, Birders:

Western Field Ornithologists' 34th annual meeting will be held in
Boise, Idaho, September 10-14, 2009. Papers are now being solicited
for presentation at the meeting.

As in past years, papers should reflect original research or
summarize existing unpublished information about birds in western
North America, including YOUR area. The papers should be presented
in a manner that will be of interest to serious amateur and professional field ornithologists. Fifteen minutes is allotted for
each presentation, with a few more minutes allotted to questions from
and discussion with the audience -- a hallmark of WFO meetings.

Talks relating to the following themes are solicited:
• Status, distribution, migration, and population dynamics of birds
• Systematics and biogeography of birds
• Ecology, behavior, and evolution of birds
• New information on avian field identification problems
• Descriptive field identification
• Science-based conservation and management of birds
• Techniques for field study of birds, including censusing,
monitoring, and other methods; and results of studies applying such

Abstracts are being accepted NOW. Abstracts must be in a specific
format, which you can read at


Abstracts will be reviewed, and program time awarded, in the order
that abstracts are received.

Apologies to those who receive multiple copies of this Call. If for
any reason you cannot read the pdf mentioned above, contact me and
I'll paste it into a return message.

More information about the Boise meeting will soon be posted at


and you can join WFO at


See you in Boise!

Dave Quady
Berkeley, California

March and Black-Headed Grosbeak

Barbara E. Dolan <BDolan@...>

To all; March Month Yardbird sightings for this bird that has stayed
around from '08 and maybe same bird as '07 include 3/1, 1/8, 1/13,
3/15, and 3/19/09.

DARK-EYED JUNCOS have decreased in numbers. Still around are two SONG
SPARROWS(probably visitors from Standley Creek, AND one WHITE-THOATED
SPARROW. The pair of NUTTALS WOODPECKERS that fledged two young-male
and female-last year are often at the suet. Barbara

WARNING: The information contained in this message (including any attachments) is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. This message may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. You are hereby notified that any unauthorized dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify by E-Mail and then destroy this communication in a manner appropriate for privileged information.

Al/Alice the Albatross update


Well, shiver me timbers! After 3 days of no show, making us SURE he/she had flown the coop, who showed up in full color today but our favorite fryer, Al the Albatross... in one of his usual spots due north off end of the pier...


Mendocino, Lake & Tehama Cos. - 18 Mar 2009

Joe Parker

Mendocino Co.
Started a very long day at Mendocino College in Ukiah a little after dawn. In the pond to the left of the entrance road, I finally saw a SORA. Also in the pond were 16 HOODED MERGANSERS, 2 WOOD DUCKS and 1 COMMON MOORHEN - a very dramatic assemblage.
1 ROCK WREN was sunning itself on a rock just inside the cyclone fence at the dam at Lake Mendocino. Backtracked a bit to the Crofoot property on Hwy 101 between Hopland and Ukiah. 1 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was still associating with the Canada Geese.
In Potter Valley, it took a bit of waiting for the BURROWING OWL to emerge from its burrow as seen from the end of Burris Rd.

Lake Co.
With help from Brad Barnwell, walked out toward the mouth of Kelsey Creek at Clear Lake State Park. No luck with the Swamp Sparrow, it didn't help that a boatload of fisherman was parked at the creek mouth. Did see lots of MARSH WRENS and 1 FOX SPARROW.
2 WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS were twinkling with swallows over the cliffs on Mt. Konochti.

Tehama Co.
Had enough time so decided to try for the Eurasian Wigeon seen yesterday at Hog Lake which is on the north side of Hwy 36 east of Red Bluff. All of the wigeon had moved on, but was compensated for their loss by 6 HOODED MERGANSERS at Hog Lake.
A tree at the gray house at the corner of Hwy 36 and Stice had 1 male GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE. There may have been another grackle lower down in the same tree, but it was obscured and I couldn't get a good angle on it.
The pond at the corner of Stice and St. Mary's Ave. had a flock of 10 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE and 2 ROSS'S GEESE hanging out with the Canada Geese.
The ponds at the foot of the dam at Black Butte Reservoir had RUDDY DUCKS, 1 male CANVASBACK and 3 WOOD DUCKS.
Black Butte Reservoir itself was fairly empty of birds, but there was a small flock of gulls at the boat ramp at Buckhorn Campground. It had 5 RING-BILLED GULLS, 5 BONAPARTE'S GULLS and 1 CALIFORNIA GULL.

Kathy Parker
Los Gatos

Lewis's Woodpecker

Robert J. Keiffer <rjkeiffer@...>

16 March 2009 - The Lewis's Woodpecker on Kingfarm between Talmage
and Hopland on the Old River Road was again on it's favorite
telephone pole at 6:00PM.
This is near mm 7.54 ...the sharp turn with a gate and cattle corrals
on the north side of the road. The "favorite" telephone pole is the
third pole from the road to the north ...the one very near and almost
behind a deciduous oak tree. If one walks west along Old River Road
from the mentioned sharp turn, then one can look "back" and see the
telephone pole without branches in the way. 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

Lake County

Floyd Hayes

The past two months have been a bit lackluster for gulls at Clearlake, so Doug Weidemann and I were surprised to tally 8.5 species on Sunday, including a 1st-cycle "NELSON'S" (GLAUCOUS X HERRING) GULL and an adult MEW GULL at Ray's Market (adjacent to Wal-Mart), and a 2nd-cycle WESTERN GULL at Austin Park. Among the several THAYER'S GULLS at Ray's Market was a pale-winged 1st-cycle gull resembling an Iceland Gull, but at this time of the year it was more likely a bleached Thayer's Gull. Although we birded around the lake the only noteworthy bird we saw was a COMMON MOORHEN found by Doug at the county park at Clearlake Oaks.

Floyd Hayes
Hidden Valley Lake, CA

Al &#92; Alice update


After an absence of 3 - 4 days (we thought he'd flown the coop for the year) Al was waiting for everyone this morning... he was close by the pier earlier, then re-located to a spot so far off the pier binocs were required for positive ID. I managed to get a picture of him using a combination of lens, extender, and crop factor adding up tp 800mm and he was still just a dot; I don't know yet if the pics are going to be usable, but proof that he was still here as of today.

"River of Raptors" presentation on March 19 in Ukiah


"Rio de Rapaces" or "River of Raptors" Slide Presentation set for Thursday, March 19 in Ukiah

(There is a short announcement followed by the dramatic story of how the River of Raptors got on the map!)

The largest hawk migration in the world will be the subject of a slide presentation by biologist Norma Ferriz on Thursday, March 19 at the Ukiah Civic Center, 7 p.m. During a two-month period each fall, a vast stream of birds known as the "Rio de Rapaces" or "River of Raptors," funnels through a narrow coastal plain near Veracruz, Mexico on the way to Central and South America. Veracruz is on Mexico's east coast, just north of the Yucatan Peninsula, on the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the 7 million birds that pass through are raptors (birds of prey), but tens of thousands of pelicans, storks, ibises, songbirds, and even Green Darner dragonflies join the migration. It is not uncommon to see 50,00 to 400,000 birds in one day; the record number of hawks ever counted during a single day is 1.5 million.

Norma Ferriz, a biologist with a master's degree in nonprofit organizations management, was executive director of Pronatura Veracruz, a branch of the national environmental organization Pronatura, from 2002-2007. The Veracurz branch dedicates a significant part of its efforts to monitoring the raptor migration each fall. Ferriz comes highly recommended as an excellent speaker who is well-informed and enthusiastic.

This Peregrine Audubon presentation is free to the public, though donations will be warmly welcomed. 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. Ukiah Civic Center is at 300 Seminary Avenue (3 blocks south of Perkins on South State St). For more information please go to


by Kate Marianchild

As a young boy growing up near Veracruz, Mexico, Ernesto Ruelas was fascinated with the "Rio de Rapaces" or "River of Raptors" that streamed by over his head every year. After graduating from high school, Ruelas traveled to the United States to study hawks and other raptors. In the course of his studies he met numerous bird experts, all of whom stared at him blankly when he mentioned the hawk migration he had witnessed as a boy. He finally concluded that eastern Mexico's raptor migration was largely unknown, and he guessed that it might be one of the largest in the world.

Staking his reputation on this belief, Ruelas obtained funding from conservation organizations in both the United States and Mexico for an official count of the raptors migrating through Mexico. In mid-September, 1992, counters from North America and Mexico assembled on a hot rooftop in a small town called Cardel. Equipped with binoculars, counting devices, and excellent bird identification skills, they prepared for the difficult task of estimating the numbers and kinds of birds contained in tornado-like formations known as "kettles."

Hawks are normally solitary animals, but they migrate in groups. Spiraling upwards on thermals (updrafts of warm air), they spin out at the top and coast slowly downward until they find another thermal. This migration technique allows them conserve precious energy on flights of up to 5,000 miles, during which they eat almost no food. "Kettles" are the large loose cylinders created by hundreds or thousands of hawks circling upwards.

The count in September of 1992 started out slowly, averaging 12,000 birds per day for a week or two, until it peaked at 88,000 birds (seen in one day)...and promptly dried up. 88,000 was a lot of hawks, but far short of what Ruelas had been hoping for. Discouraged, Ruelas and the other counters kept watching, though they thought they had somehow missed the main part of the migration.

Then, suddenly, on a certain hot clear morning, the sky was alive with hawks. Huge kettles, some containing as many as 30,000 birds, formed across the landscape, looking like vast tree trunks rising to the sky. Struggling to concentrate on cold, dry numbers in the face of such incomparable beauty, the counters began clicking off groups of birds as they exited the kettles at the top – first by 10's, then by 100's, and finally, as the kettles grew to insane proportions, by 1000's. In the words of Scott Weidensaul, author of Living on the Wind, "Nothing in a lifetime of birding had prepared me for this spectacle. I wanted to stand, head back and jaw slack, and simply drink in the sight of a sky electric with birds." By the end of the day the watchers on the rooftop had counted 435,000 hawks, establishing the Veracruz hawk migration as the largest in the world.

Norma Ferriz, former executive director of Pronatura Veracruz, has been able to stand, head back and jaw slack, watching the River of Raptors. She will give a slide presentation about this incredible phenomenon on Thursday, March 19, at the Ukiah Civic Center, 7 p.m. Pronatura Veracruz, a branch of the Mexican national organization Pronatura, monitors the hawk migration and educates the local population about protecting the birds.

Ferriz is a biologist with a master's degree in nonprofit organizations management who worked with Pronatura from 1992 to 2007, working in several branches of the organization until she was made executive director in 2002. While working with Pronatura she also served as a consultant to Mexico's National Commission of Natural Protected Areas. Before working with Pronatura, Ferriz was Education and Community Service Coordinator for Up With People in Colorado (U.S.A). She is currently the Operations and Onsite Manager of the St. Helena Family Resource Center in Napa County. She volunteers with the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory and is training for her own long migration, a bicycle trip from Athens, Greece, to Helsinki, Finland.

This Peregrine Audubon presentation is free to the public, though donations will be warmly welcomed. 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. Ukiah Civic Center is at 300 Seminary Avenue (3 blocks south of Perkins on South State St). For more information please go to

The story in this article has been condensed from a chapter in Scott Weidensaul's fascinating book "Living on the Wind."

South Shore of Clear Lake

George Chaniot

Wed, 11 Mar 2009 -- Today I went to Lake County to look for a couple of
nemesis birds. I found my way to the slopes of Mount Konocti at the Riviera
West development. I drove up Riviera West Drive, took a right on Mountain
Crest Drive, and followed it to the end. Here I had a view of the cliffs
above and only had to wait about five minutes until several WHITE-THROATED
SWIFTS appeared among the Violet-green Swallows. I also found a PEREGRINE
FALCON sitting at the top of the closest cliff of columnar basalt.
Next I went to Clear Lake State Park and walked to the mouth of Kelsey
Creek. The trail is now flooded where it goes through the reeds, but I was
able to make it through with dry feet by stepping on the mats of tules
instead of the trail. The mud is covered with water now, but I got a little
further out on the matted vegetation and set up my scope. To my surprise I
picked up the SWAMP SPARROW almost immediately. It was in the furthest
clump of reeds as reported months ago. I probably would not have seen it
were it not making flycatching sallies out over the water. Two Song
Sparrows were doing the same thing. I probably saw 25 out-and-back flights.
I checked Adobe Creek Reservoir, Highland Springs Road, and Lyons Creek
for signs of Tricolored Blackbirds, but there were non yet. I also did not
find the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Lakeside Park today.
Back in Potter Valley, Mendocino Co. the BURROWING OWL was visible
again. I've seen it four-for four times since I found it on the 7th. From
the top of the knoll at the end of Burris Lane point your scope to the SE
and look for a rocky outcrop on a grassy hillside. The burrow is directly
in front of the rocks. The owl may be sitting totally in the open or partly
hidden a depression.

George Chaniot
Potter Valley, MEN, CA

A few interesting birds continue

David Quady and Nancy Boas

Mendo birders:

To add to Bob Keiffer's note from earlier today, on Monday March 9 I saw or heard the following:

At the Crofoot Ranch, a single "Aleutian" Cackling Goose, in addition to the Greater White-fronted Goose that Bob reported
On Old River Road, the Lewis's Woodpecker on his (this bright bird MUST be a male) favored power pole near mp 7.54
On the large pond at Mendocino College, two Common Moorhens, one Sora, and one Virginia Rail. Plus two Northern Rough-winged Swallows, and about three Violet-green Swallows. Three skittish Wood Ducks took off when I appeared; it took a closer approach to flush (didn't mean to!) the last of 11 Hooded Mergansers present when I arrived.

At least one Black-crowned Night-Heron roosted in its favored redwood (look for the whitewash) behind 240 Washo Drive in east Ukiah

Near mp 17.62 (or is it 17.63??) on Low Gap Road, a Sooty Grouse called near dawn

In the various vineyard ponds, I saw no Common Goldeneyes or Canvasbacks

And in a brief stop near sunset, I did not see "Al" in Arena Cove. Bummer.

Thanks to everyone who previously reported one or more of these interesting birds.

Dave Quady
Berkeley, California

March Mendocino Audubon Meeting

Charlene McAllister

David Imper speaks on Grazing Issues

On Monday night, March 23, the annual "Partnership Potluck" - a joint
meeting of coastal environmental groups will be held at 6 pm at St.
Anthony's Hall in Mendocino. The speaker for this year will be David Imper,
a botanist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Imper has lived on the
North Coast since 1981. He worked as a botanist for the Forest Service for
five years and as an environmental consultant for 15 years. For the past 8
years he has been with the Fish and Wildlife Service working on endangered
plant recovery, covering the 5 northwest counties of California. His talk
will touch on the changing attitudes on controlled grazing as a beneficial
tool for endangered species and biodiversity management; his experience in
using it for the management of endangered species; and the ongoing crisis in
botanical diversity on the North Coast and Southern Oregon that demands we
utilize grazing on a broader scale.

The meeting is open to the public. Bring a dish to share and your own
beverage and join in the potluck dinner, or just come at 7 pm for the
program. For further information, call 937-4463, or go to
<> <

Charlene McAllister

Box 332

Little River, CA 95456


Charlene McAllister
Box 332
Little River, CA 95456

Gr.white-fronted goose (continues)

Robert J. Keiffer <rjkeiffer@...>

9 March 2009 - Monday, The Greater White-fronted Goose that has
spent the winter period at the Crofoot Ranch along Hwy 101 north of
Hopland is still there. All of the 80+ Canada Geese are still
present there but all scattered about the field mostly in
pairs. 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

Burrowing Owl continues

Bob Keiffer <rjkeiffer@...>

8 March 2009 - Sunday - This afternoon the BURROWING OWL was still present where George Chaniot described it yesterday. For about five minutes it was totally out in the open, near a squirrel burrow just downhill from the rockpile by 25 feet or so. Then it walked into a depression and all I could see was the head. When I drove back by about an hour later it was again totally out in the open (5:00PM). You need a scope to really see this bird.

A SAY'S PHOEBE was on the fence to the NE of the gate at the end of Burris Lane. About 100 American Pipits were seen about a mile beyond the gate (private property) but I could not find any other species mixed in like longspurs or red-throated pipits. Good Birding. Bob Keiffer

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