Spillway & S End of Lake Mendocino

George Chaniot

Sat, 13 Dec 2008 -- Barbara Dolan and I birded around the south end of Lake
Mendocino today doing some scouting for the CBC next Saturday. We got a
ride to the spillway, birded there, and walked back across Coyote dam, which
is not officially open yet.
At the spillway we found a cooperative pair of RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROWS
on the pipe and the rockwork on the east side of the cut. There was a SAY'S
PHOEBE foraging from the tops of what low weeds it could find after brush
and cattails have been cleared. We could not find a Rock Wren there as
usual, but on the walk back we found at least three ROCK WRENS at the very
south end of Coyote Dam near the last bench (CBC Area #2). They have not
been displaced by the recent activity where 50,000 tons of new rip-rap have
been added to the dam. At the north end of the dam we also found a Rock
Wren on the white barrier just inside the gate. This wren also went
underneath the bucket of a huge piece of earthmoving equipment - not
At the south boat ramp the SNOW GOOSE is still present, and a HERRING
GULL has joined the other gulls.

George Chaniot
Potter Valley, MEN, CA

Sooty Grouse on Mt.View Rd.

George Chaniot

Sat, 13 Dec 2008 -- Karen Havlena called to say that, after many attempts,
she finally found a SOOTY GROUSE on Mountain View Road. It was near some
turkeys at milepost 9.25 -- George Chaniot for Karen Havlena

Redhead & Dipper

George Chaniot

Fri, 12 Dec 2008 -- This morning there was a male REDHEAD along the north
shore of Lake Mendocino at Oak Grove and dozens of CACKLING GEESE among the
hundreds of Canadas.
I hiked down to the Russian River from the pullout at mile marker 37.08
on Route 20 this morning and easily found an AMERICAN DIPPER. It probably
could have been glimpsed from the pullout itself without making the steep
climb down and out. The hike down was worth it though because there was a
group of 5 WOOD DUCKS in a pool just upstream.

George Chaniot
Potter Valley, MEN, CA

Lewis's Woodpeckers/ Lake County

Dave Woodward <dlwoodward@...>

Yesterday afternoon 12/11/08 there were two Lewis's Woodpeckers
along Butz Canyon Rd about 2 miles east of Hwy 29 at Middletown.
There is a row of Eucalyptus on the north side of Butz Canyon Rd. and
a cyclone fence with a sign that says "Fire Access." The woodpeckers
were on the south side of the road in oaks near to the sign.
Dave Woodward

tagged TUVU

Robert J. Keiffer <rjkeiffer@...>

11 December 2008 - Thursday - Tagged Turkey Vulture with the patagial
(wing) white band with # 93 (last seen near Russian River Estate) was
observed today on the south end of the UC Hopland Research &
Extension Center. This is definitely a resident bird, whereas most
of the tagged TUVUs from this summer's UC study are probably soaring
the skies or jungles of Central or South America. Everyone needs to
really pay attention during this spring's northward migration ...late
February & Early March to watch for "returnees". 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

Am.White Pelicans at LM

George Chaniot

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 -- At 10:00 this morning I found five AMERICAN WHITE
PELICANS at the north end of Lake Mendocino. They were sitting on the edge
of the mud and swimming in the water near the north boat ramp. (CBC Area#3)
I may have seen them as early as 08:30 but I could not see them well enough
to ID. At 10:40 they took off, circled up among the vultures, and headed
off toward Clear Lake. Geoff Heinecken and Cheryl Watson arrived just in
time to see them in flight before they disappeared across the ridge toward
Lake County. Congratulations to Geoff on his 300th Mendocino bird!
This encounter reinforces my impression that the white pelicans which
occasionally appear at Lake Mendocino are day-trippers from Clear Lake and
don't hang around very long.
The SNOW GOOSE is still present among the domestic geese at the south
boat ramp (CBC area#2). Two weeks ago there were six species of gulls, but
they have dwindled to Ring-billed and California. I was unable to find Kate
and Steve's Eurasian Wigeon, but it could still be around. There was an
adult BALD EAGLE sitting in the last tree on the Miti campground spit (CBC
Area #3).

George Chaniot
Potter Valley, MEN, CA

White-front, Cackling Geese

Robert J. Keiffer <rjkeiffer@...>

Wednesday - 10 December 2008 - Located between Ukiah and Hopland
along Highway 101 (east side) is the CroFoot Ranch. Look for the
ranch sign along Highway 101 with a large black crow holding up a
large foot painted on it ...and grass pasture usually with cattle and
llamas. This has become a regular foraging and daytime use area for
the now resident Canada Geese (Great Basin subspecies). It also
occasionally gets other geese attracted to the flock. Currently
there are about 60+ Canada Geese, 15-20 Cackling (Aleutian
subspecies), and 1 White-fronted Goose. 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

Not Am White Pelicans

Karen Havlena <jkhavlena@...>

Thurs, 11 2008--  Jim & I also went to Albion on Wednesday.  We saw
two Brown Pelicans.  One of them was very pale, an older adult.  But,
we could not turn it into an Am White Pelican. 

Karen Havlena
Fort Bragg, CA

Oak Titmouse

Becky Stenberg

Yesterday the hit and run flock of tiny birds in the trees behind my
house here in Glen Blair included an Oak Titmouse. This little flock
always sends me running for binoculars, but they are very hard to see
and id. I feel like a real klutz trying to focus on the rapidly
moving small critters up in the branches in contrasty light.
Anyway, the Oak Titmouse is new to me, but it seems I can't be
confusing it with anything else, I got a good look. How common are
they? Also in the flock yesterday were Chestnut-backed Chickadees,
Townsend's Warblers, Downy Woodpecker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, before
the Juncos took over.

Becky Stenberg
Glen Blair

Say's Phoebe at Virgin Creek

Charlene McAllister

Becky Bowen and I did a shore bird survey today at Virgin Creek Beach and a
SAY'S PHOEBE was present on the beach just north of the creek.

Charlene McAllister
Box 332
Little River, CA 95456

Greater White-fronted Goose

Richard Hubacek

Tues. 9 December 2008. I was surprised to find an immature Greater
White-fronted Goose late morning today in a very small marsh/pond south
of the light-keeper's house at Point Cabrillo. You could just see the
white feathers coming in around the bill.

Richard Hubacek

Al the Point A. Albatross


Just to let everyone know, Al or Alice, our beautiful, faithful albatross has been in the cove every day, all day of late, in his/her favorite location just north of the pier... the last few days Al has been sharing space w/ a few pelicans who seem to have been feasting on schools of baitfish close to shore; quite a wonderful site, Al bobbing about in the background while the pelicans glide around and dive for dinner 'til full, then relax next to Al as their dinner digests... pics will follow when I get my full computer function back...



Floyd Hayes

The female RED-BREASTED MERGANSER was at Clearlake Park, not Redbud Park.

Floyd Hayes
Hidden Valley Lake, CA

Southern Lake County

Floyd Hayes

Nick Shepherd and I tallied 8 species of gulls this morning at Clearlake, including the adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL on the roof of WalMart from 8:18-8:25. Now that it's been here at least 37 days I'm hopeful it will stick around for the CBC, maybe all winter. We also saw a 1st-cycle gull appearing intermediate between Thayer's and Iceland Gull (strongly speckled tertials, primaries concolorous with wing, faint secondary bar, didn't see tail well; not as good a candidate for Iceland Gull as the 2006 gull).

At Redbud Park we were surprised to see four species of geese in a single flock: a SNOW GOOSE, a WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, five CACKLING GEESE and 16 CANADA GEESE. At Redbud Park we saw a female RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. We were unable to find the RED-NECKED GREBE--my bad luck bird for the county--seen twice north of Clearlake Oaks by Jerry White.

Floyd Hayes
Hidden Valley Lake, CA

Fascinating story behind CBC


© 2008 by Kate Marianchild

(Chapters that wish to use this article should contact me first:

The Christmas Bird Count of today would astonish people who lived
around the turn of the last century when wholesale massacres of birds
and other wildlife occurred with regularity. In those days
bird-watching, now possibly the most widespread recreational activity
in North America, was virtually unknown. The killing of birds – both
for fun and for profit – was the game of the day. The Christmas Bird
Count, in fact, is one of history's most inspiring examples of the
ability of humans to transform behavior – to take an ugly, destructive
tradition and successfully re-launch it in a thoroughly happy and
productive direction.

When Europeans first came to North America they encountered new
species of birds in what seemed like limitless numbers. Eager to learn
about these novelties, naturalists, including now-iconic figures such
as John James Audubon, shot them. Some ornithologists thought it
necessary to kill and preserve the skins of at least 100 birds of a
single species in order to thoroughly study and catalog all the
variations of size and plumage.

While collecting dead birds for science had its rationale (and is in
fact a practice that laid the groundwork for most of the field guides
we use today), many of the other practices of a century ago were less

In the half-century after the Civil War, 200 million birds, many of
them breeding egrets with elegant plumes, were killed each year for
feathers to adorn ladies' hats – birds whose eggs and chicks were then
abandoned to die. (Women were often deluded into thinking the birds
were only plucked, not killed). During the same decades it was also
the craze to decorate hats with whole dead birds, or sometimes just
the heads and wings. Songbirds, bobwhites, flickers, or owls might be
artistically arranged around fanciful nests on these dubious fashion
statements. In 1886, Frank Chapman, a hunter, conservationist, and the
founder of the Christmas Bird Count, took two strolls on 14th Street
in Manhattan for the purpose of observing ladies' hats: of the 700
hats he counted, 546 were decorated with dead birds or feathers.

Raptors were also at risk. Each fall sport hunters would climb to the
top of a particular mountain in Pennsylvania to shoot birds of prey as
they soared in spirals on their migration route. Myriad carcasses of
eagles, hawks, falcons, kites, harriers, and osprey would be left on
the ground to rot. (Thanks to conservationist Rosalie Edge, who
purchased the mountain in 1936, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is now one of
the leading raptor research institutes in the world).

The widespread ritual that led to the establishment of the Christmas
Bird Count was the "side hunt," a bloody Christmas Day event during
which hunters would comb the countryside with the express purpose of
shooting anything that moved. All wildlife was fair game, but birds
got the worst of it. Horrified by the multiple Christmas Day
massacres, Frank Chapman proposed a friendly competition to see who
could identify, rather than kill, the most species in one day. Bird
lovers responded with enthusiasm. In the year 1900, twenty-seven
birders in as many regions – from eastern Canada to Louisiana to
California – set out on Christmas Day to look for birds – and the
Christmas Bird Count was born.

How proud Frank Chapman would be if he were alive today! His
twenty-seven counters have become almost sixty thousand, and his
friendly little competition has grown into the largest and most
effective wildlife monitoring program in the world. Chapman would also
be gratified to know that, thanks to him and other concerned
conservationists (including many women in the powerful women's
movement of the time) it is now illegal to kill raptors and migratory
birds...and bird-watching has become a wildly popular national pastime.

* Much of the information in this article was culled from "Of a
Feather," A Brief History of American Birding, a fascinating new book
by Scott Weidensaul (author of "Living on the Wind" and two dozen
other books on natural history).
** The Christmas Bird Count is now a program of the National Audubon

Ukiah CBC info - full article


"Know Your Local Birds" Slideshow and Christmas Bird Count
"Pre-meeting" set for December 11

Article by Kate Marianchild

Peregrine Audubon Society invites all members of the public to come to
a "Know-Your-Local-Birds Slideshow" and Christmas Bird Count
"pre-meeting" on Thursday, December 11, 7 p.m, at the Ukiah Civic
Center. Ukiah's Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is part of a remarkable
all-volunteer effort that has taken place every Christmas season since
the year 1900 – an outpouring of enthusiasm and dedication that spans
the length and breadth of the western hemisphere and involves up to
60,000 people each year. The data collected during the CBC is used by
ornithologists to monitor the health of bird populations and their

Whether or not you plan to participate in the Christmas Bird Count,
you are welcome to come to the pre-meeting to enjoy Matthew
Matthiessen's excellent photographs of local birds and learn how the
CBC works from Count organizer Bob Keiffer. The Count itself will take
place on Saturday, December 20. Anyone who wants to participate in the
Count should come to the pre-meeting to sign up on a team. Those
unable to attend the pre-meeting can contact Bob Keiffer at or call him at 744-1160.

On "Count Day," seven teams, each with a designated leader, will
assemble in the morning at seven different spots within a 15-mile-wide
circle. Participants will then scan trees, bushes, fields, and ponds
for birds, and will record the approximate numbers seen of each
species. People who aren't yet proficient at identifying birds can
make themselves useful by spotting movement in trees, guessing the
numbers of birds in a flock, or recording numbers on a clipboard. New
birdwatchers will have the option of joining a "beginning birders"
group led by Roger Foote.

Several dedicated birders will get up long before dawn to listen for
owls, but most teams will gather at the more civilized hour of 7:30 or
8 a.m. Counters keep going as long as energy and time permit. At the
end of the day all participants and their significant others are
invited to a potluck "Compilation Dinner" where food, drink, and
stories will be shared and the day's tally of species will be
reported. Each year CBC regulars hope to break Ukiah's record for
number of species seen during one day, which currently stands at 128
species. Will Ukiah reach 129 this year?

The Compilation Dinner will be held at Grace Hudson Museum at 6 p.m.
Please bring your own plates, silverware, and cups, along with your
contribution to the meal. For more information go to

Eurasian Wigeon @ Lake Mendocino


Steve Grams and I saw a male Eurasian Wigeon among 6-8 American
Wigeons this afternoon around 5 p.m. at Lake Mendocino, near the north
boat ramp. We got our shoes all muddy and got great, long looks. Also
several Greater Scaup and a few Ruddy Ducks along with the Coots. A
Snowy Egret was also having great success fishing in an isolated pool.


Lesser Black-backed Gull

jerry white

Floyd Hayes saw the gull again today between about 8:15 AM & 8:45 AM, this time on the roof of Rays Market which is just to the south of Wal Mart in the City of Clearlake.

I birded for a couple of hours at Clear Lake State Park. Birds of general interest (for the upcoming CBC) were; 4 Townsend's Warblers, an Orange-crowned Warbler, a number of Golden-crowned Kinglet's, 2 Glaucous-winged Gulls at the outlet and a Common Loon seen from the swim beach.

Jerry White

Laguna Pt & Ward Ave - MacKerricher SP

Karen Havlena <jkhavlena@...>

Sat, 6 December 2008 -- A BLACK SCOTER and a RED-NECKED
GREBE were off the north end of Ward Ave in Cleone. (Earlier in the
week, 8 Black Scoters were seen here by Toby Tobkin).

It was another calm, crystal clear day at Laguna Point, with almost
no swell on the ocean.  There were two additional RED-NECKED
GREBES in the cove.  After scoping a few minutes from the point's
observation deck, I spotted 5 small alcids at the edge of the kelp.
One was a MARBLED MURRELET.  The others disappeared below
the surface.  After 1/2 hour, I finally saw 5 small alcids again. One
(289 for the year), and 1 was a CASSIN'S AUKLET.

Karen A Havlena
North of Fort Bragg, CA

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Ross's, Snow, Greater White, Cackling Geese in Lakeport


5 December 2008

Immediately south of Willow Point in Lakeport (at the end of C
Street), a single ROSS'S GOOSE and 2 SNOW GEESE flew in with 9
CACKLING GEESE and were visible from the Lake County Vector Control
District office on Esplanade. Likely they could also be seen from the
southern side Willow Point. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE has also
been spotted here several times in the last week, but it's a very
small individual--barely larger than a mallard. Dave Woodward also
saw the geese today, and has seen the GWFG here as well.

There is a large flock of domestic geese and ducks, and many MALLARDS
that are daily visitors (residents), and the wild geese are mixing
with this flock (although the feral geese often harass their wild

Jamie Scott

5881 - 5900 of 8757