Date   

SLO birds

Mike Stiles
 

Hello all
I know you've received your welcome message, but I needed to clarify and
add a few things.

It is set up now so when you hit the reply button on your computer, it
will reply to the sender, not to the whole group. If you want to reply
to the whole group, you need to hit "reply to all". This might alleviate
the problem of sending personal notes to the whole group. If you would
like to add to the discussion, by all means post it to the group.

Egroups is a free listserv, but they sometimes add small advertisements
at the bottom of the posts. I haven't found it to be a problem on the
Santa Barbara listserv. It costs $59.40 per year to remove the ads. It
will stay as is unless someone wants to pay.

Someone asked about bio.rarebirds. SLOCObirding is replacing
bio.rarebirds. I appreciate the computer time that Cal Poly offered us,
but we became too popular to keep it there.

Above all else, this is your listserv. Use it often, and happy birding.

If you know of someone who would like to join, they may subscribe
through the San Luis Obispo County Birding website at:
http://www.calpoly.edu/~mstiles/slobird.html. Look for the egroup box.

Take care
Mike Stiles
mstiles@calpoly.edu


Welcome to San Luis Obispo County Birding

Mike Stiles
 

Hi,

A discussion group for San Luis Obispo County birds.

Cheers,

M. Stiles


imm. selasphorus ID

Miller, Mark C <mark.c.miller@...>
 

Note to Brad--

I was curious to know if you had your Rufous Hummingbird in the hand (I
think a notched t2 is diagnostic) or if there was some other feature you
were looking at. I find imm. selasphorus to be quite the difficult ID
problem.

Mark Miller


SLOCo Birds 1/22

Tom Edell
 

Hi all,

First let me thank Mike Stiles for all his work setting up the new county
bird listserv and also for creating and maintaining a county birding web
page. Mike, you are making a substantial contribution to this county's
birding community and I appreciate it.

This morning I met Mike and Marlin Harms at Morro Bay State Park on the State
Park Marina spit. We were there because of the nice high tide which gave us
an opportunity to look for the NELSON'S SHRP-TAILED SPARROW found there in
November. Mike had aleady spotted the bird when I arrived and we watched it
skulk in the California sagebrush for quite a while noting all the field
marks. We did note that the bird is not banded, therefore it is not one of
the ones Greg Smith has banded in past years. While there, we also say a
first year ROSS'S GOOSE (Gray in the head), and I noted a couple of other
white geese that flushed and landed out of view. They were probably a couple
of the Snow Geese know to be present on the bay. A calling BLACK SKIMMER
flew by and around the flooded channels occassionally skimming the water. We
last saw it when it landed among a group of shorebirds in the Salicornia. I
counted 12 GREATER YELLOWLEGS in our vicinity which was three more than
tallied on the Christmas Bird Count. Makes me wonder what is the actual
number on the bay.

Tom

Tom Edell
Cayucos, CA
tedell@aol.com


SLO Co Birds 22 Jan 2000

Mike Stiles
 

Today around Morro Bay Tom Edell, Marlin Harms, and I had long looks at
the NELSON SHARP-TAILED SPARROW near the Marina. This bird is best seen
at high tide. Park at the dirt lot across from the campground kiosk and
follow the trail. The bird was in some Sagebrush (Artemesia) just where
the trail turns west. We also saw one BLACK SKIMMER fly by.

In the afternoon from the Audubon Overlook I saw a male Eurasian Wigeon.
I also saw a Royal Tern acting like a skimmer, flying with its bill in
the water. I've never seen that behavior before.

Mike Stiles
Los Osos, CA
mstiles@calpoly.edu


New subscribers

Mike Stiles
 

Hello all,
Some have asked how their friends and neighbors can join the sloco
listserv if they weren't previously subscribed to biorarebirds. I didn't
mention it in the welcome message because you all were automatically
subscribed. There are several ways for others to sign up.

1. Send me an email address and I will add it.

2. Go to the SLOCo web page
(http://www.calpoly.edu/~mstiles/slobird.html), enter the email address
in the eGroups box, and click on send.

3. Send a blank email to slocobirding-subscribe@egroups.com. They will
send you instructions on subscribing.

By the way, you can read the archives of previous posts, change your
subscription to digest form or to no mail if you're leaving town at the
egroups web site at:
http://www.egroups.com/group/slocobirding/info.html . You have to log on
as a new user, provide some info, and choose a password, but it's all
self explanatory.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

Mike Stiles
Los Osos, CA
mstiles@calpoly.edu


Re: SLOCo Birds 1/22

Karen Clarke <seachest@...>
 

Friday I went to the Morro Bay Marina (is this type large? I can't seem to
make it smaller) during the plus 6.6 tide at 9:40 AM. I watched the known
area where the Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow has been for over an hour. I
didn't see the sparrow until the very end of my watch, and then only for an
instant. The warm color as it flashed by was unmistakeable.

I also saw the Greater Yellowlegs associating with probably 100 American
Avocets and Willets. I counted 17 Greater Yellowlegs in one spot. At Sweet
Springs I saw 8 more. In addition, I counted 18 Great Blue Heron, 14 Great,
and 10 Snowy Egrets. Looking out from the marina, I saw 4 Snow Geese ( 2 of
which appeared to be juveniles with grayish heads). One female or immature
Northern Harrier flew close to deck over the water of the back bay. A flock
of about 60 Long-billed Curlews flew overhead as I waited the arrival of the
Sharp-tail.

When I arrived at Sweet Springs, I saw two aerial battling Red-shouldered
Hawks. One of the birds had a smaller bird (dead I assume) in its talons.
They must have been fighting over possession of the prey. I could see that
the caught bird had a long tail with obvious brown & dark brown or black
barring. It brought to mind a Sharp-shinned or Cooper's Hawk, but, of
course, the bird was much smaller. I'm guessing it was a wren---Bewick's
Wren? I didn't know that Red-shouldered Hawks hunted birds. Maybe the prey
was already dead.

I still didn't find the Ruff at Sweet Springs.

Karen C.


Re: imm. selasphorus ID

Brad Schram
 

Mark and others:

I may have been hasty on saying the Rufous hummer was an imm., I suppose
it's possible that it was an adult that was re-sprouting a new gorget--but
that's unlikely and the gorget didn't look aberrant. The reason I said that
it was an imm--without thinking much about it--is because the bird had an
all rufous back (an adult male Rufous character), but a streaky gorget. Not
a partial rufous back, not blotchy: totally rufous from rump to crown. Just
the merest bit of green where the wings join the body. I've seen many adult
male Rufous hummers over the years with more green feathers, randomly spread
on its back, than this bird; I looked for random green feathers on the back
and didn't see any, although seeing them is common on male Rufous. I also
know that there have been male Rufous hummers found with totally green backs
(pretty disconcerting, no?). I am unaware of any Allen's ever having been
netted, measured, etc., with a totally rufous back.

Now, why did I blithely say "imm"? The bird had a streaky gorget like an
imm. male rufous--or Allen's. No imm. male Allen's or female Allen's is
going to have an all rufous back (unless some banders have found a few I'm
unaware of, and if so, what are the statistical probabilities?). My
assumption was that the bird had fully molted into adult body feathering,
but that the gorget was late in blooming. I'd be interested to know the
normal sequence of these molts south of the border at this time of year.

By the way, the bird wing-trilled when trying to drive an Anna's out of the
tree tobacco.

Brad

----- Original Message -----
From: Miller, Mark C <mark.c.miller@lmco.com>
To: SLO Birds (E-mail) <slocobirding@egroups.com>
Sent: Friday, January 21, 2000 9:54 AM
Subject: [slocobirding] imm. selasphorus ID


Note to Brad--

I was curious to know if you had your Rufous Hummingbird in the hand (I
think a notched t2 is diagnostic) or if there was some other feature you
were looking at. I find imm. selasphorus to be quite the difficult ID
problem.

Mark Miller

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Class

Brad Schram
 

Thanks to all who responded to my question about basic birding classes
locally. I passed on quite a list.

Brad


Re: Classes

Tom Edell
 

Brad,

Thanks for posting information on birding classes offered between Santa Maria
and Morro Bay. I thought I'd add one more class that is much more informal
than the others mentioned. The Morro Coast Audubon Society offers its Ebb
Tide program to beginning birders a couple of times each month at the Audubon
Overlook. The Overlook is located at the north end of 3rd Street in Los
Osos. I don't know the exact dates but perhaps someone out there can post
that information for anyone interested. It may also be on the Morro Coast
Audubon Web Page. Sorry but I don't know the web address for the page.

Tom

Tom Edell
Cayucos, CA
tedell@aol.com

In a message dated 01/24/2000 8:35:38 PM Pacific Standard Time,
gonebrdn@lightspeed.net writes:

<< Hi Birders:

It's been suggested that I publish here my findings based on the question:
what local bird classes are available? What I found follows below:

1. Steve Schubert teaches "Birding the Morro Bay Estuary" each November or
December at Cuesta College. He also teaches a birds of prey class there in
February.

2. Ted Pope runs an introductory class available through Wild Birds
Unlimited store in the Marigold Center on Broad St. in SLO.

3. Mick Bondello teaches an intro. class each spring at Hancock College.
One source says it is typically a month long held on consecutive Saturday
mornings. I was told it's taking place in February and March this year. If
Mick sees this (or one of his pupils) maybe an exact date can be clarified
for this year.

4. Francis Villablanca teaches an intro. ornithology class at Cal Poly.
One could contact Cal Poly or Francis for further information.

5. Coincidentally, I'll be doing an introductory birding tour for Victor
Emanuel Nature Tours, based at the Inn at Morro Bay, November 3-6, 2000.
This is a new type of tour Victor is offering due to client request; info is
available through the VENT office.
>>


Classes

Brad Schram
 

Hi Birders:

It's been suggested that I publish here my findings based on the question:
what local bird classes are available? What I found follows below:

1. Steve Schubert teaches "Birding the Morro Bay Estuary" each November or
December at Cuesta College. He also teaches a birds of prey class there in
February.

2. Ted Pope runs an introductory class available through Wild Birds
Unlimited store in the Marigold Center on Broad St. in SLO.

3. Mick Bondello teaches an intro. class each spring at Hancock College.
One source says it is typically a month long held on consecutive Saturday
mornings. I was told it's taking place in February and March this year. If
Mick sees this (or one of his pupils) maybe an exact date can be clarified
for this year.

4. Francis Villablanca teaches an intro. ornithology class at Cal Poly.
One could contact Cal Poly or Francis for further information.

5. Coincidentally, I'll be doing an introductory birding tour for Victor
Emanuel Nature Tours, based at the Inn at Morro Bay, November 3-6, 2000.
This is a new type of tour Victor is offering due to client request; info is
available through the VENT office.

Brad


Intro Field Guide

Brad Schram
 

Hi All:

Continuing the discussion started by my question about local introductory
birding classes:

In mid-December I got an e-mail from Kenn Kaufman making semi-public a
project he told me he was working on--a new N American guide for beginning
birders. I recently touched base with Kenn and asked if it was now public
knowledge to be shared and was told it is.

I stripped off some introductory comments and copy the body of the text
below. It sounds like a great resource for beginners and beginning birding
classes.

Brad

[Kenn's remarks, sent to some friends in December, below]

Yes, I'm working on a field guide. A guide to all birds, all of North
America. But birders I've told so far have jumped to the same conclusion:
this book should be big, advanced, cutting-edge, filled with new details,
pushing the limits of identifying subspecies and rarities. There seems to
be a universal perception that all field guides should strive for that.
Actually, I'm going the opposite direction. This note is to explain some of
my rationale in advance.

Here's my starting point. Say I have some friends who are sharp,
intelligent, curious people, and they've decided to try birding... but on
their own, not going with organized trips. What field guide do I recommend
to them?

Well -- at the moment, there isn't a good one to recommend. The
Petersons come closest, but they're drifting out of date, and the separation
of plates and maps is irksome. The Golden Guide is out of date, and
problems with its illustrations are well known. We all know that photo
guides, the way they've been done in the past, aren't effective for
identification. The National Geographic is great for experts, but it is
very clearly and pointedly not meant for new birders. And I'm looking
forward to the Sibley guide as much as anyone, but at two volumes and eight
or nine hundred pages, it won't be something for casual birders to toss in
the daypack.

For my friends who are just getting into birds, there is not a good guide
to recommend. So I'm working on such a book now. (There are good people
working with me on it, too, but I'm the one who will take the blame for
anything wrong with it, hence the first-person tone of this note.)

To get started on the book, I had to make basic decisions. Fortunately,
in the nine years since my Advanced Birding was published, I've spent loads
of time talking to casual or beginning birders, so I had a basis for
deciding questions like these:

---- Should the book include only common birds? My answer is, No.
Everything that occurs regularly has to be there. Even a total beginner
will wonder, "Could it be something else?"

---- Should the book include extreme rarities? Generally, no. Particularly
not Attu specialties; anyone who goes vagrant-hunting in Alaska will go with
experienced leaders or will carry more heavy-duty references. Ditto for
very rare pelagics; no one sees those on their own. Ditto for those that
are very hard to identify; inexperienced birders should not even be thinking
about Little Stints -- only a minority of birders have even worked out the
differences between Leasts and Semis. The more extreme rarities are
included, the more likely people are to be confused or to misidentify what
they see.

---- Should the book be arranged in the latest AOU sequence? Not when it
means that similar species won't be close together. The purpose of a guide,
obviously, is not to teach checklist order (which will change again anyway);
it's to allow people to put names on birds.

---- Should the book show subtle differences among subspecies? Yes if these
affect the identification to species; otherwise, no. You and I may care
about the race of a Spotted Towhee, but 99.9 per cent of birdwatchers are
happy to get it to species. Some recent books make people think they can
identify birds to subspecies in cases where they really can't.

---- Should the book show subtle age and gender differences? Again, only if
the differences are noticeable enough to make people wonder about the
species identification. Some recent books make people think they can
identify birds to age and sex in cases where they really can't.

With these points in mind, I'm working on a field guide that's intended
to be complete but compact, highly accurate without being overwhelmingly
detailed, with thorough attention to the basics and with the attitude that
these birds are all exciting and worth seeing.

I already know that some experts (especially those who deal with the
public) will welcome a high-quality, entry-level guide. But some will
insist that every beginner should start with an advanced field guide. I
think that idea is based on a false perception of the typical beginner. The
typical beginner is not Claudia Wilds on her first Chincoteague survey, or
Steve Howell on his first Mexico trip. And I'm certainly not talking about
kids, like some of these amazing kid birders in ABA today. A youngster who
gets into it, with all that time and energy, may build their skill and
knowledge very rapidly -- it's misleading to think of them as "beginners."

No, the typical beginner -- the one who makes up 99.9 per cent of the
bird watching public -- has other interests besides birds, and other demands
on his/her time, and will never be able to devote a lot of time to
developing their skill. The typical beginner will never become an expert,
AND THERE IS NO REASON WHY THEY SHOULD. The purpose of a standard field
guide should NOT be to turn beginners into experts, but rather to help
people enjoy birding.

Why do I care so much about beginning / casual birders? Simple answer.
Bird habitats face monumental threats. Birds and nature need all the
friends they can get. Someone who's totally thrilled by their first Yellow
Warbler today may vote in favor of habitat protection tomorrow. Anyone who
cares about conservation should want birding to be as open and welcoming
and inclusive as possible. We need to cater to the entry level, the first
step -- not insist that everyone should learn to swim by being dumped into
the deep end of the pool.

So that's my new focus. It's coming along well. I'm already resigned to
the inevitable: some short-sighted hotshots will write blistering reviews
of my new field guide merely because it's not intended for experts. (Fair
is fair -- I did the same thing to Roger when his revised eastern guide came
out two decades ago.) But regardless, I wanted to let you know what I was
working on before the news gets out to the general birding public.

Kenn Kaufman


Morro Bay

Steve Schubert <S_Schub@...>
 

The golf course Ross's goose has now approached and joined the "flock"
of Camp Keep students out on the mudflats by the state park marina these
last two days, preening and napping 2o feet away.

Pair of adult peregrine falcons at Morro Rock today, with chuppng
vocalizations and hanging around the upper potholes- the breeding adult
female died last June after three chicks were fostered and fledged- so
there may be a replacement
female this season.

A sea otter vigorously consumed an 8-inch long ocotpus near Morro Rock
in the harbor today.

Steve


Re: Morro Bay

Michael Ray <mray65@...>
 

On the subject of Morro Bay peregrine falcons:

Early Tuesday morning this week I watched one make at least five or six dives at
the plastic owl above the police station.


Re: Morro Bay

Richard Boyd <boyd@...>
 

Peregrines

They have been hanging around at times for several days on the island in
the Bay where the white pelicans haul out. They spent major time there most
of last winter.

Dick Boyd

The golf course Ross's goose has now approached and joined the "flock"
of Camp Keep students out on the mudflats by the state park marina these
last two days, preening and napping 2o feet away.

Pair of adult peregrine falcons at Morro Rock today, with chuppng
vocalizations and hanging around the upper potholes- the breeding adult
female died last June after three chicks were fostered and fledged- so
there may be a replacement
female this season.

A sea otter vigorously consumed an 8-inch long ocotpus near Morro Rock
in the harbor today.

Steve


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bald eagle

Marlin Harms
 

There has been an adult bald eagle at Atascadero Lake off & on. I first saw
it 13 January & was told by a local resident that it had appeared nearly
every day for a week, coming at 9:30 & leaving by noon. I checked frequently
after that, but did not see it. Today, Joan Carter & I saw it just before
11:00, then again at 3:30. Each time it has been in a very tall tree above a
house at 9576 Marchant Way, which is the very short street next to the lake
on the west side.
Marlin Harms


Jan 27,2000

Karen Clarke <seachest@...>
 

I heard a singing Hutton's Vireo and saw a Hermit Warbler in the Liemert Tract, Cambria today. 
 
I saw possibly the first Elephant Seal asleep on the beach in front of my house on Moonstone Beach Drive, Cambria.  Someone must have reported its presence as the Marine Mammal Center truck was parked in front of my house, too.
 
Karen C.


Morro Rock peregrine falcons

Steve Schubert <S_Schub@...>
 

I appreciate the several e-mails about peregrines...please keep me
informed of your sightings and behaviors this season (might be best to
e-mail me directly and not to the entire group unless you think it is
really noteworthy). I will be completing writing the article about the
history of the falcons at the Rock this season, covering more than 30
years. Thanks for your comments.
Steve


Kites

Weinstein <morwein@...>
 

For at least the past several evenings in Orcutt there has been a roost of
more than 50 (perhaps 100!) white-tailed kites. With so many birds being so
active, it is hard to get a precise number, but I counted over 50 perched
birds, with more flying around in the general area, and more coming in from
other areas all the time. A friend estimated about 100 birds yesterday. A
very impressive sight!

The roost is along the bend in S. Broadway, where it becomes W. Rice Ranch
Rd. It's just a couple blocks off Clark, very easy to find.

Mike.


peregrines

Mike Stiles
 

Steve
I have an anecdote of strange Peregrine behavior you might be
interested in. I was hiking the sand spit and heard a bird screaming. I
saw a Peregrine on the ground about a foot away from a Marbled Godwit.
The Peregrine was screaming at the Godwit, but they both just stood
there eyeing each other. After a few minutes the Peregrine flew away,
and a few minutes after that, the Godwit flew off.

I wasn't sure if the falcon needed the godwit to fly so it could kill
it. Do they take prey from the ground?

Mike Stiles
Los Osos, CA
mstiles@calpoly.edu

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