MCAS' Local Destinations

Click to read about MCAS birding locations like the 4th Street Overlook and Sweet Springs Preserve. Photo: Dave Tyra

Birds of SLO County 2013.

Follow this link to see the slideshow. Photo: Teddy Llovet

MCAS Birding Guides

Follow this link to discover our trove of SLO County birding guides. Photo: Maggie Smith

Field Trips!

Click to read about MCAS field trips. Photo: Paul Andreano

MCAS Community Programs

Click to read about monthly MCAS community programs. Photo: Al Schmirer

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Why Audubon California supports Proposition 1 (and you should, too)

Even before California entered its third straight year of this brutal drought, California birds were suffering from poor water management and infrastructure.
• Central Valley refuges, the last strongholds of wetland habitat in the valley, were not getting the water promised to them by Congress in the Central Valley Project Improvement Act.  
• Funding has decreased for the types of habitat restoration and wildlife conservation that benefit birds that have been provided by a series of parks and conservation bonds.  
• State’s system for water delivery (including levies) was inadequate and crumbling. This put habitat at risk, just as it threatened every other sector of the state.  California’s $7.12 billion water bond (Prop. 1) contains numerous benefits for birds and habitat
throughout California.  
• Explicitly allocates $475 million in funding for priority bird habitat in Salton Sea, Klamath, and Central Valley refuges (funding for Central Valley Project Improvement Act refuge water).  
• Includes almost an additional $1 billion for watershed protection, restoration, and habitat improvements.  
• Includes funding for all of the conservancies throughout the state and the Wildlife Conservation Board--the principal land acquisition and restoration sponsors in the state.  
• Makes critical investments in Delta habitat, through Department of Fish and Wildlife and Delta Conservancy, that will greatly benefit birds and ensures that bond funds cannot be spent on projects such as tunnels or canals described in the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan.  
• Provides critical statewide watershed conservation funding in an environment where funds for conservation are diminishing.  
• Will improve water quality and make supply more reliable – which is critically important for the environment and for birds. 

With 170 California birds specifically threatened by global warming, the water bond provides
critical funding for projects that will help our birds adapt to a warmer climate.

Like many conservation groups, we are concerned about the $2.7 billion set aside for water storage,
including potential new dams.
• None of the funds are earmarked for specific projects and the funds can be spent on projects such as off-stream reservoirs and groundwater storage, which are much more environmentally sounds and fiscally viable than new dams.  
• All bond-funded projects—including potential new dams—must undergo full environmental review, giving Audubon and our allies opportunities to challenge ecologically-dangerous projects.  
• No bond-funded projects—including potential dams—can threaten the quality of rivers protected by the federal Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. 
Proposition 1 Overview 
Proposition 1 was passed as AB 1471. The numbers in parenthesis refer to specific sections of the bill. The bill’s full text is available at:
Specifically with regard to wildlife and habitat benefits, Proposition 1 provides:
• Funds for rivers and watersheds: 1,495,000 – protecting rivers and watersheds (§ 79730)
o $475 million to pay for California’s obligations under several laws, contracts, and  agreements to provide water to environmental projects including the Klamath Basin, at least 19 wildlife refuges in the Central Valley, the San Joaquin restoration efforts and the Salton Sea. (§ 79736)  
o $325.5 million in funds for watershed habitat improvements to be distributed to conservancies throughout the state; many of these funds will provide for grants for restoration efforts, which may provide funding opportunities for Audubon chapters and  allied organizations. (§ 79731)  
o $285 million to DFW for restoration throughout California (§ 79737)
Emphasis on coastal fishery benefits Prohibits use of funds on Delta conveyance . 
o $87.5 million to DFW for restoration in the Delta (§ 79738). Specifically prohibits using funds to mitigate for BDCP projects.
The bond also includes: 
• Dams and Other Storage: $2.7 billion for new storage projects that include dams, surface storage, and groundwater storage. Dam projects are only included in the 2008 CalFed Record of Decision (§ 79750)
o Funded projects must provide measurable ecosystem benefits to the Delta and affected tributaries (§ 79752)
o Requires full environmental review.(§ 79753(b))
o Requires 75% commitment of nonpublic cost-share (§ 79757(a)(3)) 
• Clean Drinking Water Projects: $520 million for clean drinking water (§ 79720)
o $260 million to reduce storm water pollution, with emphasis on disadvantaged communities (§ 79723)
o $260 million for water infrastructure improvements to provide clean water (§ 79724) 
• Drought and Water Security Preparedness: $810 million for regional water security and preparedness for drought and climate change (§ 79740)  
• Water Recycling & Treatment: $725 million for water recycling and advanced treatment (§ 79765)  
• Groundwater Cleanup: $900 million specifically for groundwater contamination cleanup and security. (§ 79771)  
• Flood Management: $395 million for flood risk reduction and management (§ 79780)
o Up to $295 million for levees in the Delta 

To discuss your questions or concerns about Proposition 1 with Audubon California, please contact Mike Lynes, Director of Public Policy, at or (916) 737-5707 x. 102

Click here for an Audubon FAQ sheet on CA Proposition 1

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Monday Oct. 20th - Dave Keeling Presents: Best Bird Photos of 2013 Part 2

7pm @ El Chorro Park, SLO Botanical Garden Oak Glen Pavilion (across from Cuesta College)

Dave Keeling will again coordinate this annual event, one of MCAS's most well attended annual programs! The presentation will consist of beautiful images of birds photographed in our county in 2013 by many of our finest local nature photographers.

A reception to meet the photographers will precede the program at 6:30pm. Guitarists Jack Collins and Bob Clark will accompany the presentation.

Refreshments will be provided, please bring your own mug.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Photos from MCAS/CNPS MDO Field Trip on 10-4-14

Click to view the slideshow. Thanks to Carole Chapman for providing these photos!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Nancy Vaughan Scholarship ($500) for Cuesta Students - Nov. 21 Application Deadline!

The MCAS Nancy Vaughan Scholarship Award is available to Cuesta College students that meet the criteria listed below. Please pass this on to anyone you know who might be interested, as the application deadline is approaching. You can download a pdf of the scholarship application form here:
The scholarship application deadline is November 21, 2014!

Scholarship Application Criteria:
1. A minimum 2.50 cumulative grade point average.
2. Student must currently be enrolled in a minimum of 6 units at Cuesta College.
3. Applicant must be interested in and pursuing a career involving some aspect of caring for our natural environment, such as biology, wildlife conservation, ecology, animal care, water and air quality or any other related field.
4. One letter of recommendation is required. Letters from instructors, counselors, employers, and community members are preferred.
5. Candidate must be available to receive the scholarship money at the Morro Coast Audubon Christmas Bird Count dinner on December 20, 2014.

Scholarship Guidelines:
1. Selection of Recipients
Selections will be based on student’s overall academic progress, financial need, extracurricular activities, leadership skills, and participation in community activities.
2. Notice of Awards
Students will be notified by e-mail or phone of any scholarship award or denial.
3. Renewal of Scholarship
Scholarship may be renewed, contingent upon satisfactory academic progress and availability of funds. Students must re-apply for a continuation of the scholarship. Please attach a separate sheet describing how the scholarship benefited you and why it should be renewed.

Mail your application to:

MCAS Nancy Vaughn Scholarship 2014
c/o Morro Coast Audubon Society
PO Box 1507 Morro Bay, CA 93443

If you have any questions, you can email Paul Andreano at

Applicants will be notified of scholarship award or denial by November 29, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Morro Strand Beach Walk photos

Thanks to participant Richard Grise for sending along these pics from last week's Morro Strand Beach Walk field trip.

We love to see you photos and read your trip reports. Please send your MCAS field trip photos and/or reports to and we'll try to use them on our website or Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Migrate to the Central Coast Fundraiser - Auction Items

Migrate to the Central Coast
Live Auction Items:

Item #1:
Monterey Bay Marine Tour travel package for 2
The ultimate Monterey Bay travel package!  Join Audubon Vice President Michael Sutton for an aerial tour of Monterey Bay and the spectacular Big Sur coast in his Cessna Centurion.  This package also includes a personal tour of the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, which focuses on the unique marine life of the Bay.  You’ll stay overnight nearby at the Hotel Pacific, located adjacent to downtown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Monterey waterfront.  And you’ll enjoy dinner for two at Passionfish restaurant in Pacific Grove, featuring sustainable seafood and the best wine cellar on the Peninsula.  There is no better way to enjoy the scenic beauty of Monterey Bay than this unique package!  The only restrictions are Michael Sutton’s schedule and the weather!  During the summer, the marine layer usually burns off by midday.  So we’ll need to fly when the weather cooperates.  Three-week notice preferred. Hotel stay based on availability and between Sunday-Thursday.
 Value: $1000

Item #2:
Hearst Castle Dinner and Wine Tour for 4
Enjoy a picnic dinner with local wine on the terrace at Hearst Castle.  Strolling through the gardens while the sun is setting, learn how bats use the Castle as a roosting and foraging site from State Park’s Environmental Scientist Regena Orr and Stephanie Little.  We will also explore William Randolph Hearst’s personal collection of art within Casa Grande.
Value: $400

Item #3:
Morro Bay Weekend Getaway and Photo Safari for 2
Enjoy beautiful Morro Bay for a 2-night stay in Morro Bay at your choice of three hotels (available Sun-Thursday for two people).  Choose a night to enjoy dinner at award winning Windows on the Water.  

Join Don Quintana, award winning nature and wildlife photographer, for a private 4-6 hour photography workshop while birding the Central Coast.  Bring  a  camera  along  with  your  binoculars  to  photograph  and  observe  local  scenic  hot  spots.  Don  will  offer  tips  on  capturing  images  from  birds  to  panoramas.  Photo opportunities abound.  See Don’s photography at

Item #4:
Cayucos Getaway for 2
Enjoy one night’s stay at the Shoreline Inn in Cayucos, CA.  Bird Estero Bluffs with local birding expert followed by a wine and cheese picnic at Harmony Cellars. Enjoy two tickets for a tour at Hearst Castle.
Value: $400

Item #5:
Tejon Ranch Wildflower and Birding Tour for 4
Enjoy a private tour of Tejon Ranch with Tejon Ranch Conservancy staff while birding and picnicking amongst wildflowers in the spring.   Tejon Ranch is located on the “Grape Vine” on I-5, about 2.5 hours from San Luis Obispo and 1 hour from Los Angeles.  This 6 hour tour will focus on the ranch’s 240,000 conserved lands this are home to an incredible diversity of species from Mojave Desert habitats to Sierra Nevada Fir forests to San Joaquin Valley grasslands.  The desert and grasslands come alive in spring with abundant wildflowers and many species of migratory birds.  This tour includes lunch.
 Value: $200

Item #6
Catered Southern BBQ Dinner for 12
Round Up 10-12 friends for a Backyard Barbeque of delicious slowed cooked smoked brisket and ribs with all the fixin's...Spicy peanut-cilantro coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, garlic bread and apple crisp for dessert.  Local pit master, Travis Pambrun will rustle up his T-Bone's Deep Southern Barbeque to be delivered by arrangement.
Value: $300

Migrate to the Central Coast
Silent Auction Items

7.     Halter Magnum Bottle of wine and Tour
Value:  $125

8.     Wild Birds Unlimited Gift Basket with bird feeder/ bird seed/ Audubon Backpack/ Bird Book
Value:  $80

9.     Wine and Cheese gift basket:  Bordeaux red blend from Ancient Peaks Winery, Chardonnay from Au Bon Climat in Santa Barbara County. Enjoy smoked Gouda, salami, pesto, jambalaya soup, nuts, chocolate, Harry and David relish, and much more….
Value:  $125

10.  Winter Bird Festival Admission for 2
Value:  $150

11.  Wine, Cheese, and bird watching at Sunset at Morro Coast Audubon Overlook for 4 people with Morro Coast Audubon Board Members.
Value:  $150

12.  Enjoy a morning bird walk through Morro Bay for 6 people with Mike Stiles (President of Morro Coast Audubon) and Stephanie Little (National Audubon Board Member) followed by brunch at Stephanie’s home.
Value:  $150

13.  Delicious Dessert Trio: This certificate entitles you to three homemade desserts during 2015 delivered to your home.  Contact within 2 weeks’ notice to coordinate (SLO Co only).  Desserts will include a New York Cheesecake, one dozen cupcakes from XOXO Bakery, and a seasonal fruit cobbler.
Value:  $75

14.  Kayaking for 2: Enjoy a guided 2-hour kayak  tour of  Morro  Bay  with  John  and  Virginia  Flaherty,  guides  at  Central  Coast  Outdoors.  Get  an  opportunity  for  an  up close  view  of  White  Pelicans,  Brant,  Common  Loons,  and  a  host  of  other  migratory  waterfowl  and  shorebirds  in  their  natural  habitat.  Visit  the  Heron  Rookery,  Grassy  Island,  mudflats  and  channels  of  the  back  bay. No prior kayaking  experience  needed. 
Value:  $110

15.  Dinner for two at The Sea Chest Oyster Bar and Restaurant in Cayucos, CA.
             Value:  $100

16.  Join Stephanie Little, Environmental  Scientist for Oceano Dunes SVRA and National Audubon Board member for a 2 hour private driving tour of Oceano Dunes and Oso Flaco as you look for nesting Snowy  Plovers and newly hatched chicks.  Learn about Oceano’s successful management efforts to help protect these species. This site is home to one of the largest concentration of these Federally listed species.  Tour best redeemed between the months of May-July.

Value:  $100

Saturday, June 7, 2014

MCAS proudly introduces Dave Clendenen, our new Lands Manager!

MCAS is proud to announce that we have hired Dave Clendenen as our Lands Manager. Dave brings a huge amount of biological, restoration, and permitting experience to the job, as well as being a super personable, energetic, and pragmatic team member.

Dave has spent the last 11 years as the ecologist and preserve manager for Wind Wolves Preserve, a 95,000-acre preserve in Kern County with an enormous amount of cultural and biological resources. We feel lucky to be working with such a highly qualified individual, and we're looking forward to beginning this new chapter at Sweet Springs and the other MCAS lands. You can learn a little more about Dave's background in his bio below. Please join MCAS in welcoming our newest team member Dave Clendenen!
David Clendenen grew up in Big Horn, Wyoming, then moved to California in 1973 when he was 16 years old. Dave graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1981 with a BS in Wildlife Biology. He worked first for the Audubon Society and then for the US Fish & Wildlife Service during his 15-year tenure on the California Condor Recovery Program. 
He participated in all phases of the Condor Recovery Program, including studies of the remnant wild flock, before assisting in the capture of the last free-flying birds for captive breeding. He held the position of Lead Biologist during the early stages of condor reintroduction, and was appointed by the FWS Regional Director to serve on the Condor Recovery Team. During a hiatus between capture of the last wild birds and reintroduction, Dave participated in the bald eagle reintroduction on Catalina Island, and worked on a study of bald eagles in Arizona.  
He left the Condor Program in 1997 to work for The Wildlands Conservancy. He served for 11 years as the Manager of Wind Wolves Preserve near Bakersfield, before moving into a new position as organizational Ecologist, where he served until May of 2013. During this time, he developed a deep love of conservation land stewardship, and initiated multiple projects for restoration of native habitats and the control of invasive plants.  
Mr. Clendenen left The Wildlands Conservancy to join Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting, where he remains engaged in conservation efforts in the San Joaquin Valley. He has enjoyed new challenges at Vollmar Consulting, including biological assessment of private ranches in preparation for the placement of conservation easements, wetland mapping, and targeting natural lands for conservation, with priority focus on parcels adjacent to existing conservation lands, or parcels that contribute to the preservation of wildlife corridors in the San Joaquin Valley.  
David remembers visiting Sweet Springs during his college years at Cal Poly, and has returned there periodically over the years. He has recently moved back to San Luis Obispo, and is honored to have been selected for the position of Lands Manager by Morro Coast Audubon. David is looking forward to contributing to the stewardship of this very special preserve, in partnership with Morro Coast Audubon and the local community.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Community Program - Joan Easton Lentz, May 19th @7pm

NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SANTA BARBARA REGION: WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? presented by Joan Easton Lentz on Monday, May 19th, 7:00pm.

@ El Chorro Park, SLO Botanical Garden Oak Glen Pavilion (across from Cuesta College). Here is a map.

Join Joan as she summarizes why she chose the natural history of our region -- which includes San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties--for her latest book, and why this place is unique on all the planet.

Joan Easton Lentz is an author, teacher, and research associate at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. For over thirty-five years, she has been a serious student of the natural history of the Santa Barbara region. Lentz has written four books, her most recent being Introduction to the Birds of the Southern California Coast. Joan will bring copies of her latest book “A Naturalist’s Guide to the Santa Barbara Region” for purchase and for signing. You can read more about Joan at her website here:

All ages are welcome to the free MCAS Community Programs. Refreshments will be provided, please bring your own mug.