Contact MCAS

Click above link or image to contact MCAS Board Members and Chairs. Photo: Dave Tyra

Birds of SLO County

Click above link or image to read or download SLO County bird checklists. Photo: Teddy Llovet

MCAS Birding Guides

Click above link or image to discover our trove of SLO County bird finding guides. Photo: Maggie Smith

Field Trips!

Click above link or image to read about MCAS field trips. Photo: Paul Andreano

MCAS Community Programs

Click above link or image to read about monthly MCAS community programs. Photo: Al Schmirer

Friday, May 31, 2013

Lamda Chi Alpha - Sweet Springs June Volunteer Spotlight


Current residence: San Luis Obispo

Volunteer since:  Winter of 2011

What made you decide to start volunteering at Sweet Springs?  
The best kinds of groups to volunteer for are the ones that value community. When we volunteer with Sweet Springs for the first time, we felt like we were working with family. Planting trees and removing invasive species with Sweet Springs has opened doors to various community members something we rarely don’t frequently get from other organizations.

What keeps you coming back?
Working with various members of the community and being able to see our hard work make a significant difference in the environment keeps encouraging our fraternity to come back.

What has been your most memorable experience?
Helping to plant trees was a tough project. It took a solid team of 15 to plant the trees well, but we look forward to see how much it has grown each quarter.

Do you have any words of wisdom for first-time volunteers?
Don't be afraid to get dirty, that’s when you have the most fun.

What do you do when you're not volunteering?  
When we aren’t volunteering, we are pursuing our academic goals, bettering our house in athletics and being active in the Cal Poly community. Going to the football games and sporting events is big to our brotherhood as well.

State Assembly Passes AB 711 Limiting Use of Lead Ammunition

GREAT NEWS! -   For the CA Condor, and other living things. . .

On May 16, 2013, the CA State Assembly passed legislation to require the use of "non-lead ammunition" in hunting.  The passing of AB 711 will help eradicate a significant source of lead in the environment that poses a danger to wildlife and human health.

California Condors frequently feed on animal carcasses left behind by hunters, and ingest dangerously high levels of lead from ammunition.  In the last 10 years, it is estimated that roughly 30 Condors have died from lead poisoning.

"This important vote by the Assembly shows that the time has come for California to take this simple step to protect birds and other wildlife from this source of lead in the environment", said Dan Taylor, Audubon California's director of public policy.  "Using lead ammunition just doesn't make sense given what we know about the dangers it presents to both birds and people."

The bill is now expected to move to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources.

Doug Tait
MCAS Conservation Chair

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Community Program - June 17th, Year-End Picnic and Potluck

Monday, June 17th, 5:00pm – 8:00pm 
MCAS June Year-End Picnic Potluck!
@El Chorro Regional Park, Mariposa Group Area (across from the SLO Botanical Garden Oak Glen Pavilion). Plan to attend this MCAS potluck picnic featuring birding, good food, and live music. It will be a fun event for the whole family!

5:00pm - Birding Field Trip
Take a short birding walk around the park with Eric Wier.

6:00pm - Everyone Loves a Good Potluck
Bring a side dish to share and your own reusable place-setting. Throw in your picnic tablecloth, if possible. Assorted drinks provided by MCAS hospitality.

6:30pm – 7:30pm – Live Band, The Incrementals. We’ll get your foot tapping and make you want to hit the dance floor.


MCAS Community Programs are usually presented on the third Monday of each month, at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden Oak Glen Pavilion, in El Chorro Regional Park, on Highway 1 across from Cuesta College. All MCAS Community Programs are free and open to the public. As always, all ages are welcome.
Here is a map to the Glen Oaks Pavillion at El Chorro Regional Park.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Volunteer Opportunity - Sweet Springs Nature Preserve Saturday, June 8th

Collect Seeds of Tomorrow & help us celebrate the successful completion of our Innovation Grant from National Audubon & Toyota!

Join Morro Coast Audubon at Sweet Springs Nature Preserve on Saturday, June 8th from 9:00-12:00 to help gather seed of native plants for broadcasting next winter. We have a wide variety of things to collect including poppies, wallflower, hummingbird sage and more. You’re welcome to take a few home & try some in your garden too. It’s easy & it’s fun! No need to bring anything but you and your friends and family. We’ll have tools, tips, munchies – and raffle prizes! When we’re done, we’ll toast our success with sparkling cider & hope this is the first of many more successes to come! Meet at the corner of Ramona Ave & 4th Street in Los Osos. Please call 239-3928 or email mcas@morrocoastaudubon.org for more info or if you have a large group. Hope to see you!

Eureka! Birds of San Luis Obispo County - April 2013

In spring and fall cruise lines reposition ships for the upcoming season. Birders started taking these trips several years ago because of the unique chance to ply offshore waters for truly pelagic bird species. The ships offer a fi rst class opportunity for offshore birding as they are stable enough to bird with a scope, and offer room, board and entertainment, all for less than $100 a day. I took a trip from San Diego to Vancouver with about 20 birders April 14-18. Several sought-after pelagic species including Murphy’s and Dark-rumped Petrel were seen off California. Unfortunately, on April 15 the SLO County waters were some of the least productive of the trip. It’s the possibility of what might be seen that keeps birders returning offshore.

According to eBird 230 species were recorded in SLO County this April and a total of 284 species have been recorded this year. [Abbreviations: OFL = Oso Flaco Lake.]

WATERFOWL THRU GREBES: The continuing SNOW and ROSS’S GEESE split their time between Pismo State Beach Oceano Campground and Oceano County Park through Apr (mob) and will likely summer there. Two adult CANADA GEESE with four goslings at Pismo Creek Mouth on 28 Apr (JR) were the fi rst family unit reported this season. The last report for WHITE-WINGED SCOTER was one seen from the North Point Natural Area in Morro Bay on 3 Apr (PR). LONG-TAILED DUCKS continued off North Point, where three males and a female were still present on 3 Apr (PR), but only the female remained on 26 Apr (MDH). A female plumaged HOODED MERGANSER at Whale Rock Reservoir on 6 Apr (TME,MLS) provided the only Apr report. COMMON MERGANSERS usually disperse in March for breeding sites; one at Santa Rosa Creek in Cambria on 9 Apr (JA) may breed locally, however 36 at Lopez Lake on 23 Apr (BKS) was an exceptionally large concentration for that date. Any HORNED GREBE on freshwater is noteworthy including two in breeding plumage at Whale Rock Reservoir on 26 Apr (TME,MLS).

ALBATROSS THRU SHOREBIRDS: A repositioning cruise that passed through SLO County waters about 50 miles offshore on 15Apr recorded up to seven BLACK- FOOTED ALBATROSS (TME,mob). Irregularly occurring and generally as lone birds, a single CATTLE EGRET in breeding plumage was along Los Osos Valley Road west of Foothill Blvd on 24 Apr (JSR). The expected spring movement of WHITE-FACED IBIS accounted for nine in San Luis Obispo on 9 Apr (JC) and two more at OFL on 21 Apr (TS). The number of SWAINSON’S HAWKS recorded in Apr was down signifi cantly from the past two years with only two adults along Hwy 46 near Shandon on 5 Apr (PA) and an adult east of New Cuyama on 14 Apr (MLS). Remaining later than expected, a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was at the Carrizo Plain on 12 Apr (DK). A male and female BLACK-NECKED STILT at a residential pond along Hwy 58 at the Carrizo Plain on 27 Apr (TME) were the fi rst reported in the county this year. Considered a fairly rare spring migrant, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER was found at Whale Rock Reservoir on 20 Apr (JSR). An estimated 300 SURFBIRDS along the shoreline south of Oso Flaco Lake on 20 Apr (RHZ) was ten times higher than any previous spring report. A lone RED PHALAROPE was onshore at Morro Strand State Beach on 2 Apr (JC). On 15 Apr, twenty SABINE’S GULLS were recorded offshore during the previously mentioned repositioning cruise through SLO County’s offshore waters (TME,mob).

OWLS THRU WARBLERS: Rarely reported in the county, a calling female SPOTTED OWL was in the Irish Hills on 28 Apr (MLS,DGS). Our second spring report of CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD involved another male this time along Hwy 229 no more than a mile from Hwy 58 on 30 Apr (MLS). A rather late MERLIN was around Los Osos 23-24 Apr (JSR). There were three reports of HAMMOND’S FLYCATCHERS with one at Cerro Alto on 17 Apr (MLS), one along Islay Creek, Montana de Oro State Park on 20 Apr (JSR), and another near the Carrisa Plains School on 23 Apr (PAG). The fi rst BANK SWALLOW of the season was seen at OFL on 12 Apr (MLS). The latest SAGE THRASHER report involved a bird in the upper Cuyama Valley near the Kern County line on 3 Apr (TME). A singing male BLACK-AND- WHITE WARBLER at OFL on 27 Apr (MLS) may be the same male that wintered there last year. A defi nite lingering winter bird was a PALM WARBLER seen along the Morro Bay State Park marina boardwalk on 8 Apr (DK) and at the campground 19 Apr (JG). A migrant YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was on the north side of Black Hill on 28 Apr (JB).

SPARROWS THRU ORIOLES: The HARRIS’S SPARROW found in Santa Margarita in March was last reported on 5 Apr (TO). Two WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS continued at Cerro Alto on 27 Apr (TME) and another was at a feeder in Atascadero 1-16 Apr (RHZ). An apparent WHITE- CROWNED X GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW hybrid was in Atascadero 16-17 Apr (RHZ, http://www.fl ickr. com/photos/sloroger/8659745503/in/photostream). A male SUMMER TANAGER at Pismo State Beach Oceano Campground on 6 Apr (JMC) is presumed to be the same one that wintered at that location. Only three YELLOW- HEADED BLACKBIRDS during the period was below average for Apr and included individuals near SLO Airport on 15 Apr (GK), OFL on 19 Apr (MLS), and the Morro Bay Marina boardwalk on 19 Apr (JG). Two, possibly three, SCOTT’S ORIOLES were singing in the Quail Springs area of the Carrizo Plain National Monument on 14-15 Apr (TME); this is the extreme northwestern limit of this species breeding range in California.

OBSERVERS: Thanks to everyone that reports their sightings, primarily via the yahoo “slocobirding” listserv and eBird, including those cited above: Joanne Aasen, Paul Andreano, John Bell, Jay Carroll, Jamie M. Chavez, Tom M. Edell, Peter A. Gaede, Jessic Griffi ths, Marlin D. Harms, Dave Keeling, Gale Kordowski, Tom Ogren, Kaaren L. Perry, Paul Rosso, Jim Royer, Joanna Ruba, Brad K. Schram, Tom Slater, Maggie L. Smith, Douglas G. Stinson, Roger H. Zachary, and many observers (mob). For seasonal status information about birds mentioned in this report, consult the Morro Coast Audubon publication “The Birds of San Luis Obispo County, California” or contact Tom Edell at (805) 995-1691 or tedell@aol.com....Tom Edell

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Trip Report - Oso Flaco Birding by Ear 5/18

We had one RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (surely one of the birds Maggie saw a few days ago), two BLACK SWIFTS, and three LEAST TERNS (foraging and hanging out on the rail, no presenting of fish).

Lots of breeding activity: HOUSE FINCHES building a nest, WILSON'S WARBLER, SONG SPARROW, and DOWNY WOODPECKERS all carrying food, lots of fledgling CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES, and three different female MALLARDS with ducklings.

We also saw three little ducklings who did not seem to be associated with any adult ducks. There was a pair of Gadwalls sort of near them, but they did not act interested in the ducklings. So I'm not sure what was going on there.  Could have been some lackadaisical Gadwall parenting, or Mallard ducklings that got separated from their mother.

-Jessica Griffiths,  Field Trip Leader

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Field Trip - Birding By Ear, Sat May 18 @ Oso Flaco

Birding By Ear Field Trip
Saturday, May 18, Oso Flaco Lake, 8 AM


"Birding By Ear" is back by popular demand! Join Jessica Griffiths for a monthly bird walk focusing on bird songs and calls. She will ID all of the bird songs we hear, as well as presenting helpful tips and mnemonic devices for remembering who sings what.

For our second field trip in the series, we will start at the Oso Flaco parking lot and bird our way through the riparian woodland, across the lake boardwalk, and into the coastal sage scrub. Bring binoculars and water, and snacks as needed. Directions: Park at the Oso Flaco parking lot at the west end of Oso Flaco Lake Road, off of Highway 1, north of Guadalupe. Parking in the lot is $5 per vehicle. Click here for a map to Oso Flaco.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Community Program - May 20th - Providing Bird Habitats for Rodent Control

Providing Bird Habitats for Rodent Control
Presented by Cory Kelso
Monday, May 20th 7-8 pm
@ SLO Botanical Garden Oak Glen Pavilion in El Chorro Park (across from Cuesta College) Click here for a map.

Living in the country presents a unique challenge in gardening. A prolific rodent population can undermine the most diligent gardener, but encouraging our indigenous species of owls and falcons can help with damage control. This talk describes methods of providing a safe habitat for these species, including perches and nesting boxes.

A life-long gardener and nature lover, Cory Kelso specializes in the "controlled chaos" of the English cottage garden. She has traveled to England to study garden design under the tutelage of late author Christopher Lloyd and has adapted his adventurous style for the Central Coast and in Southern California by promoting the use of native and non-invasive species. When she is not doing landscape design contracts, she can be found volunteering for the Master Gardeners program, helping out at the Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop, or cultivating her own 1-acre plot on the Arroyo Grande Mesa. Photo by Kevin Keatley.



MCAS Community Programs are usually presented on the third Monday of each month, at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden Oak Glen Pavilion, in El Chorro Regional Park, on Highway 1 across from Cuesta College. All MCAS Community Programs are free and open to the public. As always, all ages are welcome.
Here is a map to the Glen Oaks Pavillion at El Chorro Regional Park.

Friday, May 10, 2013

MCAS Comments on Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline Project Draft Supplemental EIS

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

April 20, 2013

Re: Comments on Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline Project
Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement

Dear Secretary Kerry,

The Morro Coast Audubon Society, MCAS, appreciates this opportunity to submit comments in response to the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline Project.

The proposed pipeline project conflicts with the MCAS Mission Statement – “to promote the appreciation, conservation, and restoration of ecosystems focusing on the biological diversity of birds, other wildlife, and their habitats.”

MCAS is concerned about the development of the Keystone XL Project for a number of reasons. The lengthy laundry list of risks from climate change, to effects on our water, health, and wildlife seem to add up to a project that is “all risk and little reward”.

Red-Flags of Transporting Tar Sands Crude

Tar sands crude is the dirtiest, most dangerous oil on the planet. Not only can it create significantly greater carbon pollution than conventional oil, it is also highly corrosive and toxic.

When pipelines do rupture, it is nearly impossible to clean up – (1 billion dollar clean-up effort ongoing from Enbridge pipeline spill on Kalamazoo River on July 2010).

The U.S. Department of State points out that spills from the Keystone XL are likely to happen, estimating that there could be as many as 100 spills over the course of the pipeline lifespan.

We are now finding out that oil spills are not avoidable, preventable, or unlikely. This was especially evident the last week of March, 2013 when the Exxon Pegasus pipeline ruptured spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of tar sands crude in Mayflower, Arkansas. Three days earlier a train derailment in Minnesota spilled 30,000 gallons of tar sands crude. These two incidents should awaken us all to the real dangers of transporting tar sands crude.

In the light of these recent tar sands oil spills, we believe it is imperative that Keystone produce site specific Spill Prevention and Containment Plans for every contingency, community, and significant resource along the entire proposed route of the pipeline.

We must ask ourselves, is it in our nation’s best interest to pipe toxic tar sands crude across American fields, prairies, and waterways? It is becoming clear that the Keystone XL is a pipeline through the United States – not to the United States. Much of the oil that would flow through this pipeline is bound for export on the global market – an export pipeline does not support U.S. energy policy.

Effects on Wildlife

Actual and complete resource impacts cannot be determined until fieldwork is collected. Because we believe this is lacking in the current draft review, we ask that a field survey review be conducted, at all project routes, for rare species of wildlife and plants to insure adequate review of the project can be performed in full compliance with the Endangered Species Act.

MCAS is also particularly concerned with the effect tar sands refinement and pipeline project may have on waterfowl and songbirds, as American migratory birds will pay a hefty price for the development of Canadian tar sands.

Birds from all four major flyways in North America converge in the Canadian boreal forest and the Peace-Athabasca Delta region in northeastern Alberta. Virtually every facet of tar sands oil development has the potential to harm boreal birds, many of which are migrating and are protected by treaty and national law.

Each spring more than half of America’s birds flock to the Canadian boreal forest to nest with anywhere from 22 to 170 million migratory birds breeding each year in the 35 million acres of boreal forest that may be destroyed by tar sands oil development.

According to “Danger in the Nursery” – the National Resources Defense Council report on the tar sands impact on birds. . .”the cumulative impact to developing the Canadian tar sands over the next 30-50 years could be as high as 166 million birds lost, including future generations.”

Of the millions of birds that could be lost by tar sands development, a large number are species of known conservation concern. The Whooping Crane, a critically endangered species currently numbering around 400 individuals, concludes its annual migration directly northwest of the tar sands. The strip mines, fragmented forests, and the 70 square miles of toxic tailings ponds, which appear inviting to the whooping cranes from the air, lie directly on their migration route.

Toxic Tailings Ponds

Tar sands open-pit mining pollutes vast amounts of water that end up in massive toxic tailings ponds. These ponds are so large they can be seen from space. In the spring, when most natural water surfaces are still frozen, tailings ponds are often the only source of open water. Waterfowl that land in these ponds are soon slick with toxic oil – in 2008, at one Alberta tailings pond, 500 ducks died within hours of landing in the toxic water. The toxic chemical concentration is so high in these ponds that some companies hire workers to rake dead birds from the surface.

Tailings pond bird deaths may be just the tip of the iceberg as habitat degradation and loss are likely a much larger threat to America’s birds. The Keystone XL Pipeline Project will increase the extraction of Canadian tar sands and therefore increase greenhouse gasses – while at the same time remove the carbon sequestering boreal forest . . . a double blow for migratory birds struggling to adapt to climate change.

MCAS urges the State Department to include the harmful effects from tar sands development on birds and their habitat in their final environmental review.

Conclusions

The Keystone XL is more than just a pipeline project; it is a reflection of the lack of commitment to battle climate change. This administration has made strong statements regarding climate change, but actions speak louder than words. We believe that it is insincere to argue that the progression of this project has our nation’s best interests in mind. Supporting a technology that will unlock vast amounts of additional carbon that we cannot afford to burn, extends our addiction to fossil fuels, fragments and destroys important wildlife habitat, and places critical water resources at risk is backward thinking and contrary to sound environmental and climate policy.

We urge the Secretary of State to ensure that the State Department, and this administration, have a full understanding of the climate and environmental impacts of this project – which we believe are glossed over and inadequate in the current draft review.

Respectively submitted,

Douglas W. Tait

Doug Tait, Conservation Chair

Morro Coast Audubon Society

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Volunteer Opportunity - Seabird Protection Network!

We are enthusiastically inviting you to join MCAS, California State Parks and other agencies to be part of the Seabird Protection Network outreach team. We are in need of outreach volunteers that are interested in teaching the public about being seabird safe. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the public, enjoy the fresh air, and protect seabirds and their roosting and nesting areas in Montana De Oro and Estero Bluffs (as well as some South County sites like Shell Beach). This will be a short term commitment that is waiting for you to be a part of right now and will run through June. Hopefully you will be able to commit to an average of 2 hours a week, but there is flexibility so don’t let that stop you from participating. Tools to facilitate your conversations with the public, activities and reading materials will be sent along with you to share with those you meet. Please let me know if you are interested and any preferences as to where you would like to be (Estero Bluffs, Montana De Oro, or Shell Beach/South County), and what time of day you would enjoy.

Learn more about the Seabird Protection Network at http://www.seabirdprotectionnetwork.org

To inquire or be part of this program, please contact Lauri Jasprica at bayblue2@hotmail.com

Bonnie Thompson - Sweet Springs May Volunteer Spotlight

Our May 2013 Sweet Springs Volunteer Spotlight is on Bonnie Thompson of Los Osos, CA. She has been a volunteer at Sweet Springs since 2009.

What made you decide to start volunteering at Sweet Springs?
"For years, I'd been meaning to give back to the community in some way, and it finally it came down to the question, If not now, when? And then once I went, I was hooked."

What keeps you coming back?
"The incredible progress that's been made is a real draw--the preserve has literally been transformed. In a way, it's a creative process, almost like a work of art."

What has been your most memorable experience?
"My most memorable experience happens time and again and yet always amazes me. During large work parties, made up of different groups of people and individuals, most of whom don't know one another, everyone magically merges into a seamlessly working whole. For instance, on a planting day, some people start digging holes for plants, others run off to collect mulch for the new plants, others take on the invaluable chore of filling gallon jugs of water so that the new plantings don't dry out and in two or three hours, a huge area that was bare sand is filled with verdant native plants."

Do you have any words of wisdom for first-time volunteers?
"First timers: Just give it a shot, and if you're unsure about anything, feel free to ask someone who's been around or looks more experienced, we're always happy for a chance to stand around and shoot the breeze!"

What do you do when you're not volunteering?
"I'm a freelance book editor, so that takes up most of my days. Then there's running or biking or working out at the gym, and just traveling around this great county with my husband, Chuck, and our crazy little dog."



We are very lucky to have an outstanding group of volunteers that help us maintain and enhance the preserve throughout the year. Some people can only manage to join us for a single day and we are more than happy with that. We value all contributions of time, large and small, but we do have a special regard for those who have taken Sweet Springs under their wing and volunteer time and time again. There are many people who have invested tremendous amounts of sweat equity in the preserve and have made it what it is today. We would like you to meet some of them and we highlight a special volunteer every month....

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Eureka! Birds of San Luis Obispo County - March 2013

A paper by Peter Pyle and Kristie Nelson published in the journal Western Birds examined California Caracara records. By comparing age, feather wear and molt, the authors determined that 60 California observations represented only 11 individuals, two of which were recorded in SLO County. Examining the observations involving SLO County’s 2012 record, it was determined that this bird was fi rst noted at Vandenburg AFB Dec 2011- Jan 2012, Los Angeles 13 Jan 2012, Point Piedras Blancas 10-21 Feb 2012, Point Sur 30 Mar 2012, and fi nally near Davis 16-20 Apr 2012. The fi rst SLO County record ranged more widely starting in Santa Barbara in Oct 2001 and was in Del Norte County as of Feb 2012, with several moves up and down the state (and into Oregon) in between including a visit to the Morro Bay sandspit on 1-2 Jun 2005.

According to eBird, 213 species were recorded during March in SLO County, and a total of 257 species have been recorded this year. Abbreviations: CPNM = Carrizo Plain National Monument; MDOSP = Montana de Oro State Park, PSBOC = Pismo State Beach Oceano Campground.

WATERFOWL THRU BITTERN: Five SNOW GEESE continued into March with single birds at PSBOC and Laguna Lake through the month (mob) and three at Santa Margarita Lake to at least 3 Mar (TME,MLS). The immature ROSS’S GOOSE was last reported at PSBOC on 1 Mar (SP) and may stay through summer as is often the case with year old birds. Also continuing was the CACKLING GOOSE on the beach at the Morro Strand State Beach as of 12 Mar (NW). A male EURASIAN WIGEON found on a fl ooded fi eld in Santa Margarita 6-22 Mar (PAG) was only the second to be found east of the Santa Lucia Range. An immature male WHITE-WINGED SCOTER off North Point Natural Area in Morro Bay on 2 Mar (TME) was the only one reported. Also seen there the same day was a male LONG-TAILED DUCK (TME) that was joined by three more males 4-31 Mar (MLS,DGS). Rarely recorded, a CHUKAR was heard calling near the southern end of Elkhorn Road, CPNM, on 1 Mar (JT). An AMERICAN BITTERN heard calling from the east side of Laguna Lake on 26 Mar (DGS) was in suitable nesting habitat, though breeding has yet to be confi rmed at this locale.

HAWKS THRU FLYCATCHERS: Having been a good year for ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, it is not surprising that two remained into Mar, a female along Cholame Road on 2 Mar (MLS) and one at the CPNM 15 Mar (TW). The latest MOUNTAIN PLOVER report involved a fl ock of 40 at the CPNM on 2 Mar (JT). The LESSER YELLOWLEGS fi rst reported last month in a channel along Soda Lake Road remained to 2 Mar (MLS). The season’s fi rst CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD visited a feeder in Atascadero on 30 Mar (RHZ). LEWIS’S WOODPECKER continues to be seen along Dallons Road in Paso Robles where four birds were present on 26 Mar (WHK). The wintering Tyrannus fl ycatchers dispersed in early March with single TROPICAL and WESTERN KINGBIRDS through 3 Mar, three CASSIN’S KINGBIRDS through 11 Mar, and the immature male SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER last reported on 5 Mar (all- BKS).

RAVEN THRU THRASHER: Three coastal COMMON RAVEN reports involved at least 10 birds and included one along the immediate coast at Estero Bluffs State Park on 10 Mar (TME). Still a scarce breeder in SLO County, three PURPLE MARTINS were at the traditional nest site along Hwy 41 in Atascadero on 25 Mar (MLS) and two pairs were checking potential nests sites along Hwy 58 east of Santa Margarita on 26 Mar (KLP,MLS). The latest report of GOLDEN- CROWNED KINGLET was one in willows at Oso Flaco Lake on 9 Mar (TME) and the latest report of a MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD was from the Quail Spring trailhead in the CPNM on 16 Mar (TME,MLS). A VARIED THRUSH remained at the Cerro Alto Campground through 31 Mar where the high count was seven on 15 Mar (TME). Fourteen SAGE THRASHERS were at various locations around the CPNM where the high count was fi ve at a location along Elkhorn Road on 2 Mar (JT). A check of LE CONTE’S THRASHER nests at the CPNM on 29 Mar (TME,MLS) turned up fi ve birds including two adults with a partially grown juvenile.

WARBLER THRU CROSSBILL: A NASHVILLE WARBLER at the Sweet Springs Nature Preserve on 11 Mar (MLS,JC) was too early for a migrant and must have wintered in the area. The fi rst MACGILLIVRAY’S WARBLER of the season, a singing male near the start of the Cerro Alto Campground road on 21 Mar (MLS), provided a new early arrival date for the county. The latest report for PALM WARBLER at the Morro Bay State Park Marina was 9 Mar (KLP); a breeding plumaged adult was seen briefl y at a water feature in Cayucos on 29 Mar (TME). The highlight of the month was a HARRIS’S SPARROW visiting a feeder in Santa Margarita 6-31 Mar (PAG) that accounted for the 17th county record. The total of fi ve WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS reported is about typical for Mar (mob). After a lengthy absence, the adult male SUMMER TANAGER at PSBOC was seen again on 30 Mar (PT). A relatively early pair of HOODED ORIOLES was spotted in palms at the Cal Poly arboretum on 13 mar (MDS). The only report of a RED CROSSBILL involved a single bird at the Islay Creek Campground in Montana de Oro State Park on 1 Mar (MB). Two somewhat coastal LAWRENCE’S GOLDFINCH reports involved two pair at Deer Canyon in Arroyo Grande on 11 Mar (BKS) and one off Hwy 166 along Wineman Road on 23 Mar (JMC).

OBSERVERS: Thanks to everyone who reports their sightings, primarily via the Yahoo “slocobirding” listserv and eBird, including those cited above: Mike Bush, Jay Carroll, Jamie M. Chavez, Tom M. Edell, Peter A. Gaede, Will H. Knowlton, Kaaren L. Perry, Stephen Peterson, Brad K. Schram, Maggie L. Smith, Mike D. Stiles, Douglas G. Stinson, Marge and Don Thornton, Jim Tietz, Phil Trott, Norma Wightman, Todd Wills, Roger H. Zachary, and many observers (mob). For seasonal status information about birds mentioned in this report, consult the Morro Coast Audubon publication “The Birds of San Luis Obispo County, California” or contact Tom Edell at (805) 995-1691 or tedell@aol.com....Tom Edell


Community Program - Providing Bird Habitats for Rodent Control - Monday, May 20th

Monday, May 20th 7:00 pm. "Providing Bird Habitats for Rodent Control" by Cory Kelso

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

Living in the country presents a unique challenge in gardening. A prolific rodent population can undermine the most diligent gardener, but encouraging our indigenous species of owls and falcons can help with damage control. This talk describes methods of providing a safe habitat for these species, including perches and nesting boxes.

A life-long gardener and nature lover, Cory Kelso specializes in the "controlled chaos" of the English cottage garden. She has traveled to England to study garden design under the tutelage of late author Christopher Lloyd and has adapted his adventurous style for the Central Coast and in Southern California by promoting the use of native and non-invasive species. When she is not doing landscape design contracts, she can be found volunteering for the Master Gardeners program, helping out at the Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop, or cultivating her own 1-acre plot on the Arroyo Grande Mesa. Photo by Kevin Keatley.


MCAS Community Programs are usually presented on the third Monday of each month, at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden Oak Glen Pavilion, in El Chorro Regional Park, on Highway 1 across from Cuesta College. All MCAS Community Programs are free and open to the public. As always, all ages are welcome.

Here is a map to the Oak Glen Pavillion at El Chorro Regional Park.
For more information, call (805) 772-1991 or visit morrocoastaudubon.org

Field Trip - MCAS/CNPS Santa Margarita Lake , May 4th






















Buds, Birds, and Blooms Field trip: Saturday, May 4th, 9AM-noon
Appreciate and enjoy the spring on this collaborative California Native Plant Society (CNPS) and Morro Coast Audubon Society (MCAS) field trip. Join leaders Bill Waycott (CNPS) and Chuck Woodard and Jan Surbey (MCAS) at the River Road access of Santa Margarita Lake. Expect to see a variety of spring wildflowers along with observing nesting behavior of birds, sightings of spring migrants, and possibly wood ducks. Participants will be walking on gentle sloping terrain for about 3-4 miles (out and back). Please email Jan (jansurbey@earthlink.net) for directions and further information.

Sweet Springs Circle of Friends donor celebration, Sunday May 5th

Please join the Morro Coast Audubon Society’s (MCAS) Board of Directors and past donors in welcoming the 2012 Circle of Friends donors (those who have donated at least $500 for use at Sweet Springs Nature Preserve in Los Osos) for a celebration to be held at the Preserve on Sunday, May 5th. Holly Sletteland, our MCAS preserve manager, will lead a short walking tour of the Sweet Springs East property at 2:30, followed by a birding tour led by our new MCAS President, Mike Stiles at 3:00. At 4:00, we will recognize the 2012 donors by gathering around the kiosk displaying the donor plaques at Sweet Springs Central. The celebration will include complimentary light refreshments.