Monday, August 13, 2018



San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden is pleased to welcome back Jessica Griffiths of the Morro Coast Audubon Society for a birding walk through the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden and the surrounding environs including El Chorro Regional Park, Dairy Creek, the Bluebird Trail, and the grassy hillsides. This bird walk will be approximately one mile long at a slow to moderate pace, depending on where and how often we're seeing birds.  The terrain is gentle, over a variety of surfaces.  People of any birding skill level are welcome.  We'll expect to see dozens of species in a variety of habitats, with likely sightings of: White-tailed Kite, Red-shouldered Hawk, California Quail, California Scrub-Jay, Western Bluebird and possible nesting Black-headed Grosbeaks and orioles. If you have binoculars please bring them; if not, loaners will be available. Walk will begin near Garden entrance.

Walk is $5 for Garden members/$10 non-members.

Please RSVP. For more information and to RSVP contact

County Parks charges a $3 parking fee weekends, April – September. Carpool and save!

Jessica Griffiths has been working as a field biologist for over 15 years. She grew up in Chicago, and received her undergraduate degree at Wellesley College outside of Boston. She then spent the next few years traveling around the country working for non-profits and government agencies in 7 states with a focus on songbird ecology. She received her Masters at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, where she studied monarch butterflies. She currently works as a biologist for Althouse & Meade, Inc. She is also actively involved with the Morro Coast Audubon Society, and leads year-round bird walks for birders of all ages.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Reporting Banded Birds

Photo by Gary O'Neill - Osprey #62
Reporting a banded bird...

Sometimes when taking photos of the birds we encounter, we might notice, at the time or later when reviewing our photos, that a bird has a band, or two.

If you notice the band at the time you are in the field, you can try to get a closeup photo of the banded leg(s).  That's not always possible, as some of you might well know.

This excellent photo of a juvenile Osprey was taken by Gary O'Neill at 9:30 am on July 10, 2018 at the Piedras Blancas Light Station. Gary is self-described as "a member of the Audubon Society and also volunteer at the Piedras Blancas Light Station and a guide."

The black band with a white 62 on the left leg is clearly visible.  The metal federal band on the right leg is visible but the stamped numbers are unreadable. Gary was still able to report this bird to USGS.

Another banded juvenile Osprey, #63, has been seen this July at various locations. The sighting of #63 at Oso Flaco was reported to USGS, and so it will be interesting to find out if #62 and #63 are related.

What you can do---

Any banded bird you see can be reported to USGS's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Laboratory by going to their website at

When on that website you will see the following horizontal tabs near the top of the screen:
Start / Who / What / About Band, Bird, and Date / etc.

When you get to the What tab, and you cannot read the metal federal band, select option 3:
* Color marker only (neck collar, wing tag, colored leg band, etc.)
The help message (blue ? icon) for that choice reads:
Please select this option if you observed or encountered a bird with a color marker, and there was no Federal band on the bird or it was unreadable [emphasis added].
From that point on you will be asked to enter various information about the bird you observed. You will need to be persistent and do your best to describe what you saw including any requested additional information. There is the ability along the way to add any photos you took, so have those available.

Photo by Joanne Aasen - Cooper's Hawk #226
It may take weeks, but Patuxent or the actual bander will eventually get back to you with information about "your" banded bird.  The Cooper's Hawk shown here, #226, was photographed on 10/3/2012 while perched on a utility line in Cambria. Since the bird was stationary the photographer was able to zoom in for a closeup. It turns out that this individual was captured at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and subsequently relocated to Cambria.

For those who are federally licensed to band birds it is useful to know where birds they have banded are found. You are doing a service by reporting them.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

FIELD TRIP: Oso Flaco Lake with Jessica Griffiths

Field Trip at Oso Flaco Lake - Saturday, August 25th, 8:30-11:30 AM

Join leader Jessica Griffiths for a summer field trip. We will be looking for any and all birds that we can find. We will start at the Oso Flaco Lake parking lot and bird our way through the riparian woodland, across the lake boardwalk, and into the coastal sage scrub. Bring binoculars, water, and snacks as needed.

Directions: Park at the Oso Flaco Lake 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. No RSVP necessary.

For additional information email Jan Surbey, MCAS field trips chair, at

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

We Need Your Photo!!

You want what!? - Cambria
OK -- MCAS members -- don't just sit there -- we NEED your photos!!

So far we have received only ONE entry into our Photo-to-Postcard contest, and we are hoping more photos will come in. Yours?

If you are concerned that your photo is "not good enough," put that thought aside and browse through all those photos you have taken of birds, nature, animals.

While doing that you will stop at a photo, remember where you were, what the weather was like, how you felt at the time... and think "I really love this photo!"

That's the one!

It could be a photo of a bird in your backyard, one that you took on a walk at the beach or along a trail, maybe even one you took while at Sweet Springs.

If you're not sure how to print and/or mount your photo, call Staples in SLO or ASAP Reprographics in Morro Bay and ask them about printing and mounting it for you.

Read more about the contest at

Find detailed contest rules at

Email questions to:

    Nancy at or
    Joanne at

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Morro Bay Annual Fall Pelagic Boat Trip, Sep 22

Black-footed Albatross by Curtis Marantz

Morro Coast Audubon is joining forces with Alvaro’s Adventures for the chapter’s annual fall pelagic bird trip. Those of you that have been lucky enough to join Alvaro on other California boat trips or heard him talk at a past Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival know how knowledgeable and personable he is as both trip leader and a speaker. This year’s trip will be on Saturday, Sep 22 and is leaving from Port San Luiswhich is adjacent to Avila Beach. This is Alvaro’s first scheduled trip in SLO County and is sure to be a good one. The price is $140 and you can sign up at Alvaro’s Adventures website.

Tom Edell
Cayucos, CA