Osprey "nest hunting?"

North Platform

One of our Sweet Springs Ambassadors (thanks Dave!) recently took these photos of an Osprey on each of the two new platforms that our membership and others helped fund. It is not known if it is the same Osprey checking out both of the platforms: North and South. Nest hunting? We hope so. Stay tuned!
South Platform

MCAS Youth Scholarship 2021 - Camp Colorado Trip Report

Max Taylor, third from right

To read full report, click READ MORE then click the "Pop-out" icon in the top-right corner.


June / July 2021

Click READ MORE to VIEW, PRINT, or DOWNLOAD Eureka!. Then move cursor over the Eureka! displayed below and click the "Pop-out" icon in the top-right corner.

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September 2021

Click READ MORE to VIEW, PRINT, or DOWNLOAD the Flyway. Then move cursor over the Eureka! displayed below and click the "Pop-out" icon in the top-right corner.

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SEPT 20th - MCAS VIRTUAL Community Program: Birding Fast and Slow

: Birding Fast and Slow
Presenter: Alvaro Jaramillo
Date: September 20, 2021
Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Zoom Info at bottom.

As we know, birding can be immensely gratifying. But there is a lot to it that we do not think about. Our brains actually engage in different ways to identify a bird. You have heard of the “reptilian brain” well there is something to that, and some aspects of what we do as birders is reflexive, other aspects are deeply thoughtful and contemplative. There is perhaps no activity as complete as birding, in that it can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways, by essentially every type of person. Even every personality can get something from birding. As a pastime birding is also like a good hot sauce, it goes well with everything! It adds to other outdoor activities, and even to mundane situations like doing outdoor chores. There is a lot to birding, and perhaps what we forget is that it makes us privileged to become connected with nature. This connection is not only fun, it is vital, and it is absolutely wonderful for our health. Yes, I can assure you that in time doctors will prescribe birding to people as it is good for us! Come see how, and why this is. 

Alvaro Jaramillo
, owner of birding tour company Alvaro’s Adventures, was born in Chile but began birding in Toronto, where he lived as a youth. He was trained in ecology and evolution with a particular interest in bird behavior. Research forays and backpacking trips introduced Alvaro to the riches of the Neotropics, where he has traveled extensively. He is the author of the Birds of Chile, an authoritative yet portable field guide to Chile’s birds. Alvaro writes the Identify Yourself column in Bird Watcher’s Digest magazine. Alvaro recently wrote part of the sparrow chapter for the Handbook of Birds of the World, and the new ABA Field Guide Birds of California. He was recently granted the Eisenmann Medal by the Linnaean Society of New York that is awarded occasionally for excellence in ornithology and encouragement of the amateur. He organizes and leads international birding tours, as well as a full schedule of pelagic trips in central California. Alvaro lives with his family in Half Moon Bay, California.

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2021 Sweet Springs Breeding Bird Survey Complete


L to R: Jay Carroll, Joanne Aasen, Judy Neuhauser, Mark Mushkat, Max Taylor, Zack Fenske, Kaaren Perry

The eighth year of our breeding bird surveys at Sweet Springs Nature Preserve began on March 7 and was completed on June 27, 2021. Volunteer members of Morro Coast Audubon conducted the surveys. The volunteers who participated this year were: Joanne Aasen, Jay Carroll, Zach Fenske, Mark Mushkat, Judy Neuhauser, Kaaren Perry, and Max Taylor. Those listed each participated in at least two of the nine bi-weekly surveys. 

Purpose: The main goal of these surveys is to count and identify the species of birds that are using the Preserve for breeding purposes, as well as to note those which may use the Preserve habitats for foraging during the breeding season.

Area: The Preserve was divided into three survey sections of approximately equal area, including the eastern section which was opened to the public in November 2017. Each area was surveyed for 30 minutes, using a modified Point Blue Bird Conservation Science area-search protocol.

Frequency: The three sections were all surveyed in a single morning. The census was conducted every two weeks, beginning in early March and ending in late June.

Data: We counted 1,524 birds comprising 66 species during the 2021 study period. Based on our survey data, twenty-one species (31.8%) were confirmed breeders and another four (6.1%) were probable breeders within the Sweet Springs property boundaries. We made special note of any indications of breeding behavior including territorial singing, courtship displays, copulation, nest building, carrying food or feeding young, or the presence of recently fledged young. The species that were confirmed breeders, in order of number of observations, included Song Sparrow, House Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, Mallard, Tree Swallow, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Anna’s Hummingbird, American Crow, California Quail, Lesser Goldfinch, Mourning Dove, White-crowned Sparrow, Bushtit, Purple Finch, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Oak Titmouse, Western Bluebird, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Red-tailed Hawk, Violet-green Swallow, and Allen’s Hummingbird. Indirect evidence suggested that other probable breeding species included California Towhee, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Downy Woodpecker, and Lawrence’s Goldfinch.

Read the 2021 data summary report on the MCAS website (scroll to bottom of webpage) or read on the MCAS Facebook page.

The data summary report has additional photos.

MCAS would like to extend a huge thanks to all of the volunteers who participated in this study, including several of the Sweet Springs “Ambassadors” who incidentally monitored bird occurrences and breeding behaviors at the Preserve. A special thanks to Jay Carroll, who transcribed the data from each survey and compiled it for future studies. If you are interested in volunteering for next year’s survey, please contact Kaaren Perry at kaaren@morrocoastaudubon.org. 

- Kaaren Perry, Project Manager
- Jay Carroll, Project Data Compiler

Osprey at Sweet Springs Nature Preserve


For those who have been following the attempts by Morro Coast Audubon Society (MCAS) to entice Osprey into nesting by the Morro Bay Estuary, two Osprey have been seen for the past week at Sweet Springs Nature Preserve. For at least 3 nights, one Osprey has been seen roosting near the nest platform that was installed by MCAS in January, with the generous help of donations from the community. This seems like a young bird (eye color and scalloping of the plumage on the back), though the 2nd bird seen appears to be a full adult.

Exploring Birds and Their Activities at the Morro Bay Estuary!

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