Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Community Program - Monarch Butterfly Conservation

Morro Coast Audubon Society 
Community Program

Monarch butterfly conservation:
not for the faint of heart 

Presented by Dr. Francis Villablanca

WHEN:  Monday, February 18th, 7 pm
WHERE:  SLO Botanical Garden Oak Glen Pavilion in El Chorro Regional Park

Western monarch butterflies seem to be suffering from multiple threats. To name a few, these include loss of habitat, pesticides, non-native milkweeds, and climate change. We will review the current population status of western monarchs and discuss how their threats may be impacting the population.

Dr. Francis Villablanca received his Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley in 1992. He has been at Cal Poly since 1999, and has been the research advisor for Monarch Alert since Fall of 2010. Monarch Alert is a citizen-based research project backed by graduate student researchers and faculty from Cal Poly. They focus on the demography and population fluctuations of western monarch butterflies by sampling overwintering populations in San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties.

All MCAS Community Programs are free and open to the public. As always, all ages are welcome.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2018 CBC - The Results are IN!


2018 Morro Coast Audubon Christmas Bird Count Results

The 65th Morro Coast Audubon CBC was held on December 15, 2018 and recorded a total of 203 species. This is four species above the count average since 1980. Weather conditions were good with clear skies, temperatures ranging from 37° to 64°F, and mostly calm conditions except for some morning offshore breezes along the coast. We had a total of 133 participants divided among 54 parties that spent 69 hours driving 210 miles, 240 hours walking 153 miles, 6 hours boating 5 miles, 3 hours at feeders, and 8 hours owling 11 miles (foot & car). Our total of 43,385 birds recorded was 10.5% below the average since 1980. One new “species”, Mexican Duck, was found during the count this year, but there is some disagreement among authorities as to whether this should be considered a separate species or just a subspecies of Mallard. Until this is resolved our CBC cumulative species total (1948-2018) still stands at 319 species.

Other notables this year (recorded on 10 counts or less since 1980) were Redhead (5th), Black Scoter (7th), Bald Eagle (8th), Vermilion Flycatcher (3rd), Tropical Kingbird (3rd), Common Raven (8th), Yellow Warbler (6th), Grasshopper Sparrow (5th), and Clay-colored Sparrow (4th). Other seasonal rarities of note were Eurasian Wigeon (1), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1), Mountain Bluebird (3), Black-throated Gray Warbler (3), Wilson’s Warbler (3), Hermit Warbler (1), Palm Warbler (1), White-throated Sparrow (5), Slate-colored Junco (3), Hooded Oriole (1), and Bullock’s Oriole (3). Species seen within the circle during count week, but not on count day, included Lawrence’s Goldfinch and Nashville Warbler.

There were a few notable counts and misses. All time high counts were recorded for Bufflehead (1,666), Acorn Woodpecker (131), and Scaly-breasted Munia (232). Numbers of Brant in Morro Bay (512) have steadily risen over the past several years from a low of 230 recorded on our 2014 CBC, but were still significantly below the long-term average since 1980 (1,645). Count Day “no-shows” for some of our typical winter visitors included Prairie Falcon, Varied Thrush, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Pine Siskin. And morning offshore winds made conditions difficult for sighting pelagic species from shore, leading to misses on Common Murre and Rhinoceros Auklet among others.

The top ten highest species totals were European Starling (2,072), White-crowned Sparrow (2,002), Willet (1,747), Rock Pigeon (1,682), Bufflehead (1,666), Red-winged Blackbird (1,507), American Crow (1,446), Least Sandpiper (1,376), and House Finch (1,191). These ten species accounted for 40% of the count total.

Thanks to all of the participants that contributed to this year’s success – it would not happen without you!  Special thanks to Joanne Aasen for managing the count web page, Bert and Elaine Townsend for monitoring count registrations, Connie Harms for helping track our progress during count day, and Area Leaders Jay Carroll, Steve McMasters, Kaaren Perry, Mike Stiles, and Eric Weir for organizing the participants and compiling the individual area results.

Complete count details should be available on the national Audubon website (http://netapp.audubon.org/cbcobservation/) sometime after March 1.

Jay Carroll, 2018 Count Compiler

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

EDUCATION COMMITTEE UPDATE

Back Row - left to right.  Judy Neuhauser, Kaaren Perry, Sue Barton, Freddy Howell, Vicky Johnsen, Front row: Karen Beckman, Ann Little, Marcia Lamkin, Blythe Wilde, Fianna Wilde.  Absent - Jackie Knowlton
MCAS Education Committee Activities
Update and Review

The Education Committee remained busy into mid-December. Two training sessions were conducted for Learning Among the Oaks youth ambassadors. The first was held at Creston Elementary School in Creston and the second at Vineyard Elementary School in Templeton. San Benito Elementary School children in Atascadero were presented with our program in December.

January began with a presentation to Alder House Assisted Living facility in Arroyo Grande. All reports were that our program, hands-on materials, and opportunity to learn and share was greatly appreciated by the residents.

Plans are underway for our presentations and bird walks at Monarch Grove Elementary in Los Osos for late January. In early February, six third-grade classes will receive our classroom presentations at Vineyard Elementary School in Templeton, with follow-up bird walks to be scheduled for Spring. More schools are currently being scheduled.

Several of the Education Committee members are currently planning, and will be assisting with, the Family Day for the 2019 Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival.

Report of activities and volunteer educator involvement, compiled for submission to National Audubon for the fiscal year May 2, 2017 to April 30 2018, has been completed and ready for review.

During that period:
   498 hours donated for youth environmental education and
                    outreach by MCAS ed. volunteers.
 1,318 children and adults were reached with our programs.
    45 classrooms were presented with programs and walks.
Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Learning Among the Oaks training programs, Summer Camps, and Family Day Activities were also part of our outreach.

I want to once again express my gratitude for the continued efforts of our wonderful MCAS team of educators.

Kaaren Perry
Education Chair

Sunday, January 6, 2019

SNOW GOOSE FESTIVAL


Registration is Now Open!

Let Us Take You Under Our Wing & Show You the Magic of the Pacific Flyway!

20th Annual
Snow Goose Festival
January 23 -27, 2019
Chico, CA

Snow Goose Festival Headquarters
& Welcome Center
Chico Masonic Family Center
1110 W. East Ave. Chico, CA
Wildlife Education
Exploration & Birding Adventures
Informative & Hands-on Workshops
Wildlife Art Show
Free Nature Activities for the Entire Family

Our action-packed 5-day event celebrates the remarkable journey of millions of waterfowl and raptors along the Pacific Flyway that call the Northern Sacramento Valley their home during the winter months.

Choose from over 70 field trips and workshops that are sure to appeal to a wide variety of interests. Free nature activities are offered for youth as well as armchair adventures for all. View impressive art at our Wildlife Art Exhibit at our new venue, Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA).

Here are just a few highlights that will be part of our 20th Anniversary:

Farallon Islands: A Mecca for Birds and Birders, by Naturalist & Birding Guide David Wimpfheimer, keynote speaker at Saturday’s “Gathering of Wings” Banquet & Silent Auction

Remarkable Lives: The Intertwined Worlds of Birds and Humans, exhibit opening Thursday, January 24 at the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology, CSUC

2018 Audubon Photography Awards traveling exhibit, featuring 12 spectacular bird photographs, on display at the “Snow Goose Festival Wildlife Art Exhibit”, Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA), January 24 - 27

Banquet & Silent Auction

Special Guest & Keynote Speaker: Naturalist and Birding Guide David Wimpfheimer

A resident of Point Reyes since the early '80s, David will outline some of the factors that result in the dramatic diversity of the migratory and breeding birds in his lively presentation, "Point Reyes and the Farallon Islands: A Mecca for Birds and Birders." He will examine trends and changes and share stories of special birds that have been seen over the decades.

If you have any questions, you can reach us at info@snowgoosefestival.org, or by calling the Festival Office at 530-592-9092.

We highly recommend getting on our email list, as mails will go out to notify you when Registration opens, of various deadlines, and changes and additions to the program along the way.

You can follow us on Facebook, too!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Morro Bay CBC held 12/15


The Morro Bay Christmas Bird Count was held last Saturday under excellent conditions -- mostly clear and sunny skies with light breezes. Thanks to nearly 130 dedicated counters we were able to tally 201 species, slightly above our long-term average. We are still awaiting verification on some species, so this total may change.

A few of the count day highlights were: Black Scoter, Redhead, Eurasian Wigeon, Mountain Quail, Bald Eagle, Spotted Owl, Long-eared Owl, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Vermilion Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Mountain Bluebird, Yellow Warbler, Palm Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Grasshopper Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Bell’s Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Hooded Oriole, and Bullock’s Oriole.

Offshore breezes in the morning made conditions difficult for sighting pelagic species such as alcids and jaegers, but some Black-vented Shearwaters were tallied nonetheless. In Morro Bay there were over 500 Brant, which was the highest count since 2013.

A big thanks to the following volunteers: Kaaren Perry, Steve McMasters, Eric Wier, and Mike Stiles for being Area Leaders; Joanne Aasen for making it so easy to use the web site to sign-up and download count information; Bert & Elaine Townsend for tracking registrations; and Connie Harms for Count Day assistance.

Jay Carroll
Count Compiler
Los Osos, CA