MCAS EVENT - JUN 24 - Birding Field Trip & Annual June Picnic

2023 Picnic Bird Walk [photo by Wendy McKeown]

                                         MCAS Birding Field Trip & Annual June Picnic 

Includes a short Program: 

Conservation Ranching & How it Benefits Grassland Ecosystems

with Daniel Sinton and Grace Ferguson

Monday, June 24th, 2024, beginning @ 5 pm

El Chorro Regional Park, Dairy Creek Group Area



MCAS is inviting members, friends and guests, including CNPS-SLO members to attend the MCAS annual June Picnic that includes a birding walk and a short program on Conservation Ranching. 



Monday, June 24th, 2024

        Informal birding walk: 5:00-6:00 pm

        Picnic & talk: 6:00-7:15 pm



Dairy Creek Group Area, El Chorro Regional Park

2961 Dairy Creek Rd., SLO


Location Details: The Dairy Creek Group Area is the third group area on your left as you drive into the park (across the street from the SLO Botanical Garden Children’s Garden). This is an ADA accessible group area. The closest restrooms are located at the Lupine Group Day Use Area or near the entrance to the park. 



Please let us know if you are planning on attending, and how many hamburgers you would like us to prepare for your party by clicking on the link below:



Picnic Details:

Bring a dish to share (w/serving utensils), and your own reusable table setting (plate, cup, flatware, etc.), in addition to a picnic tablecloth if you have one. If you’d rather not share, bring your own meal, or have a hamburger on us (see below for details). Assorted beverages and cookies will be provided by MCAS hospitality. 


This year, MCAS, in conjunction with the CA Audubon Conservation Ranching Program, will be providing BBQ’d hamburgers made with CA Audubon Certified Bird Friendly beef for anyone interested. An RSVP is requested for this so we know how many to plan for (see link above).


Program: Conservation Ranching & How it Benefits Grassland Ecosystems

Daniel Sinton, part of the family that owns and operates both the Avenales and the Shell Creek Ranch (of Shell Creek wildflower fame) and Grace Ferguson from CA Audubon Conservation Ranching Program will be on hand to talk about how this program benefits grassland ecosystems, including birds. 


Nationwide, grassland bird populations have fallen 53% since 1970 according to the Cornell Ornithological Lab. A study of 35 Audubon-certified ranches in the Northern Great Plains from 2016–2019, however, showed that bird populations on those lands increased by an average of 35 percent. One ranch in Wyoming showed an increase of 180%. Even if you are not a beef eater, you might want to find ways to support this initiative that has the potential to stem the losses of these birds.


Birding Field Trip:

Prior to the Picnic, an informal birding field trip around El Chorro Regional Park led by Torrey Gage-Tomlinson and Mark Mushkat will be held from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Join Torrey and Mark for a late afternoon walk through the varied habitats and surrounding environs of El Chorro Regional Park. 


This short bird walk will be over gentle terrain and will begin and end in the Dairy Creek Group area in time for the Morro Coast Audubon Annual Picnic! People of all birding skills are welcome. Some of the species we might expect to see include White-tailed Kite, Red-shouldered Hawk, California Quail, Western Scrub-jay, Western Bluebird, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Bullock's Oriole. Bring your own binoculars and take a casual stroll with fellow birders. No signups are required for this birding walk. 


The event is open to all at no charge. We’d love to have you join us!


Questions? Email Wendy McKeown at