Field Trips, Workshops and Activities

Saturday, September 23, 2017

   

FIELD TRIPS

 

CALIFORNIA SPECIALTIES

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 6:30-4 p.m.
Trip Leader: Kumaran Arul
 

This trip focuses on seeing birds unique to California and the Western United States, such as Yellow-billed Magpie, California Thrasher, Wrentit, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Snowy Plover, California Towhee, Lawrence’s Goldfinch, Clark’s Grebe, White-tailed Kite, and many more. Ranging from Pacific beaches to the foothills to the Salinas Valley, this fast-paced trip will help maximize your list of western birds. Perfect for everyone. Participants should bring plenty of water to drink, lunches, and sunscreen for this nearly all-day trip.
Transportation: Car caravan from Watsonville Civic Plaza at 6:30 a.m. Carpooling recommended.
Please have a full tank of gas.
Activity: Moderate

   

EAST PINNACLES

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 6:30-3:30 p.m.
Trip Leader: RJ Adams
 

Join RJ for a fun carpooling trip to Pinnacles, one of America's amazing National Parks. We will go south on Highway 25, entering the park on its east side and from there we will hike the 2.5 mile Reservoir Loop. This hike is listed as "moderately" difficult and does include a fairly steady climb of several hundred feet as well as spots where participants will have to duck under low rock overhangs. In exchange for this, we get to pass through a variety of habitats, including oak woodlands, chaparral, and riparian woodland. Afterwards we will eat our lunch picnic style at the Visitors Center near the campground, which presents one of our best chances for picking up California Condor. Possible birds include a wide variety of raptors including Golden Eagles, Prairie Falcons, and California Condors. Additional possibilities include Yellow-billed Magpies, Acorn and Nuttall's Woodpeckers, California Thrasher, Wrentit, White-throated Swifts, and Bell's Sparrow. This is an extremely unique ecosystem even for those of us in California who are used to diverse habitats. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and hiking clothes, bring plenty of water, and be aware that there is little in the way of food available for purchase in the park so please make sure to bring your lunch with you in the morning.
Transportation: Carpool from Civic Plaza at 6:30 a.m. – have a full tank of gas.
Activity – High

   

NATURAL BRIDGES AND WEST CLIFF DRIVE – Partial Day

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 6:30-11:30 a.m.
Trip leader: Scott Smithson
 

Natural Bridges and the West Cliff Drive area are not only some of the most scenic locations in Monterey Bay, but they present outstanding birding opportunities, especially during spring and fall migration. Natural Bridges has proven to be an excellent vagrant trap for migrant songbirds, and the rugged shoreline and adjacent views of the Pacific provide additional habitat for rocky shorebirds and the occasional seabird. The West Cliff Drive area includes a variety of small parks and other nearby birding destinations, and after our first stop at Natural Bridges, our leader will take us to the location that has been the most productive in the past week to seek out the best birding for the day. Possibilities include Bethany Curve, Lighthouse Field, Antonelli’s Pond, West Cliff Drive itself, or perhaps the UCSC Arboretum. All of these locations are favorites of local birders, and are not to be missed if you’re from out of the area and not familiar with the spectacular Santa Cruz Coast.
Transportation: Car caravan departing Watsonville Civic Plaza.
Activity: Light

   

ELKHORN COASTAL BIRDING

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 6:30-noon
Trip leader: Tim Amaral
 

Description: This half-day trip will find us scouring locations such as the mudflats of Moss Landing, visiting the famous Moon Glow Dairy, or checking the freshwater pond of Zmudowski State Beach for the many migrating and wintering shorebirds, gulls, and waterfowl of the region. Peregrine Falcons and Merlin are often attracted to the large flocks of shorebirds, and California sea otters are usually in the area. Come see why Elkhorn Slough has long been a target destination for birders from around the world. Exact itinerary will be determined based on local conditions.
Transportation: Car caravan departs from Watsonville Civic Plaza at 6:30 a.m.
Activity: Moderate

   

ELKHORN RANCH BIRDING

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 7:30-11:00 a.m.
Trip Leader: Hugo Ceja
 

Description: This is a rare opportunity to bird on the historic Elkhorn Ranch private property in Moss Landing. Elkhorn Native Plant Nursery, located on the property and open to the public on Fridays, originally produced California native grass seed for the ranchland’s restoration. The nursery now produces seed for restoration projects throughout the area. You’ll be able to go beyond the nursery on this trip to walk the hills. Birding is superb here, since there is a freshwater pond, as well as grassy hillsides, oaks, willows, conifers, and a stunning overview of Elkhorn Slough. Bring water, sunscreen, and a hat. Spray beforehand for ticks.
Transportation: Car caravan departing Watsonville Civic Plaza. Carpooling is essential, since parking is limited.
Activity: Moderate.

   

ELKHORN SLOUGH RESERVE BIRDING AND OPEN HOUSE

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Trip Leader: Dave Feliz
 

Description: Elkhorn Slough Reserve Manager Dave Feliz will lead a birding tour of the Elkhorn Slough Reserve. View a wide variety of shorebirds and songbirds on a walk around the wetlands and through the oak woodlands of the Elkhorn environment. Learn about the ongoing conservation of this unique area. The Reserve will be celebrating an open house on this day with activities and displays highlighting the good work being done on the Reserve. Allow some time to meet the staff and enjoy the festivities after the bird walk. There will be food available at the open house event.
Meet at 9:00AM at the Reserve entrance - 1700 Elkhorn Road, Royal Oaks, CA 95076.
Activity: Hike will be moderately strenuous.

   

VAGRANTS AND MORE ON THE CARMEL RIVER SOUTH BANK TRAIL

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 6:30-noon
Trip Leader: Rita Carratello
 

Description: September and fall migration is the time to head to riparian corridors to search for vagrants and rarities not found in the area at any other time of the year. This Carmel Valley hotspot opened to the public in 2011 and is already collecting rarities such as: Blue-winged and Blackpoll plus 8 other Warbler species, Eastern Kingbird, and Red-eyed Vireo. The trail, a 3-mile round trip that is flat and mostly paved, meanders through multiple habitat types along the Carmel River.
Transportation: Car caravan departs from Watsonville Civic Plaza at 6:30 a.m.
Activity: Moderate

   

WATSONVILLE HOT SPOTS

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 7-11 a.m.
Trip Leaders: David and Jane Styer
 

Description: This trip will start at the south part of Lee Road, overlooking the west end of Struve Slough. If there is morning sun, the light is nearly perfect to look over the slough. This is an area that we have inventoried nearly weekly for several years. The area is dynamic so that we never see just the same birds two weeks in a row. The area is good for viewing both land and water birds. From Lee Road Overlook we may go to Harkins Slough, and then to the mouth of the Pajaro River. Each of these areas is different from the other, so that different bird species are likely to be added at each stop.
Transportation: Car caravan departs from Watsonville Civic Plaza at 7 a.m.
Activity: Moderate

   

WORKSHOPS

   

ADVENTURES IN MOLT

Date/time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Presenter: Peter Pyle
Held at the Watsonville Civic Center Community Room – 4th Floor
 

Peter takes us on a trip through the various angles of bird molt, winding our way through the tangled terminology; presenting the vastly improved H-P system in lay-person terms; considering the interactions between bird molt, plumage color, age, and identification; illustrating the fascinating molt patterns of ducks, ptarmigan, alcids, herons, raptors, and birds that undergo Stafflemauser; imparting the importance of molting to bird conservation; and concluding with some thoughts on stable isotopes, molt in tropical birds, and avenues for future research. All will be based on years of working with this under-appreciated subject and the examination of over 60,000 specimens in museum skin collections.

Peter Pyle has worked as an ornithologist and marine biologist throughout the Pacific. During the 1980-2000's much of his research was conducted on birds and white sharks at the Farallon Islands, California. He is now an identification specialist and consultant for the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary's Beach Watch program. He is a Research Associate both at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, and the B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu. To date he has authored over 170 papers in scientific journals and two books, and has described a new species of shearwater (Puffinus bryani) and named it after his grandfather, Edwin Bryan. Peter currently works as a staff biologist for the Institute for Bird Populations in Point Reyes Station.

   

DOCUMENTARY FILM SCREENING

   

SEARCHING FOR THE GOLD SPOT—THE WILD AFTER WILDFIRE

Date/Time: Saturday, 923/17, 4:45 – 5:45 p.m.
Filmmaker: Maya Khosla
Held at the Watsonville Civic Center City Council Chamber – 4th Floor
 

Searching for the Gold Spot: The Wild after Wildfire is a 30-minute film about the rapid and amazing comeback of forests after wildfire. The story follows teams of scientists and firefighters through the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Mountains, and beyond, and shows hundreds of living, breathing reasons why our publicly-owned forests need to be saved from large-scale logging practices. The teams find rare Black-backed Woodpeckers, Northern Goshawks, Spotted Owls, their young, and many other animals using post-fire forests—a surprise and a new sense of hope for all. Filmmaker Maya Khosla will answer questions after the film.   Maya Khosla has written Web of Water: Life in Redwood Creek (non-fiction) and Keel Bone (poems), essays including “Tapping the Fire, Turning the Stream: Securing the Future with Geothermal Energy” and “Notes from the Field.” Awards from Save Our Seas Foundation have supported her writing about climate change and other impacts on sea turtles. She has won awards from Bear Star Press, Flyway, and Poets & Writers. Her screenwriting efforts include narratives for Shifting Undercurrents and Village of Dust, City of Water, award-winning documentary films. Her latest film is about post-fire habitats in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains entitled Searching for the Gold Spot: The Wild after Wildfire, received support from the Audubon Society, Patagonia, Fund for Wild Nature, and Environments Now. Her latest poetry anthology, Song of the Forest After Fire, will be published by Sixteen Rivers Press.

   

RECEPTION

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Held at the Watsonville Civic Center Community Room – 4th Floor
 

Join us for A Taste of the Pajaro Valley reception that features delicious appetizers and beverages from the best of Watsonville’s growers, producers, and restaurants to enjoy while socializing with fellow birding enthusiasts. Delectable hors d’oeuvres using locally grown produce will be served. Enjoy refreshing non-alcoholic beverages from local favorite, Martinelli’s, and wine award-winning local vintners.

     

LECTURE

   

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION OF THE GULF OF THE FARALLONES

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 7-8:30 p.m. Presenter: Peter Pyle
Held at the Watsonville Civic Center City Council Chamber – 4th Floor
 

Description: The Gulf of the Farallones lies within an "Eastern Boundary Current System," one of five such current systems around the world, where cold ocean currents and other environmental factors lead to high ocean productivity; an estimated 85-95% of the world's seafood originates from these five systems. Peter's talk will cover the ecology and conservation of the Gulf's marine vertebrates, from birds to pinnipeds, to whales to sharks. We will not only learn about some of the Gulf's keystone species, but will look in on the excellent research that has been undertaken in the Gulf and the conservation and management actions that have resulted.
Held at the Watsonville Civic Plaza.

Peter Pyle has worked as an ornithologist and marine biologist throughout the Pacific. During the 1980-2000's much of his research was conducted on birds and white sharks at the Farallon Islands, California. He is now an identification specialist and consultant for the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary's Beach Watch program. He is a Research Associate both at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, and the B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu. To date he has authored over 170 papers in scientific journals and two books, and has described a new species of shearwater (Puffinus bryani) and named it after his grandfather, Edwin Bryan. Peter currently works as a staff biologist for the Institute for Bird Populations in Point Reyes Station.

   

OTHER BIRDING ADVENTURES

   

WATSONVILLE NATURE CENTER FAMILY DAY

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
 

Description: The City of Watsonville will host Family Day at the Ramsay Park Nature Center. Two birding walks will be offered, the first at 9:00 a.m. and another at 1:30 p.m. Any level of birders are welcome, and we encourage families to join us, as well as beginners. Binoculars will be provided. Please dress appropriately for the weather! Tours are bi-lingual and snacks will be available for all to enjoy.

The City Nature Center will offer games about birds as well as bird crafts for children of all ages. The Center has lots of books and exhibits about local birds as well. The Nature Center, located at 30 Harkins Slough Road in Watsonville, is open 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You do not need to register, just drop-in for some family fun!

   

KAYAK CONNECTION – ELKHORN SLOUGH

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, 9-11 a.m.
Book directly at www.kayakconnection.com or call 831-724-5692. They are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm Pacific.
 

Description: Here’s your chance to take your own birding tour of Elkhorn Slough and enjoy a kayaking adventure–courtesy of Kayak Connection in Moss Landing. Shorebirds, sea otters, grebes, pelicans, plus the rarities of fall migration are possible on this guided trip. Some of the most intriguing spots of the slough are accessible only by kayak. Beginning kayakers are welcome and encouraged to sign up. Limited to 10 people in five double-kayaks.
Transportation: Go directly to Kayak Connection in Moss Landing.

   

SHEARWATER JOURNEYS PELAGIC TRIPS

Date/Times:
Friday, 9/22/17, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monterey Bay: Fall Seabird Classic
Sunday, 9/24/17, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monterey Sea valley: Fall Seabird Classic
 

Both trips depart from Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey at Chris’ Fishing shop, and run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The boat fee is $170/person. We will have top notch leaders on board to help beginner birders. We also do eBird checklists throughout the trip.

Description: An incredible submarine canyon lies below the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which hosts a vast variety of seabirds and marine mammals just a few miles from shore. In addition to humpback whales and a variety of dolphins, we can expect to see sooty, pink-footed, and Buller’s shearwaters; common murres; pigeon guillemots; Cassin’s and rhinoceros auklets; pomarine and parasitic jaegers; and maybe a south polar skua. Black-footed albatross; Manx and flesh-footed shearwaters; black and ashy storm petrels; Sabine’s gull, and arctic tern highlight just a partial list of our possibilities.
Book reservations directly through Shearwater Journeys by mailing check to: PO Box 190, Hollister, CA 95024. Include first- and second-choice trip dates, name, complete address, email address, and phone numbers. Reserve early to avoid disappointment.
  Transportation: Monterey Pelagic Trips: Meet Friday and Sunday at Chris's Fishing Shop, Fisherman’s Wharf Monterey. Do NOT meet at Watsonville Civic Plaza! Allow at least one hour driving time from Watsonville. Parking is available in the large lot that connects Fisherman’s Wharf and Commercial Wharf #2. You will receive a $10 parking voucher from us. Be sure to go to Fisherman’s Wharf and not the Commercial Wharf. Be at Chris’ Fishing Shop on Fisherman’s’ Wharf at 7 a.m., SHARP. Latecomers who miss the boat will forfeit their fees. The boat will return about 3 p.m.
http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com

   

ALVARO’S ADVENTURES PELAGIC TRIPS

Full Day Monterey Bay Pelagic

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/23/17, Full Day - Time to be announced
Book directly http://alvarosadventures.com/boat-trips/pelagics/
Description: The classic West Coast pelagic, visiting the most unique marine habitat perhaps on earth! Nowhere else does deep water come in close to shore like this. A huge canyon, larger than the Grand Canyon lies beneath the surface, and this attracts lots of birds and whales. Also we get to the birds close and early on this trip.
Transportation: Go directly to Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey.

Half Day Monterey Bay Pelagic
Date/Time: Sunday, 9/24/17, Half-day trip time to be announced
http://alvarosadventures.com/boat-trips/pelagics/
Description: For those of you who want to sample the ocean, but do not want to be out all day on the a boat! This is the trip for you. This is a shorter version of the classic West Coast pelagic, visiting the most unique marine habitat perhaps on earth! Nowhere else does deep water come in close to shore like this. A huge canyon, larger than the Grand Canyon lies beneath the surface, and this attracts lots of birds and whales. Also we get to the birds close and early on this trip.
Transportation: Go directly to Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey.

 
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