MBBF 2018

Workshop Descriptions



View and dowload the full Event Descriptions.





Date/Time: Friday, 9/28/18, 7:00 – 11:00 a.m. 

Workshop Leader:  Lisa Sheridan

This photography workshop will focus on capturing the essence of the bird and its location by using water, the horizon, trees, sticks, and stones to frame shots.  Fall is a wonderful time to enjoy colors and water reflections at Lee Road, Pinto Lake and other Santa Cruz County birding areas. Photographers in this workshop will be encouraged to practice the art of sharing, seeing in new ways, and supporting one another. While it’s easy to feel outdone by people with bigger and better cameras and lenses, great bird shots are possible with just a few changes in how one sees the bird and landscape. Whether you use a point and shoot or a mega-lens, this workshop is designed to push your creativity to new levels and find some great birds in the county too. All levels of experience are welcome, and bring whatever camera you have. Final Locations will depend on locating recent and special bird sightings and weather conditions. Be prepared to go anywhere!

Meet at Watsonville Civic Plaza at 7 a.m. to carpool to field site.

Maximum Number of Participants:  15



Date/Time: Friday, 9/28/18, 1:15 – 3:15 p.m. 

Workshop leader: Sophie Webb

Venue: Watsonville Library Classroom

Drawing helps us become better observers. This class will aid both those who want to learn how to take better field notes and those that want to hone their drawing skills. The class will start with a short presentation on bird anatomy and structure followed by a series of exercises using mounts and or projected photos that will help with both drawing and observation skills. The latter half of the class will be devoted to longer more detailed drawings. Materials: pencils and paper, bring color if you want (paint or pencils).



Date/Time: Friday, 9/28/18, 3:30 – 5:15 p.m. 

Workshop leader: Jeff Caplan

Venue: Watsonville Library Classroom

The birds are talking all around us…Can we learn what are they saying?
Songbirds are the inter-connected eyes and ears of the forests, the cities and our backyards. They watch and warn other vulnerable animals about the house cat, coopers hawk and curious humans.

Birds build their families, and keep themselves alive through their songs, calls and body language. Research is showing that bird language may contain the roots of the evolution of human language. By learning to interpret bird songs, sounds and movements we can begin to develop a deeper connection with birds and what they see and know.

This workshop is based on the book What the Robin Knows by Jon Young. You will learn:

  • The 5 different voices of the birds
  • To begin to interpret their communication from sound, movement and alarm
  • Skills you can apply in your backyard, on a hike or sitting quietly observing

Open to all skills levels —especially beginners. Great for kids and families!

If the class is full, or you are not able to attend at this time, Jeff Caplan invites you  to the next bird language event.





Date/Time: Saturday, 9/29/18, 8:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

Workshop leader: John Muir Laws

Venue: Watsonville Wetlands Watch Classroom

This workshop will introduce fast drawing techniques that will allow you to draw what you see from live birds. John Muir Laws will introduce you to fundamental anatomy that is essential for accurate sketching and art tricks that help you get the form you see down on paper. In this class we will emphasize ducks, shorebirds, and herons and egrets in preparation for the wetlands field sketching field trip. Bring your own sketchbook, pencils, and a small set of colored pencils. No experience necessary. Meet at Festival headquarters to carpool or receive a map to the classroom on the Pajaro Valley High School campus.



Date/Time: Saturday, 9/29/18, 1:00 – 2:00 pm 

Presenter: Seraphina Landgrebe


Bring all your cameras, lens and tripods for a hands on class on how to photograph birds.

Receive individual instruction working with your equipment.

Instructional material will be provided to aid you in learning how to photograph birds. 

  • Learn easy photography techniques on how to set up your camera, lenses and tripod.
  • This workshop is focused on learning field techniques with your camera and tripod in a classroom.
  • You will practice using your camera and tripod.
  • gain a good understanding of your camera; how to set shutter speed, aperture, iso, white balance and focus
  • learn how to photograph in the field to get the best bird images
  • tips for photographing flying birds, birds in the water
  • Learn about LIGHTING.



Date/Time: Saturday, 9/29/18, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Presenter: Marilyn Rose

Venue: Council Chambers


Thinking about buying your first pair of “real” binoculars or upgrading the ones you have? Considering taking the leap to buy a spotting scope? Learn all about binoculars and scopes, and how particular products perform in different birding situations. What’s more, try out a range of products to find out what feels right in your hands and to see the differences for yourself!


141 WETLAND FIELD SKETCHING BIRDS (outdoor workshop)

Date/Time: Saturday, 9/29/18, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. 

Leader: John Muir Laws

Venue: Meet at Festival Headquarters to carpool


Explore wetlands using field sketching techniques to improve your memory and observation skills. You will discover how much more you see and learn from your own observations with a sketchbook in your hand. John Muir Laws will guide participants in best practices in nature journaling, jump starting your own journal work. Bring binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, your own sketchbook, pencils, and a small set of colored pencils. No experience necessary but this field trip will allow you to practice the techniques you developed in the Introduction to Drawing Birds workshop (138). However, attending Introduction to Drawing Birds is not a requirement. Bring a camp chair or blanket to sit on the ground!



Date/Time: Saturday, 9/29/18, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. 

Presenter: Seraphina Landgrebe

Venue: Watsonville Library Classroom


Bring sample photographs to class to help you create images that have the “WOW” factor, even if you think they are not good.

We will look and analyze photographs of birds and show you how the rules of composition apply to the image.

Bring your computer and also prints.  I will provide cropping guides for prints.

Instructional material will be provided to aid you in learning the art of composition.

  • Learn how to take high impact images using the art of composition.
  • Learn how your eye travels through an image

*Become aware of the balance and movement in images

  • Learn to use photojournalist techniques of cropping to create the desired composition.
  • Adjust your point of view with creative cropping
  • Understand perspective and how to use it to your advantage.





Date/Time: Sunday, 9/30/18, 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. 

Materials Fee: $30

Presenter: Jim Bursio

Venue: Watsonville Wetlands Watch


Join Jim Burcio and Master Carvers from the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association to learn how to carve a bird from wood. All of the necessary materials, including a study guide and carving knives, will be provided. Short lectures with lots of hands-on carving time and personalized instruction will enable you to complete a nearly life-size female California Quail. Suitable for ages 16 and older, class size is limited to 12. Additional carving knives for purchase will be available during the workshop. The Pacific Flyway Decoy Association is a non-profit art association dedicated to the preservation of wildfowl art through education.  Decoy carving is an original American art form beginning with the functional, hand-carved hunting decoy. What started out as functional has evolved to include artistic renditions of birds worldwide. The association hosts an annual show held at the Double Tree Hotel in Sacramento, and teaches carving seminars at birding festivals throughout Northern California.

Meet at 11:30 a.m. at Festival headquarters to carpool to Watsonville Wetlands Watch on the Pajaro Valley High School campus, or to receive a map.

%d bloggers like this: