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Lawrence's Goldfinches--what's going on?

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  • Brian Sullivan
    Hi Calbirders I ve noticed Lawrence s Goldfinches in recent weeks much closer to the coast than normal here in Monterey County. I don t normally see them here
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 17, 2012
      Hi Calbirders

      I've noticed Lawrence's Goldfinches in recent weeks much closer to the
      coast than normal here in Monterey County. I don't normally see them here
      in Carmel Valley village, about 11 miles inland. But this year I'm seeing
      them every day, and on some days much closer to the coast. I checked eBird
      data and it looks like more are being seen in coastal areas this spring
      than in previous years, but the differences are pretty subtle--at least on
      those maps (*http://tinyurl.com/7ah8l5m)*. I'm wondering if others are
      seeing Lawrence's this spring in unusual places?

      Thanks

      Brian

      --
      ===========
      *Brian L. Sullivan

      eBird/AKN Project Leader *
      www.ebird.org
      www.avianknowledge.net

      *Photo Editor*
      Birds of North America Online
      http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/BNA
      North American Birds
      www.americanbirding.org
      -------------------------------


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Don Roberson
      According to our Breeding Bird Atlas in Monterey County (Roberson & Tenney 1993), A study of Lawrence s Goldfinch at Hastings Reservation (Linsdale 1950)
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 17, 2012
        According to our Breeding Bird Atlas in Monterey County (Roberson &
        Tenney 1993), "A study of Lawrence's Goldfinch at Hastings Reservation
        (Linsdale 1950) noted . . . a special predilection for seeds of the
        family Boraginaceae, such as fiddleneck. Abundance seemed tied to seed
        crops of these species." One possible hypothesis is that this year's
        late winter rains have produced a strong crop of fiddleneck. I have
        noted fiddleneck to be widespread in Carmel Valley this spring, and it
        was a big patch of fiddleneck that attracted Lawrence's to nest at
        Moonglow Dairy a couple of years past. The Atlas goes on to state that
        "in 1988 and 1989, in years of abundance [of Lawrence's Goldfinch]
        inland [in Monterey County], birds were confirmed nesting in the lower
        Carmel Valley, all the way to the Carmel River mouth. The species was
        also recorded in drier canyons of the southern Big Sur coast later in
        the [BBA] project but nesting was not confirmed there." Since the BBA,
        breeding has been confirmed along the Big Sur coast and coastally north
        to Moss Landing.

        This year's crop of Larry Golds recalls other similar spring and early
        summer trends over the past 20 years, but beyond the hypothesis above, I
        don't know what accounts for these movements to the coast in some years,
        and not in others. I suspect, though, that rainfall amounts and timing
        are variables to be considered.

        Don Roberson
      • Steve Hampton
        I have seen them nesting at Sunset State Beach right on Monterey Bay in the past. Steve Hampton, Ph.D. ________________ Resource Economist Office of Spill
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 17, 2012
          I have seen them nesting at Sunset State Beach right on Monterey Bay in the past.



          Steve Hampton, Ph.D.
          ________________
          Resource Economist
          Office of Spill Prevention and Response
          California Dept of Fish and Game
          PO Box 944209
          Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
          -----------------------------------
          (916) 323-4724 phone
          (916) 324-8829 fax

          >>> Don Roberson <creagrus@...> 4/17/2012 3:37 PM >>>
          According to our Breeding Bird Atlas in Monterey County (Roberson &
          Tenney 1993), "A study of Lawrence's Goldfinch at Hastings Reservation
          (Linsdale 1950) noted . . . a special predilection for seeds of the
          family Boraginaceae, such as fiddleneck. Abundance seemed tied to seed
          crops of these species." One possible hypothesis is that this year's
          late winter rains have produced a strong crop of fiddleneck. I have
          noted fiddleneck to be widespread in Carmel Valley this spring, and it
          was a big patch of fiddleneck that attracted Lawrence's to nest at
          Moonglow Dairy a couple of years past. The Atlas goes on to state that
          "in 1988 and 1989, in years of abundance [of Lawrence's Goldfinch]
          inland [in Monterey County], birds were confirmed nesting in the lower
          Carmel Valley, all the way to the Carmel River mouth. The species was
          also recorded in drier canyons of the southern Big Sur coast later in
          the [BBA] project but nesting was not confirmed there." Since the BBA,
          breeding has been confirmed along the Big Sur coast and coastally north
          to Moss Landing.

          This year's crop of Larry Golds recalls other similar spring and early
          summer trends over the past 20 years, but beyond the hypothesis above, I
          don't know what accounts for these movements to the coast in some years,
          and not in others. I suspect, though, that rainfall amounts and timing
          are variables to be considered.

          Don Roberson


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        • Wes Fritz
          Hi all, I have seen them nesting at Ocean Park in Lompoc, Santa Barbara County. Good birding. Wes Fritz 805-895-0685 wes-fritz@verizon.net Solvang CA. Sent
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 17, 2012
            Hi all,

            I have seen them nesting at Ocean Park in Lompoc, Santa Barbara County.

            Good birding.

            Wes Fritz
            805-895-0685
            wes-fritz@...
            Solvang CA.

            Sent from my iPhone

            On Apr 17, 2012, at 3:48 PM, Steve Hampton <shampton@...> wrote:

            > I have seen them nesting at Sunset State Beach right on Monterey Bay in the past.
            >
            > Steve Hampton, Ph.D.
            > ________________
            > Resource Economist
            > Office of Spill Prevention and Response
            > California Dept of Fish and Game
            > PO Box 944209
            > Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
            > -----------------------------------
            > (916) 323-4724 phone
            > (916) 324-8829 fax
            >
            > >>> Don Roberson <creagrus@...> 4/17/2012 3:37 PM >>>
            > According to our Breeding Bird Atlas in Monterey County (Roberson &
            > Tenney 1993), "A study of Lawrence's Goldfinch at Hastings Reservation
            > (Linsdale 1950) noted . . . a special predilection for seeds of the
            > family Boraginaceae, such as fiddleneck. Abundance seemed tied to seed
            > crops of these species." One possible hypothesis is that this year's
            > late winter rains have produced a strong crop of fiddleneck. I have
            > noted fiddleneck to be widespread in Carmel Valley this spring, and it
            > was a big patch of fiddleneck that attracted Lawrence's to nest at
            > Moonglow Dairy a couple of years past. The Atlas goes on to state that
            > "in 1988 and 1989, in years of abundance [of Lawrence's Goldfinch]
            > inland [in Monterey County], birds were confirmed nesting in the lower
            > Carmel Valley, all the way to the Carmel River mouth. The species was
            > also recorded in drier canyons of the southern Big Sur coast later in
            > the [BBA] project but nesting was not confirmed there." Since the BBA,
            > breeding has been confirmed along the Big Sur coast and coastally north
            > to Moss Landing.
            >
            > This year's crop of Larry Golds recalls other similar spring and early
            > summer trends over the past 20 years, but beyond the hypothesis above, I
            > don't know what accounts for these movements to the coast in some years,
            > and not in others. I suspect, though, that rainfall amounts and timing
            > are variables to be considered.
            >
            > Don Roberson
            >
            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > Unsubscribe: mailto:CALBIRDS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            > Website: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CALBIRDS
            > Listowners: mailto:CALBIRDS-owner@yahoogroups.com
            >
            > For vacation suspension of mail go to the website. Click on Edit My Membership and set your mail option to No Email. Or, send a blank email to these addresses:
            > Turn off email delivery: mailto:CALBIRDS-nomail@yahoogroups.com
            > Resume email delivery: mailto:CALBIRDS-normal@yahoogroups.com
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • John Sterling
            This has happened multiple times in the past four decades that I have been birding so it is not all that unusual (depending on your timeframe). It would be
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 17, 2012
              This has happened multiple times in the past four decades that I have been birding so it is not all that unusual (depending on your timeframe). It would be interesting to investigate the causes of these patterns, tied to fiddle neck abundance and/or rainfall patterns on the coast or inland?

              Sent from my iPad

              John Sterling
              530 908-3836
              26 Palm Ave
              Woodland, CA. 95695




              On Apr 17, 2012, at 2:19 PM, Brian Sullivan <heraldpetrel@...> wrote:

              > Hi Calbirders
              >
              > I've noticed Lawrence's Goldfinches in recent weeks much closer to the
              > coast than normal here in Monterey County. I don't normally see them here
              > in Carmel Valley village, about 11 miles inland. But this year I'm seeing
              > them every day, and on some days much closer to the coast. I checked eBird
              > data and it looks like more are being seen in coastal areas this spring
              > than in previous years, but the differences are pretty subtle--at least on
              > those maps (*http://tinyurl.com/7ah8l5m)*. I'm wondering if others are
              > seeing Lawrence's this spring in unusual places?
              >
              > Thanks
              >
              > Brian
              >
              > --
              > ===========
              > *Brian L. Sullivan
              >
              > eBird/AKN Project Leader *
              > www.ebird.org
              > www.avianknowledge.net
              >
              > *Photo Editor*
              > Birds of North America Online
              > http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/BNA
              > North American Birds
              > www.americanbirding.org
              > -------------------------------
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Jim
              Hi, While I agree that Lawrence s are attracted to fiddleneck, I think there is something else going on with this species this season. Sightings in Orange
              Message 6 of 9 , Apr 17, 2012
                Hi,

                While I agree that Lawrence's are attracted to fiddleneck, I think there is something else going on with this species this season. Sightings in Orange County picked up on Feb 20, when Brian Daniels noted 6-7 birds feeding primarily in mustard at Huntington Central Park in Huntington Beach (a record high count for that locale). Other sightings that followed were distributed throughout the county, none of which were associated with fiddleneck. Where I work in the Prado Basin of western Riverside County, it appears that it will be a relatively decent breeding season for the species, which likely means about 5-10 pairs are present. However, I have no sense that it is an above-average (or even average?) year for fiddleneck. My best guess is that the high numbers of birds/sightings are likelier related to an especially successful breeding season in 2011, and high survivorship in the wintering areas. But this is just a guess.

                Jim Pike
                Hunt Bch

                --- In CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com, Don Roberson <creagrus@...> wrote:
                >
                > According to our Breeding Bird Atlas in Monterey County (Roberson &
                > Tenney 1993), "A study of Lawrence's Goldfinch at Hastings Reservation
                > (Linsdale 1950) noted . . . a special predilection for seeds of the
                > family Boraginaceae, such as fiddleneck. Abundance seemed tied to seed
                > crops of these species." One possible hypothesis is that this year's
                > late winter rains have produced a strong crop of fiddleneck. I have
                > noted fiddleneck to be widespread in Carmel Valley this spring, and it
                > was a big patch of fiddleneck that attracted Lawrence's to nest at
                > Moonglow Dairy a couple of years past. The Atlas goes on to state that
                > "in 1988 and 1989, in years of abundance [of Lawrence's Goldfinch]
                > inland [in Monterey County], birds were confirmed nesting in the lower
                > Carmel Valley, all the way to the Carmel River mouth. The species was
                > also recorded in drier canyons of the southern Big Sur coast later in
                > the [BBA] project but nesting was not confirmed there." Since the BBA,
                > breeding has been confirmed along the Big Sur coast and coastally north
                > to Moss Landing.
                >
                > This year's crop of Larry Golds recalls other similar spring and early
                > summer trends over the past 20 years, but beyond the hypothesis above, I
                > don't know what accounts for these movements to the coast in some years,
                > and not in others. I suspect, though, that rainfall amounts and timing
                > are variables to be considered.
                >
                > Don Roberson
                >
              • Robert McKernan
                John, Yes, for unknown reasons eruptions of LAGO have been intriguing over many decades. In the 70s and early 80s the mountain front canyons along the San
                Message 7 of 9 , Apr 17, 2012
                  John,

                  Yes, for unknown reasons eruptions of LAGO have been intriguing over many decades. In the 70s and early 80s the mountain front canyons along the San Bernardino and San Jacinto would have a fair number, flocks of 25-40 during early spring feeding on a variety of annuals. Although, 2011 rainfall and the post influence was astounding in recent memory, in the interior coastal valleys fallow fields with uniform stands of fiddleneck were attaching 100-125 LAGO. This spring (12), early to mid March estimates in fallow fields of fiddleneck in Redlands and San Bernardino were harboring 100-400 LAGO and >200 LEGO, concentrations that were amazing, to me... So, the temporal patterns of rainfall (late?) seems to produce extended growth of fiddleneck (interior coastal valleys), and produce a feast and amazing concentrations of LAGO. However, I'm still preplexed regarding their year-to-year habitat affinties for breeding in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

                  Thanks,

                  Bob McKernan
                  SBCM



                  CC: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
                  To: heraldpetrel@...
                  From: jsterling@...
                  Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2012 16:14:48 -0700
                  Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Lawrence's Goldfinches--what's going on?





                  This has happened multiple times in the past four decades that I have been birding so it is not all that unusual (depending on your timeframe). It would be interesting to investigate the causes of these patterns, tied to fiddle neck abundance and/or rainfall patterns on the coast or inland?

                  Sent from my iPad

                  John Sterling
                  530 908-3836
                  26 Palm Ave
                  Woodland, CA. 95695

                  On Apr 17, 2012, at 2:19 PM, Brian Sullivan <heraldpetrel@...> wrote:

                  > Hi Calbirders
                  >
                  > I've noticed Lawrence's Goldfinches in recent weeks much closer to the
                  > coast than normal here in Monterey County. I don't normally see them here
                  > in Carmel Valley village, about 11 miles inland. But this year I'm seeing
                  > them every day, and on some days much closer to the coast. I checked eBird
                  > data and it looks like more are being seen in coastal areas this spring
                  > than in previous years, but the differences are pretty subtle--at least on
                  > those maps (*http://tinyurl.com/7ah8l5m)*. I'm wondering if others are
                  > seeing Lawrence's this spring in unusual places?
                  >
                  > Thanks
                  >
                  > Brian
                  >
                  > --
                  > ===========
                  > *Brian L. Sullivan
                  >
                  > eBird/AKN Project Leader *
                  > www.ebird.org
                  > www.avianknowledge.net
                  >
                  > *Photo Editor*
                  > Birds of North America Online
                  > http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/BNA
                  > North American Birds
                  > www.americanbirding.org
                  > -------------------------------
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • dan_cooper_90042
                  Just to weigh in late on a crowded topic... Yes, this past winter I had small numbers of LAGOs coastward (near downtown Los Angeles, vic. Chinatown) where I
                  Message 8 of 9 , Apr 17, 2012
                    Just to weigh in late on a crowded topic...

                    Yes, this past winter I had small numbers of LAGOs coastward (near downtown Los Angeles, vic. Chinatown) where I wouldn't have expected them, in mixed flocks with the two other goldfinches. (I have yet to figure out what makes a site in the L.A. area a consistent spring locale for them, probably since they're pretty nomadic. I've definitely gone looking at "classic" spots for them only to be skunked.)

                    Just a word about fiddleneck - it's nearly extirpated on the urban floor of the basin (like a lot of native annuals), so "our" birds aren't necessarily feeding on it when they get here. Since it goes to seed so early, it coincides with the height of the nesting season (unlike a lot of asters, for ex.), but I don't know that its availability affects spring distribution that much, since birds are probably trying to load up on insect prey more than seeds in spring (obviously, they'll gorge on it if it's around - they're birds, after all). I'm just not sure it's a "pull", rather than a "push" scenario.

                    As Bob McKernan mentioned, spring 2011 was incredible for lowland and foothill annuals, so maybe LAGOs just got really common here starting last summer, and the big numbers are resulting in a bit wider distribution now (including coastward). Incidentally, 2012 has been basically a bust for annuals in the hills around L.A. So maybe this bird gets more widespread the year after big wildflower blooms?

                    Then again (assuming you're still reading), maybe there *is* a coastal shift going on with spring migration this year (see my earlier LACoBirds post about Rufous Hummingbirds on the coast, Violet-green Swallows in big numbers here too, and maybe a few more coastal Swainson's Hawks?). I have to think a lot of April Lawrence's Goldfinches are still in transit, esp. up in Monterey, so might follow traditional migratory paths of other birds.

                    Interesting stuff.

                    Dan Cooper
                    Oak Park (Ventura Co.)

                    --- In CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com, Brian Sullivan <heraldpetrel@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi Calbirders
                    >
                    > I've noticed Lawrence's Goldfinches in recent weeks much closer to the
                    > coast than normal here in Monterey County. I don't normally see them here
                    > in Carmel Valley village, about 11 miles inland. But this year I'm seeing
                    > them every day, and on some days much closer to the coast. I checked eBird
                    > data and it looks like more are being seen in coastal areas this spring
                    > than in previous years, but the differences are pretty subtle--at least on
                    > those maps (*http://tinyurl.com/7ah8l5m)*. I'm wondering if others are
                    > seeing Lawrence's this spring in unusual places?
                    >
                    > Thanks
                    >
                    > Brian
                    >
                    > --
                    > ===========
                    > *Brian L. Sullivan
                    >
                    > eBird/AKN Project Leader *
                    > www.ebird.org
                    > www.avianknowledge.net
                    >
                    > *Photo Editor*
                    > Birds of North America Online
                    > http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/BNA
                    > North American Birds
                    > www.americanbirding.org
                    > -------------------------------
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                  • Nick & Mary Freeman
                    Hi Birders When Nick and I were first granted a permit by the USFS to survey owls in the San Gabriel mountains above Los Angeles post-Station Fire in 2010,
                    Message 9 of 9 , Apr 17, 2012
                      Hi Birders

                      When Nick and I were first granted a permit by the USFS to survey
                      owls in the San Gabriel mountains above Los Angeles post-Station Fire
                      in 2010, every daytime visit we made that spring into summer,
                      Lawrence's Goldfinches were one of the most commonly encountered
                      species on the Angeles Crest. We were allowed to survey sites closed
                      off to the public. Hillsides were covered in a riot of wildflower
                      display. On some of the slopes that weren't burned into oblivion,
                      fiddleneck was a common plant species. At those sites, Larry's golds
                      were omnipresent. We'd encounter small flocks of Larry's flying over
                      the highway during that summer. But 15 years back, I remember the few
                      reports of Larry's Golds making news on Bird Box. Now, Lawrence's
                      Goldfinches are pretty reliable in favorable habitat that yield
                      patches of fiddleneck.

                      Good Birding!

                      Mary Freeman
                      Glendale, CA
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