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Suggestions on finding birds in California?

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  • Jay Packer
    Hi, I ve never posted to Calbirds before, and have only read over the list the last couple of days, so I hope I m not intruding. My name is Jay Packer (I m
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 9, 2001
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      Hi,

      I've never posted to Calbirds before, and have only read over the list the
      last couple of days, so I hope I'm not intruding.

      My name is Jay Packer (I'm from Texas if anyone wondered), and I'll be
      taking a trip out to California during the third and fourth weeks of August,
      just in time to return for school. I'm doing several Shearwater pelagics (I
      can't wait!), but I wanted to ask for some advice on finding the following
      species. I've been to California once before (loved it), but don't really
      know a whole lot about where everything is.

      My top two priorities:

      California Thrasher
      LeConte's Thrasher

      I've heard people say that the California Thrasher shouldn't be hard, but I
      didn't see it last time.

      Also, if someone has a place in Arizona for the LeConte's Thrasher, I'd like
      to know about that too, since I'll probably be coming through Arizona.

      I'd like to get out to Santa Cruz Island to see the Island Scrub-Jay. Could
      someone explain the best way to get out on the island? Is there a ferry, or
      is it more difficult than that?

      Other species that I was interested in were:

      Mountain Quail
      Black-backed Woodpecker
      California Gnatcatcher
      Sage Sparrow
      Ruffed Grouse
      Great Gray Owl (Yosemite ?)

      Also, are any of the following shorebirds migrating through, and where might
      be a good place to see them...

      Pacific Golden-Plover
      Black OyesterCatcher (permanent resident, right?)
      Wandering Tattler
      Black Turnstone (winter only?)
      Surfbird (winter only?)
      Rock SandPiper (winter only?)
      Red Phalarope


      That's about all I can think of right now. I'm very grateful for any
      suggestions that you might have.

      Thank you,

      Jay


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    • Scott Spencer
      ... I m assuming that you know that the Calbirds list has public archives at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CALBIRDS where you can see everything recently
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 9, 2001
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        >I've never posted to Calbirds before, and have only read over the list the
        >last couple of days, so I hope I'm not intruding.

        I'm assuming that you know that the Calbirds list has public archives at
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CALBIRDS
        where you can see everything recently posted to the list. However,
        this version of the list has only been in operation for perhaps 4-6
        weeks - so that's about what's available.

        Here's a state-wide resource that may be of some help
        http://fog.ccsf.cc.ca.us/~jmorlan/county.htm
        Joe Morlan tells you most of what can be known about CA birding, by county.

        Another useful reference is this one
        http://www.geocities.com/steve_holzman/birding/emailmap.htm
        Interactive Map for Birding Email Lists in California
        which provides pointers to about two dozen regional lists (mostly by
        county) in the state. Most of them, in particular the Yahoo/Groups
        ones, have archives. However, many of them require that you "join"
        the list before you can read the archives - which may be more of a
        commitment than you care to make.

        And, checking the BirdWest archives at
        http://listserv.arizona.edu/archives/index.html
        will tell you what's being reported to (some of) our rare bird hotlines.

        With luck, maybe somebody else will try to answer your question directly!

        HTH, Scott
        --
        Scott T. Spencer aka stspencer@...
        Menlo Park, CA

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Steve Sosensky
        Hi Jay, The first rule about birding in California is buy the guide books. For SoCal, get A Birders Guide to Southern California by Brad Schram (ABA/Lane).
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 9, 2001
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          Hi Jay,

          The first rule about birding in California is buy the guide books. For
          SoCal, get "A Birders' Guide to Southern California" by Brad Schram
          (ABA/Lane). For NoCal, I use "Birding Northern California" by John Kemper
          (Falcon Press). Both are widely available.

          At 04:06 PM 2001-08-09 +0000, Jay Packer wrote:
          >My name is Jay Packer (I'm from Texas if anyone wondered), and I'll be
          >taking a trip out to California during the third and fourth weeks of August,
          >just in time to return for school. I'm doing several Shearwater pelagics (I
          >can't wait!), but I wanted to ask for some advice on finding the following
          >species. I've been to California once before (loved it), but don't really
          >know a whole lot about where everything is.
          >
          >My top two priorities:
          >
          >California Thrasher

          Usually findable in proper habitat - chaparral, oak woodland, mountains.

          >LeConte's Thrasher

          I've never missed this in Taft, CA at the intersection of Cadet and
          Petroleum Club Rds.

          >I'd like to get out to Santa Cruz Island to see the Island Scrub-Jay. Could
          >someone explain the best way to get out on the island? Is there a ferry, or
          >is it more difficult than that?

          Contact Island Packers www.islandpackers.com for their schedule. They leave
          from Ventura Harbor. Prisoner's Harbor is easier for the Jay than Scorpion
          Landing, which may require a somewhat strenuous hike.

          >Other species that I was interested in were:
          >
          >Mountain Quail

          Many places. One of the most reliable is the Chilao Visitors' Center on
          Angeles Crest Highway in the San Gabriel Mts. near Los Angeles. If you go,
          bring your own seed. The Visitors' Center has been closed on weekends due
          to lack of volunteers to keep it open. Just put seed on the feeder tray and
          wait. Be patient. They will be the last species to come to the food.

          >Black-backed Woodpecker

          Devil's Postpile is the traditional place in the eastern Sierra.

          >California Gnatcatcher

          Relatively easy at Upper Newport Bay at the intersection of Back Bay Drive
          and San Joaquin Hills Rd. and in Palos Verdes on Forrestal Drive.

          >Sage Sparrow

          _canescens_ should be seen in Taft with the Le Conte's Thrasher. _belli_
          are more coastal. The best place I know is in Ventura Co. along Backbone
          Trail. From PCH, take Yerba Buena Rd. (at Neptune's Net restaurant about 2
          miles west of the LA Co. line) up into the hills past the Circle X Ranch HQ
          to a parking lot on the inside of a hairpin turn. Walk up the trail and
          start looking after the first large left hand turn. Best in early morning.

          >Ruffed Grouse

          Never seen one. Modoc County, I think.

          >Great Gray Owl (Yosemite ?)

          Yes.


          >Also, are any of the following shorebirds migrating through, and where might
          >be a good place to see them...
          >
          >Pacific Golden-Plover

          Too early. More likely in November.

          >Black OyesterCatcher (permanent resident, right?)

          Yes

          >Wandering Tattler
          >Black Turnstone (winter only?)

          Both birds are currently being seen in Ventura Harbor.

          >Surfbird (winter only?)

          should be around

          >Rock SandPiper (winter only?)

          Yes and usually only north of San Francisco. I had to go well into
          Mendecino Co. in December to find mine.

          >Red Phalarope

          possible on your boat trips.


          Good birding,
          Steve <mailto:steve@...>, <mailto:mobile@...>

          Steve Sosensky, photographer www.sosensky.com
          10834 Blix Street #213 818-508-4946
          Toluca Lake, CA 91602 34*09'02" N, 118*22'47" W
          Audubon in So. California www.SoCalAudubon.org/socal/
          San Fernando Valley AS www.SanFernandoValleyAudubon.org/sfvas/
          AIM ID: SteveS310 Yahoo Messenger ID: SteveSosensky
          SoCal FRS: use channel 11 code 22
        • DOUGLAS SHAW
          Hi Jay, You did not mention where your pelagic trips were departing from in CA. I assume some will be out of Bodega Bay. Well, here in Sonoma County the Pine
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 9, 2001
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            Hi Jay,
            You did not mention where your pelagic trips were departing from in CA. I assume some will be out of Bodega Bay. Well, here in Sonoma County the Pine Flat Road area is a very reliable spot for both Mountain Quail and California Thrasher. Mountain Quail can be heard and if you are very lucky seen at dawn at the summit of Pine Flat Road. Once, I had a MOQU cross the road within the first mile of the road which is unusual. The summit of the road has several large power transformers. I have seen CATH singing from the next to last transformer several times. Your best chances are in the early morning, but sometimes the thrashers are visible at late as noon. I have had Sage Sparrow at the summit once or twice.
            Directions: Take Hwy.101 north from Santa Rosa to Healdsburg and take Hwy. 128 east towards the Alexander Valley. Follow Hwy.128 east for about 10 miles. Pine Flat Rd. is in the Northern CA Delorme.

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Jay Packer
            Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2001 9:35 AM
            To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [CALBIRDS] Suggestions on finding birds in California?

            Hi,

            I've never posted to Calbirds before, and have only read over the list the
            last couple of days, so I hope I'm not intruding.

            My name is Jay Packer (I'm from Texas if anyone wondered), and I'll be
            taking a trip out to California during the third and fourth weeks of August,
            just in time to return for school. I'm doing several Shearwater pelagics (I
            can't wait!), but I wanted to ask for some advice on finding the following
            species. I've been to California once before (loved it), but don't really
            know a whole lot about where everything is.

            My top two priorities:

            California Thrasher
            LeConte's Thrasher

            I've heard people say that the California Thrasher shouldn't be hard, but I
            didn't see it last time.

            Also, if someone has a place in Arizona for the LeConte's Thrasher, I'd like
            to know about that too, since I'll probably be coming through Arizona.

            I'd like to get out to Santa Cruz Island to see the Island Scrub-Jay. Could
            someone explain the best way to get out on the island? Is there a ferry, or
            is it more difficult than that?

            Other species that I was interested in were:

            Mountain Quail
            Black-backed Woodpecker
            California Gnatcatcher
            Sage Sparrow
            Ruffed Grouse
            Great Gray Owl (Yosemite ?)

            Also, are any of the following shorebirds migrating through, and where might
            be a good place to see them...

            Pacific Golden-Plover
            Black OyesterCatcher (permanent resident, right?)
            Wandering Tattler
            Black Turnstone (winter only?)
            Surfbird (winter only?)
            Rock SandPiper (winter only?)
            Red Phalarope


            That's about all I can think of right now. I'm very grateful for any
            suggestions that you might have.

            Thank you,

            Jay


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