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Re: [CALBIRDS] Birding vehicles?

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  • Les Chibana
    While not as high off the ground as our previous VW Eurovan, we are beginning to enjoy the benefits of stealth mode (electric only) while birding in our
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 3, 2006
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      While not as high off the ground as our previous VW Eurovan, we are
      beginning to enjoy the benefits of "stealth mode" (electric only)
      while birding in our Toyota Prius. Waaaay better gas mileage and
      almost no emissions.

      Les Chibana
      Volcano, HI


      On Oct 2, 2006, at 5:24 AM, Chris wrote:

      > Hi all,
      >
      > When you want to go on a birding trip with 2 or often 4 people, a
      > trip that
      > is mostly driving with short stops like a Big Day or such, what is
      > your
      > ultimate birding vehicle?
      >
      > We currently use a Toyota Sienna minivan. We like that it is fairly
      > high off
      > the ground, has roll down back windows (unlike most minivans), and
      > lots of
      > room in back for scopes, cooler, etc. But it doesn’t get the best gas
      > mileage.
      >
      > What other considerations do people have?
      >
      > What is their favorite birding car (even if they don’t own one)?
      >
      > -Chris Illes
      > San Jose, CA
    • Steve Sosensky
      Hi Calbirders, As this topic is not specific to California, the thread is closed. It is of interest, however, so I would suggest restarting it on BirdChat.
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 3, 2006
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        Hi Calbirders,

        As this topic is not specific to California, the thread is closed. It
        is of interest, however, so I would suggest restarting it on BirdChat.


        Good birding,
        Steve Sosensky
        Aliso Viejo, CA 92656 33.56485 N, 117.72205 W
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      • debbie viess
        Dr. Howard Cogswell, reknowned local ornithologist, died this summer at the age of 91. His many friends and colleagues in the birding world will be gathering
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 3, 2006
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          Dr. Howard Cogswell, reknowned local ornithologist, died this summer at the age of 91. His many friends and colleagues in the birding world will be gathering on Saturday, October 14th, at his namesake marsh at the Hayward Shoreline, to honor and remember his life. All members of the birding community who were encouraged or inspired by Howard and his work are welcome to attend. If you are unable to attend, but would like your remembrances read to the group, please contact me privately.

          The Ceremony starts at 10:00 am. Folks are encouraged to share their remembrances. Refreshments will be served. A guided walk throught the Cogswell Marsh and adjoining freshwater marsh (normally closed to the public) will follow the Ceremony, so don't forget your binoculars!

          Meet at the foot of Winton Ave., West of Hwy. 880. We will be parking inside of the EBRPD gated lot. Directions to the exact Memorial site will be posted on the gate. For a map to the area, go to: http://www.ebparks.org/parks/hayward.htm#Map

          Hope to see you there,
          Debbie Viess
          Memorial Organizer
        • debbie viess
          This past weekend found me back in the mountains, in the Echo Lake area above and to the West of South Lake Tahoe. The Sierra is always a treat this time of
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 4, 2006
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            This past weekend found me back in the mountains, in the Echo Lake area above and to the West of South Lake Tahoe. The Sierra is always a treat this time of year. The weather is crisp, the aspen leaves are yellow, and the mushrooms have a last gasp of growth before the snows fall. But it takes rain to make mushrooms, and the duff underfoot was potato chip crunchy. Normally I can rely upon the local birds to fill in the gap, but somehow even they were reluctant to cooperate.

            After trudging through the woods and finding next to nothing fungal, it was with relief that I spotted a foraging dipper, on the placid waters of the upper Truckee River where it flowed under Hwy. 50. I had never seen one forage while surface swimming before. This bird paddled along the surface of the water, with his head submerged, as he flowed along with the current. He soon tired of this, and dipped along the rocky shore, as he picked at tidbits, and flashed his white-feathered eyelids. I watched him from my vantage point on the opposite bank, and he paid me no mind. Or maybe all that dip and flash was for my benefit! While I watched the dipper, a kingfisher rattled past, just to let me know that there were at least two birds in the Sierra that day.

            Giving up on mushrooms, my husband David and I drove down to Taylor Creek in South Lake Tahoe, to view the spawning, land-locked Kokanee salmon. Despite the hordes of fish-watching people that crowded the bridge, and streams of marathon runners that slipped through the crowd (nothing like the solitude of the mountains!), there was a small flock of pale orange-crested common mergansers just below us. These birds were unusually tolerant of a close human presence. Since the salmon seemed almost as large as the birds, I found it difficult to believe that the mergansers were hoping for a super-sized meal. Surely they were after smaller prey? A half dozen of these fish-loving ducks floated placidly on the water, while the red and green bodies of the salmon clustered beneath them.

            Suddenly, the mergansers started swimming like maniacs, plowing along just under the surface, and making wakes like a submarine, with their bodies and heads submerged but still afloat. It was quite a spectacle, but none of the birds seemed to actually catch anything. Were they just displaying to each other? I was still convinced that they were after smaller prey, since the creek is also full of minnows and sunfish.

            I crept along the stream-bank, and fought my way through tangles of willow and aspen, to try and get a closer look and a video of their odd behavior. As I stood half-concealed along the bank, up popped a merganser with a fat salmon in his bill! It was at least half of the bird’s length, but down the hatch it went. With prey this size, there was no need for a second fish. Out of the water he came, to sit upon a log and begin the laborious process of digestion. Although the merganser made mincemeat of my prey-size theory, what fun to watch the seemingly impossible made possible.

            Debbie Viess
            Oakland, CA
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