I haven’t done any birding news for awhile. This started out as a “green” birding blog so I should tell you what’s been happening in the Mendocino birding world?
The last birding post was about Laguna Marsh, part of the Big River Spring bird surveys. They are finished. The final leg was the East Haul Road. This section is the least diverse, bird wise, of all the three surveys. As you go further east you get down to just a few different birds. Wilson’s Warblers, Pacific-slope Flycatchers, Swainson’s Thrushes are the “big” three.
Pictured above are Nicolet Houtz, Trails & Big River Stewardship Coordinator, and Emily Merfeld, Paul Siegel Salmon Restoration Intern, looking east on the Haul Road. Both are with the Mendocino Land Trust, the sponsor of the surveys. I actually did five survey for them. Two West Haul Road, two Laguna Marsh and one East Haul Road surveys. Ever present were the mosquitos this year, the worst I’ve ever seen.
On June 8th, I posted this announcement on our local MendoBirds website:
8 June, 2014–Sunday–This morning and early afternoon there has been a female MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD at the Little River Airport. First found it on a power pole at the entrance road to the airport. Later viewed it near the windsock and hovering out in the center of the airport and when I left it was along the hangers on the taxiway going west.
Since it was a female I have spent some time with my bird books to make sure of the ID.
If you plan on chasing it, remember that it is a working FAA controlled airport.
This was a new Mendocino County bird for me and they are quite rare in the county. Because it was the first female MOBL I’ve seen, it confused me for awhile. Until I saw the blue on it’s rump I wasn’t sure.
After talking to the airport manager the following week I posted this announcement on the Mendocino bird website:
Sat. 6/14/14–This morning I was doing my usual birding at the Little River Airport and happened to start a conversation with the airport’s manager. I started the conversation with the announcement of a rare Mountain Bluebird last Sunday. He said he knew all about it and proceeded to tell me several stories about birders chasing it. One birder after watching plane activity proceeded to walk out on the active runway. Another group of birders decided to form a car caravan and drove out on the taxiway, stopped on it and got out and set up their scopes. He related a plane on the taxiway having to stop because of people in it’s way.
Because of this conversation I will no longer be posting rare birds at the airport on this website. I will probably delay reporting them on Ebird as well.
I realized, in thinking about this issue, that I failed to follow the ABA’s Code of Birding Ethics. 1(c) states, “Before advertising the presence of a rare bird, evaluate the potential for disturbance to the bird, its surroundings, and other people in the area, and proceed only if access can be controlled, disturbance minimized, and permission has been obtained from private land-owners.”
I would suggest that all birders read this “Code of Birding Ethics” frequently. It can be found on the American Birding Association’s Website. http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html
After birding the airport for many years I can’t afford to let inconsiderate birders close off my local patch.
Birders can be such idiots at times but I received several good replies to my announcement.
I am still doing my SOS Shorebird Surveys at Virgin Creek Beach. Still taking the bus and my bike to do them. The official start of the new season started on July 1st. It been quiet, shorebird wise, for most of the year but I had the earliest (for me) returning Western Sandpipers on June 19th.
Based on my last post, “Care to Join the Debate–Carbon Offsets” I have decided to give a small donation to a birding organization. Which one should I choose? The Cornell Lab of Ornithology might be a good choice but they never answered my letter and I’m no longer a member. They still sponsor extreme birding fundraisers. How about National Audubon? I was shocked to see that their latest issue of Audubon Magazine (July-August 2014) featured Neil Hayward and his 2013 Big Year. No mention of their climate change policies but they want us to green our pets. And there’s still no mention of “greening” their Christmas Bird Counts. The American Birding Association (ABA) is gradually bringing the subject of climate change to their members but it is still the “listing” center of the birding world. So I’ve decided on the American Bird Conservancy (ABC). As far as I can find out they don’t sponsor extreme birding and walk the walk on their climate policies. They also do good things for birds. I will suggest that they establish a new bird chasing “guilt” fundraiser. It might catch on.