March 2018 Yellowbill

01 Mar March 2018 Yellowbill


President’s Message

An element of our mission at Fresno Audubon is advocacy. Advocacy can take the form of letters to the editor, phone calls to representatives, public service announcements or other efforts. One of the most effective means of advocacy is to meet directly with your representative or their staff to express to them your support or opposition for a particular issue or measure coming before them. There are two measures in 2018 that deserve our advocacy: Proposition 68 (Parks, Environment and Water Bond, June 2018) and the Fresno Parks Measure currently being considered for November 2018. So that we might become better advocates, I have asked Ariana Rickard, Associate Director for the Chapter Network at Audubon California, to speak to us this month. Audubon has been a tireless advocate for the environment, and Audubon California has put together a training program on this vital skill that Ariana will be presenting. I have been a part of Audubon’s annual Lobby Day in Sacramento, and I found the process less intimidating as well as more fun than I had assumed. I hope to see you Tuesday March 13 at the general meeting.

Our field trips this week include two local trips (Eastman Lake and Lost Lake Park), as well as one longer trip to Parkfield. Lost Lake Park has more species recorded in eBird (223) than any other Fresno County hotspot so it’s always a great trip. Eastman Lake is a foothill oak woodland and water environment in Madera County with an eBird total of 155 species observed. Birding along the way should yield eagles, hawks and shorebirds. The Parkfield trip is one of my favorites because the birding is great, and Parkfield is an earthquake hotspot right on the San Andreas fault. It is the most heavily instrumented fault in the world since major earthquakes occur at regular intervals there, and the next one is overdue.

The Fresno Audubon Board will create a strategic plan this year, which will be a new approach to guiding our efforts. We plan to work on this for the next two months and will be soliciting input from our members by email. I hope you will share your thoughts with us on the efforts you would like to see us undertake.

Robert Snow, President


March Meeting
Tuesday 13 March 2018 at 7:00 pm
Advocacy for Birds: Engage with Elected Officials To Become a Champion for Birds and Conservation
Ariana Rickard
Associate Director for the Chapter Network at Audubon California


Now, more than ever, birds need you to advocate on their behalf in Congress, district offices, and local city councils. But how do you develop a relationship with your elected official and influence conservation decisions?

Please join us on Tuesday, March 13, from 7:00-8:00 pm for a presentation on engaging public officials from Ariana Rickard of Audubon California. She will cover how to set up appointments, how to prepare and conduct the meeting, and recommended follow up. Ariana will also share resources available from Audubon California to improve the advocacy capacity of our chapter.

Ariana Rickard is the Associate Director for the Chapter Network at Audubon California. She supports chapter-led conservation, outreach, research, and policy projects. Ariana worked in public education at the American Museum of Natural History and in policy development and implementation with federal resource agencies (EPA, NOAA, and USFWS). She also spent two years in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. Ariana received her MS degree in Resource Ecology and Management from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and her BA in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard University. She has served on the board of her local chapter, Mt. Diablo Audubon, for the past five years. Ariana lives in Pleasant Hill with her husband and two sons.

The meeting will be held at UC Center, UC Center, 550 E Shaw Ave, Fresno, CA 93710.


Field Trips

Fresno Audubon offers field trips on Wednesdays (twice per month) and Saturdays (once per month) from September through June. Our website has a great calendar that allows you to see all the details of an upcoming trip as they become finalized. Included in the details is a map showing the meeting point for the trip. The calendar is subscribable, which allows you to integrate it into whatever electronic calendar you use. Updates to events will appear as they are made. We encourage you to subscribe.

March Field Trips

Wednesday 14 March 2018. Parkfield with Robert Snow

Parkfield Cafe

Parkfield Cafe

Robert Snow will lead a full-day trip to the western side of Fresno County and into eastern Monterey County as we visit Parkfield and the surrounding area. Chances are good we will see Ferruginous Hawks, Kingbirds and our mascot, the Yellow-billed Magpie. We have often seen a herd of Tule Elk along the route. Parkfield is on the San Andreas fault and is known for its high level of earthquake activity. For lunch we will eat at the Parkfield Cafe, or you can bring your lunch if you prefer.
Meet on the west side of the Walmart parking lot at Blackstone and Ashlan at 7:45 am for an 8:00 am departure.
Checklist: binoculars, scope, field guide, snacks, lunch, water, sunscreen, hat, radios

Map to meeting location:

Saturday 17 March 2018. Lost Lake Park with Kevin Enns-Rempel

Join Kevin Enns-Rempel to bird Lost Lake Park on this month’s Saturday field trip. We’ll be birding the entire park (nature trail, campground, and the area in between). The FINS trail is still blocked in the middle due to construction, so we will only be able to do the end closest to the Lost Lake campground. Meet on the west side of the Walmart parking lot at Blackstone and Ashlan at 6:45 am for a 7:00 am departure.

Checklist: binoculars, scope, field guide, snacks, lunch, water, sunscreen, hat

Map to meeting location:

Wednesday 28 March 2018. Eastman Lake with Linda Schafhauser

Linda Schafhauser will lead this trip through the Madera grasslands and foothills along Rd 26 to Eastman Lake. Expect to see eagles, hawks, shorebirds and owls, and possibly migrating Rufous Hummingbirds if the right trees are in bloom. After lunch at Eastman Lake we will have a chance to walk the numerous trails in the area.

We will meet at the Amtrak station in Madera (18770 Rd 26, Madera, CA 93638) at 8:15 for an 8:30 departure.

Checklist: binoculars, scope, field guide, snacks, lunch, water, hat, radios

Map to meeting location:


by Jeff Davis
photos by Gary Woods
Including reports for the period of
January 16, 2018 to February 15, 2018

The three Common Ground-Doves discovered along Flum Ditch northeast of Biola January 9

Common Ground Dove

Common Ground Dove

were observed there through January; the last report was of a single bird on February 2 (JS). The only Prairie Merlin reported this season was in the Panoche Hills February 8 (ph. MB). Rare at

Prairie Merlin

Prairie Merlin

any season and especially scarce in winter, a Cassin’s Kingbird was on Little Panoche Rd south of

Cassin's Kingbird

Cassin’s Kingbird

Mercey Hot Springs February 11 (DL). Even scarcer in winter, two Western Kingbirds visited

Western Kingbird

Western Kingbird

Jensen River Ranch January 28 (ph. AR). Our first Cliff Swallows of the season were

Cliff Swallow

Cliff Swallow

represented by 25 birds at Lost Lake Park February 10 (JF). Lawrence’s Goldfinches continued

Lawrence's Goldfinch

Lawrence’s Goldfinch

their unseasonable presence, with 14 birds west of Biola January 16 (ph. GW), one at Mercey Hot Springs February 8 (PG), and two in Reedley February 11 (JH). At least six Sagebrush Sparrows

Sagebrush Sparrow

Sagebrush Sparrow

in the Panoche Hills January 24 (ph. SS, CC) demonstrated that at times this species can outnumber Bell’s Sparrow. Finding a single White-throated Sparrow can be the highlight of any winter

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

outing in our area, but finding two at China Creek February 15 (ph. DJ) was exceptional. A Black-throated Gray Warbler at the Kings River Green Belt north of Minkler January 21 (DJ) and

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Black-throated Gray Warbler

another at Sycamore Island February 14 (ph. GF, RS, NJ et al.) provided rare winter records of this species.

Addendum: A researcher (Lucas Bobay) familiar with the species reported a singing Ovenbird



northwest of Camp Sierra in the Sierra National Forest June 15, 2017, about two weeks after the one discovered at the Fresno Chafee Zoo. This observation represents the third record of this species for our area.

Cited Observers: Meg Barron, Christine Carino, James Fleck, George Folsom, Phil Gulley, Joshua Holman, Daniel Jeffcoach, Nina Jones, Diana Loomis, Alexander Rurik, Rick Saxton, John Sterling, Susan Stanton, Gary Woods. m.ob. = many observers, ph. = photographed by.

If you make an interesting observation, we’d love to hear about it. We are especially interested in birds listed as casual or rare on the Fresno Audubon checklist and those found out of season, out of normal habitat, or in unusually large numbers. Please submit reports to Jeff Davis (246-3272,, the Fresno County Birders e-mail list, or eBird.

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