October 2017 Yellowbill

30 Sep October 2017 Yellowbill


President’s Message

October is one of my favorite months as the weather cools and the winter-resident birds return to the local refuges. Our speaker this month is Tim Manolis who is an expert on California spiders (he wrote the book!). His talk will be a fascinating exploration of these often-feared creatures, some of whom have an appetite for birds. The wolf spiders are particularly interesting because rather than trapping using webs they hunt their prey using their complex visual system. This should be a very lively talk.

We have three field trips this month. The Saturday field trip on October 7th will be to Kings Canyon with Kevin Enns-Rempel. It will be great up in the high Sierra in the fall as the last migrants move through. On Wednesday the 11th George Folsom will lead a trip around the River Center, a local gem for birding. Finally on the 25th Larry Parmeter leads a trip to Yosemite Lake, which is just north of the UC Merced Campus and always produces interesting birds.

Also at UC Merced on Saturday October 21st will be the Audubon Council meeting for the Central Valley and Sierra chapters, and Fresno Audubon is hosting the event. This is a great chance to speak with representatives of other chapters in our region. There will be a field trip to Merced National Wildlife Refuge on Friday the 20th beginning at 12:30 pm, and Kim Forest (the manager of the San Luis/Merced/San Joaquin refuge complex) will speak about the role the refuges play in protecting bird habitat and the role that volunteers have in supporting their mission. The agenda for the event can be found here. If you are interested in attending either the field trip or the meetings on Saturday, please send me an email at rsnow@fresnoaudubon.org.

Our many thanks to the people who have already paid their dues for 2017-2018. For those of you who have not yet gotten around to it, remember that you can pay either online with PayPal or by sending us a check. These dues pay for bird conservation, our monthly meetings, this website, and insurance among other things.  Details about paying dues are on our Membership page. Happy birding!


October Meeting
California Spiders
with Tim Manolis
10 October 2017
UC Center

California Spiders

If you don’t know much about jumping spiders, be warned – learning more about them can become an addictive pleasure! Among other amazing things, they stalk prey – insects and other spiders – like cats, using vision that rivals that of many birds and mammals. Male jumpers can be brilliantly colored with courtship displays rivaling those of birds-of-paradise. Some species are remarkable mimics of ants, wasps, or beetles. Intrigued? Plan to attend our spider program on October 10 to learn more about spider biology, California species, and jumping spiders.

Tim Manolis will present photos of these extraordinary creatures and answer all your spider questions. Dr. Manolis received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and is an artist, writer and field biologist who has lived in Sacramento for many years. He is author of Dragonflies and Damselflies of California, and the illustrator of Field Guides to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions and the Field Guide to Spiders of California and the Pacific Coast States.

We hope to see you on October 10 at 7:00 at UC Center, 550 E Shaw Ave, Fresno, CA 93710.


Field Trips

Our field trip schedules are coming together thanks to the hard work of Kevin Enns-Remple (Saturday field trips) and Susan Estep (Wednesday Walks). A pdf schedule of the trips as they now stand will be sent out by eblast. The list still has a few holes in it, mostly missing trip leaders, but September is finalized. Our new 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.

October Field Trips

Saturday 7 October 2017 – Kings Canyon National Park with Kevin Enns-Rempel


Golden-crowned Kinglet by Gary Woods

We will most likely bird the areas of Big Stump and Grant Grove. We’ll stop for lunch at Grant Grove. We can have lunch together at the new Grant Grove restaurant; it’s also possible to picnic in that area if some prefer to do that.

Please bring park passes if you have them.

Meet in the parking lot immediately east of Educational Employees Credit Union, 5640 E. Kings Canyon Rd. at 6:45 am for a 7 am departure. We’ll probably finish mid-afternoon, so plan for a full day. Bring water, snacks, and lunch (unless you plan to eat at the restaurant). Be prepared for quite a bit of walking.

Leader: Kevin Enns-Rempel (559-313-4546 or kevin.enns.rempel@gmail.com)

Meeting point:


Wednesday 11 October 2017 – River Center with George Folsom


Wood Duck by Gary Woods

Join us for a walk around the grounds, ponds and trails at the River Center.  Meet at the River Center (11605 Old Friant Rd, Fresno CA) at 8:00 am and park in the parking area inside the gate.  This outing will involve walking a distance of about 1 1/2 miles but you don’t have to walk the entire distance and can return to the Center and parking area at any time.  There are restrooms and picnic tables at the Center.  We plan to finish by noon and you are welcome to enjoy your lunch with us at the River Center.

Species that spend the winter or migrate through our area are beginning to arrive.  We will be looking for our resident Bald Eagles to make a showing. Several species hawks, ducks, grebes, sparrows, woodpeckers, herons, egrets, finches, blackbirds and more are possibilities.  The eBird species list for the River Center stands at 176 so be prepared for a great day.

Meeting Point:

Wednesday 25 October 2017 – Yosemite Lake with Larry Parmeter


Ferruginous Hawk by Gary Woods

The Fresno Audubon Society Wednesday Walk to Yosemite Lake will be an opportunity to see riparian, grassland, foothill birds, and waterfowl. At Yosemite Lake County Park, a beautiful little area that sits next to the UC Merced campus, woodpeckers, phoebes, goldfinches, bluebirds, and several species of sparrow are common. Hawks, including Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks and Harriers, are usually seen. Bald Eagles, Ferruginous Hawks, and Ospreys may be present. Burrowing Owls have been seen in the field between the park and the campus, and Great Horned and Barn Owls are in the trees near the boat launch area. Early winter-arrival Mountain Bluebirds may show up. As well, some late migrants, such as warblers and flycatchers, may still be hanging around. On the lake, several species of waterfowl, such as mergansers and goldeneyes, will probably be resident for the winter; Clark’s Grebes are permanent residents, and herons and egrets are always in view. Yosemite Lake is a great place for a day of birding, and no one goes home disappointed.

Meet in front of the Target at El Paseo Shopping Center (Herndon and 99) at 7:45 am. Larry Parmeter, 559-276-8753 or lwparmeter@aol.com.
Meeting place:



by Jeff Davis
photos by Gary Woods 
Including reports for the period of
August 16 to September 15, 2017

A female or juvenile Hooded Merganser at a ponding basin at Hoblitt Ave and Sunnyside Ave August 17 (AS) provided a rare summer record for our area.



Rare shorebirds reported during the period were all observed at the Fresno Wastewater Treatment Plant. They included one Marbled Godwit September 9 (ph. KER et al.) and September 13 (ph. GW); one Red Knot September 12 (ph. RS) and


Marbled Godwit


Red Knot

September 13 (ph. GW); five Baird’s Sandpipers August 16 (ph. GW), two August 18 (ph. GF, RS), three August 19 (ph. AS), one August 22 (GF, LH), one August 23 (GW), four September 9 (ph. KER et al.), one September 12 (ph. RS), and one September 13 (ph. GW); a Pectoral Sandpiper August 18 (ph. GF, RS), four September 12 (ph. RS), and two September 13 (GW); a

Radio Rd. ponds 9/11/09

Pectoral Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper September 2 (GW); a Solitary Sandpiper August 23 (ph. GW); and a Willet August 22 (GF, LH).


Semipalmated Sandpiper


Solitary Sandpiper



A Sage Thrasher at Potter Pass September 5 (TZ) and a juvenile Black-throated Sparrow on Woods Creek Trail in Kings


Sage Thrasher


Black-throated Sparrow

Canyon National Park August 22 (RP, SV) furnished our first records of these species from the Sierra Nevada, surprising since they breed on the east side of the Sierra. A female Rose-breasted Grosbeak in Madera Ranchos September 12 (GW) added to a small number of records of this species for our area.

Cited Observers: Kevin Enns-Rempel, George Folsom, Lynn Hemink, Ryan Pottinger, Rick Saxton, Alex Single, Stephane Vernhet, Gary Woods, Tom Zimoski.  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 (559-246-3272, jndavis@ucsc.edu), the Fresno County Birders e-mail list, or eBird.


Eclipse Day Birding

By Larry Parmeter

On August 21, Aileen and I were in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, a small town on the Mississippi River about 50 miles south of St. Louis. We found out that the totality center line for the total eclipse ran right through the town, and it was sponsoring an eclipse festival. I had talked to the organizers when I was there in November, and was invited to bring my telescope for public viewing. So, in the morning while waiting for the eclipse, I watched people enter the county community center area (eventually about 1,500 were present), and also looked and listened for birds. I counted a number of species, mostly common ones such as Robins, Mourning Doves, House Finches, and Killdeer, but also saw two Black Vultures, which are unusual for that area. The eclipse began at 11:50 am Central Daylight Time (CDT), and as it progressed, I focused more on the sun and less on birding, but one thing I did notice was that as the area grew darker and cooler, the bird sounds died down and eventually stopped altogether. Fortunately the clouds that day were scarce; we had beautiful views of the eclipse, and as totality arrived, at 1:18 pm CDT, and the sky had a gorgeous dusk-like darkness (Venus and a few brighter stars could be seen). I could hear nothing avian; it was silent and apparently true that the birds, thinking that night had come, went to roost.  When the moon moved on and the sun came out of totality, though, bird sounds started picking up again; I could hear the cooing of doves, and chirps of sparrows and finches. By the end of the event, sounds were back to normal, and the birds were apparently relieved that it would be a regular day after all. The day was a good experience for astronomy, and a lesson in bird behavior as well.


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