San Mateo County, California
Gull Identification for Regular Folks
By Alvaro Jaramillo
Thursday, December 12, 7:00 pm
And silent auction for a Keith Hansen print, see details below.
California Gull by Alvaro Jaramillo
Gull identification scares the pants off people! This is because admittedly gulls are not simple; they look different as they age, they hybridize and do various tricky things. But, the overwhelming number of gulls you can identify without much trouble. All it takes is some simplification, rather than focusing on the oddities, the arcane details, you take a big picture look at them and begin by identifying the common and abundant ones before moving on to the rarer one. Ignore everything you have been told about gulls and come and see how gull identification can be broken down into a more manageable manner of looking at them, and before you know it you will be identifying the majority of gulls without even thinking about it!
A Saturday (December 14) field trip is planned to the Half Moon Bay area to look for early winter gulls.
Alvaro Jaramillo was born in Chile but began birding in Toronto, Canada, where he lived as a youth. He was trained in ecology and evolution with a particular interest in bird behavior. He is the author of two books, including the Birds of Chile, an authoritative yet portable field guide to Chile's birds. Alvaro writes the Identify Yourself column in Bird Watcher's Digest. He runs a birding and nature tour company Alvaro's Adventures, where the focus is to have fun, learn a thing or two and just enjoy birds and nature. Alvaro lives with his family in Half Moon Bay, California.
Thayer's Gull by Alvaro Jaramillo
Also we are going to have a silent auction at the meeting for a signed and numbered print by Keith Hansen from the Birds of the Sierra Nevada.
Birds and Natural History of Coastal Baja California
By David Wimpfheimer
Thursday, January 9, 2014, 7:00 pm
The geologically isolated 800-mile-long Baja California peninsula has allowed many plant, reptile and bird species to evolve independently. This presentation will focus on the seabirds, shorebirds and other birds that winter or nest along the coasts, rich estuaries and islands that are found both in the Sea of Cortez and the ocean side of Baja California. A rich upwelling zone here provides food for one of the most diverse gatherings of fish and marine mammals on the planet. The latter will also be a subject of the presentation. The sight of thousands of dolphins rushing through waters below the vermilion canyons that tumble down to the gulf along with images of boobies, tropicbirds, albatross, and Blue, Fin, Sperm and Gray Whales have enthralled naturalist David Wimpfheimer on over twenty journeys to this magical place.
Black-throated Sparrow (David Wimpfheimer)
David Wimpfheimer is a professional naturalist, guide and biologist who is very passionate about our natural world. He has particular interests in birds and the natural history of the American West. Since the mid-1980s, David has shared his extensive knowledge about all aspects of the natural world with hundreds of groups. David has worked for many different organizations, including Point Reyes Field Institute, the Smithsonian Institution, Wild Wings, California Academy of Sciences, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and the Oceanic Society.
The Future of the San Mateo County Shoreline
By Josh Sonnenfeld, Save The Bay
Thursday, February 13, 2014, 7:00 pm
Greco Island from Bayfront Park - Photo by Josh Sonnenfled
For the past half-decade, agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. and luxury home developers, DMB Pacific, have aggressively worked to convince the public to support their plans to turn over as many as two square miles of the San Mateo County shoreline in Redwood City into a new city of thousands of houses. Called "Saltworks," Cargill's initial plans to fill in Redwood City's restorable salt ponds would have been the largest Bay fill development since the creation of Foster City. A regional effort led by Save The Bay stopped this initial proposal – but Cargill and their developers have continued with attempts to develop the site. Will Cargill get their way, or will the Bay Area be successful in restoring these 1,400 acres back to wetlands, as scientists have recommended?
Redwood City Salt Ponds - Photo by Josh Sonnenfeld
Meanwhile, San Francisco Bay has entered an exciting new age of restoration, with tens of thousands of acres of former salt ponds, diked agricultural lands and other baylands being restored back to wetlands to benefit people and wildlife, including Bair Island in Redwood City, Ravenswood in Menlo Park, and SF 2 just south of the Dumbarton Bridge.
Join Josh Sonnenfeld, Campaign Manager with Save The Bay as he introduces us to the 25,000 shorebirds that call the Redwood City salt ponds home and discusses the long-term prospects for the restoration of the salt ponds, the San Mateo County shoreline, and all of San Francisco Bay.
Save The Bay is the largest regional organization working to protect, restore and celebrate San Francisco Bay. As its leading champion since 1961, Save The Bay protects the Bay from pollution and inappropriate shoreline development, making it cleaner and healthier for people and wildlife.
A Century of Field Identification
By Joe Morlan
Thursday, March 13, 2014, 7:00 pm
Joe Morlan will present a history of bird identification starting with early pioneers in sight identification, and a personal look back at how birding and bird identification has changed over the decades. Sight identifications considered by Ludlow Griscom to be impossible in 1922 are routine today. Likewise our knowledge of bird distribution has grown dramatically since the days of Griscom and other pioneers. But what will future generations think of our own conventional wisdom when it comes to bird identification and distribution? Technology continues to advance in the fields of optics and photography. These advances have been an integral part of the rapid evolutionary changes in the way we see birds and the way future generations will see them. Join us for this entertaining and thought-provoking presentation.
Joe Morlan has long been one of the premier birders in California. He established the Northern California Bird Box and has a superb website. He is co-author of "Birds of San Francisco and the Bay Area" and "Birds of Northern California." He has taught birding classes for adults through the San Francisco Unified School District. He is the winner of the American Birding Association's Ludlow Griscom Award for 2010.
The programs for additional meetings will be posted when available. (Topics subject to change.)