Welcome to the Tulare County Audubon Society website!
Photos by Tony Kurz and Gary Lindquist
The mission of Tulare County Audubon is to conserve, protect and to educate the public about the outdoors. We emphasize the education and conservation of birds, and encourage the protection of all our natural resources and the environment.
Use the hyperlinks to navigate between pages. This website includes information about How to Join, Meeting Information, a Calendar, Tulare Tappings, Links, Contact Us, Where to Go Birding, Files, and a Maps Page. For people interested in a birding site, please go to tularekingsbirds. Then click on "Join this Group." Yahoo! Groups will then ask you to create an account. The tularekingsbirds has a moderator that sends reports to member email boxes of where birds are reporting live. TulareKingsBirds also has a photo gallery, an archive of rare bird sitings, and a section of files.
SPEAKER MEETING NOVEMBER 15, 2013 Friday BRENT PAULL, PHOTOGRAPHER
Meet Brent Paull, Tulare County resident, professional wildlife photographer and educator. His outstanding photographs, collected over 30 years of outdoor adventures, will focus on mammals and birds of California. Meet at Tulare County Office of Education at 2637 W Burrel at Woodland Ave. 7PM.
2013/2014 FIELD TRIPS
NOV 16, 2013 Bravo Lake
BRAVO LAKE BIRDING FIELD TRIP
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Bravo Lake in Woodlake is undoubtedly one of the premiere birding spots in Tulare County. More different species of birds can probably be seen from this lake in the winter than from any other single location in the county! This lake is one of the most reliable places in Tulare County to see Bald Eagles between November and March. Ospreys can be observed here as well. If we are really lucky, we may watch a Bald Eagle steal a fish from an Osprey! Peregrine Falcons and Merlins regularly prey on the numerous birds that feed at this lake throughout the fall and winter.
Bravo Lake provides both deep-water and shallow water habitat for a great variety of water birds. The deep-water habitat is ideal for many species of diving ducks like Common Mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaups, Buffleheads, Canvasbacks, and Ruddy Ducks. Also found in the deep part of the lake are families of grebes like Western, Clark’s, Eared, and Pied-billed Grebes, and Double-crested Cormorants. The shallow water habitat is perfect for puddle ducks like Mallards, Gadwalls, American Wigeons, Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal and Northern Shovelers. American Coots are numerous as are Canada Geese. The shallows with its muddy shore offers fish, crustaceans and invertebrates for Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Green Herons, Black-crowned Night-Herons, American Bitterns, Killdeers, Greater Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpipers, Wilson’s Snipes, Least Sandpipers, American Avocets, and Black-necked Stilts! This lake is also one of the best places in Tulare County to see American White Pelicans, Great-tailed Grackles, Virginia Rails and Soras. The lake's placid waters offer a roost for many gulls and terns. Many of Tulare County’s avian rarities have been found here: Common Loons, Brown Pelican, Lesser Black-backed Gull , Thayer’s Gull, Horned Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers, Eurasian Wigeons, Eurasian (Common) Teal, Tufted Ducks, Snow Geese, Ross’s Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese, and Cackling Geese.
We will bird three different locations around the lake in the morning before traveling to the nearby Woodlake Airport (has restrooms) to eat our lunches. For those who wish to continue birding after lunch, we will bird the adjacent water treatment ponds hoping for close views of Black and Say’s Phoebes, Loggerhead Shrikes, Spotted Sandpipers, ducks, shorebirds, and gulls.
Early afternoon we will visit two birding hotspots near Woodlake. Located on the northern outskirts of Woodlake, Sentinel Butte is a large wooded hill with lots of exposed rocks and boulders. This is favorable habitat for Rock Wren, Rufous-crowned Sparrows, Oak Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, Northern Flickers, and Goldfinches. Thermals and updrafts give lift for Turkey Vultures, Common Ravens and raptors.
We will finish our day at the riparian woodland along the Kaweah River just south of Woodlake. This combination of woods and water is a great haunt for Wood Ducks, Common Gallinules, Virginia Rails, Barn Owls, Common Yellowthroats, Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. This is also favored habitat for Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, various woodpeckers, and a number of species of sparrows.
This is an excellent outing for beginning birders and families (feel free to leave at any time), as well as a superb way for all birders to tune-up their skills for the upcoming Christmas Bird Counts in December. Bring your family, friends, water, a lunch, jackets, binoculars, a spotting scope (if you have one), a bird book, and your enthusiasm for being outdoors. Join us for this incredible opportunity to create some wonderful lifetime memories.
DIRECTIONS: Meet at the Sears parking lot in Visalia (corner of Caldwell and Mooney Blvd.) at 7:15 AM on Saturday morning, November 16. We will leave promptly at 7:30 AMto travel to Woodlake. As an alternate meeting spot, meet the group at 8:00 AM at the Woodlake Botanical Garden parking lot at 2116 E. Naranjo Blvd. The botanical garden is located 2 blocks east of Valencia Blvd/Hwy 245 on the north edge of Bravo Lake in Woodlake directly across from the N. Pomegranate Street junction. For more information, contact leaders Kim Kuska (784-2106) or Gary Lindquist (734-0833). Exciting trivia about Bald Eagles can be found on the Tulare County Audubon Society website. www.tularecountyaudubon.org
NOV 30, 2013
SEEING BALD EAGLES AT LAKE SUCCESS MINI-FIELD TRIP
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2013
BETWEEN 8:00 AM AND 10:00 AM
In his classic song “Rocky Mountain High,” John Denver wrote: “ I know he'd be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly.” Enriching your life by see an eagle is fairly easy at Lake Success, eight miles east of Porterville between mid-November to early March. On January 15, 2013, an eagle census at the lake counted 4 Bald Eagles, 2 adults and 2 immatures. At least one adult Bald Eagle is regularly seen each morning perched on the “eagle pole” or on nearby trees across Gill Cove from the large parking lot at Lake Success, and can be easily seen with binoculars or a spotting scope. On Saturday morning, November 30th, Tulare County Audubon Society members will set-up spotting scopes and hold a free public viewing of these magnificent Bald Eagles at Lake Success between 8 AM & 10 AM. You are welcome to show-up any time between 8 AM and 10 AM , and leave at any time. This is an excellent event for families. Other species that we might also see through the scopes from this spot include a Peregrine Falcon, Prairie Falcon, Northern Harriers, Red-tailed Hawks, American White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Canada Geese, 4 species of grebes, and possibly 10 species of ducks! Last winter, 40 different species were recorded just from this one exceptional location! Remember to dress in layers to stay warm.
DIRECTIONS TO THIS NOVEMBER 30th BALD EAGLE WATCH AT LAKE SUCCESS : Drive 8 miles east of Porterville on Hwy 190 towards Springville . Shortly after crossing the bridge over the South Fork of Lake Success, look for a sign for Success Valley Road; at this junction turn LEFT towards the lake into the Tule Recreation Area. Drive 0.2 miles straight, passing Manente’s Bar and Grill until you come to the very large parking lot; turn right (east) into this parking lot toward the restrooms at the NE end, and park in the large parking lanes facing the lake. The BALD EAGLE WATCH will be in the grassy area behind the red “WRONG WAY” sign bordering the northern (lakeside) edge of this parking lot just east of a boat ramp (look for the spotting scopes and people). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have kindly waived the $4 day-use fee for this event.
For more information about this wonderful event to see our Nation’s living symbol, please see the Tulare County Audubon Society website or contact Kim Kuska 784-2106. Additional information about Bald Eagles can also be found on the Tulare County Audubon Society website: http://tularecountyaudubon.org/go_birding.html
Photo by Linda Wentz
DEC 14, 2013 Springville Christmas Bird Count
DEC 14, 2013 Kaweah and Sequoia Christmas Bird Counts
Proposed dates: DEC 28, 2013 and JAN 4, 2014
- Sandhill Cranes and Comet Ison at Pixley NWR
NASA Science News for Comet Ison
VIEWING COMET ISON,
- 8,OOO CRANES, 15,000 WHITE-FACED IBIS, & OWLS!
PIXLEY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE FIELD TRIPS:
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2013
SATURDAY, JANUARY 4, 2014
ALL 3 FIELD TRIPS ARE FROM 4:00 PM- 6:30 PM
The highly anticipated comet, COMET ISON makes its closest approach to the earth in late December. Many scientists believe that this frozen orb will be a naked-eye comet. This should be the brightest comet to grace our skies in decades, surely an event not to be missed!
The Tulare County Audubon Society is offering three free public viewings of this great comet at the Pixley National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in southwestern Tulare County. Choose one or attend both of the field trips on Saturday, December 28, 2013 and Saturday, January 4, 2014. Each of the events will be from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM. Please note that any of the field trips will be canceled in the event of rain.
While waiting for the skies to get dark enough to see the comet, you will witness the fly-in of about 8,000 Sandhill Cranes and 15,000 White-faced Ibis. As an added attraction, we may possibly see a couple species of owls!
Hearing and seeing 8,000 Sandhill Cranes descend into the marshes of the Pixley National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) at sunset is certainly one of the premiere nature events in Tulare County as well as all of California. This is a must-see show for every Tulare County resident. The Pixley NWR parking lot is probably the best place in California to view a crane fly-in. The cranes sometimes fly over at 100-feet above our heads just barely clearing the telephone wires.
Sandhill Cranes are long-legged, long-necked birds that stand 3 ½-feet tall with an incredible 6-feet wingspan. The Sandhill Cranes breed in Alaska and migrate 2,500 miles each fall to spend
the winter at the Pixley National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Tulare County. The cranes will leave Tulare County to fly back to Alaska in early March.
During the day, the cranes feed in the nearby agricultural fields. As each evening approaches, the cranes leave their feeding grounds and travel to their night-time roost. With the setting of the sun, wave after wave of these noisy cranes descend into the marshes at the Pixley NWR. These statuesque birds safely spend the night away from predators by standing in about 6 inches of water.
This spectacular event will include an amazing warm-up act as well as an incredible encore. The ibis will start the evening’s dazzling show flying into the marsh about 30 minutes before sunset (which is around 4:50 PM). Before the cranes fly in, White-face Ibis arrive by the thousands, often forming dense black clouds of birds before funneling into the marsh. Ibis with their down-turned impressive bills are bronzy-colored long-legged wadding bird of fields and marsh. Immediately after these dark waders settle into their night roost, lines of cranes from all directions fill the horizon, announcing their approach with their loud bugling calls.
On this special evening, the Comet ISON is predicted to be visible with the naked eye. The comet should be visible after sunset in the west. There is a possibility of allowing you the unique opportunity to see thousands of cranes fly by WITH A COMET IN THE BACKGROUND!
Tulare County Audubon members will be on hand at each of the viewing stations to interpret these exciting natural wonders to the public.
We recommended that you arrive at the Pixley NWR parking lot by 4:00 PM. We arrive early so that the moving vehicles do not disturb the birds during their fly-in. For those interested in coming earlier to observe the cranes feeding in the fields along Road 88, a member of the Tulare County Audubon Society will be available with a spotting scope from 3:30 PM to 4:00 PM to aid your observations of the feeding cranes and answer questions. These early viewers may also be treated to close-up views of Burrowing Owls. Two pairs of Burrowing Owls regularly stand on the dirt dikes lining Road 88. This close-up viewing will end at 4:00 PM to allow time for all to move to the parking lot and get settled before the evening’s impressive fly-in.
The Pixley NWR parking lot is an outstanding spot to observe the fly-in of both the ibis and cranes. Both groups of birds often fly directly over this parking lot on their way to the marsh. Another viewing option is to take the short ½ mile walk from the parking lot to the viewing platform. The viewing platform over-looks the marsh where the ibis and cranes will spend the night. Here you may actually observe the ibis and cranes gracefully land into the marsh.
Audubon members will also be stationed at this viewing platform with spotting scopes to show the participants the many different waterfowl and shorebirds that also use this marsh. Participants may see Long-billed Dowitchers, Black-necked Stilts, Wilson’s Snipe, Killdeer, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Canada Geese, and possibly 7 species of ducks! Other birds that may be seen are Northern Harriers and Loggerhead Shrikes. To allow time to hike out to this viewing platform and see these birds, you should arrive at the refuge parking lot no later than 4:00 PM.
Remember to dress warmly and in layers (and even bring gloves and a wool cap if you easily get chilled). Bring a folding chair, sit back, drink a cup of hot cocoa and ENJOY THE SHOW! A pair of binoculars would also be helpful to view the birds, but they are certainly not required to enjoy this wondrous spectacle.
Bring your family and friends, but PLEASE LEAVE YOUR PETS AT HOME (dogs cause the cranes to divert away from their normal path).
RAIN WILL CANCEL THIS EVENT.
DIRECTIONS TO THE PIXLEY NWR PARKING LOT: From Visalia or Tulare, drive south on Highway 99 to Earlimart. From Porterville, drive west on HWY 190 to Tipton, and then south on HWY 99 to Earlimart. At Earlimart, take Exit 65B (towards Alpaugh and Allensworth) to the stop sign, and then turn right onto Sierra Avenue (Avenue 56). Travel 5.5 miles west on W. Sierra Avenue/Avenue 56 towards Alpaugh and Allensworth and turn right (north) onto Road 88. Travel 1 mile on Road 88 to the Pixley NWR parking lot on the left just after you drive over Deer Creek. A Pixley NWR sign will mark this left turn into the refuge parking lot. Please note that groups of Sandhill Cranes are usually seen feeding in the fields along this short one-mile section of Road 88, and a couple pairs of Burrowing Owls frequent the dirt dike lining the eastern edge of Road 88.
Viewing the cranes and owls through spotting scopes along Road 88 will take place between 3:30 PM and 4:00 PM.
To view the fly-in without causing any disturbance to the cranes or ibis, please arrive at the Pixley NWR parking lot BEFORE 4:00 PM
For more information, please browse the Tulare County Audubon Society (TCAS) website or contact Kim Kuska at 784-2106. The TCAS website has excellent articles about Comet ISON, Sandhill Cranes, White-faced Ibis, and Burrowing Owls.
JAN 18, 2014 Lake Kaweah and Bald Eagles
JAN 25, 2014 Annual Potluck at Friends meeting house at 6PM
FEB 8-9, 2014 Carrizo Plain and Morro Bay
TBA early March Merced NWR possible trip with Fresno Audubon
MAR 15-16, 2014 Bishop and Sage Grouse
APR 5, 2014 Birds, Butterflies and Blooms possible joint trip with
- California Native Plant Society in the foothills