• Walk & Talk Town Hall with Assemblymember Baker
    In partnership with Save Mount Diablo, Mt. Diablo Audubon Society, and Environmental Defense Fund Enjoy a walk on a local trail and get the latest updates on state legislation.

    Sugarloaf Open Space

    2161 Youngs Valley Road (off Rudgear Road) · Walnut Creek, CA

  • Educational Program: Birds of Belize with Rich Cimino
    Our monthly educational meetings include guest speakers, unusual bird sightings, refreshments, and conversation. Visitors are always welcomed! Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month (except July and August when we take a summer break) in the Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek. You are welcome to join us for the entire meeting or just the Educational Program. 6:30 p.m. Doors open 7:00 p.m. Birding Information 7:25 p.m. Chapter Announcements and Business 7:40 p.m. Social time, refreshments and door prize drawing 8:05 p.m. Educational Program Birding Information: Cindy Margulis, the Executive Director of Golden Gate Audubon, will discuss Golden Gate Audubon's distinctive SFBayOspreys.org initiative and how one Osprey nest on the edge of our Bay has been inspiring widespread bird love among new audiences, sparking more citizen science, increasing the public's shoreline stewardship, and leading to more STEM/STEAM learning for school-age kids. Main Program: Birds of Belize by Rich Cimino Belize is a tiny English-speaking country in Central America that has become a mecca for bird lovers because it contains nearly 600 species of exotic tropical birds, including 40 species of raptors. Belize is a part of the Yucatan Peninsula and is on the migration path for some of our spring and summer species. Lying on the Caribbean Sea, it is bordered by Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west. In this presentation, Rich Cimino will show us the variety of birds and habitats found in Belize’s majestic tropical rainforests, fertile farmlands, numerous cayes (low-lying islands), fresh water marshes and swamps, and pine-cashew tree savannah regions. Birding Northern California for 51 years, Rich is the owner and field guide for Yellowbilled Tours, which offers annual birding tours to Nome and Barrow Alaska, as well as California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Belize and France. Conservation, bird photography and eco-sustainable tourism are his other interests. Contact Yellowbilled Tours at www.yellowbilledtours.com, for detailed information on scheduled birding field trips and bird photo gallery.

    The Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm

    1540 Marchbanks Drive · Walnut Creek, CA

  • Annual Potluck: Birds of Cuba - Alvaro Jaramillo
    Cuban Tody, photo by Alvaro Jaramillo Our monthly educational meetings include guest speakers, unusual bird sightings, refreshments, and conversation. Visitors are always welcomed! Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month (except July and August when we take a summer break) in the Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek. You are welcome to join us for the entire meeting or just the Educational Program. JUNE POTLUCK MEETING! 6:00 p.m. Doors open 6:30 p.m. Potluck Dinner 7:30 p.m. Announcements 8:00 p.m. Educational Program Main Program: Birds of Cuba - Alvaro Jaramillo World-renowned naturalist, bird expert, and author, Alvaro Jaramillo will present a program based upon his recent trip to Cuba filled with beautiful images of birds seen. Cuba is one of the United States’ closest neighbors, but due to politics, it might as well be on the other side of the world. Few Americans have traveled to Cuba and birders have been restricted to a few legal survey trips a year or going there illegally through Canada in order to enjoy its birds. But, things are finally starting to open up and we expect that more and more birders will be able to enjoy the amazing diversity, and incredible level of endemism (species found nowhere else on earth). A fantastic, safe, birding destination, Cuba has plentiful protected habitat and forest cover, and there is still a lot to learn there. In fact it may actually be the one place where the Ivory-billed Woodpecker still lives! Born in Chile, Alvaro 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 three books including Birds of Chile, ABA Field Guide to the Birds of California, and the sparrow chapter for Handbook of Birds of the World. Alvaro operates 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. He lives with his family in Half Moon Bay, California. For information: http://alvarosadventures.com/

    The Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm

    1540 Marchbanks Drive · Walnut Creek, CA

  • Educational Program: Monitoring Alcatraz Seabird Colonies with Heather Robinson
    Snowy Egret, photo by Heather Robinson Our monthly educational meetings include guest speakers, unusual bird sightings, refreshments, and conversation. Visitors are always welcomed! Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month (except July and August when we take a summer break) in the Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek. You are welcome to join us for the entire meeting or just the Educational Program. 6:30 p.m. Doors open 7:00 p.m. Birding Information 7:25 p.m. Chapter Announcements and Business 7:40 p.m. Social time, refreshments and door prize drawing 8:05 p.m. Educational Program Birding Information: The former Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS) closed in September of 2005. Since that time, the East Bay Regional Park District has been working closely with the City of Concord, the U.S. Navy, the National Park Service, and others to preserve over 2,500 acres of the property for a future regional park. Brian Holt, Chief of Planning/GIS, will present on the projects history, the proposed plan, and next steps. Main Program: Jailbirds of Alcatraz: Monitoring Nesting Seabird Colonies Heather Robinson, Farallon Institute Alcatraz is one of the most visited National Parks in our country, yet very few people realize this 22 acre island in the center of San Francisco Bay is home to nine species of nesting water and seabirds. Every March-September these birds can be found on Alcatraz, with the largest colonies belonging to western gulls and Brandt’s cormorants. In order to uphold the NPS dual mandate to preserve resources for enjoyment of people, the bird populations on Alcatraz have been monitored for over 20 years, focusing on three main areas: population size, reproductive success, and human disturbance. Heather Robinson is a scientist with the Farallon Institute in Petaluma, CA, where for the last five years she has studied seabirds on Alcatraz and California sea lions on Año Nuevo Island. Heather moved to central California in 2002 to pursue a Master’s degree in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. After completing her degree, Heather moved to Africa for a two year service in the Peace Corps. She then returned to San Francisco Bay where she began a career working with marine birds for the U.S. Geological Survey and then Farallon Institute.

    The Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm

    1540 Marchbanks Drive · Walnut Creek, CA

  • Educational Program: Elephants - Beyond the Ivory Problem with Jill Hedgecock
    Asian Elephant, photo by Jill Hedgecock Our monthly educational meetings include guest speakers, unusual bird sightings, refreshments, and conversation. Visitors are always welcomed! Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month (except July and August when we take a summer break) in the Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek. You are welcome to join us for the entire meeting or just the Educational Program. 6:30 p.m. Doors open 7:00 p.m. Birding Information 7:25 p.m. Chapter Announcements and Business 7:40 p.m. Social time, refreshments and door prize drawing 8:05 p.m. Educational Program Birding Information: Assemblymember Tim Grayson will speak about environmental issues affecting our district and state and take questions from our members. Assemblymember Grayson was elected to serve in the California Assembly in November 2016 as the representative of the 14th Assembly District, which encompasses portions of Contra Costa and Solano Counties. In 2010, Grayson was elected to serve on the Concord City Council, winning reelection in 2014 and serving on the Council until his election to the Assembly. He also served as Concord’s Mayor from 2014 – 2015. A long time East Bay resident, Tim lives in Concord with Tammy, his wife of more than 28 years, and their children, Joe and Cassie. Main Program: Elephants: Beyond the Ivory Problem - Jill Hedgecock Jill Hedgecock will share some of her elephant experiences from her trip to Thailand and Cambodia. During her visit to The Elephant Nature Park outside of Chang Mai, she witnessed firsthand the unique challenges facing today’s Asian elephant populations. The Elephant Nature Park, a 250-acre rescue and rehabilitation center housing 76 rescued elephants, offers a bright ray of hope for these amazing creatures and provides an ethical alternative for tourists to support humane treatment of these giant beasts. During her talk, Jill with share some of the heart-warming stories of the elephants currently living at this sanctuary. Gray matriarchs like 73-year-old Sook Jai that arrived completely blind and mostly deaf, but still plays nanny to two young rescued elephants. Jill Hedgecock’s long-standing roots run deep with the Mount Diablo Audubon Society, serving as the International Conservation Coordinator in the early 1990s, as a leader of the Black Diamond Mine Christmas count circle, and this year as a reporter covering the Christmas Bird Count. She has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management from the University of San Francisco and her novel about a seventeen-year-old girl on safari who finds herself at odds with rhino poachers is nearing completion. To learn more about Jill’s book visit www.jillhedgecock.com and for the Elephant Nature Park , visit https://www.elephantnaturepark.org/.

    The Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm

    1540 Marchbanks Drive · Walnut Creek, CA

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  • Educational Program: A Bird’s Rainbow – Bob Lewis
    Red-headed Barbet, photo by Bob Lewis Our monthly educational meetings include guest speakers, unusual bird sightings, refreshments, and conversation. Visitors are always welcomed! Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month (except July and August when we take a summer break) in the Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek. You are welcome to join us for the entire meeting or just the Educational Program. 6:30 p.m. Doors open 7:00 p.m. Birding Information 7:25 p.m. Chapter Announcements and Business 7:40 p.m. Social time, refreshments and door prize drawing 8:05 p.m. Educational Program Birding Information: Thousands of houses currently proposed for development over 4-square miles (about 2,800 acres) of south Antioch would impact beautiful hills, the Sand Creek riparian corridor and endangered species habitat. Save Mount Diablo Land Use Manager Juan Pablo Galván will talk about what’s happening and how MD Audubon members can be part of grassroots advocacy efforts that will protect this important area. Main Program: A Bird’s Rainbow – Bob Lewis Many birds are brightly colored, others use patterned feathers for camouflage. How do these colors originate? What’s the difference between colors from pigments and physical colors? From Yellow warblers to Anna’s Hummingbirds, from Snow Geese to Brewer’s Blackbirds, each species makes unique use of the feather colors it possesses. What do the colors indicate to other birds? And do birds see the same colors we do? Bob will unravel some of the mysteries of color in birds with a little chemistry, a bit of physics, and a lot of brightly colored slides. Bob trained as a chemist and worked for Chevron for 33 years. He’s taught birding classes in the Bay Area for over 25 years, and served as the chair of Golden Gate Audubon’s Adult Education Committee. Currently he’s teaching Birds of the Bay Area with Rusty Scalf, and next month will begin the fifth class of Master Birding at the California Academy of Science. He loves to travel and photograph birds, and last year chased brightly colored birds in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Colombia.

    The Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm

    1540 Marchbanks Drive · Walnut Creek, CA

    1 comment
  • Bird Walk - Lake Merritt and Arrowhead Marsh at High Tide
    Contact Trip Leader for questions or rain cancellations. Carpool leaves at 8 AM from El Nido Ranch Road. Exit SR 24 at St. Stephens Drive east of Orinda. El Nido Ranch Road is parallel to and north of the freeway. Park just east of the intersection with St. Stephens Drive. Or meet at 8:30 AM in parking lot by Lake Merritt. Take SR 24 to Oakland and I-980, take Grand Avenue exit and turn left on Grand. Enter park at Children’s Fairyland (entry fee), and follow road around to parking lot entrance on right between boathouse and aviary. We should find a good variety of wintering ducks and gulls. We will then drive to Arrowhead Marsh for the high tide around 11:30 AM; the rising tide should flush out rails. The area is also good for shorebirds and more wintering ducks on the estuary. A visit to Garretson Point will finish our trip. Bring lunch and drinks. Category 1: Easy, little walking, smooth paths Trip Leader: Sandy Ritchie,[masked]

    Needs a location

    4 comments
  • Bird Walk - Las Gallinas, Rush Creek, Ellis Creek and Shollenberger Park
    Contact Trip Leader for questions or rain cancellations. Carpool leaves Sun Valley parking lot at 7:30 AM. Sun Valley Mall parking lot carpool location: SW corner of mall lot at Willow Pass Rd. and Contra Costa Blvd. in Concord. Or meet at Las Gallinas at 8:30 AM. Take I-680 across the Benicia Bridge (toll). Go west on I-780 to I-80 towards Sacramento, exit to SR 37. Follow SR 37 22 miles to US 101 south, exit at Lucas Valley Road/Smith Ranch Road. Cross under the freeway to the east on Smith Ranch Road for 0.6 miles, cross the railroad tracks and turn left. Follow the road around the hill 0.7 miles until arriving at the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District parking lot. Rush Creek Marsh is just north and east of the Atherton Avenue exit from US 101 in Novato. Immediately past the Park and Ride lot on Atherton, turn left onto Binford Road and go north to the marsh. Schollenberger Park is in Petaluma, east of US 101. After crossing the Petaluma River take Exit 472B East 116 Sonoma Napa, turn left at the light, then right on S. McDowell. Look for a half-right onto Cypress Drive, then enter the PRBO parking lot at 3820 Cypress. Go to the back and park near the picnic tables. Ellis Creek is just south of the PRBO offices. All four sites are good for wintering waders, shorebirds, waterfowl and raptors. Bring lunch and a beverage. Category 2: Moderate, one mile+, possibly rough terrain Trip Leader: Eugenia Larson,[masked]

    Sunvalley Mall

    1 Sun Valley Mall · Concord

    1 comment
  • Educational Program: PBS Nature DVD - Magic of the Snowy Owl
    Snowy Owl, photo by Thirteen/PBS Our monthly educational meetings include guest speakers, unusual bird sightings, refreshments, and conversation. Visitors are always welcomed! Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month (except July and August when we take a summer break) in the Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek. You are welcome to join us for the entire meeting or just the Educational Program. 6:30 p.m. Doors open 7:00 p.m. Birding Information 7:25 p.m. Chapter Announcements and Business 7:40 p.m. Social time, refreshments and door prize drawing 8:05 p.m. Educational Program Peregrine Falcon, Brian Kushner/Audubon Photography Awards Birding Information: The Peregrine Team of Pine Canyon is a diverse group of volunteers who educate park visitors about the annual nesting closure zone for Peregrine Falcons in Mount Diablo State Park (Feb 1-July 31). One of the team members, Brian Richardson, will share information about local Peregrine Falcon history, a typical “patrol” experience, and fun facts about Pine Canyon’s other natural wonders. Graphic courtesy of Thirteen/PBS Main Program: PBS Nature DVD - Magic of the Snowy Owl Throughout the long months of the Arctic’s frozen winter, the sun remains below the horizon. The cold is intensified by the darkness, making life difficult, if not impossible, for all but the toughest and most experienced of animals. Snowy owls are built for the challenge, their every sense and skill honed to take on the eerie, bleak world. When the brief Arctic summer approaches, bringing light back to the tundra, snowy owls embark on an even more daunting challenge than keeping themselves alive. They breed and attempt to raise young in one of the harshest environments on the planet. Once summer arrives, they will have just 82 days of sunlight to successfully raise a family of helpless owlets until they are ready and able to fly. Documenting the degree of difficulty involved in those efforts, a team of filmmakers must face some challenges of their own as they set out to record the rarely observed daily lives of a breeding pair of snowy owls. Though "snowies" naturally stand out for their beauty, intelligence and charm, in their eerie, bleak Arctic home it is their determination and survival skills that are truly magical.

    The Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm

    1540 Marchbanks Drive · Walnut Creek, CA

  • Educational Program: Population Trends for North American Birds - Nicole Michel
    Birders on a Christmas Bird Count, photo by Camilla Cerea Our monthly educational meetings include guest speakers, unusual bird sightings, refreshments, and conversation. Visitors are always welcomed! Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month (except July and August when we take a summer break) in the Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek. You are welcome to join us for the entire meeting or just the Educational Program. 6:30 p.m. Doors open 7:00 p.m. Birding Information 7:25 p.m. Chapter Announcements and Business 7:40 p.m. Social time, refreshments and door prize drawing 8:05 p.m. Educational Program Birding Information: Program Chair, Ariana Rickard, will share a couple of videos and an update from the July 2017 National Audubon Convention in Park City, Utah this past summer. Main Program: Population Trends for North American Winter Birds from the Christmas Bird Count – Nicole Michel Birds face a variety of threats in North America, and identifying these threats in order to conserve bird populations requires detailed knowledge of population trends over a long period of time. We used advanced statistical models to analyze 52 years of Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) data from the United States and Canada. Our results indicate that 60% of the 497 species had increasing populations within the study area during 1966–2017. Regional trends were variable at lower latitudes, whereas the largest increases were at higher latitudes, consistent with range shifts due to climate change. CBC trend estimates are similar to those from the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Citizen Science efforts such as the CBC will be needed going forward to understand and predict how birds respond to climate and land cover change, giving us the information needed to take actions to conserve bird diversity for generations to come. Nicole Michel is a Senior Quantitative Ecologist with the National Audubon Society’s Science Division, based in San Francisco, CA. Nicole joined NAS in December 2015, where she is responsible for developing metrics to track bird response to Audubon’s conservation actions, and analyzing bird abundance, distribution, and habitat relationships. She received her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, in 2012, where she investigated mechanisms and consequences of understory insectivorous bird population decline in Central American rainforests, and completed two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Saskatchewan. Prior to her PhD she spent several years as a traveling field biologist working with birds from Florida to Alaska, and eight years with the Institute for Bird Populations working with the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship program. She loves travel, live music, Broadway shows, and hanging out with her (indoor) cat.

    The Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm

    1540 Marchbanks Drive · Walnut Creek, CA