Speaker Series, past and present

Past and currently scheduled Speaker Series events are listed here by date in ascending order (most recent at top).

The Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises of San Francisco Bay
Speaker: Bill Keener
Host: Susan Kelly, activities@marinaudubon.org
Start Date: Jan 11, 2018
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Description: Bill Keener, a biologist with Golden Gate Cetacean Research, will present the results of the latest studies on the cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) of San Francisco Bay. This is a good news story about the health of our local marine ecosystem, and how three species have begun to use the Bay: harbor porpoises, bottlenose dolphins, and humpback whales.

The porpoises returned to San Francisco Bay after an absence of 65 years. From the Golden Gate Bridge and boats on the Bay, Bill and his team have been able to compile the first photo-identification catalog for harbor porpoises, giving us a window into the lives of individual animals. Bill will discuss the porpoises' abundance and life history, including their social behavior and interactions with another cetacean found in the Bay, the bottlenose dolphin. The dolphins have been expanding their range north from Southern California, and are now resident along the shores of Marin County, as well as inside the Bay. Bill will also share his observations about the unexpected influx of humpback whales feeding in the Bay over the past two summers. Here's your chance to find out the difference between a porpoise and a dolphin, where to see these fascinating creatures, and what you can do to help in the study of our marine mammals.

Bill co-founded the non-profit Golden Gate Cetacean Research in 2010 to focus scientific effort on the porpoises, dolphins and whales in San Francisco Bay and along the Northern California coast. His work with marine mammals began thirty years ago when he was Executive Director of The Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands. For more information, visit: www.ggcetacean.org.

Discovering and Conserving Bryan's Shearwater
Speaker: Peter Pyle
Host: Jude Stalker
Start Date: Dec 14, 2017
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: In 2011 Peter Pyle and his colleagues at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute described a new species of bird, basing their findings on a specimen collected in February 1963 on Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. It had been misidentified as a Little Shearwater (P. assimilis) but genetically appears closer to the Newell's Shearwater (P. newelii) of the Southeastern Hawaiian Islands.

Because he discovered the new species Peter was able to name the bird, and so he named it after his grandfather, Edwin Bryan. In this presentation Peter will explain how he discovered the new species; provide updated information on its seasonality, breeding habitat requirements, and vocalizations; review potential at-sea records in the North Pacific; and present recent exiting information on where Bryan's Shearwater breeding colonies exist. Peter will also include a biography of Edwin Bryan's interesting life and long career with the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, as well as Peter's own family history concerning Bryan.

Peter Pyle is a research scientist who has been working for the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP) since 1996. During the late 1970s and early 1980s he worked seasonally on the Hawaii and other Pacific Forest Bird Surveys, for the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO), on at-sea surveys, and for other banding projects. In 1985 Peter became a biologist on the Farallon Islands, a post he held until 2003. Since 2003 he has been a full-time Biologist at IBP, doing scientific research, writing reports, and publishing papers, primarily on bird molt. He is also a Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences and the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, and has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers, four books, and a monograph on the birds of Hawaii.

Dr. Steller Is Coming to Marin!
Speaker: Pete Devine
Host: Susan Kelly, quailfriend@yahoo.com, or phone (415) 883-9505
Start Date: Nov 09, 2017
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: The noisy, colorful Steller's Jay is instantly recognizable. Its dark blue plumage, shaggy black crest, squawking calls and boisterous behavior make it a conspicuous year-round resident of our wooded areas. Birders often ignore them and many people disdain them, but this common species has some hidden attributes that make it worth watching. Pay attention to Steller's Jays; they have something to tell you. A member of the widespread corvid family, which includes jays, crows, ravens, magpies, and nutcrackers, the Steller's Jay is one of five namesakes of an 18th century German biologist named Georg Wilhelm Steller. Steller was a naturalist and explorer in the mold of Charles Darwin, John Muir and Ernest Shackleton. It was in Alaska over 268 years ago that he first observed the mischievous jay that now bears his name. In this presentation you'lll be treated to a living history "visit" by this lesser known but important scientist, Dr. Steller. In an informative and entertaining performance, Dr. Steller will be brought back to life by Pete Devine, the Resident Naturalist with The Yosemite Conservancy. "Dr. Steller" will describe his life as a naturalist, his dramatic explorations of the North Pacific, and the life history of the remarkable bird that was named after him. Pete Devine has lived in Yosemite for twenty years serves as the Yosemite Association's Resident Naturalist. Reared near Boston, he finished school in Colorado and has worked as a park ranger, river guide, archeologist, teacher and naturalist in Arizona, New England, New Zealand and Chile. For most of his years in Yosemite he directed the Yosemite Institute's education program for schools. He's also a birding enthusiast; his international life list of birds includes motmots, bulbuls, kakas and chiffchaffs.

Birding -- A Great Hobby!
Speaker: Anne Kelley
Host: Susan Kelly, quailfriend@yahoo.com, or phone (415) 883-9505
Start Date: Oct 21, 2017
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 11:00 AM
Description: This short, fun presentation will introduce participants to one of the world's most popular hobbies. We'll spend the first hour or two inside the classroom, explaining the "why" "what" and "where" of this great pastime. After talking a bit about the hobby, you can join us outside and try it. Birds we might find outside the room include sparrows, finches, and woodpeckers. We'll walk over to the dock and look for birds on and around Richardson Bay. There we could spot ducks, pelicans, grebes, and much more. If you're looking for a way to keep your brain stimulated, want to make new friends and have some fun outdoors, or are just curious about why people love birdwatching, please join us. Bring binoculars if you have them; we'll have a few to share. Healthy snacks will be provided. If you plan to stay after the classroom session for the birdwatching, dress in layers appropriate for the weather. In the event of heavy rain, we'll skip the outdoor activity. There is no fee and Marin Audubon Society membership is not required. Questions? Contact Susan Kelly at quailfriend@yahoo.com

How Climate Change is Impacting Local Birds
Speaker: Dr. Wendy Schackwitz
Host: Susan Kelly, quailfriend@yahoo.com, or phone (415) 883-9505
Start Date: Oct 12, 2017
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: As our climate changes, the entire web of life must adapt or perish. If a flower blooms earlier due to increased temperatures, insects that depend on that flower must hatch earlier, and birds that consume those insects must arrive from their spring migration earlier. Whether birds will be able to adapt is uncertain. National Audubon has determined that 50% of our birds will be threatened by climate change. During this program, Dr. Schackwitz will explain the science behind this research, and provide a set of actions that you can take to help our climate threatened birds. All participants will receive a free copy of Napa-Solano Audubon's booklet, "California Birds in a Changing Climate." Our speaker, Wendy Schackwitz, is Executive Director of Napa-Solano Audubon, scientist at the Joint Genome Institute, and an avid birder with more than 700 birds on her life list. Dr. Schackwitz received her BS in Biology from Oregon State University and PhD in Genetics from the University of Washington. She has worked for the last 13 years in Walnut Creek at the Joint Genome Institute/Lawrence Berkeley National Lab as a scientist, where she leads a group that studies the genetics of organisms that are important for bio-fuel production.

Natural Cuba
Speaker: Roger Harris
Host: Susan Kelly, quailfriend@yahoo.com
Start Date: Sep 14, 2017
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Cuba has been getting a lot of attention lately, and not just politically, but as a prime tourist destination. The talk will touch briefly on the latest travel restrictions by the US government, but will focus on why there is much more than rum, music and cigars to attract the serious natural history aficionado to Cuba. Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and by far the best environmentally preserved. All of the major ecosystems in the Caribbean are found on Cuba from nearly pristine coral reefs, to extensive caves, vast salt and freshwater wetlands, and montane tropical forests. The Cuban government promotes scientific research and has a large system of national parks and preserves. Being an island, its ecology is especially interesting as it supports high levels of uniques species (endemism) and some miniaturized species such as the world's smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird. And the birding is terrific! Our speaker, Roger Harris, recently returned from his seventh visit to Cuba. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, a longtime member of the Marin Audubon Society, and leads nature trips both locally and internationally, including to Cuba.

Fur & Feathers: How Urban Beavers Helped Birds
Speaker: Heidi Perryman
Host: Susan Kelly, quailfriend@yahoo.com, or phone (415) 883-9505
Start Date: Jun 08, 2017
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: No one invited the beavers to move into Martinez. The dam they built across Alhambra Creek made city officials worry about flooding and the animals were slated to be trapped until public outcry forced the city to install a flow device that would control water height instead. Ten years later, the beaver-maintained pond has attracted new species of birds, fish and wildlife including Belted Kingfisher, Hooded Merganser, and Green Heron. Beavers create wetlands for waterfowl, augment invertebrate, frog and fish populations and increase nesting habitat for birds. They recharge the aquifer, remove nitrogen and provide drowned trees for obligate nesters. In fact, beaver ponds often supply the only reliable water source during drought conditions. Currently there is discussion of reintroducing beaver to Marin County, where they have been missing for over a century. Beaver benefits have been too long overlooked. It is time to revisit this eco-hero Enos Mills once called "The original conservationist." Heidi Perryman, Ph.D. is a child psychologist who became an "accidental" beaver advocate when beavers moved into her hometown in 2007. She founded the organization "Worth A Dam"to protect them and to teach other cities how and why to co-exist with this important keystone species. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds.

Mountain Lions in California - The Last Two Decades of Research
Speaker: T. Winston Vickers, DVM, MPVM
Host: lowell Sykes, 415-388-2821
Start Date: May 11, 2017
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Since 2001 the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, a division of the School of Veterinary Medicine, has been conducting research into mountain lions (Puma concolor) in order to better understand all of the dynamics of this species: their prey choices, habitat needs, interactions with humans and domestic animals, use of and travel patterns on the landscape, the effects of fire, survival rates and mortality sources, disease and toxin exposure and effects, and genetic connectivity. Dr. Vickers has been Co-Principal Investigator and field lead for the UC Davis study since 2003, and though the primary study has been focused on southern California, he is now directly involved in collaborative studies in Sonoma County and in far northern California, and is a collaborator in studies involving mountain lions elsewhere in the state as well as in Colorado and Florida. In this talk, Dr. Vickers will detail his study's findings, and those of other researchers, relating to how a wide array of factors affect the expectations for long term health of mountain lion populations in different regions of California. The news for puma conservation in some rapidly growing regions is not good; low annual survival rates, low genetic diversity, and worsening habitat loss and fragmentation all threaten specific populations with possible extirpation. Other populations appear to be generally healthy, and understanding the factors dividing the two is important. Specific measures that are being taken to mitigate some of the threats to various populations will be discussed.

Building for the Birds
Speaker: Susan Ives
Host: Lowell Sykes, 415-388-2821
Start Date: Apr 13, 2017
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: The only public lands system in the US exclusively devoted to wildlife conservation started small, without a master plan. On 14 March 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order making Pelican Island the first federal bird reservation. By the time his presidency ended, he had added 54 more bird and game reservations, laying the foundation for the 150-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System we enjoy today. But it was his cousin, FDR, himself a birder, who during the New Deal greatly expanded and enhanced the refuge system, thanks to the work of thousands of CCC "boys" who brought back to life lands that had been abandoned to the Dust Bowl. Susan Ives, a 40-year resident of Marin County, is a writer, photographer and a lover of public lands. As a volunteer she was an editor for The Clapper Rail and currently curates Marin Audubon's Facebook page. She currently serves on the Boards of Sierra Club Marin Group, Old Growth Forest Network, and on the Advisory Board of Save the Bay and Resource Renewal Institute. For nearly 14 years Susan was Vice President for the Trust for Public Land. Previously she was Deputy to the Secretary of Environmental Affairs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Media Officer at the National Sierra Club. Photo: Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

TIDES: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean
Speaker: Jonathan White
Host: Lowell Sykes, 415-388-2821
Start Date: Mar 09, 2017
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Expert mariner and marine conservationist Jonathan White grew up diving, sailing and fishing on the beaches of Southern California, has logged more than one hundred thousand miles sailing on the Pacific and Atlantic, and surfed all over the world. In the 1980s, he founded the Resource Institute, a nonprofit educational organization for which he hosted a renowned seminar series aboard Crusader, a 65 foot wooden schooner that sailed the Pacific Northwest. Crusader's odysseys nearly ended, however, in 1990 when the boat ran aground and was nearly destroyed on a large tide in Alaska's Kalinin Bay. Shaken and intrigued by his underestimation of tides and their power, White set off on a quest across the globe to understand the history, science, and majesty of one of our planet's most remarkable phenomena. In TIDES: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, White takes readers on a journey of discovery around the globe to witness the largest, fastest, scariest and most amazing tides in the world; he travels to the Arctic to shimmy down a hole in the ice with an Inuit elder to hunt for blue mussels in the dark cavities below; to the Qiantang River in China to witness the Silver Dragon, a twenty-five-foot tidal bore that crashes its way up the eighty-mile river; to California to shadow the Mavericks competition where surfers paddle into deadly waves sixty feet high. In France's Mont St. Michel he learns how the monks were inspired by the tide, at the Royal Society of London he discovers how Plato and Aristotle, Leonardo de Vinci, Newton, Descartes, and many other noted thinkers had been captivated by the tide's mystery, and learns that the book that led to Galileo's arrest for heresy by the Catholic Church was a treatise originally called The Flux and Reflux of the Tides. White also demonstrates how, in this age of drastic global climate shifts, tides offer critical insight into the planet's future. On the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama, we see how the small island archipelago confronts sea level rise, and in Venice, Italy, how the city has been making extraordinary preparations for the coming effects of climate change. White also discusses ongoing research into the enormous opportunity to harness tidal energy in places like New England, Chile, Puget Sound, Scotland, and elsewhere. Jonathan White is a writer, conservationist, sailor, and educator. He has served on numerous conservation boards and committees, including the San Juan Preservation Trust, the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee, and the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative. His first book, Talking on the Water: Conversations about Nature and Creativity, features interviews with Gretel Ehrlich, David Brower, Ursula K. Le Guin, Gary Snyder, Peter Matthiessen, and others. His writing has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, The Sun, Sierra, the Whole Earth Review, and Fine Homebuilding. The former president of the Resource Institute, a Seattle-based nonprofit focusing on the culture and traditions of the Northwest, he now lives on Orcas Island, Washington. Please visit him at http://jonathanwhitewriter.com

The Sea Otter Survival Story: A Human Obstacle Course
Speaker: Kim Steinhardt
Host: Lowell Sykes, 415-388-2821
Start Date: Feb 09, 2017
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: The relationship between sea otters and humans has been strained nearly to the breaking point for nearly three hundred years. Marine wildlife photographer, writer, and former administrative law judge Kim Steinhardt will share insights and images of the fascinating daily lives of sea otters, review the status of recent lawsuits over the expansion of their range, and look at some of the extraordinary adaptations these creatures have undergone in evolving from land to sea. Kim's keen observations and vibrant photographs have been recognized by National Geographic in an upcoming book of his sea otter images and coastal storytelling. He is also a co-author of the soon-to-be-released The Edge: Tales from the Shoreline of the People's Coast, a book that includes Kim's recollections as a child seeing the Lyford House moved across the bay from Strawberry Point to Tiburon, and the creation of the Marin Audubon Society.

East Africa on Steroids
Speaker: Ed Harper
Host: Lowell Sykes, 415-388-2821
Start Date: Jan 12, 2017
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Our January gathering provides a heavy dose of stunning photography and informative narration featuring the wildlife of East Africa. Our speaker, Ed Harper, is a veteran of many trips to East Africa. Whether you are interested in seeing Mountain Gorilla or Shoebill from Uganda, Black Rhinoceros or Grevy's Zebra from Kenya, or Cheetah, Leopard, and Caracal from Tanzania, this program has it all! Of course there will be a plethora of birds, a life-long passion defining Ed Harper's life. Impressive birds of prey, colorful kingfishers, rollers, bee-eaters, sunbirds, weavers, and much more highlight this outstanding program. Ed Harper and his wife, Susan, have over 20 visits to East Africa and this program highlights some of their extensive experiences. Expect a dynamic presentation packed with informative natural history and jaw-dropping imagery. Bring a friend for this one! Ed Harper is a retired mathematics professor from American River College in Sacramento. His interest in birds began during his early childhood while growing up in Montana. An excellent birder and photographer, he has traveled to every continent. He has photographed over 800 species of birds in North America and many more elsewhere. His exquisite photographs have appeared in many books and publications. Actively involved in birding, he is a past president of the Sacramento Audubon Society and recently served on the Board for the Western Field Ornithologists. Currently he serves on the Montana Bird Records Committee. An annual speaker at California's Central Valley Birding Symposium, his lively and informative talks are in high demand from many birding festivals, community groups, and Audubon societies. Ed first started leading bird tours for Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1980. Presently, he leads many tours with his wife, Susan Scott, a biologist recently retired from Sacramento's Cosumnes River College. They operate Sandpiper Journeys, a touring company specializing in small groups with some of their favorite destinations being Montana and East Africa. Bird in photo is a Malachite Sunbird.

Waterbird Conservation Challenges in the San Francisco Bay Estuary
Speaker: Dr. John Y. Takekawa
Host: Lowell Sykes, 415-388-2821
Start Date: Dec 08, 2016
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast and serves as the home for nearly eight million people while supporting a wide diversity of natural communities including many waterbird species. Managing for a healthy estuary and retaining its waterbird biodiversity depends on understanding and con- serving the habitats and food webs that they rely upon. We'll discuss estuary challenges facing waterbirds and how we can support the best science-based conservation. We'll review challenges of fragmentation and sea-level rise facing rail populations in baylands, sediment supply and biofilm for shorebirds on mud flats, and eelgrass and herring spawns for sea ducks on shoal habitats in the shallow intertidal and subtidal waters. Dr. John Y. Takekawa is Audubon California's Director of SF Bay Programs and a USGS Scientist Emeritus. His research has been on ecology of waterbirds with expertise in telemetry to study movement ecol- ogy. He has published more than 200 papers, and his work has included examining habitat preferences and effects of sea-level rise on waterbirds. He has a B.S. in Wildlife Science from University of Washington, M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from University of Idaho, and Ph.D. in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University.

Cormorants of the Bay
Speaker: Mark Rauzon and Meredith Elliott
Host: Lowell Sykes, 415-388-2821
Start Date: Nov 10, 2016
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritius) are seabirds known to use structures as nesting habitat. The old east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the eastern portion of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge have hosted the two largest colonies of this species in the region. However, now these colonies are declining, and structures they once nested on are either being dismantled or blocked off for maintenance activities. So it begs the question: where will the cormorants nest in the future? Will they move to new areas of the bridges, adopt the artificial platforms we designed for them on the new bay bridge, or leave the central bay altogether? Come learn what our research for the past three decades tells us about the population dynamics of this resilient species, and learn about our efforts to study the Bay Area population of this adaptable, yet maligned, bird. Mark Rauzon was with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, where he studied sea birds and endangered marine mammals in Hawai‘i, Alaska, and California. He is also an expert in the effects of invasive animals and plants on tropical islands. His latest book, Isles of Amnesia, details his experiences. Mr. Rauzon is also a research associate with Point Blue and a geography professor at Laney College in Oakland. Meredith Elliott is a Senior Scientist at Point Blue Conservation Science and has worked on a variety of seabird monitoring and diet projects, as well as researching zooplankton communities in the Greater Farallones and the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries.

Subspecies for Birders
Speaker: Joe Morlan
Host: barbara Salzman, email: BSalzman@att.net or phone 415-924-6057
Start Date: Oct 13, 2016
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: When we see a bird that looks different, or doesn't quite match the picture in the book, is it a different species or perhaps just a different subspecies or other type of variation? Modern field guides illustrate some distinctive subspecies, but what exactly is a subspecies? How do subspecies differ from other kinds of variation within or between species? How are these variations properly classified and why are these distinctions important? Joe Morlan will outline some of the more identifiable subspecies while providing a perspective on the subspecies concept itself in what promises to be an entertaining and informative presentation. Joe Morlan has taught field ornithology at City College of San Francisco since 1978. He is the coauthor of"Birds of San Francisco and the Bay Area" and "Birds of Northern California." He has served as Chair of the California Bird Records Committee and was the recipient of the 2010 ABA Ludlow Griscom Award for contributions to regional ornithology. His evening birding classes start 27-28 September in San Francisco.
Link: http://https://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/fall16.htm

Birds of Belize and Tikal
Speaker: Rich Cimino
Host: Matthew Perry, kidcando@gmail.com, 415-789-0703
Start Date: Sep 08, 2016
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: The Birds of Belize and Tikal presentation will showcase the birds and maps of Belize and Tikal, Guatemala that Rich Cimino has seen and compiled through the years. Belize, in the Yucatan Peninsula, lies on the Caribbean and is bordered by Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west. It is a lush country, home to many beautiful and fascinating tropical birds and is a stopover for a number of the Bay Area's spring and summer migrant species. Rich is from Marin County and is the field guide for Yellowbilled Tours, which offers annual field trips into Belize and Guatemala. This is Rich's second presentation to Marin Audubon. Last year he presented on the Birds of Alaska. Rich is also the compiler for the eastern Alameda County CBC and is active in the Altamont Pass Wind Turbine repowering program, North Bay shorebird and heron rookery surveys, and other conservation initiatives.

Herons and Egrets: Ecology and Regional Status and Trends
Speaker: John Kelly
Host: jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Jun 02, 2016
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Please note this program is on the FIRST THURSDAY. There are no better iconic symbols of Audubon than the majestic herons and egrets that are so commonly seen feeding in the tidal marshes of the San Francisco Bay. The successful campaign to save these beautiful birds from extinction in the early 1900s led to the foundation of the National Audubon Society. The movement to save one of the largest nesting colonies in coastal California from development was launched in the 1960s by the Marin Audubon Society (supported by the Madrone, Sequoia and Golden Gate Audubon Societies) and resulted in the founding of Audubon Canyon Ranch. As the Director of Conservation Science at Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR), John Kelly has been monitoring, researching and reporting on the herons and egrets found throughout the North Bay region for 27 years. In his presentation, John will provide a solid look at heron and egret ecology and conservation, with anecdotes and natural history, report on regional status and trends, describe disturbance patterns, climate effects, wetland values and more. At ACR John develops and oversees programs in conservation research, ecological restoration and natural resources management on ACR lands and associated systems, such as Tomales Bay. Before coming to ACR in 1988, John worked as a biologist and educator for several public and private organizations. He holds a doctorate in ecology from the University of California, Davis, and a master's degree in wildlife from Humboldt State University.

Mutualism: A Lesson In Perspective
Speaker: Joe Mueller
Host: Lowell Sykes, 415-388-2821
Start Date: May 12, 2016
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Our world, in every aspect, is interconnected. Mutualism is everywhere - from the foundation of coral reefs to the very cells that compose us - but few would know it. Even biologists rarely discuss the underlining significance of this type of symbiosis. Join us for an intriguing discussion on evidence for why mutualism is so foundational for ecological systems, how it can be applied to human systems, and why following this type of natural philosophy would solve the human predicament. Joe Mueller has been teaching biology at the College of Marin for 25 years. Of the 15 different courses he has taught, subjects of particular interest include ecology, marine biology, ornithology and environmental science. Taking a holistic approach to science, Joe emphasizes the interconnective approach to understanding biology. Joe is the recipient of the 2008 Terwilliger Environmental Award. This program is also the Marin Audubon Society Annual Meeting, at which we will nominate and elect Board Members. We hope you can join us.

Living With Wildlife
Speaker: Beth Pratt-Bergstrom
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Apr 14, 2016
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Did you know that a family of foxes thrives on the Facebook campus in Silicon Valley? Or that a mountain lion lives in the middle of Los Angeles? Or that Google's campus houses one of the largest egret rookeries in the Bay Area? Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, California Director for the National Wildlife Federation and author of the upcoming book, When Mountain Lions are Neighbors: People and Wildlife Working It Out in California, will tell some remarkable stories of "wild wonder" and how -- sometimes in the most unlikely of places -- people are being good neighbors for wildlife in the Golden State. She will also talk about how these stories illustrate an important new model for conservation that incorporates coexistence with wild animals and the need to expand our view and realize that our shared spaces are as essential to conservation as our traditional protected lands. Beth has worked in environmental leadership roles for over twenty-five years and in two of the country's largest national parks: Yosemite and Yellowstone. "I have the best job in the world,"she says. "I get to travel around California and spend time with condors, mountain lions, porpoises, pika, and foxes, and work with some amazing people who help wildlife thrive." Beth serves on the board of the nonprofits Outdoor Afro and Save the Frogs, and she has trained with Vice President Al Gore as a member of his Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps. Come see her P-22 tatoo!

Woodpeckers of the North Bay
Speaker: Jeffery R. Martin
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Mar 10, 2016
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Woodpeckers have captured the human imagination for generations. The distant sounds of pecking, flashes of red plumage, and inevitable disappearance into the shadows of the forest evoke a sense of wonder about these extraordinary yet elusive creatures. Jeffery Martin's lecture and video explore the foraging strategies of our eight North Bay woodpecker species. Insect excavation, acorn storage, the use of sap wells and other intriguing behaviors are our focus. Jeff's video segments illustrate unique evolutionary adaptations. We examine the anatomy of feet, tail, tongue and head which enable agile vertical climbing, adept grabbing of prey, and protection from concussion and dust inhalation. From the exquisite green and rose-colored Lewis's Woodpecker to the dazzling Northern Flicker, and more, we take a close-up look at the worlds of our eight North Bay Woodpeckers. A Marin County videographer and naturalist, Jeffery Martin has filmed and produced "Bahia Wildlife Habitat" and "Birds of Las Gallons Marsh," which can be viewed on the web sites of Marin Audubon and Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District. His films, "Woodpecker Haven" and "Birds of Lake Solano and Putah Creek," are shown regularly at the Lake Solano Visitors Center. A few years ago, Jeff presented "Foraging Behavior in Large Wading Birds" - a lecture and video program for both the Marin Audubon and Golden Gate Audubon Speakers Series. In his "day job," Jeff is a clinical psychologist and associate clinical professor at UCSF School of Medicine.

Health Status of Marine Mammals in the San Francisco Bay Area
Speaker: Denise Greig
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Feb 11, 2016
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Denise Greig is a marine biologist who works at the California Academy of Sciences, the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, and The Marine Mammal Center. She studies marine mammal health and disease and is particularly interested in the reasons for marine mammal strandings and how strandings reflect trends in marine mammal health in the wild as well as changes in the ocean environment. In her presentation, Denise will provide updates on the ongoing mortality events affecting California sea lions and Guadelupe fur seals. She will also focus on harbor seals as a case study for understanding the human impacts on our only year round resident marine mammal

Great Grey Owls
Speaker: Joe Medley
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Jan 14, 2016
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: California Great Gray Owls are listed as State Endangered owing to their limited population size and specialized habitat requirements. The elusive Great Gray Owl is one of the most rare and sought after birds in the state. Only the most patient (or lucky) observers are rewarded with glimpsing them in their montane meadow habitat. Joe Medley, a UC Davis graduate student, will discuss Great Gray Owl life history, genetics, and his work in developing non-invasive methods for surveying and monitoring Great Gray Owls. He will share stories from his field work observing the owls, and his photography and recordings of the owls and other wildlife that he has captured throughout the course of his research. Medley grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills and has been studying Great Gray Owls in Yosemite National Park and the surrounding National Forest lands for the past nine years. Prior to his research on Great Grays, he studied hawk migration in Marin, Virginia and Costa Rica, and monitored Spotted Owls in Plumas National Forest. He only agreed to do this talk because his mother happens to be the coordinator for Marin Audubon guest speakers.

Bay Area Shorebirds
Speaker: Rusty Scalf
Host: jude Stalker, 415-668-1242, judestalker@gmail.com
Start Date: Dec 10, 2015
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Twenty-seven shorebird species can be found in the San Francisco Bay Area with several more occurring occasionally. Each bird has a different story: different nesting grounds, different migration, different foraging strategy, with some new discoveries and plenty of surprises. A few nest here, some stage here on migration, others call the bay home for 2/3 of their year. For a good number of these species, our bay is the most important habitat on the continent's Pacific coast. Rusty's photographs will please all shorebird lovers but may also be a helpful review for upcoming Christmas Bird Counts. He will discuss significant field identification markings and distinctive behaviors for our local species. Rsty has been an avid birder since childhood. Marin birders are familiar with Rusty's discovery and steadfast monitoring of the Vaux's Swift population at their fall roosting site at McNear Brick & Block in San Rafael but may not know of his wider knowledge of Bay Area birds. Since 1990 he has taught bird ID classes for beginners and for the past 25 years he has been very involved in the Breeding Bird Atlas movement. Breeding Birds of Solano County features range maps created by Rusty for each of the county’s breeding birds. He also leads field trips for Golden Gate Audubon and is a Point Blue volunteer in an annual shorebird survey. His day job is computer mapping and database work--geographic information systems. Come at 7:15 for refreshments. Meeting begins at 7:30 PM.

The Duck Family
Speaker: Len Blumin
Host: Barbara Salzman, email: BSalzman@att.net or phone 415-924-6057
Start Date: Nov 12, 2015
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Len Blumin will discuss the waterfowl family, Anatidae, with a focus on species of ducks, geese and swans seen in California. As we explore the family tree we'll learn about the various branches and tribes that comprise this diverse and very visible group, and how they sorted into subfamilies and tribes, such as the dabbling ducks, diving ducks and sea ducks. The duck family emerged early in the evolution of birds, and their order, Anseriformes, has been moved closer to the front of newer guidebooks. Emphasis in the presentation will be on features needed for field identification, to serve as a review for upcoming Christmas Birds Counts. Len will mention his favorite spots find each of these species in Marin County and nearby locations, as well as some sites on the eastern seaboard and gulf coast for species not seen here. Len is a retired physician. He and his wife Patti have been active volunteers at Audubon Canyon Ranch for 3 decades. They enjoy bird outings with friends and favorite trip leaders, and were devoted fans of Rich Stallcup. When possible Len photographs the birds they see on their field trips, using a camera mounted on his spotting scope, which allows the birds to be closely observed without disturbing them. Many of his photos are from San Rafael’s Las Gallinas Water Treatment ponds, where Len and others have been leading the Marin Audubon Society's regular "First Thursday" bird walks for a number of years. His book, "Len's Lens - Vol. 1 - THE DUCK FAMILY" is available for viewing on a computer or a portable device.

Audubon California's Waterbird Program
Speaker: Kerry Wilcox
Host: Robert Hinz, at rbrthnz@comcast.net or 415-383-8688
Start Date: Oct 08, 2015
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Audubon California recently initiated a Waterbird Program housed at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary in Tiburon. The focus will be to protect and enhance populations of waterbirds found on San Francisco Bay such as Surf Scoter, Greater & Lesser Scaup and Western & Clark's Grebes. The Center's location on Richardson Bay, the annual closure of its Sanctuary to prevent boat disturbance, and a long history of educating the public and advocating for subtidal habitats such as eelgrass are essential to the program goals, but moving forward we would also like to scale conservation actions up to San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Flyway in order to positively affect these remarkable birds during their entire life cycle. Kerry Wilcox is the Waterbird Program Manager at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary in Tiburon, CA. He has been working with Audubon since 2006, and prior to that was a biologist with the Institute for Bird Populations in Point Reyes Station.

River Otters: Back on the Bay Area Map
Speaker: Megan Isadore
Host: Jude Stalker, 415-668-1242, judestalker@gmail.com
Start Date: Sep 10, 2015
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: River otters are charismatic carnivores, wonderful ambassadors for river and wetland restoration and conservation efforts. Yet, little is known about their population, range and seasonal eating habits in the Bay Area. The River Otter Ecology Project has taken on the challenge of discovering and documenting their ecological niche, with the goal of informing land use decisions and preserving habitat for these lively aquatic mammals. Join us as we discuss what's known, what needs to be discovered, and just how we manage to research elusive, secretive mammals that slide into the water and disappear when approached. We'll show slides and videos from our ottercams, and discuss the project and the role that citizen science plays in this 'otterly' exciting work! Megan Isadore's statement: The first time I saw river otters was early on a cold winter morning, from the banks of Lagunitas Creek. A sinuous line of four hunted their way back and forth across the narrow river, nosing under every rock and tree root. Their military formation was impressive! Every so often they chirped back and forth to each other, and every so often, one came up with a crayfish, which was dispatched with noisy crunching gusto. Enthralled, I followed them from a distance for a good half hour, until they stopped on a gravel bar to groom and roll, then disappeared into the willows. I'm a naturalist, wildlife rehabilitator and writer. I graduated from the College of William & Mary with a degree in English, never suspecting I would spend my entire career in one kind of science or another. I began as a medical writer, then produced continuing medical education programs and publications in medical risk management. In 1998, after moving to Marin I turned my attention to watershed ecology in service to the critically endangered coho salmon of Lagunitas Creek. As Lead Naturalist for SPAWN, I produced and presented training programs for new naturalists, worked on field research projects on endangered coho salmon recovery and community education efforts, acted as Team Leader for rescue and relocating thousands of stranded coho fry from drying streams and led spawning surveys on headwater tributaries under state and federal permits. The River Otter Ecology Project grew out of my fascination with these remarkable semi-aquatic mammals that inhabit our watersheds from the headwaters to the ocean, are intelligent, adaptable and extraordinarily charismatic. River otters are a keystone species in our coastal ecosystems, not only ecologically, but in their ability to inspire an interest in conservation and restoration of the watersheds upon which we all depend. Congressional Certificate of Excellence, 2014 Gold Medal Winner:  Environmental Leader of Marin Award, 2014 John Muir Association Conservation Award, 2014 (Photo by Robin Ellison)

Birding Tanzania
Speaker: Wendy Dreskin
Host: Helen Lindqvist, helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415 789-0703
Start Date: Jun 04, 2015
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Famous for having the biggest concentrations of large mammals on the planet, Tanzania is also an exciting birding destination. This presentation will feature birds travelers would be likely to see on a safari to Northern Tanzania in the winter, before migratory birds have left for their breeding grounds to the north. Birds you will meet include the Hammerkop, a compulsive nest-builder, the Sacred Ibis, extirpated from Egypt but easily seen in Tanzania, the vulnerable Southern Ground Hornbill (pictured), the endangered Saddlebilled Stork and other storks, Ostriches, Coursers, Bee Eaters, the Secretary Bird, and a variety of eagles. Wendy Dreskin is a professional nature educator. She has been teaching the popular class Meandering in Marin at College of Marin for the last 17 years as well as teaching nature education classes for children. As a volunteer, she runs the Junior Bird Watcher Program for Marin Audubon. She has been leading nature trips to US destinations since 2003, and led her first trip to Tanzania in 2014. In the winter quarter she taught the College of Marin class Armchair Safari: Preparing for a Trip to Tanzania. Wendy's husband, William Dreskin, whose photos are featured in the presentation, is an award-winning photographer whose photographs have appeared in books and magazines including Marin magazine, Bay Nature magazine, and American Art Collector. He has exhibited in numerous galleries and national exhibitions, and his photographs are in private and corporate collections in the US and abroad. Come at 7:15 for refreshments. Note, this program is on June 4, a week earlier than usual.

Ospreys in Marin and Beyond
Speaker: Jules Evens and Tony Brake
Host: Helen Lindqvist, helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415 789-0703
Start Date: May 14, 2015
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Jules Evens has been monitoring an Osprey colony at Kent Lake on Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) lands since 1981. The district initiated the monitoring effort to determine the number of active nests, the reproductive success of the colony, and the species and location of nesting trees. The colony has increased, plateaued, and declined over the course of this monitoring effort in response to a variety of influences, including the arrival of a pair of Bald Eagles in 2008. Jules will review the trends and dynamics of this charismatic "fish hawk" of the local population in the context of the nationwide trends. Tony Brake will cover ospreys in the Bay Area, where the last decade has seen a remarkably rapid expansion of Osprey nesting in San Francisco Bay tidelands. From a single nest reported in 1990 in Vallejo, numbers have risen to 27 nesting pairs in summer 2014. What's behind this increase? What conservation challenges do nesting Ospreys face here and how can we help them? Tony has been monitoring nesting Ospreys along San Francisco Bay since 2012 and is a volunteer with Golden Gate Raptor Observatory. He is among the co-authors of a paper on Bay Area Ospreys that was published last Fall in the journal Western Birds. Come at 7:15 PM for refreshments.

Seasons of the Sea: A Social & Natural History of the Gulf of the Farallones
Speaker: Roger Harris
Host: Helen Lindqvist, helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415 789-0703
Start Date: Apr 09, 2015
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: One of the world's great wildlife areas lies immediately off of our Marin County coast. Fully a quarter of the seabirds born in California hatch from the vast rookeries of the Farallon Islands, including the iconic Tufted Puffin and half the world's population of the Ashy Storm-Petrel. More species of marine mammals can be seen on a day boat trip into the Gulf than practically any place else. Grey Whales migrate through, while one of the world's largest concentrations of the largest of all mammals, the endangered Blue Whale, feeds in these rich waters. The largest sea turtle, the critically endangered Leatherback, frequents the Gulf on occasion as do Killer Whales and Great White Sharks. The social history is equally fascinating. Over 200 years passed from when the first Europeans sailed past the Farallones to when they finally sailed into the great port of San Francisco. Before chicken farms were in Petaluma, seabird eggs were harvested from the islands. More recently, the islands have seen spectacular recoveries of Common Murres, Northern Fur Seals, and Northern Elephant Seals. Roger Harris will tell us about these conservation success stories. A Certified Wildlife Biologist, he has been leading pelagic trips to the Gulf for 30 years, most recently with the Oceanic Society. Come at 7:15 PM for refreshments. The meeting begins at 7:30 PM.

Thinking like a Naturalist: Reclaiming the Art of Natural History
Speaker: John Muir Laws
Host: Helen Lindqvist, helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415 789-0703
Start Date: Mar 12, 2015
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Learn how to get more out of every nature ramble. Developments in neuropsychology have opened doors in our understanding of the brain and cognition and how you can train yourself to see more and to be more curious about what you discover. Naturalist and illustrator John Muir Laws will demonstrate simple and fun techniques you can incorporate into your own recreational nature study or to share with others. A perfect experience for teachers, home school parents and anyone interested in taking their birding and nature study to the next level. Naturalist, educator and artist John (Jack) Muir Laws teaches the tools to help people develop as naturalists and stewards including: ways to improve your observation, memory and curiosity, conservation biology, natural history, scientific illustration and field sketching all while having fun!! He is trained as a wildlife biologist and is a Research Associate of the California Academy of Sciences. Jack is in love with the natural world and is living his life sharing this passion with others. Come at 7:15 pm for refreshments. Meeting begins at 7:30 pm.

The Birds of Nome, Alaska
Speaker: Rich Cimino
Host: Helen Lindqvist, helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415 789-0703
Start Date: Feb 12, 2015
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Rich has been birding the Nome Alaska ecosystem since 1998. In 2002 he created Yellowbilled Tours which features annual field trips into Nome, Barrow and Gambel, Alaska. This presentation will show the various habitats of the region and will feature photos of the typical birds found on the Nome field trips and some of the Nome specialty birds like Aleutian Tern, Bluethroat, Yellow Wagtail, Arctic Warbler, Northern Wheatear, White Wagtail, Hoary Redpoll, Rough-legged Hawk and the family of Eiders. Rich has been birding Northern California for 47 years and for 9 he served as the conservation chair for the Ohlone Audubon Society and participated in the Altamont Pass Wind Turbine area Golden Eagle surveys. His current birding activities include compiling the Eastern Alameda County Christmas Bird Count and leading family field trips to Olompali. He moved West and is now a resident of Larkspur, Marin. Come at 7:15 pm for refreshments. The meeting begins at 7:30 pm.

Exploring the Colombian Southwest Andes and Intermountain Valleys
Speaker: Gordon Beebe
Host: Helen Lindqvist, helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415 789-0703
Start Date: Jan 08, 2015
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Photos, video and a soundtrack of recordings are seamlessly integrated into the presentation, all taken on a two-week trip to several natural locations and parks in Colombia. Experience the visual beauty and unique songs and calls of the birds of the varied habitats of southwest Colombia, from the intermountain valleys, cloud forest, freshwater lagoon and rivers, to the paramo, a treeless zone high in the Andes. Gordon Beebe is a project coordinator for the Sonoma County Breeding Bird Atlas, a Saturday bird walk leader, and President and website editor for Madrone Audubon. He lives with his wife Judy in Santa Rosa, CA

The Future of Deep Forest Owls
Speaker: Jack Dumbacher
Host: Helen Lindqvist, helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415 789-0703
Start Date: Dec 11, 2014
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Over the last century, the eastern Barred Owl has made its way to the west coast and now appears to be a threat to the endangered Northern Spotted Owl. Barred Owls are fierce competitors, aggressive territory holders, faster reproducers and have even been anecdotally reported to kill Spotted Owls. Jack will explain the natural history and conservation concerns of both species and what is being proposed by various management agencies to reconcile this conflict. Jack Dumbacher is curator of birds and mammals at the California Academy of Sciences and professor of biology at San Francisco State University. He has been working on California Barred Owls since 2006.

The Tambopata Macaw Project
Speaker: George Eade
Host: Helen Lindqvist, Helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415/789-0703
Start Date: Nov 13, 2014
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: The Tambopata Research Center lies near a riverbank deep inside an eastern Peruvian primary rainforest. It shares its space with a tourist lodge that is famous for its access to abundant wildlife, especially birds. With its location deep within a national park, it provides opportunities to experience a relatively undisturbed neo-tropical environment. In July 2013 Marin resident George Eade spent a month at the TRC as a volunteer research assistant for the Macaw Project, gathering data on macaws, parrots, and other wildlife. During his spare time there were many opportunities to explore the forest and enjoy some special neo-tropical forest encounters. George will present images from Tambopata, and discuss some of the habitat changes that are occurring in the Madre De Dios region of Peru.

Birds of the Mono Lake Basin
Speaker: Marie Read
Host: Helen Lindqvist, Helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415/789-0703
Start Date: Oct 09, 2014
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Nationally known bird photographer, Marie Read, takes us on a journey exploring the birdlife of the Mono Lake Basin. Marie's stunning photography, now featured in her newly released book Sierra Wings: Birds of the Mono Lake Basin, reveals the fascinating lives of the birds that breed or migrate through this spectacular birding hotspot. Iconic Mono Lake, in California's Eastern Sierra, is famous for bizarre tufa towers rising from its surface, and highly saline and alkaline water. Teeming brine shrimp and alkali flies attract huge numbers of breeding and migratory birds, including California Gulls, Wilson's and Red-necked phalaropes, and Eared Grebes. The surrounding sagebrush scrub, pinyon-juniper, Jeffrey pine and conifer-aspen forests support many other species. Delve into the hidden lives of birds such as Pinyon Jay, Violet-green Swallow, Sage Thrasher, Lewis's and Black-backed Woodpeckers, and American Dipper, enjoy Marie's stories from the field and learn how she obtained some of the behavior and action shots in the book. Signed books will be available for purchase. Marie's images and articles have appeared in magazines such as Living Bird, Bird Watching, Nature's Best, Birds & Blooms, and National Wildlife, as well as in books, calendars, and websites. She has authored two previous books: Secret Lives of Common Birds: Enjoying Bird Behavior Through the Seasons (Houghton Mifflin, 2005), and Common Birds & Their Songs (coauthored with Lang Elliott, Houghton Mifflin, 1998). You can see Marie's work at www.marieread.com

Condors and People: How We Live (or Die) Together
Speaker: Nicole Sault, Ph.D.
Host: Helen Lindqvist, Helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415/789-0703
Start Date: Sep 11, 2014
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: While condors are once again flying over the California countryside, they are still endangered in both North and South America. Throughout the Americas they are threatened by habitat loss, hunting and poisoning. Although condors are revered by many, even admiration can become a threat, as seen in the growing feather trade and capture of condors for ceremonies in Peru. This presentation will provide an anthropological perspective on how a wide variety of people in the Andes view condors: biologists and hunters, conservationists and ranchers, archeologists and herders, historians and village leaders. The goal is to understand their different positions so that we can figure out how to best protect condors for future generations. Dr. Nicole Sault earned her Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA, and a BA from UC Santa Barbara. She began doing fieldwork in Mexico in 1977, in Costa Rica in 1998, and in Peru in 2011. For 14 years she taught at Santa Clara University and then at the University of Costa Rica, in the graduate program in Anthropology. Andean condors have been the focus of her most recent research.

Speaker Series will resume in Septamber
Host: helen Lindqvist, Helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415/789-0703
Start Date: Jul 15, 2014
End Date: Aug 01, 2014
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]

Bird Scaping
Speaker: Michael Marchiano
Host: Helen Lindqvist, Helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415/789-0703
Start Date: Jun 05, 2014
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Food, water, shelter, and nesting sites; the ingredients for attracting birds to your backyard. Join us on June 5th for a presentation from East Bay Naturalist Michael Marchiano as he reviews some of our common backyard visitors and what you can do to encourage and entice more of the local avian population to come to your yard. He strongly encourages the use of native plants in landscaping and the non use of insecticides, herbicides and rodentcides. His power point presentation will cover information on identifying birds as well as types of feeders and food to attract particular birds. He will also touch on encouraging healthy "insect" and butterfly populations in your yards. Michael has been leading hikes and giving nature presentations for such organizations as Audubon, Save Mount Diablo, Sierra Club, Lindsey Museum, San Francisco Exploratorium, Colleges and Civic Organizations for over 35 years. He is presently on the Board of Directors for Mount Diablo Interpretive Society and the Resident Naturalist at Wild Birds Unlimited in Pleasant Hill. Although his special interests are herpetology and entomology he has been a birder for over 30 years and leads a monthly bird hike in Contra Costa County. Michael was born and raised in the East Bay and resides with his wife Paula of 39 years in Martinez.

Birds of Enchantment : Birding Puerto Rico
Speaker: Jaan Lepson
Host: Helen Lindqvist, Helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415/789-0703
Start Date: May 08, 2014
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Puerto Rico is the smallest and easternmost of the Greater Antilles islands. Captured from Spain in 1898, Puerto Rico became a self-governing U. S. Commonwealth in 1952. The island blends traditional Latino-Caribbean and North American culture and, with its good infrastructure and widespread (though by no means universal) understanding of English, makes for an excellent introduction to birding in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico's avifauna combines the familiar and the exotic, with wintering North American migrants mingling with such specialties as lizard-cuckoos and the jewel-like todies. Jaan visited Puerto Rico several times since 2007 and had the pleasure of working at the Rio Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico during the spring of 2012. During that time he was able to bird over most of the island and found all but one of the endemic species (come to the talk to find out which one he missed!). His presentation will concentrate on birding in different habitats in Puerto Rico, along with a dash of the local flavor. (Photo: Bananaquit, Jaan Lepson)

Birds, Butterflies and a Smattering of Other Wildlife of Southeast Arizona
Speaker: Bob Stewart
Host: Helen Lindqvist, Helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415/789-0703
Start Date: Apr 10, 2014
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Southeast Arizona is biologically a very diverse region, where bird watching is very different from coastal California. For one thing, the weather pattern appears turned upside down. It rains in the summer? For those who think it is going to be unusually dry in May because we are in a drought this winter, guess again. SE Arizona had a very healthy "monsoon season" in July, August and September 2013 so when you visit in May this year it will be normal. Rain is very, very rare in May. Geologically speaking this is Basin and Range topography the result of earth stretching that has caused huge blocks to rise up and adjacent basins to sink. Bird watchers are attracted to this part of the country because of such species as Black Vultures, look-alike Zone-tailed Hawks, Gray Hawks, Bendire's and Crissal Thrashers, Red-faced, Grace's, Lucy's, Virginia's, Olive Warblers, Painted Redstarts, Elegant Trogons, Roadrunners, and 16 species of Hummingbirds, just to name a few. But once they get there, the array of habitats, visible geology, high number of common lizards, varied insect life, all begin to have an impact beyond just birds. The number of butterfly species in Arizona (341 plus) is second only to Texas. The flora consists of many species that do not occur in California and because of the relative dryness are more spread out and are easily distinquished. Bob has been a naturalist since 1962. His career includes teaching biology in the California public schools, biologist/teacher at Point Reyes Bird Observatory, naturalist for Marin County Open Space District (where he gave over 2,000 free walks to the public). He has lead innumerable outings to California, Arizona, Texas, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Trinidad and Tobago. He has self published two photographic butterfly books: Common Butterflies of California (1997) and Butterflies of Arizona (2001). (Crissal Thrasher photo by Glen Tepke)

Birds of the Sierra Nevada
Speaker: Ted Beedy and Keith Hansen
Host: Helen Lindqvist, Helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415/789-0703
Start Date: Mar 13, 2014
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Ted Beedy and Keith Hansen will take you on a virtual transect of the range from the oak savanna in the west, through serene conifer forests of the west side, up into the majestic alpine regions, and down the steep eastern escarpment to the pinyon/juniper woodlands and open steppes of the Great Basin. Along the way we'll see and hear the stunning diversity of birds that make the Sierra their home. We'll learn about which birds are in decline and which are expanding and increasing. We'll address some mysteries surrounding some of those species and discuss how birders can help to solve them. Ted Beedy co-authored Discovering Sierra Birds and has written numerous technical publications and articles on Sierra birds. Ted is the author of a new book, Birds of the Sierra Nevada: Their Natural History, Status, and Distribution, co-authored by Ed Pandolfino, illustrated by Keith Hansen, and published by U.C. Press. Keith Hansen has created bird illustrations for various organizations to adorn or enhance publications that have included books, scientific journals, magazines, newsletters and logos (including the Marin Audubon Society's Clapper Rail). His workspace, The Wildlife Gallery, is located in Bolinas California where people are welcome to visit the studio and view original prints and the various works on display.

Living with Mountain Lions
Speaker: Zara McDonald
Host: Helen Lindqvist, Helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415/789-0703
Start Date: Feb 13, 2014
Start Time: 7:15 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: The timing is ideal for this program as there have been 2 - 3 credible lion sightings recently on the Tiburon Peninsula. San Francisco-based and globally-working wild cat conservationist and naturalist Zara McDonald, Executive Director of Felidae Conservation Fund, gives an engaging and inspiring presentation about mountain lions and the work currently underway to study and protect them. Felidae Conservation Fund is a non-profit that aims to advance the conservation of wild cats and their habitats planetwide through a combination of groundbreaking research, compelling education and cutting-edge technology. Felidae works in both North and South America on different mountain lion research and conservation projects. The flagship project is the Bay Area Puma Project at www.bapp.org. These keystone predators (also called pumas and cougars) play a critical role in maintaining the health and biodiversity of our ecosystems. However, expansion of human populations is causing increasing encounters and conflicts between humans and pumas, and growing tensions in our local communities. Zara discusses mountain lion ecology and history, the challenges of sharing the habitat with mountain lions, and offers essential tips for living and recreating without fear in puma habitat. Come at 7:15 pm for refreshments. Meeting begins at 7:30 pm.

Golden Eagles of the East Bay
Speaker: Douglas A. Bell
Host: Helen Lindqvist, Helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415/789-0703
Start Date: Jan 09, 2014
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: The San Francisco East Bay Area still harbors one of the densest nesting populations of golden eagles in the world. But wind farm operations at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area take a high toll on golden eagles and account for an eagle mortality rate that is unsustainable. In essence, the Altamont represents a population sink to our local eagles. Doug will provide an overview of the golden eagles nesting in the East Bay and discuss efforts currently underway to better understand this population and to lessen the impacts of wind energy production on eagles. The latter will include studies incorporating flight behavior and digital elevation mapping to inform wind turbine siting, as well as preliminary results from GPS satellite tracking of golden eagles. Early in his life, Doug Bell discovered birds and soon thereafter, raptors. He is the Wildlife Program Manager for the East Bay Regional Park District and is President of the Western Section of the Wildlife Society. His research currently focuses on the sustainability of golden eagles and other raptors. Doug received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. He is an Adjunct Professor at California State University Sacramento and a Research Associate of the California Academy of Sciences.

Birds and Other Wildlife of South Georgia & Falkland Islands
Speaker: Bob Lewis
Host: Helen Lindqvist, Helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415/789-0703
Start Date: Dec 12, 2013
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:00 PM
Description: Come with Bob Lewis to South Georgia Island, a four-day voyage by sea east of the southernmost city in the world. There, you will be introduced to the island's abundant wildlife: hundreds of thousands of penguins, thousands of albatross, uncountable fur and elephant seals, giant petrels, sheathbills, and skuas. We will consider why colonial breeding birds behave as they do, look at some spectacular scenery, and discuss the impact of rats on islands in the Great Southern Ocean. We'll also touch on the history of the islands, including the voyage of Ernest Shackleton, and will make a stop at the Falkland Islands to experience additional fascinating species. Bob Lewis is a board member of Golden Gate Audubon, chair of the GGAS Adult Education Committee and longtime GGAS instructor and field trip leader. He's known for his portfolio of wildlife photography reflecting his travels to birding hotspots around the world, having visited over 35 countries in search of feathered wonders, and having seen over 4200 species of birds. Bob is also co-compiler of the Oakland Christmas Bird Count. Photo: King Penguin by Bob Lewis.

Birds and Nature of the Southern Cone
Speaker: Alvaro Jaramillo
Host: Helen Lindqvist, Helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, 415/789-0703
Start Date: Nov 14, 2013
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: The Southern Cone? Is that an Ice Cream place in Georgia? Nope, it is the triangle-shaped southern section of South America. The cone includes Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and the southern bits of Bolivia and Brazil. What makes it special is that there are so many habitats and neat areas here, the Pampas, Patagonia, the Matorral, the Humboldt Current, Iguazu Falls, the Yungas, the Chaco - so many spots that are truly and uniquely South American. It is the land of Rheas, penguins, horneros, seriemas, as well as Southern Right Whales, Marine Otters, Viscachas and Vicuñas. A part of the world blessed with some enigmatic, unusual, beautiful and often rather unique creatures. But what absolutely is the icing on the cake is that the southern cone includes some of the most memorable and scenic parts of the Americas. This includes snow-capped volcanoes, huge granitic spikes, the big sky country of the Pampas and Patagonia and coastlines that are perhaps only rivaled by California for their beauty. Come enjoy an evening exploring a gorgeous part of the world and its equally fantastic bird and wildlife through the eyes of a birder-biologist who has an unbridled passion for this part of the world. Photo: Andean Condor by Aalvaro Jaramillo.

Birds of Trinidad - Tobago
Speaker: Len Blumin and Friends
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Oct 10, 2013
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: The islands of Trinidad-Tobago off the coast of Venezuela host an array of tropical species that attract birders from all over the world. A good variety of hummingbirds can be seen, as well as Tanagers and Honeycreepers, along with wonders such as the Bellbird and Oilbird. The Asa Wright sanctuary hosts many colorful local species, and serves as a perfect hub for trips to see the Scarlet Ibis and other avian wonders. Len Blumin will explore the wonder and diversity of the Birds of Trinidad-Tobago with presentation of images from a recent trip. Len Blumin is an MAS member and trip leader, a retired physician who keeps busy watching and photographing birds.

Nests: Photos of Birds' Nests and Stories About the Birds that Built Them
Speaker: Sharon Beals
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Sep 12, 2013
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Sharon Beals has photographed birds nests in the ornithology departments of four science museums; the California Academy of Sciences, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, and the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates. Concerned about the modern day threats to the survival of so many avian species, she has used her photographs to invite even those who might never pick up a pair of binoculars to be interested in the birds who have built so many wonderful creations. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon Magazine, and will be on display in the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC this year from August 25 to May 5, 2014. She is the author of Nests: Fifty Nests and the Birds that Built Them, published in 2011 by Chronicle Books. Besides the nests, she photographs untidy wild habitats, and is working on a series of ocean plastic images. Refreshments and chat at 7:15pm.

Speaker Series programs will resume in September
Start Date: Aug 08, 2013
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]

Freeway Birding
Speaker: Harry Fuller
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Jun 06, 2013
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Harry Fuller's new book, FREEWAY BIRDING, covers birding sites between San Francisco and Seattle. In addition to the Interstate 5 corridor it covers US 101 north of the Golden Gate Bridge and then the area between Novato and Vallejo where drivers pick up I-80. The program will discuss hard to find birds along the way and where to find them: the rest stop with nesting Lewis's Woodpeckers, where to find Trumpeter Swan, White-winged Scoter, White-headed Woodpecker, American Dipper and other interesting species. The one, "secret" national wildlife refuge that gets no signs along the freeway but is only one mile from an I-5 exit will be revealed! Harry Fuller was a long-time Bay Area resident, now living in Ashland, Oregon. He is a professional birding guide who leads trips in California, Oregon and Washington. He is president-elect of the Klamath Bird Observatory Board of Directors. His birding blog can be found at: atowhee.wordpress.com. (Photo by Len Blumin)

The Lives of Owls - Intermediate Level
Speaker: Joe Mueller
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: May 09, 2013
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Ever hear a talk on owls and feel yourself wanting more? Then this is the talk for you. Join Joe as he shares the features of owl life that goes beyond the beginners level. We will begin with a quick review of owl biology including food, predators, reproduction, behavior and ecology. We will expand on the different types of calls and what they mean, get into mating strategies and explore the lives of some other owl species outside of California. We will conclude with a little on the latest in owl research. Not to worry if you're a beginner, this will be fun for you too. Joe Mueller has been teaching biology at the College of Marin for 24 years. Of the 15 different courses he has taught, subjects of particular interest include ecology, marine biology, ornithology and environmental science. Taking a holistic approach to science, Joe emphasizes the interconnective approach to understanding biology. Joe is the recipient of the 2008 Terwilliger Environmental Award and he has developed and directs the Natural History Program at College of Marin.

The Mystery of Bird Song
Speaker: David Lukas
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Apr 11, 2013
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: How do birds learn to sing such beautiful songs? And why do they produce so many different types of vocalizations? David Lukas will help answer some of these questions and share his insights into the magical world of bird song, from the ways we study bird song, to the anatomy of how birds produce sounds, to some of the social behaviors that explain common bird vocalizations. David Lukas is a California naturalist and the author of six books, including Sierra Nevada Natural History and Wild Birds of California. David grew up in Oregon but has been living in the Sierra Nevada and leading bird programs in California for 20 years. His newest book is called Bay Area Birds and it is the first comprehensive guide to the status, life history, and distribution of all the birds that occur in the Bay Area(www.lukasguides.com). Photo by Alan Beymer.

Trans Pacific Migrations
Speaker: Peter Pyle
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Mar 14, 2013
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Discover the amazing movement patterns of albatross, sharks and other open ocean creatures as Peter Pyle, Institute for Bird Populations wildlife biologist, presents his research on Transpacific Migration. Find out how Pacific Ocean migrants overcome the hardships and risks of long-distance travel through and over inhospitable and food-deprived central Pacific ocean. The great flights of Black-footed Albatrosses, which come 4000 miles to California to get food for their chicks, will be a primary focus. In addition, he will discuss the fasting of turtles, tuna, Great White Sharks and other marine animals, as well as the surprising over-water journeys of various shorebirds, land birds, insects, and bats, and he will put all of this information into conservation contexts. Peter worked as a Farallon Island Biologist for 24 years, studying bird, bat, and butterfly migration as well as the habits of the Great White Shark. Peter currently works for the Institute for Bird Populations where he conducts research on changes in the abundance, distribution, and ecology of North and Latin American bird populations. In addition, he is a Research Associate for the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, and B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu. He has also published or co-authored over 120 papers in the scientific literature including "Identification Guide to North American Birds, Parts I and 2" and is an expert on molt of birds. Talk begins at 7:30, come early for refreshments and to socialize.

Burrowing Owls in California - An Abundant Endangered Species?
Speaker: Jack Barclay
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Feb 14, 2013
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Jack Barclay will present a slideshow about burrowing owls in California, summarizing their natural history, range, abundance, distribution range-wide and in California, as well as breeding strategy, habitat associations and their movements within our state. He will also discuss conservation status and illustrate the way that current management of vacant lands in developing parts of California can initially attract burrowing owls and then remove their habitat. Mr. Barclay has been a professional raptor biologist for 35 years. He graduated from Cornell University in 1972 and went on to work for 11 years at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology on the program to restore peregrine falcons in the eastern U.S. Since coming to California in 1989 he has focused on burrowing owl research, management and conservation. Mr. Barclay has published several papers on different burrowing owl topics including: population dynamics, artificial burrows, trapping, and polygyny.

Central and Coastal Alaska: Birds, Wildlife and Natural History
Speaker: David Wimpfheimer
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Jan 10, 2013
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Alaska is a huge state with a wonderful assortment of dramatic landforms and fantastic wildlife not seen anywhere else in the country. Many of our wintering shorebirds, waterfowl and other birds breed there. This program will focus on coastal and interior habitats that easy to travel to. Birds of Denali, Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords National Parks including White-winged Crossbill, Long-tailed Jaeger, Tufted and Horned Puffin, Willow Ptarmigan and mammals such as Grizzly Bear, Moose, Caribou and Wolf will be the main focus of this program. David has had a love affair with Alaska since 1969 when as an impressionable teenager he first visited the state. Its wildlife and landscapes shaped his career as a naturalist. Years later he returned to study birds at the Pribilof Islands and Prudhoe Bay. He has been leading birding and natural history tours in the state for the last twenty years. In the summer of 2013 he will be leading an Alaska birding tour for Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society.

Magical Madagascar: Birds, Lemurs & the Concepts of Adaptive Radiation and Endemism
Speaker: Bob Lewis
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Dec 13, 2012
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Ninety million years ago, Madagascar broke away from the last fragments of Gondwana, the great southern continent. Since that time, life on Madagascar has been evolving in its own unique way, isolated from Africa by 300 miles of the Mozambique channel. There are 5 or 6 families of birds found only on this fourth-largest island, and over half of the world's chameleons live only here. Lemurs are found nowhere else. Join Bob Lewis as he considers the evolutionary concepts of endemism and adaptive radiation on this island laboratory, and illustrates Madagascar life with striking images taken on a recent trip. Meet Cuckoo-Rollers, Asities, Mesites, Vangas and other Malagasy birds, and discover some of the many species of lemurs that call the Madagascar forests home. To get in the right time zone, we'll spend a few minutes in Cape Town, South Africa, chasing the elusive Cape Rockjumper before departing for our ultimate destination. Bob is a GGAS board member and an award-winning nature photographer who has traveled to many countries in search of avian subjects. He has taught birding classes in the Bay Area for almost 20 years, and is a frequent speaker on bird-related subjects.

Build it and they will come: Waterbird response to the restoration of tidal marsh wetlands at Tomales Bay.
Speaker: Jules Evens
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Nov 08, 2012
Start Time: 7:15 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: In the early 2000s, the National Park Service embarked on a project to restore over 550 acres of tidal marshlands at the south end of Tomales Bay. In October of 2008, the long planning process came to fruition with the breach of the levees on the Giacomini dairy and the return of tidal influence to the historic wetlands. Over the past four years, biologists from Avocet Research Associates (ARA) have been monitoring the waterbird populations as they have reinhabitated the site. Jules Evens will present the results of the first four years of the post-restoration monitoring, compare these results with the pre-restoration monitoring, and discuss how waterbirds have responded and how the restoration has augmented the avian populations of Tomales Bay. Jules Evens has been conducting avian population studies in the greater Bay Area for nearly four decades. He is Principal at ARA, a long-time research associate of PRBO, a former board member of Marin Audubon, and an avid birder and naturalist. He is also a contributor to University of California Press California natural History Guides: "An Introduction to California Birdlife" with Ian Tait (2005); "The Natural History of the Point Reyes Peninsula" (2008); and the soon to be published "Birds of Coastal Northern California" with Rich Stallcup.

How our brain identifies birds, with Alvaro Jaramillo
Speaker: Alvaro Jaramillo
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Oct 11, 2012
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Most bird identification talks focus on field marks, and the specifics of separating species A from species B. Few ask exactly how we identify birds. What is our brain going through in order to do this? Truth is that bird identification is pretty tricky, but our brain is wired to short cut much of the thinking involved in doing it, the trick is training yourself to do it like a pro. And that is the aim, a lighthearted but informative explanation of how the heck they do it. 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 the Birds of Chile, and the Identify Yourself column in Bird Watcher's Digest. He runs a birding and nature tour company Alvaro's Adventures. www.alvarosadventures.com. Come for cookies and conversation at 7:15pm.
Link: http://www.alvarosadventures.com

Seeking Swifts
Speaker: Larry Schwitters
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Sep 19, 2012
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: This presentation will cover the presenter's search for Pacific Northwest waterfalls that host nesting Black Swifts and examine Audubon's ongoing citizen science project, Vaux's Happening. This project was launched five years ago to gather data for the preservation of one of the most significant Vaux's Swift communal migratory roost sites in North America. Vaux's Happening quickly expanded into an attempt to locate, raise awareness of, and hopefully preserve the important roost sites used by this species all along their migratory path. In the last ten migrations the project has documented nearly 4 million Vaux's Swift roosting events from San Diego to the Yukon. Schwitters will also share images and information captured by the project's chimney surveillance cameras and precision temperature recorders. Larry Schwitters has spent 30 years in the trenches of public education, mostly as a middle school science teacher and coach in the Seattle area. He currently works on the swift project year round, with the effort becoming nearly full time during migrations.
Link: http://www.vauxhappening.org/Vauxs_Happening_Home.html

Discovering and Conserving Bryan's Shearwater
Speaker: Peter Pyle
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Jun 14, 2012
Start Time: 7:15 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: In 2011 a new species of bird, Bryan's Shearwater (Puffinus bryani), was described by Peter Pyle and colleagues at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, based on a specimen collected in February 1963 on Midway Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. It had been misidentified as a Little Shearwater (P. assimilis) but genetically appears closer to the Newell's Shearwater (P. newelii) of the Southeastern Hawaiian Islands. Peter will present a history of the discovery of this new species along with updated information on its seasonality, breeding habitat requirements, and vocalizations, will review potential at-sea records in the North Pacific, and will present recent exiting information on where Bryan's Shearwater colonies may exist. Peter Pyle has been working for the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP) since 1996. During the late 1970's and early 1980s he worked seasonally on the Hawaii and other Pacific Forest Bird Surveys, for the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO), on at-sea surveys, and for other banding projects. In 1985 Peter became a biologist on the Farallon Islands, a post he held until 2003. Since 2003 he has been a full-time Biologist at IBP, doing scientific research, writing reports, and conducting banding workshops.

Kenya's Birds and Other Wildllife
Speaker: Preston Mutinda and Gerald Corsi
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: May 10, 2012
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Preston Mutinda, owner of Preston Birding and Wildlife Safaris, has been guiding custom birding, wildlife, and photographic safaris in Kenya for over 30 years. One of only 13 professional guides to have achieved Gold in the Kenya rating system, he is one of the best birders in Kenya, and is knowledgeable about every other aspect of his country, from tribal customs, to history, to all the wildlife visitors might encounter on their trip. Preston's presentation on Kenya's birds and other wildlife will be illustrated by the professional photography of Gerald Corsi, retired oral surgeon in Santa Rosa, who has accompanied Preston on several safaris and will also provide insights into Kenya. Come and admire many of species of birds: mousebirds, bee-eaters, rollers, go-away-birds, bustards, and hornbills--as varied as the tiny 4-inch Malachite kingfisher to the 8-foot Ostrich. The magnificent mammals such as the big cats, elephants, and herbivores will also be discussed.

The Private Lives of Sandhill Cranes
Speaker: Paul Tebbel
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Apr 12, 2012
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Big, noisy and easily identified, Sandhill Cranes are popular birds with the public and create a substantial amount of interest every winter when they can be seen in the fields south of Sacramento. Their size and habit of using open fields makes them the perfect species for observing bird behavior. Join crane biologist Paul Tebbel for a presentation on the vocal and body language cranes use to communicate with one another. You will learn to recognize juveniles, tell subspecies apart, distinguish between dancing and aggression and many other details that will help you better understand and appreciate the behavior of Sandhill Cranes and many other birds. You will also learn about the threats to cranes and other wintering species as more farm land is converted to housing, vineyards or other uses not compatible with birds. Paul Tebbel has been working with cranes both professionally and as his personal passion since 1975. From 1995 to 2006, Paul was the manager of Audubon's Rowe Sanctuary on the Platte River where nearly 60,000 cranes roost every night during their spring migration. His current job is Executive Director of the Effie Yeaw Nature Center on the Lower American River in Carmichael, California.

Restoring the Farallon Islands
Speaker: Melissa Pitkin
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Mar 08, 2012
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: The islands of the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge which host the largest seabird colony in the United States outside of Alaska and Hawaii, have 25% of California's breeding seabirds with more than 300,000 individuals of 13 species. About 50% of the world's population of the rare Ashy Storm Petrel breed on the Farallons but the presence of introduced, non-native house mice is threatening this globally significant colony. Melissa will speak about the impacts the mice are having on the ecosystem and the need for mouse eradication and she will review the process being used by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to decide how best to respond to the problem. For background info check www.restorethefarallones.org. Melissa Pitkin began working with PRBO in 1998. As Director of Communications and Outreach, Melissa oversees the design and delivery of PRBO's conservation communications and education programs to students, community members and conservation professionals. Come at 7:15 PM for cookies and conversation.

Birds : The Most Amazing Animals on Earth
Speaker: Joe Mueller
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Feb 09, 2012
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Birds are exceptional in so many ways, their intelligence, migration, color, behavior and senses. Being able to see a mouse a mile away, migrating 40,000 miles in a year, remembering thousands of hiding places and many other feats, sets birds apart from all other living beings. Join Joe for an evening of biological investigation of the most amazing animals on Earth. Warning: you might find yourself embarrassed to be a mammal! Joe Mueller directs the Natural History Program at College of Marin. He has taught there for over 20 years. His subjects of particular interest include ornithology, ecology, marine biology and environmental science. Several MAS members have taken Joe's classes or been on field trips that he has led. Others know him as being the featured speaker at An Evening with Owls, the annual fundraiser of the Hungry Owl Project at WildCare. Prepare to learn and be entertained by this excellent teacher. Come early for cookies and conversation. (Photo by Richard Pavek)

The Brazilian Pantanal: Birds and Jaguars in the World's Largest Wetland
Speaker: Paul Donahue
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Jan 12, 2012
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: The Pantanal of southwestern Brazil is the world's largest wetland, a vast mosaic of rivers, creeks, marshes, swamps, lagoons, tall riparian forest, lower dry forest, and savanna. The area extends into extreme eastern Bolivia and extreme northern Paraguay, but the majority lies in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. This much water attracts abundant wildlife, and the Pantanal is home to large numbers of wading birds and other fish-eating birds, and holds the world's densest population of jaguars, the largest cat in the Americas. Paul Donahue, a naturalist, bird artist, photographer, environmentalist, and tree climber, has been working in South America since 1972. Most of his time has been spent in the rainforests of the western Amazon Basin, particularly eastern Peru, where he has done extensive bird survey work and tape recording of bird vocalizations. Paul and his wife, Teresa Wood, have constructed two canopy walkways and dozens of canopy observation platforms to view and study the wildlife of that stratum of the rainforest. Lately, he has been researching jaguars and Zigzag Herons in the Pantanal and photographing the abundant bird and mammal life.

Birds and Natural History of Coastal Baja California
Speaker: David Wimpfheimer
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Dec 08, 2011
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: The geologically isolated 800 mile-long Baja peninsula has allowed several bird and many plant species to evolve. This presentation will focus on the seabirds, shorebirds and other species that nest or winter along the 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 sight of thousands of dolphins 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. Cardon and other desert plants, birds and reptiles will also be a focus of this presentation. David Wimpfheimer is a professional naturalist and guide has taught classes and led birding excursions for many organizations for over twenty-five years. Come at 7:15 PM to socialize and have refreshments before the program.

Natural History of Hummingbirds
Speaker: Meryl Sundove
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Nov 10, 2011
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Hummingbirds have many awe-inspiring qualities packed into their tiny bodies making them appealing and special. They are at the functional limits on miniaturization of body parts like brain and bone. Hummingbirds are also at the smallest size physiologically possible for warm-blooded animals like birds. They have the largest heart size of any bird in ratio to body weight and are found only in the Americas. Meryl will weave stories with the help of slides, to tell about unique features and adaptations of hummingbirds. She will discuss which hummingbird species are found in Marin County and how to attract them to your garden! Meryl Sundove is a teacher/naturalist who worked for National Audubon Society at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center as education coordinator for 22 years. She is a popular field trip leader and teacher of the Marin Audubon Society annual Spring Birds and Their Songs class, and has been the Audubon naturalist on many National Audubon Society nature travel adventures world-wide. She is currently a faculty member of S.T.R.A.W. (Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed), an environmental conservation education program, which is part of PRBO Conservation Science. Come at 7:15 PM to socialize and have refreshments before the program. Photo by Richard Pavek.

My Carbon-free BIG YEAR of Birding
Speaker: Keith Hansen
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Oct 13, 2011
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Join Keith for a 'wild ride' as he lays out for you his carbon-free Big Year in 2010 in Marin County. From Jan 1st to December 31st Keith saw 237 species of birds without the use of fossil fuels! On foot or on bike, Keith traveled West Marin filming video of nearly all the bird species that he discovered in this wild adventure of a Birding Big Year. The 'rule' was simple: anything you can see without using a car. Keith Hansen was born into a family of artists and naturalists. He began illustrating in 12th grade and never looked back (unless there was a bird behind him) and has been drawing birds ever since, producing images for various Audubon groups, and creating the artwork for 12 books. Currently Keith is illustrating a Guide to the Sierra Nevada, written by Edward Beedy and Ed Pendolfino. This book will depict the 320 species of birds that occur annually in the Sierra. Keith's workspace, the Wildlife Gallery is located behind the Bolinas Museum and is open to the public. Come at 7:15 PM to socialize and have refreshments before the presentation.

Feathers in Focus
Speaker: Richard Pavek
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Sep 08, 2011
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Many MAS members receive Richard's bird images in his weekly e-mail list of beautiful, funny or unusual birds. Others have seen his monthly column, The Bird Side of Marin, in the Whistlestop Express, which is folded inside the Pacific Sun, the last Thursday of each month. Still others see his images published in the WildCare newsletter. What you may not know is that Richard is becoming recognized around the world as an expert in BIF photography, Birds In Flight. In this presentation, Richard will show many of his favorite BIF photographs from Marin habitats and from trips to other countries and relate some of his more memorable experiences in taking them. Richard Pavek began his photographic journey over fifty years ago when he bought his first 35 mm camera, an Argus C-3. Soon he was doing fashion, advertising and travel photography - but no birds! Following a period of his life when he focused on other work, he re-entered photography about the time good digital cameras became available. Shortly after, he discovered birds. Now birds are about all he photographs! Come at 7:15 PM to socialize and have refreshments before the program.

Birds of the Mariana Islands : America's Forgotten Avifauna
Speaker: Jaan Lepson
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Jun 02, 2011
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: The Mariana Islands are part of Micronesia, a region in the western Pacific Ocean comprised of several groups of small scattered islands and being outside of the ABA limits, only dedicated birders or biologists find their way to these tropical outposts. Many of the birds are endemic but some have become rare and/or endangered. Jaan's talk will concentrate on an expedition last year to the uninhabited islands of Alamagan and Pagan of the CNMI where he surveyed endangered Micronesian Megapodes and Nightingale Reed-Warblers and where he discovered that the best-laid plans can be thwarted by an ill-timed volcanic eruption! Jaan Lepson grew up in Hawai'i, where he developed an abiding love of island birds and this translated into his studying an endangered Honeycreeper for his PhD in Zoology from the University of Hawai'i. His current research projects at U.C. Berkeley include using old museum specimens to track the spread of alien disease in Hawaiian land birds and spectroscopy of astrophysical plasmas. He has been fortunate to participate in surveys of endangered birds in the CNMI since 1994. Come join Jaan on a vicarious trip to see the wildlife of these far-off islands. Arrive at 7:15 pm to socialize and have refreshments before the program. After this, the Speaker Series will resume in the Fall after a Summer break.

Life in the Slow Lane: Breeding strategies of New Zealand passerines
Speaker: Jim Cunningham
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: May 05, 2011
Start Time: 7:15 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: The Kiwi of New Zealand is well known for laying exceptionally large eggs and breeding slowly. However this pattern seems to be common among many of New Zealand's passerines as well. In this talk Jim will cover what he and others have discovered about the "slow lane" breeding of New Zealand's song birds and offer an explanation for this pattern. This strategy of NZ birds will be compared with what is known about the breeding strategies of Australian passerines. Jim Cunningham received his Ph.D in Zoology from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. For the last 20 years Jim has been teaching in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Dominican University of California, San Rafael. There he teaches Comparative Anatomy, Developmental Biology and a course for non-biology majors entitled "Birds and the Environment."

Birds of Costa Rica
Speaker: Bob Stewart
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Apr 07, 2011
Start Time: 7:15 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Costa Rica, located between Nicaragua and Panama in Central America, is home to 850 species of birds as well as an amazing diversity of other life. The convergence of the Cocos and Caribbean plates 50 million years ago created islands which eventually formed a land bridge between North and South America allowing birds and mammals to emigrate (cats, tapirs, deer, foxes from the north; monkeys anteaters, porcupines, agoutis , sloths, armadillos from the south. Many tropical groups of birds inhabit the diverse habitats including Manakins, Puffbirds, Barbets, Woodcreepers, Ovenbirds, Antbirds, Motmots and Toucans. However the most numerous species seen on a visit are flycatchers, hummingbirds and tanagers. Tanagers are brightly colored and many species are seen at one time because of a flocking phenomenon occurring in the tropics. The flock can consist of a core of 5-10 different species, but up to 80 species can join the group. These flocks have territories so when they contact another flock a lot of singing goes on. Bob will report on his 4th trip to Costa Rica (Feb 1-19 2011). Amongst the birds will be a smattering of butterflies, reptiles and amphibians.

Owls of Marin
Speaker: Joe Mueller
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Mar 03, 2011
Start Time: 7:15 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Join College of Marin Biologist Joe Mueller for an in-depth look into the ecology, natural history and diversity of owls that live in Marin County. As we delve into their lives we'll pay special attention to how we, as bird enthusiasts, can experience the lives of owls around us. The sounds they make, the habitats they live in and the time of year they're active will help us understand owls in such a way that we can visit their world. Joe Mueller has been teaching biology at the College of Marin for 20 years, where he developed and directs the Natural History Program. Joe is the recipient of the 2008 Terwilliger Environmental Award.

Co-existing With Coyotes, America's Native 'Song Dog'
Speaker: Camilla H. Fox
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Feb 03, 2011
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Learn about the remarkable adaptability and resiliency of Canis latrans. The coyote is a survivor through amazing resourcefulness and keen intelligence and should engender our understanding and respect as an essential part of the ecosystem. Camilla's presentation will cover coyote biology and ecology in urban and rural areas, coyote-human coexistence, conflict management and the value of community-based conservation approaches. Also to be shown is the informative award-winning documentary American Coyote ~ Still Wild at Heart. This short film is a virtual case study of the coyote's natural range expansion continent-wide, from Northern California to New York City's Central Park and points in between. Camilla Fox is a wildlife consultant, a leader in her field, with expertise in native carnivore conservation and human-wildlife conflict mitigation and the mission of promoting educated coexistence between people and coyotes.
Link: http://www.projectcoyote.org/index.html

A Birder's Year: Point Reyes, California & Beyond
Speaker: David Wimpfheimer
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Jan 06, 2011
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Point Reyes and other regions of California contain a multitude of wonderful sites in which to enjoy birds and other wildlife. David Wimpfheimer is a naturalist who teaches a variety of birding classes locally and leads natural history tours in many regions. In this retrospective he will share images of coastal, mountain, desert and other habitats that he visits in different seasons. David will provide insights into migration, breeding activity and which areas to visit to fully appreciate California's amazing biodiversity. From his more adventurous travels, he will also show us hummingbirds in Arizona, puffins in Alaska and penguins in Antarctica. David Wimpfheimer is a biologist, professional naturalist and guide with a passion for birds and the natural history of California. For over twenty-five years he has taught classes and led birding excursions for Point Reyes Field Seminars, Elderhostel, Oceanic Society, California Academy of Sciences, Wild Wings and other groups in many parts of California and other regions. His seasoned focus and knowledge is always enjoyable. Let David guide you with a beautiful visual presentation of his own photography. Come at 7:15 pm to socialize and have some refreshments before the program.

Isla Partida Norte: Encounters with the Mexican Fishing Bat
Speaker: Tom Stewart
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Dec 02, 2010
End Date: Dec 03, 2010
Start Time: 7:15 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: In May of 2009, and again in July 2010, Tom Stewart spent 5 days on Isla Partida Norte, a desert island in the Sea of Cortez. He was there with a research group, collecting data on the endangered Mexican fishing bat, Myotis vivesi, and the least storm petrel. In 2002, Tom started banding birds with the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, at the Coyote Creek Field Station. He will describe his journey from a bird banding station in California to the bats of this Baja island, along with some of the wildlife he encountered, including a brief visit to the breeding colony of 95% of the world's Heermann's gulls. Come at 7:15 to have some refreshments and socialize before the program.

The Secret Lives of Songbirds: Risks of nest predation in our changing environment
Speaker: Kathi Borgmann
Host: Helen Lindqvist (415) 789-0703
Start Date: Nov 04, 2010
Start Time: 7:15 PM
End Time: 9:30 PM
Description: Many bird populations across North America have declined in recent years and researchers have been busy trying to determine why. The breeding season is an especially important time for songbirds because this is when individuals have an opportunity to raise young. However, producing and successfully raising young can be quite difficult for songbirds and thus has a big effect on the songbird population. Join Kathi to take a step inside the secret lives of birds and look at how changes in vegetation and predator behavior affect the risk of nest predation. Kathi who is an avid bird watcher and nature enthusiast, recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona where she studied the effects of seasonal changes in plant growth (phenology), food availability, predator behavior, and temperature on the ability of forest songbirds to successfully raise their offspring. She also studied the response of birds and mammals to habitat restoration in montane meadows and riparian areas around Lake Tahoe, CA. Kathi now holds the position of restoration ecologist at Richardson Bay Audubon Center and is excited to be working in marine ecosystems. Come at 7:15 pm to socialize and have some refreshments before the program!

Bird Photos Through Your Scope
Speaker: Len Blumin
Host: Helen Lindqvist, helen_lindqvist@yahoo.com, Tel: 415-789-0703
Start Date: Oct 07, 2010
End Date: Dec 31, 1969
Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Time: 5:00 PM
Description: This program will introduce Digiscoping; taking photos with a conventional spotting scope and simple digital camera. Len will demonstrate the technique, discuss the technical aspects of photographing birds in their natural environments and show photos. Please note our earlier time this year. Come at 7:15 to socialize and for refreshments, the talk will begin at 7:30.

The Speaker Series will resume in September
Start Date: Jun 28, 2010
End Date: Sep 01, 2010
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]

Impressions of the Galapagos
Speaker: Jack Barclay
Host: Marin Audubon Society
Start Date: Jun 04, 2010
Start Time: 8:00 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Jack is a wildlife biologist with much experience in the effort to save endangered and special-status species. Perhaps that is why he was so impressed by all he saw in the Galapagos Islands, where everything is so special: the extraordinary tameness of the wildlife, the competition for resources causing specialization and speciation, the islands' geologic formation and the weather, and how these factors affect the wildlife. His daily travel log will inform you as to how to get around, where to go, and what to see, if you were to go there. You will want to go.

The Natural Wonders of the Range of Light
Speaker: John Muir Laws
Start Date: May 07, 2010
Start Time: 8:00 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Jack Laws has sketched, colored, researched and described, every living plant, animal, bird, fish and fungus in the Sierra Nevadas. Well, maybe not quite all, but many of them, for his Sierra Nevada guide book. He can tell you stories about them and show you beautiful pictures. His abilities have gotten him a job with the California Academy of Sciences. Come, see and hear.

Bird Songing: The Ecology of Birds' Songs & ID'ing Them By Ear
Speaker: Daniel Edelstein
Start Date: Apr 02, 2010
Start Time: 8:00 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Why do birds sing? How? When? Why does "pishing" work like a magnet to coax birds closer into view? Daniel Edelstein will answer these questions, talk about the ecology of singing birds and teach you how "song memory phrases" and "mnemonic" phrases" can help identify bird songs in the field. This shortened presentation of Daniel's popular "Bird Songing" program will have you singing its praises! An experienced birder for 30 years, he teaches at Oakland's Merritt College and does environmental consulting. A former MAS board member, see his 200+ "song memory phrases" and "10 Top Tips For Improving Your Birding By Ear" at: http://www.warblerwatch.com and his even more popular wood-warbler blog: http://warblerwatch.blogspot.com

Take Refuge in our Wildlife Refuges With Giselle Block
Host: Marin Audubon Society
Start Date: Mar 05, 2010
Start Time: 8:00 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: The San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex consists of seven National Wildlife Refuges, located from the shores of San Pablo Bay south to Monterey Bay. They include tidal marsh, islands, sand dunes and other unique environments that support a rich array of wildlife. All of these refuges support endangered species populations or significant migratory and breeding bird populations. Join Giselle Block, a biologist within the SF Bay Complex, as she takes you on a tour of these seven refuges and then zooms in on the environments and wildlife of two nearby sites -- the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Wildlife Photography with Suzi Eszterhas
Host: Marin Audubon Society
Start Date: Feb 05, 2010
Start Time: 8:00 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Suzi is an extraordinary photographer who shares her skill with the world. Her photos are published in books and magazines, even the covers of TIME and AFRICA. She also leads instructional photography tours with names like: Wildlife India, Botswana Predators and Madagascar Lemurs and Reptiles. She is also a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. You can see her marvelous work for free, by coming on February 5.

Amazing Tales of Migrating Shorebirds with Bob Lewis
Host: Marin Audubon Society
Start Date: Jan 08, 2010
Start Time: 8:00 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: The Bay Area is a critical habitat for many migrating shorebirds. Bob's talk will look at some amazing shorebird migrations and how and why they do it. He'll speak on how scientists study the migration phenomena, how it fits into the shorebird's annual breeding cycle, and what this behavior looks like worldwide. Since 1993, Bob has taught adult birding classes at Albany Adult School and the Oakland Museum. Although retired from the Golden Gate Audubon (GGAS) Board of Directors, he remains on its education committee. A co-compiler with Dave Quady of the Oakland Christmas Bird Count, he is President of the Farallon Islands Foundation. His life list: more than 3,700 (out of the approximately 9,750 birds worldwide).

Create Some Magic: Build a Pond for Birds, Dragonflies and other Wildlife with Kathy Biggs
Start Date: Dec 04, 2009
Start Time: 8:00 PM
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Build a pond to create a habitat to attract wildlife to your property and learn how wildlife ponds and ponds for exotic Koi and/or tropical plants differ.

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