Peregrine Audubon Society's chapter meetings and programs are generally held on the third Tuesday of each month, September through May, at 7PM in the City Council Chambers of the Ukiah Civic Center at 300 Seminary Avenue, Ukiah. Exceptions this year are the November and December meetings, which are held on the second Tuesday. Refreshments available after the meetings. The public is always welcome.

Board Programs Field Trips
September 7 September 19 Robert Keiffer on the
Wild Pacific Side of Costa Rica
September 30 Little Lake Valley
October 5 October 17 George Wuerthner on
Wildlife and Forest Health
October 7

October 21
Beginners Bird Walk at Riverside Park
Clear Lake State Park
November 9 November 14
2nd Tuesday!
Prahlada Papper on
The Oaks' Story
November 18 Round Valley
December 7 December 12
2nd Tuesday!
Bob Keiffer says Get to Know Your Local Birds! CBC Review December 14
December 16
Willits CBC
Ukiah CBC
January 4 January 16 Josh Engel on the Birds and Natural History of Bhutan January 20 Mendocino South Coast
February 1 February 20 Larry Broderick on
West County Hawk Watch
February 24 Beginners' Bird Walk at UWTP
March 1 March 20 Ron LeValley on
Shorebirds of Mendocino
March 24 Lake Mendocino
April 5 April 17 Park Steiner
Musings of a Backyard Naturalist
April 28 Magruder Ranch
May 3 May 15 Matthew Matthiessen on
Birds of Australia
May 12 Potter Valley and the Eel River

Board meetings generally take place on the first Thursday of each month, September through June, at 7 PM. Contact a board member for details. Board meetings are open to the membership. You are always welcome and encouraged to participate.

The CBC potluck is held Saturday December 16 at 5PM in the Grace Hudson Meeting Room at 431 South Main Street.

Directions to City Council Chambers in the Ukiah Civic Center from Hwy 101:
Take Perkins St. west to North State St. Turn left and head south. Take the third right (Seminary Ave) and go to the end.

Directions to Grace Hudson Museum from Hwy 101:
Take Perkins Street west to the stop sign at Main Street. Turn left and proceed south for three blocks. After you cross Clay Street, look for a driveway on the left. Drive to the back and park. The Meeting Room is on the west side of the museum.

Directions to Alex Thomas Plaza from Hwy 101:
Take Perkins St. west to North State St. Turn left and head south. The plaza is two blocks down at the corner of Clay and State Streets.

Chapter Meetings and Programs

Robert Keiffer on the Wild Pacific Side of Costa Rica

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

Bob Keiffer's MHMO Bob Keiffer's TBMO Bob Keiffer's AMCR

Photos © 2017 Bob Keiffer

Come spend an evening visiting the wild Pacific-side of Costa Rica with our speaker Bob Keiffer. Bob and Beth visited this diverse country last year, and Bob was able to get lots of great images from their travels. Visit special places like the Basalisks at Corcovado National Park and the turquoise waters of the Rio Celeste. See Tent-making Bats at Manuel Antonio Park, sloths at Carara National Park, hummingbirds at Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, and crocodiles on the Tarcoles River. Discover spectacular sunset beaches to wild jungles. Find out that it does not take a huge, expensive camera and lens to capture memorable wildlife photos. Bob’s great photography and his engaging talks always provide for an entertaining evening. See you there!

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George Wuerthner on Wildlife and Forest Health

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

CANCELLED due to recent fire activity!

Tonight’s speaker is George Wuerthner. George is a photographer, ecologist, and writer. He has visited hundreds of mountain ranges around the West, more than 380 wilderness areas, more than 180 national park units, and every national forest west of the Mississippi. He has published 38 books including Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy. This evening he will be discussing the latest science regarding fire and forest health issues, particularly as how they relate to federal land management policies. Is what we have been doing sustainable? George will be discussing these and other ecological issues. He is a knowledgeable and experienced speaker, and this promises to be a very interesting evening.

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The Oaks' Story with Prahlada Papper

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

The Oaks'Story by Prahlada Papper The Oaks'Story by Prahlada Papper The Oaks'Story by Prahlada Papper

Photos © 2017 Prahlada Papper

This will be a joint meeting with the Sanhedrin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

Prahlada Papper wonders about California oaks. He wonders about their ecology and their evolution, about their past and their future. His graduate research at UC Berkeley focuses on how environmental change affects the genetic diversity of oaks by changing their phenology. Phenology is the study of the timing of life cycle events, such as the leafing out and flowering of a plant or the migration of an animal. Phenological timing depends on cues from the environment, including the local climate. As a result, phenological monitoring is an important way to observe the real biological effects of ongoing climate change.

Changes in the timing or intensity of leaf and reproductive phenology among California oaks sends ripples through the entire ecosystem, pulling on ecological connections with everything from tiny native wasps to acorn woodpeckers to black bears and even humans, who remain ever a part of the ecosystems we inhabit. This last connection has led Prahlada to explore open "citizen science" as a way to simultaneously connect people to their place through natural history while gathering valuable data on the ecology of oaks.

In one local project, trained naturalists monitor oaks and their woodland associates using protocols developed by the USA National Phenology Network and California Phenology Project. These data can then be pooled with other California Phenology Project sites across the state, providing critical and ongoing insights into the health and dynamics of California's oak woodlands at this important time.

Prahlada is an educator and naturalist as well as a Ph.D. student in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley in David Ackerly's lab. His local research at the Hopland Research and Extension Center involves genetic and ecological studies of California oak woodlands, including citizen science-based phenological monitoring. He combines the modern ecological toolkit of genome sequencing and statistical modeling with classic natural history and deep sense of place to tell the old stories about oaks in a new way.

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Get to Know Your Local Birds! Christmas Bird Count Review

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

Peregrine Falcon by Roger Foote

Peregrine Falcon photo © 2017 Roger Foote.

Winter is here, the holidays are with us, and our local birds are helping themselves at our feeders again. Every year I am determined to identify those little critters, each and every one! Sure I make some progress, but what of those tough ones that look so similar, those little brown jobs hopping around under the feeder? Yes, I know most are sparrows and surely those feeding above are finches, but which species is each? I definitely need an expert!

Peregrine Audubon's Christmas Bird Count (CBC) has those experts who can help bring us a step closer to our goal. Join us on Tuesday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the Ukiah City Council Chambers when Bob Keiffer will point out distinguishing field marks of our Ukiah area birds. He will discuss and illustrate the sparrows and finches, jays and blackbirds, ducks and waders, as well as the raptors, the hawks and owls, all in living color.

Bring your tough questions for the experts. What birds can I expect in my back yard this winter? How do sparrows and finches differ? Is it really possible to see eagles in the Ukiah Valley? What are the ducks and gulls at Lake Mendocino? Anyone interested in birdcalls? Our speaker can help with that too.

Peregrine Audubon also offers help in the field. Beginners and experienced birders can come to the December 12 meeting at 7PM and sign up for the Count, which takes place on Saturday, December 16. We will explain how the Christmas Bird Count works, introduce team leaders, and match you with a group that can best help take you that next step toward better bird biology. Bob will also give a presentation that he and Matthew Matthiessen have put together over the last few years.

The really avid begin before daybreak and in all kinds of weather. The rest of us can participate for parts of the day or even count at home if we live within the 15-mile diameter count circle (which includes Ukiah). There will be a beginners' count starting at 10AM and meeting at the gate to Mendocino College on Hensley Creek Road. By all means, contact Cheryl Watson (707-462-4289) or Bob Keiffer (707-744-1160) for details.

We meet after the CBC for a potluck dinner in the Grace Hudson Museum Public Room on South Main Street. Bring a dish, something to drink, and your eating utensils and join us at 6:00 p.m.

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Josh Engel on Birding with Buddha, the Birds and Natural History of Bhutan

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

Josh Engel's Punakha Dzong Josh Engel's River Lapwing Josh Engel's White-breasted Parrotbill Josh Engel's Hillside Buddha

Punakha Dzong, River Lapwing, White-breasted Parrotbill, and hillside Buddha photos © 2018 Josh Engle

Birding with Buddha: Birds and Natural History of the Kingdom of Bhutan with our guide Josh Engel. There is an air of mystery about the Kingdom of Bhutan, nestled in the rugged Himalayas, where legends of dragons and yetis abound. Despite being sandwiched between the world’s two most populous countries, it has maintained a fierce independence for centuries, with a unique culture deeply rooted in its Buddhist heritage. It is also a country with a strong conservation ethic and an extensive system of national park that protects the many birds and mammals that are unique to the eastern Himalayas. Searching for hornbills, wren-babblers, laughing thrushes, rose finches, pheasants, and other Asian avian delights with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and spectacular traditional architecture makes birding in Bhutan is like no other trip on earth. Josh presents a lavishly illustrated talk from the standpoint of a virtual tour, taking you clear across the tiny country from the lowland forests at the Indian border to the high mountain passes strewn with prayer flags. Josh is the founder of Red Hill Birding, and has guided trips on four continents and conducted bird research on a fifth. When he’s not working on Red Hill Birding, he’s an ornithologist at The Field Museum in Chicago. This promises to be a fascinating evening!

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Larry Broderick on West County Hawk Watch

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

Join us for this enthusiastic and informative presentation about the resident, migrant and over-wintering birds of prey ("raptors") in Northern California. Larry Broderick’s fascinating and visually-exciting presentation includes not only wonderful first-hand stories from the field, but also is packed with interesting information about raptor habits, identification, and suggestions of where to spot them, as well as some interesting one-of-a-kind and rare special surprises. Larry is a Sonoma County Birds of Prey Natural History and Interpretive Specialist, Jenner Headlands Hawk Watch Director and Certified California Naturalist. He has been working with birds of prey as an educational specialist for over 25 years. For the last 10 years he has led walks, hikes and presentations with Solano and Sonoma Land Trusts, Madrone Audubon, Bird Rescue Center and Redwood Regional Ornithological Society. Larry conducts Bird and Wildlife surveys for the Wildlands Conservancy, Sonoma Land Trust and Pepperwood Preserve. He also runs West County Hawkwatch and manages dozens of docents, photographers and tour guides.

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Ron LeValley on Shorebirds of Mendocino

Ron LeValley's Black Oystercatcher Ron LeValley's Black-bellied Plover Ron LeValley's Whimbrel

Black Oystercatcher, Black-bellied Plover, and Whimbrels photos © 2018 Ron LeValley.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

Many species of shorebirds migrate through Mendocino County, even though we don’t have extensive mud flats! Four species are regular nesters here: Black Oystercatcher, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper and Snowy Plover. All the others are migrants or wintering birds. There are a lot of stories to tell about these birds. Some migrate all the way from the Arctic to South America. Some winter here and further south. A few winter to the north of us, but do show up here rarely. This presentation will include all of the shorebirds: sandpipers, plovers, phalaropes, stilts, avocets and oystercatchers, including identification. At times, identifying them can be a challenge. Biologist and photographer Ron LeValley will share his photos and talk about identifying the common visitors as well as how to identify the rare ones that drop by now and again. Ron is knowledgeable about the identification and distribution of birds along the Pacific Coast, and has an extensive understanding of natural history subjects. A lifelong interest in coastal birds and mammals was enhanced by his involvement with Point Reyes Bird Observatory beginning in 1966, including serving as a biologist at the Farallon Island research station. Ron enjoys sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for birds and photography with others. His engaging presentations are always informative and entertaining. This is an evening you will not want to miss!

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Park Steiner: Musings of a Backyard Naturalist

Park Steiner's Bowltube Iris Park Steiner's White-breasted Nuthatch Park Steiner's Cedar Waxwings

Bowltube Iris, River Lapwing, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Cedar Waxwing photos © 2018 Park Steiner

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

Park Steiner has spent much of his life outdoors, often near water. As a youth in Wisconsin, summer days passed stalking painted turtles at the backyard pond or chasing butterflies in nearby fields. By training and proclivity, Park spent over 35 years in Mendocino County as a professional field biologist (aka, a curious child hidden in an adult body). He has always admired the beauty of Nature, the unending complexity of form, colors, patterns, and the functional perfection of the natural world. His camera, invaluable for documenting his professional work, also brings solace and closeness while exploring his “backyard”. Birds, flowers, fungi, creatures large and small – they are all subject to his scrutiny. And since we all have a “backyard”, couldn’t we get to know ours a bit more intimately?

Nearly all of us take photos, be it with a phone or a camera. Photos allow us to relive that moment again and again, or to share it with others. To convey the beauty, diversity, intensity, or serenity of that moment, simple techniques can refine our photos, elevating snapshots towards more inspiring and memorable images. Park will share some photography basics while presenting his backyard “naturelogue”. See how taking a few steps one way or another, choosing the time of day, or adjusting the background behind your subject – all minor adjustments - can greatly enhance your photos.

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Matthew Matthiessen on Birds of Australia

Matthew Matthiessen's Wompoo Fruit-Dove Matthew Matthiessen's Regent Bowerbird Matthew Matthiessen's Australian King Parrot

Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Regent Bowerbird, and Australian King Parrot photos © 2018 Matthew Matthiessen

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 7PM in the Ukiah City Council Chambers

Australia, the land “Down Under,” is an island, a country (the world’s sixth largest geographically) and a continent (the world’s smallest). Having no land borders, the Australian mainland—“the lowest, flattest and oldest continental landmass on Earth”—and its satellite islands collectively boast more than 37,000 miles of coastline, embracing an impressive diversity of landscapes, flora and fauna, including more than 800 species of birds. Australia is probably best known for its incredible mammals. But the country is also a premier birding destination, not only because of its avian beauty and diversity, but also because of the uniqueness of its avian population. The high number of endemic species—species that occur only there and nowhere else due to the island’s geographic isolation—makes the birding experience that much more exciting and enjoyable. In October/November 2016 Matthew visited the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland. He will be sharing a selection of photos and stories of the birds and mammals he experienced, ranging from tiny Fairywrens, the iconic Kookaburras and Noisy Friarbirds, to massive Emus and amazing mammals, including an array of kangaroos. In addition to his World-class photographs, Matthew’s presentations are engaging and entertaining. See you there!

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Field Trips

Field Trip Guidelines: Everyone is welcome! These guidelines apply to all Peregrine Field Trips. Please take a moment to read them if you are new, or use them to refresh your memory if you have birded with us before. The times listed are the departure times - not the assembly times. Please arrive early! Many of the trips are out of the area and require an hour or more of driving, so promptness is necessary. We encourage carpooling and also alternating of the driving from one trip to another. If at all possible, come prepared to drive with your vehicle already fueled up, but also be prepared to ride with someone else with your lunch and gear compactly together. If you do not drive, please remember that you are expected to help pay for gas. Most trips are all day affairs, but at times various people need to get back sooner. By arriving 15-20 minutes early such necessary travel arrangements can be made. You will probably want to take a pack with lunch, water, hat and appropriate clothing - coats, rain gear, etc. - , binoculars*, camera, and perhaps notepad and field guides.

*Binoculars are important, but loaner pairs may be available for newcomers. If you have some to loan, please bring them along.

Little Lake Valley

Saturday, September 30, 2017

We will have the opportunity to bird some of the CalTrans mitigation property in the middle of Little Lake Valley with Marisella de Santa Anna. As this is a first for us, we are not certain what we will see. There should be a number of raptors in the grasslands, and hopefully some surprise migrants mixed in with the resident species. We may also get to see the Elk out there. The terrain is flat, but long pants and light hiking boots are advisable. We will car pool from the CVS parking lot at 830, or meet at the Willits library parking lot at 9am. Bring a lunch and something to drink if you want to picnic.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Beginners' Birdwalk at Riverside Park

Saturday October 7, 2017

The park is located along the Russian River at the east end of Gobbi Street. This is the only publicly accessible stretch of the main-stem Russian River in all of Mendocino County. The City of Ukiah has been developing trails in the park, as well as managing the vegetation to widen the riparian corridor and introduce more native plant species. It is an excellent birding location. We will meet at 8:30 am. Parking will be available at the park. Be advised: there are no toilet facilities in Riverside Park.

Clear Lake State Park

Saturday October 21, 2017

Join us for a morning of birding at Clear Lake State Park. This beautiful park has a variety of habitats that support a great diversity of birds, and it is a great time of year to be out in the oaks enjoying the fall colors. Expect to see some birds we seldom see in Ukiah- American White Pelicans, Bonaparte’s Gulls, and an abundance of water birds. We depart from the CVS parking lot at 8 am, and should arrive at the Visitor Center by 9 if you prefer to meet us there. Be sure to bring a lunch and something to drink for a picnic in the park. For those wishing to continue birding in the afternoon, we will probably be visiting the Lakeside County Park and Rodman Slough areas on our way back to Ukiah.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Covelo and Round Valley

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Join us for a fall visit to the Round Valley area, one of our favorite destinations. This beautiful valley with its open grasslands and large Valley Oaks is home to a number of winter visitors not commonly seen in the Ukiah area. In past years birds of note here have included Bald Eagles, Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks, Peregrine and Prairie Falcons, Lewis’s Woodpeckers, and Canyon Wrens. Time and weather permitting we will continue east to the Black Butte/Eel River campground for a picnic and more birding. Meet before our 7:30 am departure from the CVS parking lot, or at 8 at the parking lot in front of Willits High School. We should reach Covelo and Keith’s Market around 10:30.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Willits Christmas Bird Count

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Marisela de Santa Anna is organizing a new Christmas Bird Count circle in Willits. This year will be the practice run. For more information, contact Marisela at or (707) 459-2681.

Ukiah Christmas Bird Count and Compilation Potluck Dinner

Saturday, December 16, 2017

If you wish to participate in the CBC, please attend the December 12 meeting for details. Our traditional Compilation Potluck dinner will be held at the Grace Hudson Museum Community Room at 6:00PM. Bring your own place settings and beverages as well as a main course, salad, or dessert to share. Assistance in setting up at 5:00 to 5:30PM and cleaning up after dinner would be appreciated.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Mendocino South Coast

Saturday, January 20, 2018

We will be making a birding trip to the south coast of Mendocino County, focusing on the Point Arena and Manchester areas. This is an excellent area for raptors including Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks. The Garcia River area is also the winter home for Tundra Swans and other waterfowl. We will be car-pooling from the CVS parking lot along Orchard Avenue. It is a long drive, and we will be leaving at 7:30. Dress in layers and pack a lunch. This is pretty much a full-day trip so if you need to leave early please plan to drive your own vehicle.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Beginners' Bird Walk at UWTP

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Beginner’s Bird Walk at the Ukiah Wastewater Treatment Plant. At the Ukiah Wastewater Treatment Plant, or UWTP, you can probably see more species of birds in less time than anywhere else in the Ukiah valley. Its habitat range is outstanding: riparian areas adjacent to the Russian River, settling ponds, beautiful stands of mature valley oaks, blackberry thickets, and adjacent open grasslands. Meet at the UWTP office area at 8:30. The walk around the oxidation ponds is about one mile, all on level ground.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Lake Mendocino

Saturday, March 24, 2018

We will be birding the north end of Lake Mendocino this morning. We will be focusing on the stretch between the boat launch adjacent to the inlet, and the Pomo A day-use area. There are great views of the lake from this location, so we will be searching through the water birds for wintering ducks and grebes. Loons are a possibility here as well. Other target birds will include wintering song birds and raptors along the lake shore. Bald Eagle is a good possibility. We will be leaving the CVS parking lot at 8 and expect to arrive at the parking area above the north boat launch at 8:30.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Magruder Ranch

Saturday, April 28, 2018

We will be making our first visit to the Magruder Ranch in Potter Valley with our leader, Helen Magruder Menasian. The Magruder family has owned this property for 100 years. The 2,400 acres of fertile bottom land, rolling oak savannah hills and rugged chaparral rangeland provide an array of habitats for wildlife, and habitat conservation is an important component of the Magruder Ranch management. We will leave from the CVS parking lot in Ukiah at 8 am, or you can meet us at the old Potter Valley bridge site along the Russian River (1/4 mile north of Hwy 20 on Potter Valley Road) at 8:30. Bring your lunch, water, binoculars, and favorite field guides.

See Field Trip Guidelines.

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Potter Valley and the Eel River

Saturday, May 12, 2018

This trip will be led by George Chaniot. The primary birding is done along the scenic main stem of the Eel River with stops at the Pioneer Bridge, Trout Creek, and possibly Burris Lane. Both MacGillivray's and Hermit Warblers are usually seen on this trip, and they can be difficult to find elsewhere in the county. Other possible birds include Bald Eagle and American Dipper. We will leave from the Ukiah CVS parking lot at 8:00 am, or you can meet us at the old Potter Valley bridge site along the Russian River (1/4 mile north of Hwy 20 on Potter Valley Road) at 8:30. Bring your lunch, water, binoculars, and favorite field guides.

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Last revised May 06, 2018.