Partners in Flight: Cleveland National Forest and the San Diego Natural History Museum
The Cleveland National Forest and the San Diego Natural History Museum are pleased to announce the formation of a new partnership. Through the Forest Service's Partners in Flight program, the Museum and Forest prepared a joint proposal that was awarded $20,500 for Bird Atlas support in 1999. Partners in Flight is a national coalition of federal and state agencies and private entities that focuses on the conservation and management of neotropical migratory birds. This funding is being provided as part of a challenge cost-share agreement. The Museum provides a "match" in the form of professional oversight, atlas administration, and volunteer support, while the Forest provides financial support and has committed to the completion of three atlas squares on Forest lands. The application process for this funding followed a long and complex path. In 1998 our proposal was not selected by the Forest Service Partners in Flight Committee. But this year, with additional campaigning by the Cleveland National Forest, the committee ended up with a tie vote on funding either the atlas or a bird-monitoring project in the Sierra Nevada. After two weeks in suspense, the tie-breaking decision was made by Regional Office staff in favor of the Bird Atlas. This is a good omen for future Partners in Flight support of the Atlas. Thanks to Phil Unitt and Kirsten Winter for developing and promoting this partnership.
Our blockbuster weekends, field trips designed to tackle squares that have not been adopted or remain poorly covered, continue to add substantially to the atlas' breadth of coverage. So let's try another four in the breeding season. As always, you are welcome to joing us for one day or both.
17-18 April: Anza-Borrego Desert. Our previous desert blockbusters have focused on the northern and central areas, this weekend we will explore the southern end of the park. Meet on Highway S-2 at the turnoff to Bow Willow Campground (crossing of Carrizo Creek) at 6:30 AM on Saturday 17 April. Camping Saturday night at Agua Caliente County Park. Since the area entails a long drive for those of us coming over from the coast, please consider coming out Friday evening and camping over.
1-2 May: Oak Grove/Chihuahua Valley. Meet at Warner Springs in the parking lot on the west side of the road just south of the gas station at 6:30 AM on Saturday 1 May. Camping at the Oak Grove Forest Service Campground.
22-23 May: Julian/Pine Hills. Meet in Wynoal in the parking lot at Manzanita ranch at 6:30 AM on Saturday 22 May. Camping at the Pine Hills Fire Station.
5-6 June: Palomar Mountain/Valley Center. Meet in Valley Center at the post office on cole Grade Road just north of Valley Center road at 6:30 AM on Saturday 5 June. Camping at the Crestline Campground.
Our first three winter blockbusters generated some interesting discoveries. The first, to the Anza-Borrego Desert, showed how quickly birds can respond as negatively to a dry winter as positively to a wet one. Still, we found LeConte's Thrahsers in five squares, Sage Thrashers in two, a Merlin in two, and a Ferruginous Hawk in one.
The second, to the Oak Grove/Chihuahua Valley region, yielded Sage Thrashers in two squares, a Poor-will on Aguanga Ridge, and an extension of Ken Weaver's desert fauna on the coastal slopeCactus Wrens, Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, and flocks of Brewer's Sparrows, plus the White-tailed Antelope Squirrelnortheast of Oak Grove in square C17. On Snday, thanks to Melody O'Driscoll, we were able to cover the "All One God Faith Rain Forest" in Chihuahua Valley (C18). No exotic tanagers or cotingas, but we did find an unexpected population of Steller's Jays in oak woodland far from conifers. With seven observers in three groups in this area, in one day we were able to find 90% of the number of species on the square's target list.
The third, to the Julian/Pine Hills regions, yieleded three Townsend's Solitaires, a Lewis' Woodpecker, a pair of Wood Ducks, a Peregrine Falcon, some Pink-sided Juncos, and a Black-chinned Sparrow (see Notable Discoveries). Again, teamwork paid off: in two teams Joe Barth, Mike Mathos, Andy Mauro, and Jim Wilson got to 90% of the target list in squre K21, Banner, in one day.
Spring Wing Ding
Don't miss our Spring Wing Ding in Carlsbad on Sunday 14 March, 1:00 to 4:30 PM, at the Gemological Institute of America, overlooking the ocean and the flower fields. Our speaker will be Jerry Schad, auther of "Afoot and Afield in San Diego County." Jerry will present his unique perspective of our county's incredible diversity with his stunning slides. there will be plenty of time for questions and answers, so please come prepared to inquire about those remote and difficult areas you've always wondered about. The latest edition of Jerry's book will be on sale. We'll also enjoy some afternooon referhements, get an update on the project, see mpas of some of our resurlts so far, and socialze with other particpants. The event is free to atlas participants, $10 for guests. You should have received an invitiation by the time you receive this issue of Wrenderings; please respond so we know how many to expect! Thanks very much to the Zoologicial Society of San Diego for the fuding that makes these events possible.
The California Gnatcatcher Issue of Western Birdsis now available. With 24 articles covering 264 pages, on topics ranging from breeding biology and territoriality to habitat and community relationships, it is now one of the most comprehensive works addressing the biology of any North American songbird. Among the contributers are several atlas participants including Pat Mock, Mike Fugagli, Pete Famolaro, and Ken Weaver. Copies are available for $20 from Dori Myers, Western Field Ornithologists' Treasurer, 6011 Saddletree Lane, Yorba Linda, CA 92886.
Redhead chick sketch by Nicole Perretta