Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sea and Sage Audubon Nature Day Camps

Well, it's only February, but its time to start making plans for summer vacation. When I was young(er) my mother signed me up for a plethora of camps every summer to avoid the infamous, "I'm boooored" statements that arise about mid-July and last up until the first day of school in September. In 2001, she signed me up for Sea and Sage Audubon's Marsh Camp. I was less than thrilled about it, I mean birds... how lame! But lo and behold, two days into the camp I was hooked, I would come home and corner my parents, telling them every little thing I'd learned during that day at camp. Since that I summer I have been avidly birding, and have been teaching Marsh Camp since 2003.

Marsh Camp: Session 1: July 9 - 13 Session 2: July 16 - 20
Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Ages: 9 to 12
Subject: beginning bird I.D., importance of conservation, learning about nests, feathers, birds of prey, nature journaling, crafts.

Fledgling Camp: June 25 - 29
Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Ages: 7 - 8
Subject: basic bird I.D., bird-related crafts and songs, appreciation of nature, Marsh camp prep.

Advanced Camp:Session 1: July 23 - 27 Session 2: July 30 - Aug.4
(with a Friday night sleepover)
Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
11 years and older* Prerequisite: Marsh Camp experience
Subject: Advanced bird I.D., birding by ear, habitats, endangered species, off-site field trips, painting wooden duck decoys, stained-glass stepping stones and other crafts.
Photography Workshop:July 5 - 7
Thursday through Saturday 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Ages: 12 through adult
A digital camera is required.
Subject: basic nature photography, understanding how to compose photos, how to approach wildlife in photography, and general photographic techniques.

So if you live anywhere in or near the Orange County area, and have children between the ages of 7 and 12 then click HERE and download the PDF camp application form!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Lost Blog - Sunday 2/11/07

Well somehow I managed to forget to post my photos from last sunday. It was day two of birding with Oscar Johnson, Jim Lomax and John Sterling, and I guess by the time I got home I was pretty well wiped out... It was an incredibly successful day, we saw the yellow-throated warbler at Tewinkle, the worm-eating warbler at UCI, the lewis's woodpeckers at Black Star Canyon, the black-and-white warbler at Huntington Central Park, and the reddish egret at Bolsa Chica... phew. I didn't get amazing shots of any of them, but at least we saw them. The last sighting of the day was decidedly less feathery, a coyote on the ridge-line =)
This little guy was soaked, allowing those gorgeous "ruby-crown" feathers to shine through

Friday, February 16, 2007

From the people who brought us yoga....

Well, my busy schedule has finally gotten the better of me, and instead of enjoying the holiday weekend, I am busy chugging tea and orange juice and watching marathons of Discovery Channel and Animal Planet on t.v. I generally don't like to take cold medicine if I can help it, except Nyquil at night to sleep through.

After two boxes of tissues, my stuffy runny nose finally drove me to try something my mom has been urging me to try for ages, a neti pot. Now I am a big fan of Indian food, and of yoga, but this technique of nasal irrigation was one Indian idea I was avoiding. The idea of running water through my nose, in one nostril and out the other was truly gross to me, but this afternoon, desperate for relief of my sinus pressure, I broke out the neti pot my mom had given me and gave it a shot.

The warm, slightly salted water felt strange to me, like getting water up your nose at the beach, but when the process was done, I could take a gloriously deep breath and my head felt so much better. I should have known that the region that brought me yoga wouldn't let my stuffed up nose down...
So, if all goes well, this day of rest might help me get better faster and allow me to enjoy the rest of my holiday weekend, and maybe get out birding in the near future!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

L.A. Birding

I spent today birding with quite a few good people, Scott Haber and his girlfriend Susan, visiting from Cornell University, as well as Oscar Johnson, Jim Lomax, John Sterling and Dan Cooper. We started at Playa Del Ray, looking for the Rock Sandpiper. No luck on that bird, but Scott got one lifer, and Susan got a few. Scott and Susan then had to leave, and the rest of us continued on to Banning Park, right next to Banning High, where my dad graduated from in 1962. There we found a Thick-billed Kingbird, a lifer for me =) Then to El Dorado, where we struck out on the Harris Sparrow, but saw the Tropical Kingbird. That's it for tonight since we have another early day of birding tomorrow!

Tropical and Thick-billed Kingbirds =)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Monday, February 05, 2007

If Money Were No Object...

I'd buy a 100-400 lens sooo fast. Yesterday while birding at SJWS, I ran into Tim Rhoades, a local photographer. He swapped lenses with me for the walk. It was fun getting to shoot with that lens, even though my entire left side is stiff and sore from the weight of the darn thing. Here's a few of the shots I got yesterday, I still need to edit quite a few of them, so there will be more to come. ( when I find the time that is...)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Birding with Trude

Hey guys, I finally got out birding again, and boy did it feel good. I started in Laguna for the Black Oystercatchers being seen at Crescent Bay Pointe. I walked out to the point, and there they were! About 8 of them on the rocks below. They were just a bit too far away, so my photos are pretty cruddy (I attached one at the end of the post).
From there, I decided to switch directions and head inland to Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, where I ran into my adopted mother and birding mentor, Trude Hurd =) We birded around the sanctuary, then walked up the path that leads over the hillside and into Harding Canyon. We walked to the top, then turned around and walked back down. I was hoping to re-find the Rufous-crowned Sparrow I saw with Caity when she was visiting. Just before the last switchback in the trail, I caught movement on the hillside. One, two, then three RCSPs were moving around in the brush. I was thrilled, these little birds are fast becoming my favorite sparrow species. Despite this being my second photo session with these guys, I still don't have a clean shot! I'll have to go back again, but in the meantime, look how well that rufous crown blends with the reddish cast of the soil behind it.
One last stop, to Black Star Canyon with Trude to see the Lewis's Woodpeckers, named after Meriwether Lewis from the Lewis & Clark expeditions. The gorgeous woodpeckers were there, and put on an aerial show for us, flying back and forth from sycamores to oaks and back again. Make sure to click on that photo of the LEWO in flight, because the thumbnail does not do the bird justice.

We had two species of squirrel on our walk =)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Shots on a Rainy Day

I apologize for my lack of posts lately, school work is getting the better of me, and the only birding I've done has been by car to and from class. Also, the last couple days have been rainy, which is not generally good for camera gear...
I am now an owner of an iPod, which I avoided buying for years. Why did I cave in you ask? BirdJam is a company that produces a software which adapts the Stokes Guides to bird songs (east and west) to put them on iPods. It removes the bird's name from the track and adds it to the screen, as well as a short description of the call, then groups them into categories for quick access. I've only had it one day so far, but it seems terrific.

Here are a few photos I took of the weather mostly on my way home betwen classes yesterday, they aren't edited, but oh well.