American Bushtit by Diane Wong-Kone
The annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) if fast approaching! Our chapter does not run the counts ourselves, they are run independently by site Compilers. However, each year the Lahontan Audubon Society (LAS) promotes the upcoming counts happening in Northern Nevada and Tahoe region. Bird count sites and contact information will be listed below. If you want to participate in a count, please contact the Compiler first. This post will be updated with additional CBC information as we hear back from more leaders.
By Jeff Bleam
It's nice to be back on Standard time with the sun rising around 6:30 so it was nice to warm up in the sun. We started at the ponds where there were WIGEONS, MALLARDS, one CANADA GOOSE, a GADWALL, and 4 domestic Mallards. As we walked along the trail we found WC SPARROWS, JUNCOS, heard a DOWNY WOODPECKER, and saw a Flicker, which turned out to be an INTERGRADE NORTHERN FLICKER (Red x Yellow Shafted). More Sparrows at the path that cross the Creek as well as the RC KINGLET, CHICKADEES, and BUSHTITS. As we were walking away I looked back and saw GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS: Nice. Plenty SCRUB (34) and STELLERS (26) JAYS and we found out first HERMIT THRUSH along the path to Steamboat Ditch. Along the Ditch there was plenty of activity of LESSER GOLDFINCHES, HOUSE FINCHES, WC and GC SPARROWS, and SPOTTED TOWHEES. Back on the trail we walked up Alum Creek where we found many Sparrows, MAGPIE, and a few PYGMY and a WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH. On the way back we saw PELICANS flying overhead, which was surprising. Three of us walk the lower part of Alum Creek and found a male Downy Woodpecker, a male ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD on the heated feeder and CA QUAIL. We found 35 species.
LAS is hosting a Welcome and Thank you Party honoring Diane Wong-Kone, Anna Bateman, and Drew Lindsey. This event is a potluck, so please help us celebrate by bringing either an appetizer or dessert to share. Plan to mix and mingle with fellow LAS members while helping us show our appreciation to our LAS staff.
LAS Welcome and Thank You Party
Appetizer and Dessert Potluck
Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
The River School Farm, 777 White Fir Street, Reno
Thank you, Diane Wong-Kone!
For the last year, Diane has served as our Development Coordinator VISTA. Diane has been a long time member of LAS and the local birding community and she brought so many wonderful ideas and great energy to our organization. Many of you have seen the amazing work she has done, but you may not realize how much she was responsible for. If you enjoyed our Annual Report, American Sign Language interpreted birding walks, the return of Spring Wings, and our inaugural Bird Drawing Workshops, you can thank Diane! She wrote grants to support these projects and even continued the drawing workshops beyond the grant project. She has written articles for The Pelican newsletter, led field trips, joined our Pinyon Jay and Shorebird Survey projects, and helped with outreach and education. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and Diane finished her AmeriCorps VISTA term of service last week. We are so grateful for everything that she accomplished for LAS and happy to know she will still be in the area. If you run into her at an LAS event, please thank her for all her hard work.
Welcome Anna Bateman!
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Lahontan Audubon Society, it is my pleasure to announce that Anna Bateman has been appointed as our Executive Director effective November 7, 2022. Anna is a native Nevadan and a Native American. Anna graduated from UNLV with a degree in Social Science/Public Administration. She continued her education at UNR where she received a Graduate degree in Justice Management. Anna is currently working on a PhD in Cross Cultural Studies/Indigenous Sustainability from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Anna has served the peoples of Nevada in multiple ways including as a teacher, an advocate for children and for victims, a coordinator for Fallon Family Services, and as a director for Shoshone Tribal vocational rehabilitation services. Most recently, Anna has been serving as the Tribal Administrator for the Valdez Native Tribe in Valdez, Alaska. Anna has returned home to Fallon, NV to share her extensive knowledge of grant writing and organization administration along with a passion for environmental conservation and social justice with LAS. Her knowledge and experience will assist us in furthering our goals of bird conservation and community education. Please help us welcome Anna to the LAS family!
Welcome Drew Lindsey!
Drew Lindsey has joined the LAS family as our newest VISTA volunteer. Drew is working with LAS as our Program Development Coordinator. He will be helping us plan new events and programs to meet the needs of our growing community. Drew is a native Texan, attended college at Evergreen State in Olympia, Washington, and worked as an educator and docent at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA. Please help us welcome Drew to Northern Nevada!
"I am looking forward to working with the Lahontan Audubon Society team and helping with bird conservation efforts in Northern Nevada." - Drew Lindsey
Welcome Tom Stille and Linda St-Cyr to our Board of Trustees!
Finally, we would like to welcome our two new trustees, Tom Stille and Linda St-Cyr. Thank you both for stepping in to these leadership positions at LAS. Sadly, that means we are saying goodbye to two of our former trustees. Big thanks to David Jickling and Sally Bates for their service on the board.
Reflections on a Backyard Preserve in Another Place, in Another Time
By Karen Kish
By Jennie Jones Scherbinski
Where the Deer, the Antelope, and the Sage Grouse Play
By Rose Strickland
Have you ever noticed an American Coot's lobed feet? Or seen the blue racing stripes above the eyes of a Steller's Jay? How about the beautiful red patches shining against the black feathers of a male Red-winged Blackbird? These are some of the special, up close looks we had on our walk at Rancho San Rafael Park. Last Saturday, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Diane Wong-Kone, along with LAS volunteer Mary Luzier and friend Jen Royle, led a bird walk and talk with the Nevada Youth Empowerment Project, or NYEP. This amazing local non-profit supports young, homeless women by giving them independent living opportunities. The AmeriCorps VISTA program is helping LAS expand birding and avian education opportunities to make a positive change in our community. This trip was originally scheduled for early September, in collaboration with the Western Field Ornithologists, another non-profit organization that was in town for their annual conference in Reno. Unfortunately, the smoke in the air that weekend caused a trip cancellation. This past weekend, we were able to do a rain, er smoke (?), check on the trip and go exploring. Monica, one of the NYEP counselors, brought four young adults on this beautiful day. Using LAS' taxidermy bird mount collection, we first learned about some of the local birds found at Rancho San Rafael, such as the House Finch, American Coot, White-faced Ibis, and Red-shouldered Hawk. After learning about bird bill and feet adaptations and some basic bird identification skills, the group practiced using binoculars, first on taxidermy birds, but soon enough, on live birds, as a Lesser Goldfinch landed on a thistle feeder right in front of us and a Steller's Jay popped out on the branch above our heads. Another highlight was close-up views of a male and female blackbird in the cattails on the side of the path. They seemed unconcerned about the humans staring at them and gave us some beautiful looks. The "cheesburger" bird, aka Mountain Chickadee, was also out, though that bird was more challenging to see flitting among the branches of a conifer tree. Nice long looks at California Scrub-Jays and Steller's Jays helped us learn the difference between two of our blue corvids. Click to see the eBird trip list with 15 bird species. By the end of the trip, everyone in the group had some nice looks at our local birds and the NYEP members are excited at the possibility of another trip with LAS to go birding at another local park! Where shall we go next?
If you like this story and would like to support LAS' efforts to provide birding opportunities throughout our community, please consider donating to our Fall Fund Drive. We provide opportunities like this thanks to support from the people in our wonderful birding community like you!
Photos by Judy Duffy
Last Thursday, Judy Duffy, one of Lahontan Audubon Society's outstanding volunteers, hosted a bird walk at the Damonte Ranch Wetlands for residents of Revel Rancharrah, an independent living community. Highlights were a pair of Great Egrets, several Lesser Goldfinches feasting on the Russian sage, Mountain Chickadees, and a Common Merganser. It was a gorgeous day at the wetlands! Click here to see the complete eBird checklist.
Photos by Dave Reynolds.
Report by Linda St-Cyr. Starting from the parking lot at the top of Peavine Creek Road and hiking up, 11 Pinyon Jay followers observed 122 Pinyon Jays (a life bird for at least 3 people!) over a 2-hour period on the morning of 10/5/22. The Pinyon Jays flew in a northerly direction in several groups from the houses below to the foothills above. It’s interesting that the area hosts Jeffrey and Ponderosa Pines, but no Pinyon Pines. The Pinyon Jays seem to be getting supplementary food around the houses (peanut shells were visible on the ground at the lower elevations) and they could be preparing to cache at the higher elevations although we did not actually see caching behavior. The Pinyon Jay survey volunteers practiced submitting data to Great Basin Bird Observatory via the Survey 123 app. An extra perk was the Golden Eagle who often appears near the peaks when we’re in this area. See the eBird trip report for the full species list.
Welcome to our new Field Trip Committee Chair, Lauren Whitenack! Lauren is a PhD student at the University of Nevada, Reno studying Mountain Chickadee breeding ecology, and one of our newest Trustees. She has been interested in birds from the young age of 13 when she began volunteering at the Intermountain Bird Observatory near Boise, ID. Before moving to Reno in August 2021, she worked as a bird bander in both Idaho and Western North Carolina and conducted bird research as an undergraduate. She is currently a graduate teaching assistant for a Field Ornithology course at UNR, and enjoys sharing her passion for birds with others. Lauren is bringing a fresh energy to the field trip committee and wants to know how we can best serve you. Please fill out this short survey on what you would like to see from our field trip programs in the future. You can also join Lauren on her upcoming field trip to Rancho San Rafael or Hunter Creek Trail and thank her for coordinating our birding field trips!
Also a huge thank you to our outgoing committee chair, Jasmine Kleiber, for all the great work she has done over the past few years!