Photograph by Alyce Bender
November’s general Audubon meeting featured Alyce Bender sharing her birding and photography experiences in Hokkaido. Year after year, Bender (as she prefers to be called) returns to the brutally cold, yet spectacular backdrop, of Japan’s northern most island to view and photograph a variety of wildlife. Most notably the Red-crowned Crane, among the rarest cranes in the world, can be found performing a rhythmic dance of courtship. As Bender so passionately relayed to the group, “The reason this Florida born girl goes to Japan in the dead of winter is to see a beautiful dance in the wild that is worthy to be seen on Broadway."
Bender aims to connect people to the planet through the images she captures, and she discussed the importance of ethical behavioral when photographing wildlife.
Photo by Andy Fikus
Red Rock Audubon and friends of burrowing owls recently celebrated together the end of a successful year for our resident owls. Eight people monitored seven burrows in and adjacent to the Rainbow Owl Preserve during the 2019 nesting season. Monitors recorded data on individual burrows once a week from April until the young fledged, usually sometime in July or early August depending on each owl family’s schedule.
Red Rock Audubon thanks Pam West, C. J. Vadovic, Nancy Chang, Amanda Crinigan and Janis Schoen for supporting our efforts to provide school field trips to the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve. Their generous bids during our fall silent auction raised $241 which is enough to fund one full busload of school children with a little left over for the next bus!
Be sure to place your bids for our spring silent auction items. Your support goes directly to further our mission to bring people and nature together. Children are a valuable resource to be nurtured as they will become the conservationists of the future.
Written by Nancy Chang
After checking the status of forest fires in southern California, twelve intrepid birders traveled to Long Beach for a field trip November 1-3, 2019. Upon arrival, the coast was sunny and clear with no trace of smoke in the air. The trip was organized by Paul Rodriguez and led by Theresa Hyde, owner of Bios Environmental, an environmental monitoring company. RRAS members on the trip were Doug and Nancy Chang, Tom and Jane Clay, Jim Roombos, Daniel Joslyn, Paul Rodriguez, Cathy Kozmary, Kathryn Chasen and Richard Walker. Attached are some photos taken on the trip, but they do not necessarily match the accompanying paragraphs.
It was my first trip to Hawaii, and I knew that taking my camera & binoculars is a given! Halfway into the trip I realized that I should have included my fins & goggles too! Having a Green Sea Turtle swimming right below me was an absolute highlight of the trip not to mention the birdlife! Kona has 5 volcanoes that make up its entire landscape. The most recent eruption was Kilauea on May 3rd, 2018 and as we traveled around the island, meeting the inhabitants, everyone knew the day the lava stopped flowing – Aug 20th, 2018. It wasn’t until I made it to the west side and witnessed the massive lava trails did I realize the significance of the statement. Lava stops for nothing!
Weather in the Las Vegas Valley can be your friend. Or not. The 17 Red Rock Audubon volunteers and friends at the October 13th clean up started out at 8:00 am with coats on but by the time they finished at noon all were in their short sleeves and the Preserve looked much improved.
Red Rock Audubon was joined by Steve Kaye during our General Meeting on October 12th. Steve Kaye is a nature photographer and photography instructor as well as a talented storyteller and blogger. We enjoyed some of the most remarkable bird photos you could imagine and some that truly made you pause. The simple beauty of a House Finch becomes a profound moment in time between Mother and Chick. He spoke of the struggle to capture that perfect shot but finding delight and joy in the imperfect outcome, such as a duck paddling away or showing off his tail feathers.
The Winchester Nesters had some very important visitors on October 19th. Martin Tyner of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Southern Utah and three of his traveling crew - Belle the Harris Hawk, Helen the Peregrine Falcon and Scout the Golden Eagle stopped by for a visit.
Doyle Wayman showed us how it is done at our September meeting.
Doyle knows a lot about native plants. He is an expert at foraging in the desert and spends a lot of time in the fall collecting native seeds.
Tasty bread can be made from flour produced by grinding honey mesquite pods with added juniper ash for aromatic flavoring. Some consider purselane an obnoxious weed that invades our carefully cultivated back yards but it makes a healthy salad green. Prickly pear cactus (nopoles) can be eaten in a salad or made into a healthy drink. If you are a hunter you can snare jackrabbit or quail, of course. And those are just a few foods that can be foraged in our local desert.
Doyle brought a variety of dishes for our members to sample. Here are a few, going clockwise from the top: