LA GRANGE/WATERFORD CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

DATE - 12/18/2021

COVID-19 Outdoor Activity Guidelines - UPDATED 10/23/2021

We will be following the CDC Outdoor Activity Guidelines for the upcoming La Grange/Waterford CBC.

  • KICK-OFF MEETING: While there will be NO official kick-off breakfast, we will still meet at the Fruit Yard Restaurant (7948 Yosemite Blvd, Modesto) to disperse Area Envelopes at 7:00 am.

  • COMPILATION ZOOM MEETING: There will be NO compilation dinner (will miss Dave’s chili and Sharon’s pumpkin roll), but we will have a compilation Zoom meeting at 6:00 PM on 12/18/21.

  • CARPOOLING: If participants feel comfortable carpooling with one another from home or during the count, that is their prerogative. Non-bubble (social pod) participants in the same vehicle are encouraged to wear masks while traveling.

  • USE OF MASKS: As this is an outdoors activity, the use of a mask is generally not necessary. However, birders are encouraged to have a mask at the ready to don if other non-bubble (social pod) birders get closer than 6 feet.

  • SHARING OF OPTICS AND FOOD: Non-bubble (social pod) participants are discouraged from sharing optics and food.

ASAP PLEASE NOTIFY Jim Gain (jimgain@sbcglobal.net) if you want to participate in this socially-distanced outdoor event.

Established in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the longest running community science survey in North America. Stanislaus and Merced County birders of all levels are invited to participate in Stanislaus Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Counts. Each count area will have at least one experienced birder to help with identifying birds during the survey. These counts not only gather vital survey data for National Audubon Society, but they also present opportunities for birders to see dozens of species, and hundreds of individual birds, in one day. Please consider joining us for these enjoyable citizen science surveys.

DETAILS

DATE: Saturday, December 18, 2021

MEETING TIME/PLACE: Please see new COVID-19 information above.

WHO TO CONTACT:

WHAT TO EXPECT

WALKING/DRIVING: Most CBC count areas are a mixture of driving and walking and may involve driving dirt roads. During really wet years or right after a big storm, these may not be drive-able.

    • Mostly Driving Areas: Area 1 Warnerville Rd and Area 5 Hawkins Rd

    • Mostly Walking Areas: Area 2 Cooperstown Rd and Area 7 Modesto Reservoir

RESTROOM ACCESS: Most do not have good restroom (RR) access so you will want to think ahead about that access. Best RR spots would be at the Turlock Lake Picnic Area (fee) or Modesto Reservoir (fee) or back in Waterford.

I'M NOT AN EXPERT BIRDER - IS THAT OK? The CBC welcomes birders of all ages and experience levels. Even if you know nothing about birds, if you can see movement or hear a bird making noise you can be an excellent spotter. The CBC also appreciates non-birders who are willing to drive back-seat birders (FROM YOUR BUBBLE/SOCIAL POD ONLY) or keep a tally of observations.

IS THIS A GOOD EVENT FOR CHILDREN? Though we would love to have participants of all ages on the CBC, the field count option is not the best fit for children. We strongly encourage families to come out to the community field trips that are co-hosted with the Yokuts chapter of the Sierra Club.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING ON THE DAY OF THE COUNT? Dress for the weather! Surveyors will go out, rain, shine or snow. Layers are strongly encouraged with a waterproof jacket and/or pants. Warm hats, socks and gloves are a must. Some areas require more walking, others more driving, so please wear appropriate footwear. Fluids, snacks and a sack lunch are also important. Binoculars will not be provided, so please bring your own.

(SUSPENDED DURING COVID-19) CBC COUNTDOWN DINNER: Once the count is complete, volunteers can gather with other leaders and counters at the CBC Countdown Dinner to listen to the preliminary species results over a bowl of warm chili. The Countdown Dinner will take place at the home of Dave and Sharon Froba. Your area leader will have the directions.

HISTORICAL RESULTS

California La Grange Waterford CBC Data (Link to Google Sheet)

EBIRDING ON THE CBC

While doing your CBC, eBird Mobile makes it easy to keep your tallies through the day. Here are our tips for making your CBC eBirding as helpful as possible.

  • Only submit lists that include birds observed by your CBC group: do not group lists from other birding parties together

  • Keep multiple lists throughout the day: ideally one for each stop, or perhaps one for each road.

  • Include only one-way distance in your traveling counts: both CBC and eBird measure distance as one-way distance

HOW TO COUNT BIRDS

(From the eBird Support website)

We encourage all eBirders to make their best estimate of bird numbers on every checklist. Most bird counting is really easy—you just identify what you see, and add the numbers together as you go. However, every now and then you'll be fortunate to run into a big flock of birds, multiple flocks, or big groups of mixed species. This is when it can get tricky, and where we're here to help.

The most important thing to remember is that your best estimate of numbers is *always* more useful than putting an “X’ to indicate presence. An “X’ could be 1 or 1,000,000! By making your best estimate, you're providing valuable information on the abundance of birds around the world: not just where the species is, but not many there are. This allows researchers to understand change in numbers over time, which is often one of the most important measures of how well a bird species is doing.

When counting birds, it's also important to keep in mind that general numbers are perfectly fine. If you estimate a flock as being 50 birds, and in reality it was 40, or 63, that's fine! Of course, if you can count exactly to 63, that'd always be better, but we understand that this isn't always possible.

Using the simple techniques outlined below, you can come up with estimates for even the most difficult bird counting situations. Soon you’ll have a good idea of how many birds are present at your local birding sites with a glance. The best part is that it gets easier the more you do it!

Please visit the eBird support site Bird Counting Best Practices

INFORMATION ABOUT THE CBC AREAS

NEW SPECIES RECORDING PROCESS FOR THE CALW CBC - eBird Checklists

This year the La Grange/Waterford CBC will switch to an eBird-based electronic checklist format. Area leaders will report using the eBird hotspots found in their count area and then share them with CALWCBC via the Share with feature in eBird. Directions for using eBird with this count can be found at this PDF link Using eBird Mobile App on the CBC. The information is also embedded on this webpage at the very bottom.

AREA 1 Warnerville Rd

Mostly driving

    • Area Leader - CeCe Hurst (2021 - Y, eBirder)

    • Tom Myers (2021 - Y, eBirder)

    • Xavier Sandoval (2021 - Y, eBirder)

    • Siera Nystrom

AREA 1 - Warnerville Rd Hotspots (see map below)

Be sure to share your checklists with CALWCBC

  1. Hazel Dean Rd. (Starts just south of Tim Bell Rd.)

  2. Tim Bell Rd.--Hazel Dean Rd. to Warnerville Rd. (Includes all visible areas along Tim Bell Rd)

  3. Warnerville Rd.--Tim Bell Rd. to Crabtree Rd. (Starts just east of Tim Bell Rd. and ends just before Crabtree Rd.)

  4. Crabtree Rd.--Dry Creek bridge to Warnerville Rd.

  5. Crabtree Rd.--Hwy. 132 to Dry Creek bridge

AREA 2 - Cooperstown Rd.

Mixture of driving and walking

    • Area Leader - Richard Brown (2021 - Y, eBirder)

    • Jim Ross and Troy Long (2021 - Y, eBirder)

AREA 2 - Cooperstown Rd Hotspots (see map below)

Be sure to share your checklists with CALWCBC

  1. Willms Rd.--Warnerville Rd. to pond (Starts at circle boundary at N to the intersection of Warnerville and Crabtree Rd.)

  2. Rock River Rd. (STA Co.)

  3. Cooperstown Rd.--Willms Rd. to Rydberg Creek bridge (Starts at the intersection of Willms Rd)

  4. Cooperstown Rd.--La Grange Rd. to Rydberg Creek bridge

  5. La Grange Regional Park--Old La Grange Rd. to La Grange Dam Rd. (Includes J59 from the circle boundary (both sides of road) to Hwy 120 and area north of Hwy 132 to count east boundary).

AREA 3 - Bobcat Flat NOTE for 2021/22 Will not have access this year

Mostly walking

AREA 3 - Bobcat Flat Hotspots (see map below)

Be sure to share your checklists with CALWCBC

  1. Bobcat Flat (restricted access)

  2. Tuolumne River--Old La Grange Rd. to Basso Bridge

AREA 4 - Joe Domecq/Basso Bridge

Mixture of driving and walking

AREA 4 - Joe Domecq/Basso Bridge Hotspots (see map below)

Be sure to share your checklists with CALWCBC

  1. Dawson Lake

  2. La Grange Regional Park--Basso Bridge and fishing access

  3. Joe Domecq Wilderness Area

  4. Lake Rd.--E of Turlock Lake and S of TID canal

  5. *NEW - Los Cerritos/Olsen Rd Area

AREA 5 - Hawkins Rd

Mostly driving, but does include some walking around the Dave Wilson nursery.

    • Area Leader - Sal Salerno (bees2@sbcglobal.net) (2021 - Y, eBirder)

    • Daniel Gilman (2021 - Y, eBirder)

AREA 5 - Hawkins Rd Hotspots (see map below)

Be sure to share your checklists with CALWCBC

  1. Hawkins Rd. vernal pool

  2. *NEW - Dave Wilson Area (Restricted Access)

  3. *NEW - Denton/Lake Rd Area

  4. *NEW - Hawkins/Keyes Rd Area (Starts just south of the pond, south to count boundary and east along Keyes Rd.)

AREA 6 - Turlock Lake

Mixture of driving and walking

    • Area Leader - Jim Gain (jimgain@sbcglobal.net) (2021 - Y, eBirder)

    • Richard Taylor (tentative)

    • Royce and Sara Rhodes

AREA 6 - Turlock Lake Hotspots (see map below)

Be sure to share your checklists with CALWCBC

  1. Turlock Lake--county fishing access

  2. Turlock Lake SRA--campground

  3. Turlock Lake SRA--north shore day use area

  4. Davis Rd.

  5. Robert's Ferry Rd. and covered bridge

AREA 7 - Modesto Reservoir

Mostly walking, some driving

    • Area Leader - John Harris (johnh@mills.edu) (2021? - Y, eBirder)

    • Jody Hallstrom (2020 - N) and David

    • Srini Raman

AREA 7 - Modesto Reservoir Hotspots (see map below)

Be sure to share your checklists with CALWCBC

  1. Modesto Reservoir Regional Park

  2. Tuolumne River--Robert's Ferry to 4th bridge (river mile 34.8) (Covers visible area along Hwy 132)

Using eBird Mobile App on the CBC.pdf