Due to Covid-19, all in-person events are cancelled until further notice.
Read on for solitary birding suggestions.
Greetings Tulare Kings Bird Enthusiasts,
The Fall season is fast approaching with not much relief in this unprecedented coronavirus crisis. We hope that the Spring may see some major improvements and we may start again with field trips and speaker programs. In the meantime, here are suggestions of places to watch for birds on your own in the coming months.
Migrating shorebirds are travelling south through the county in August. Some migration will continue through mid September, and some species will remain all winter. They require shallow water and mudflats, so the Tulare Water Treatment Plant is prime real estate! Woodlake WTP, Hanford WTP and Corcoran Reservoir also have some shallow flats. Stoil Ponds off HWY 43 is excellent right now but water levels can change unpredictably. Check eBird for the exact locations and latest sightings. Of course you will need to be out of those hot spots well before noon on these sweltering days, drink plenty of water and use sun protection. Corcoran Reservoir, Bravo Lake and Lake Success can have shorebirds along the margins as well, although not as commonly.
September and October are the cusp season with birds migrating south all across North America- but not stopping long in one place. Juvenile birds are traveling in mixed flocks in the mountains now but bird activity is relatively quiet as many adult songbirds have already left breeding territories. Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Brown creepers are easier to find as they are winter residents. Sooty Grouse are moving around more with their growing chicks and both Quail species can be found in large coveys. Juvenile hawks and accipiters are perfecting hunting skills. Mineral King, Giant Forest and Grant Grove are nice especially if you get a bit off the beaten path with not so many visitors. In late September we have a unique spectacle at the residential area of Green Acres in Visalia. Hundreds, if not thousands of Swainson’s Hawks roost in the Valley Oaks there along with Turkey Vultures on their southern migration. This is the only known migration roost for Swainson’s Hawks known in California, perhaps in North America. Arrive at about sundown to search the tops of Valley Oaks. We will have a field trip there in a better year.
By November, Sandhill Cranes will be present en masse at Pixley NWR. Their daytime dispersal will be more pronounced due to a change in the surrounding field to tree crops. Sundown remains the most spectacular viewing time. Pixley NWR is also great for waterfowl, wading birds such as Ibis, and raptors. Bravo Lake and Lake Success have great diversity with Osprey, Bald Eagle, White Pelican besides ducks and geese and the occasional rarity. Lake Kaweah is highly variable depending on water levels and how steep the shoreline is.
As you all know, backyard birds are much more plentiful in winter- Goldfinches, White-crowned Sparrows, California Towhees, Cedar Waxwings and American Robins come down from mountain breeding territories to grace our gardens.
We look forward to a time when programs and field trips can start again although we expect that masks and social distancing will be with us for some time to come. We hope you all remain safe and healthy.
2020 Speaker Meetings
When speaker meetings resume, they will be held on the third Friday of each month at 7 pm, preceded by a no-host dinner at Marie Callender’s (Mooney at HWY 198) at 5:15 pm, where you can usually meet the speaker. The first part of the meeting is business and usually lasts 15-20 minutes. The second part of the meeting includes a presenter on a conservation topic or photo presentation, open questions, and refreshments. We meet only during the school year (September - May) and we do not have general meetings in December and January.
If you would like to suggest a speaker or would like to volunteer to be a speaker at one of our meetings please contact us through the website by clicking here.
2021 Field Trips
Field trips will be posted below when they resume. For questions, check out the Field Trip FAQ.