All workshops and programs held at the Stockton Hilton Hotel.
It is highly recommended that you bring your binoculars to all programs and workshops.
Registration begins at the Stockton Hilton Hotel
Social Hour — Hors D’oeuvres/No Host Bar:
Please come and help us kick off this year’s CVBS! Come meet the CVBS board & staff members! Reconnect with old friends! Meet new ones! Take advantage of the scrumptious Hors D’oeuvres buffet & No Host Bar!
Introduction: David Yee
During this time, we will cover Friday’s field trips and make any special announcements and additions/or changes to the Symposium schedule.
Keynote Speaker: Ed Harper
For many of the species of birds that nest in the far north, California’s Central Valley may be well south or quite distant from their normal wintering range. Encountering high latitude breeding species is assuredly a birding highlight for many California birders. Other northerly breeding species sometimes wander far from their normal migration routes and such birds undeniably capture the awe and delight of birders. The Central Valley is sometimes graced by these rare or out of range birds. Using superb photographs augmented with the natural history, distribution, and occurrence of these avian highlights, Ed Harper will share some of the excitement he has encountered over the many years he has been birding both here and abroad.
An esteemed photographer, birder, and presenter, Ed Harper was a long-time educator before taking up bird photography. He and his wife Susan travel extensively, viewing and photographing the world’s wildlife and scenery. They split their time between Sacramento and Ed’s beloved home state of Montana. Ed has long directed the Bird ID workshops at the Symposium and at Western Field Ornithologists meetings, and for many years has presented the Symposium’s Thursday night program.
Field Trips: Bufferlands, Colusa NWR, Cosumnes River Preserve, Eastern Stanislaus Co., Merced Refuges, Micke Grove Regional Park, Pardee Reservoir Eagle Boat trip, Ripon Oak Park & WTP, Salt Spring Valley Reservoir, San Joaquin NWR, SE Solano County, Staten Island & Delta Meadows SP, Sutter Buttes, W. Amador and Yolo Co.
Nature/Wildlife Photography Field Trip: Bob Steele
Join professional bird photographer Bob Steele as we explore digital bird photography in the field. We’ll look for easy-to-photograph subjects to allow for the primary focus to be on technique and fundamentals. Topics discussed and explained will include camera setup, equipment, exposure techniques, composition, flash use, digital field evaluation of images, and approaching subjects. Minimum equipment requirements for the workshop are: Digital SLR body; 300mm lens; teleconverters, tripod, and flash (if available). Geared toward beginner photographers, but intermediate and advanced photographers are sure to learn something as well. (3/WM, SM) Limited to 8 participants.
Digiscoping Workshop and Field Trip: Clay Taylor, Swarovski Optiks, N. A.
In 2005, to get great “Digiscoping” photos, you needed a spotting scope, a Point & Shoot camera, a home-made adapter, and a LOT of patience. More often than not, birders ran out of patience before they “got it” right. Fast-forward to 2018 and Smartphones have all but killed off Point & Shoot cameras. The Smartphones themselves can take amazing scope photos, excellent DSLR cameras can be bought for $500, and dedicated photo adapters are available for shooting DSLRs through your spotting scope. Clay Taylor from Swarovski Optics will cover how to optimize your scope photography setup, review the image quality that is possible, and discuss the field techniques to make it all happen. Bring your scope, tripod, camera, and adapter, full batteries and empty memory cards! Limited to 20 participants.
Bird Identification Panel: Moderated by Ed Harper
This program has become an annual favorite. What better way to learn about the finer points of bird identification than by listening to the experts go through the process! Our illustrious panel will include Keith Hansen, John Kricher, and Joe Morlan. They will be presented with photos of difficult-to-identify bird groups (such as golden-plovers, winter plumage ducks, female goldeneyes, etc.), then each will mention what features they use to aid in clinching an ID.
Dinner at the Stockton Hilton Hotel
Keynote Program: Ed Pandolfino
Ever since Aristotle wondered where the swallows went in winter (and likely well before that), humans have been curious about the movements of birds. Even given the very basic methods available in the 19th and most of the 20th centuries, what we learned was astounding. However, in the past couple decades new technologies have allowed us to uncover secrets of bird migration that are simply mind-boggling, confirming that birds are capable of feats that seem to belong more the realm of science fiction than science fact. Ed will tell us about these new methods and the describe some of phenomenal behaviors they have revealed.
Ed Pandolfino spent most of his early life on the move, living in many different states and countries and attending 13 different schools between first grade and high school. After a checkered and inconsistent college experience that included dropping-out and touring Europe as a drummer for a Rock & Roll band, Ed finally settled down and earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Washington State University. He spent over twenty years working in various management positions in the medical device industry. After an eyeball-to-eyeball encounter with a Spotted Towhee (then Rufous-sided Towhee), Ed’s relationship with birds transformed instantaneously from oblivious to obsessed. Since retiring in 1999 he has devoted his life to birds, working on habitat conservation and avian research. Ed has served as president of Western Field Ornithologists, vice-president of San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, conservation chair for Sierra Foothills Audubon Society, and Regional Editor for Northern California for North American Birds and is currently on the board of Institute for Bird Populations. He has published more than three dozen articles on status, distribution, behavior of western birds. He co-authored with Ted Beedy, Birds of the Sierra Nevada: Their Natural History, Status, and Distribution, illustrated by Keith Hansen and published by U.C. Press in May 2013.
Local Field Trips: Caswell Memorial State Park, Cosumnes River Preserve, Flood & Waverly Rds., Lodi Lake Wilderness Area, White Slough Water Pollution Plant, Mokelumne Day Use Area, Ripon WTP, Stockton Rural Cemetery, Stockton WTP, Woodbridge Rd., and Woodbridge Wilderness Area.
Introduction to Image Editing Workshop: Bob Steele
Join professional bird photographer Bob Steele as we explore digital photo editing in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and Lightroom. Topics discussed and demonstrated will include: image storage and backup strategies, converting RAW images using Adobe Camera RAW (PS and PSE plug-in), basic image editing for JPEG and TIFF images, sizing and sharpening images for different outputs—email, internet, printing—and a group discussion with questions and answers.
Bob Steele has been involved in birding and bird photography for over 20 years. He lives in the bird-rich California Kern County, which is centrally located at the convergence of multiple bio-regions, giving him the opportunity to photograph many avian subjects. Workshop fee—$25
Bird Sketching Workshop: Keith Hansen
Have you ever observed a bird and just wished you could sit down and begin to draw it on paper, but didn’t know where to start? Well, here’s a chance to learn how so join Keith Hansen in this Bird Sketching workshop.
Keith Hansen is a professional bird artist who illustrated Discovering Sierra Birds, Distributional Checklist of North American Birds, Birds of Yosemite and the East Slope, California Wild Lands: A Guide to the Nature Conservancy Preserves, and The Natural History of the Point Reyes Peninsula, among many other books. Birds of the Sierra Nevada: Their Natural History, Status, and Distribution, authored by Edward Beedy & Edward Pandolfino, was illustrated by Keith.
Presenters: Dan Airola and Chris Conard
Join local researchers who will present short presentations on new results and updates on conservation-related studies of Central Valley birds. Bulletin editor Dan Airola will present talks on recent studies identifying migration and wintering areas of CV Swainson’s Hawks. He also will provide updates on Tricolored Blackbirds in the foothills and the remnant Sacramento Purple Martin population. Chris Conard will present initial results of the innovative eBird-based Breeding Bird Atlas for Sacramento County, and an update on Least Tern nesting in Sacramento.
Dan Airola is a wildlife biologist and ornithologist and the Editor and frequent contributor to the Central Valley Bird Club Bulletin.
Chris Conard is a biologist, a dedicated field trip leader, and an advocate for the conservation of birds in the Central Valley. Chris has just finished serving 6 years as the President of the Central Valley Bird Club; he’s currently involved with the on-going Sacramento Breeding Bird Atlas.
Beginning Birding: Sal Salerno
This workshop will cover the basics: how to choose and use optics and field guides, when and where to bird, and the first steps toward identifying a bird. The Beginning Birding Field Trip will follow in the afternoon.
Sal Salerno is president of Stanislaus Audubon Society and editor of “The Birding Sites of Stanislaus and Merced Counties.” Sal has been teaching an Early Birders class at Modesto Junior College since 2008, and he writes a monthly column on birds and birders for Valley Habitat.
Lunch & CVBC Meeting:
The CVBS serves as the annual meeting of the Central Valley Bird Club. We will conduct a brief meeting to give members (if you attend the Symposium, you are an automatic member) an update on the club, and to take care of any business that requires the approval by the membership. This is also when we will conduct the ever-popular raffle where many of the vendors and artists donate wonderful items and works to support the Club.
Beginning Birding Field Trip: Sal Salerno
This field trip will employ many of the principles that Sal covered in the morning workshop. He will visit Oak Grove Regional Park in north Stockton, where wintering birds abound. Bring binoculars, a field guide and notebook. Participants in the Beginning Birding Field Trip are expected to have participated in the Beginning Birding Class, Saturday morning.
Wine & Cheese Reception/Book Signing:
This is a time to visit and have fun with one another. Many of our speakers have authored books that may be in your library, so remember to bring yours if you want it signed. Some books will be available for purchase.
Dinner at the Stockton Hilton Hotel
Keynote Program: John Kricher
In this wide-ranging talk, John Kricher will contrast the lives, ecology, and natural history of long-distance migrant passerine birds, the orioles, tanagers, thrushes, flycatchers, and wood-warblers, with bird species that are permanent residents of lowland tropical forests, the antbirds, manakins, and motmots. He will discuss factors that have likely resulted in many, but by no means most species adapting to long-distance migration and the costs and benefits that ensue. Characteristics such as life span, clutch size, foraging behavior, habitat choice, and wing shape, all vary between long-distance migrants and tropical resident species. This lively, thought-provoking, and thoroughly illustrated talk will explain why.
John Kricher is a Professor of Biology at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts who has taught courses in ecology, ornithology, and vertebrate evolution. His most recent book is The New Neotropical Companion (2017), a third edition, fully revised and full color throughout, of John’s highly successful book A Neotropical Companion. John has also written Tropical Ecology, (Princeton University Press 2011), now the leading textbook on the subject of global tropical ecology. He has authored The Balance of Nature: Ecology’s Enduring Myth (Princeton University Press 2009), and Galapagos: A Natural History (Princeton University Press 2006). Other books include three North American ecology field guides (Eastern Forests, Rocky Mountain and Southwestern Forests, California and Pacific Northwest Forests) all part of the Peterson series. The widely used previous edition of A Neotropical Companion was translated into Spanish through the Birders’ Exchange Program of the American Birding Association. He has also produced three recorded lecture series, one on dinosaurs, one on ecology, and one on the biology of birds, all published by Modern Scholar. His current project is authoring The Peterson Guide to Bird Behavior. John is a Fellow in the American Ornithologists Union and has served as president of the Association of Field Ornithologists, and president of the Wilson Ornithological Society.
Presenter: Joe Morlan
Joseph Morlan will present a history of bird identification starting with early pioneers and a personal look back at how birding and bird identification have changed over the decades. Sight identifications considered by Ludlow Griscom to be impossible in 1922 are routine today. Likewise, our knowledge of bird distribution has grown dramatically since the days of the early pioneers. But what will future generations think of our own conventional wisdom when it comes to bird identification and distribution? Technology continues to advance in the fields of optics and photography. These advances have been an integral part of rapid evolutionary changes in the way we see birds and the way future generations will see them. Join us for what promises to be an entertaining and though provoking presentation.
Joe Morlan has taught field ornithology at City College of San Francisco since 1978. He is the coauthor of “Birds of San Francisco and the Bay Area” and “Birds of Northern California.” He has served as the Chair of the California Bird Records Committee and was the recipient of the 2010 ABA Ludlow Griscom Award for contributions to regional ornithology.
Carving Seminar (Beginners): Jim Burcio and Bob Solari
Join master carvers from the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association for a four-hour carving seminar. All of the necessary materials, including a study guide and the best knives on the market, will be provided for this seminar. Short lectures with lots of hands-on carving will enable you to complete a California Quail. Topics include where to get your supplies, how to use reference material, wood selection, and how to use hand tools and power tools. There is a $25 fee for materials. The price includes a one-year membership in the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association and a club directory, so you’ll know who is carving in your area. Must be fifteen years old or older. Pre-registration necessary.
Presenter: Kimball Garrett
Birders at all skill levels are confronted with nagging field identification problems. Seasoned birders may only experience discomfort while teasing apart subspecies of Orange-crowned Warblers or pigeon-holing odd second-cycle gulls, but beginners and slow-learners may be challenged by our most common species. Birders have always made identification errors – it’s just that now we have eBird to let the whole world know about it!
News flash! Some birders make mistakes in eBird! This presentation will look at – and seek to help correct – some of the most frequent misidentifications that pop up in eBird in California, as well as other frequent eBird errors (including measures of birding effort, mis-mapped localities, and failure to adequately document flagged sightings). Kimball Garrett has served as an eBird reviewer for California since its inception, concentrating on Los Angeles County, so he has seen all manner of eBird mayhem. But he remains a big fan and supporter of this important database and recognizes that sharing data quality issues with the birding public is one step in improving this massive community science project.
When not sifting through the eBird queue, Kimball Garrett manages the ornithology collections at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and occasionally even gets out birding. He has teamed up with Jon Dunn and others on a number of bird books, including Birds of Southern California: Status and Distribution (1981), A Field Guide to Warblers of North America 1997), Birds of Southern California (2012), and Birds of Northern California (2015). Although a hopeless Angeleno, Kimball is a regular attendee and presenter at the Central Valley Birding Symposium.
Local Field Trips: Bufferlands, Caswell Memorial State Park, Clifton Court Forebay, Cosumnes River Preserve, Flood/Waverly Roads, Heritage Oak Winery, Lodi Lake Wilderness Area, White Slough Water Pollution Plant, Mokelumne Day Use Area, Ripon WTP, Stockton Rural Cemetery, Woodbridge Rd and Woodbridge Wilderness Area.