Marbled Godwit


California Thrasher

Vermillion Flycatcher


Black-bellied Plover

Snowy Egret

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Ruddy Turnstone

Black-necked Stilt

Red-Tailed Hawk

California Gnatcatcher

Lewis's Woodpecker

Steller's Jay

Ring-Billed Gull

California Quail

Black-Tailed Gnatcatcher

Anna's Hummingbird



Essential Reading For All Members

Audubon Strategic Plan

A Roadmap for Hemispheric Conservation


January General Meeting

Southern California Bobcats
with Megan Jennings and Lisa Lyren

Wednesday, January 21
At the BVAS Nature Center

6:30 p.m. Social—7 p.m. Program

Bobcats are wide-ranging carnivores, found in many habitats across North America. Despite the extent of their range and their acceptance of varied habitats, they are sensitive to habitat fragmentation and human development. As a medium-sized predator, they play an important role in the ecosystem by keeping prey populations in check. It is both their status and their sensitivity that make them an excellent indicator species for landscape connectivity and ecosystem condition in the fragmented areas of coastal southern California, where larger predators have dropped out of the system.

Wildlife ecologists Lisa Lyren of the United States Geological Survey and Megan Jennings from San Diego State University’s Institute for Ecological Monitoring and Management will give a feature program on the bobcats of southern California for the BVAS January meeting.

Lisa Lyren, who earned an M.S. at Cal Poly Pomona, has been studying southern California carnivores, including bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions, for over 15 years. She has primarily worked in coastal areas of Orange County, overseeing studies on carnivore response to urbanization in the San Joaquin Hills, the former El Toro Marine Base, and along the SR-71 and SR-91 highways in both Orange and Riverside counties. Megan Jennings began working with carnivores in northern California in 2001 and recently earned her Ph.D. at San Diego State University studying the effects of fire on mammalian carnivores in Southern California. She is currently studying wildlife movement along SR-67 between Ramona and Lakeside. The two researchers recently collaborated on a project in San Diego County. It focused on studying wildlife movement through corridors, or linkages, across the Multiple Species Conservation Plan preserve network, using bobcats as the focal species. Jennings and Lyren will be talking about the natural history of bobcats, the challenges the species faces in Southern California’s urban environments, and how their bobcat research has been used to understand landscape connectivity across networks of protected areas in San Diego and Orange Counties.

Please join us for a look at our nation’s beautiful wild cat.


Join the BVAS Ridgeway's Rail Society!

Buena Vista Audubon Seeks
$1 Million to Purchase Two
Key Properties !!

and a donation form to use for contributions to the Ridgeway's Rail Society Fund
(Formerly Clapper Rail Society)

Your donation will be matched 2-to-1 and will help buy and preserve two precious parcels in North County.

Joey’s and Johnny’s Clubhouse

BVAS Nature Center
January 18—1-4 p.m.

Joey and Johnny DiMento have been entertaining their young friends at the Nature Center on the third Sunday of each month. Seven-year-old Joey and her younger brother Johnny (age 4) have always enjoyed hanging out at the Nature Center, investigating the exhibits, reading the children’s books, doing nature-oriented crafts, and exploring the trail. Their parents, Danny and C.J., are long-time members and highly involved volunteers at BVAS. The monthly gathering of kids began when the DiMento family signed up to host the Nature Center from 1-4 p.m. on the third Sunday of each month. Joey quickly took on the role of “kid’s greeter,” welcoming each youngster who entered the Nature Center with special walks around the exhibits and suggestions of fun activities. She then began inviting her friends from school to drop by to join her and Johnny for fun and games at the Nature Center. It’s now become a much-anticipated nature play day for a growing number of young children, as well as their accompanying parents. As attendance has grown, so has the fun and excitement. The adults provide a few ideas and help oversee things in general, but the kids themselves invent many of the games and choose their activities.

Visitors to the Nature Center can always tell when Joey’s and Johnny’s Clubhouse has had another “meeting”. For several days following each session, the sidewalk at the entrance to the Nature Center is adorned with colorful chalk art featuring birds, flowers, and other designs, usually accompanied with the hand-written sentiment “We Love the Nature Center!”.

Do you have a bored youngster looking for a little fun this summer? Drop by the Nature Center from 1-4 p.m. on the third Sunday of each month and join the kids (and parents) at Joey’s and Johnny’s Clubhouse.

Everyone’s welcome.


Estate Planning and BVAS

Just before the summer break, the BVAS Board received word that Joni Ciarletta had generously included BVAS in her estate plan. Joni established a future bequest in her will to help ensure the chapter would have the funds needed in the years ahead to continue to maintain the Nature Center and support its nature education programs. Joni is an active birder and naturalist and a regular contributor to BVAS. She has previously volunteered her expertise to help BVAS prepare grant requests for various projects.

The Board gives Joni its heartfelt thanks for joining the BVAS Legacy Circle, and for helping us call attention to this special program. The Legacy Circle is comprised of friends and members who have provided for BVAS in their estate plans, whether by provisions included in their wills or trusts, or by several other means now available. Joni follows the grand tradition set by a number of our early “charter” members who chose to remember BVAS in their estate plans.

How important is this to BVAS? As a result of bequests that BVAS has received over the last ten years, the Nature Center Endowment Fund has now grown to approximately $500,000. A portion of the annual investment earnings from this fund now help augment the chapter’s annual operating budget, allowing BVAS to maintain and upgrade its facilities and offer a wider variety of exciting new programs.

BVAS has prepared a guide to planned giving that provides basic information regarding establishing an estate gift to BVAS. The guide can be read and downloaded by following this link.


Dancing With Owls

Shanti Mayberry has an interesting story to tell. It’s about a special encounter she had over several months with a great horned owl that still lives in Crest Canyon, adjacent to her home in Del Mar. This is a story about an interspecies relationship that was born in innocent communion but quickly grew in intensity and passion. Something finally had to give, and the natural order of things has now been restored. But, the poignant and somewhat bittersweet memories persist . Read Shanti's story HERE.


Alger Hiss and the
Prothonotary Warbler

A first-person connection between the infamous Alger Hiss, our very own Dennis Huckabay, and birding in New York’s Central Park is explored in a story by Dennis.

Click here to read his fascinating account.


Donate that Old Clunker to BVAS

BVAS is now participating in the Cars 4 Causes donation program. Tax-deductible donations of any car, running or not, can be made through the Cars 4 Causes organization, for the benefit of BVAS. Avoid the hassle of trading in or selling that old car and help support the Nature Center. Just call 1-800-766-2273 and say you’d like to donate your vehicle to benefit BVAS. Cars 4 Causes will pick up your vehicle at your home, fill out the necessary paperwork, and provide the receipt for your tax deduction. Or click the below link to sign-up online.


NestWatch Invites You to Watch!

NestWatch is a nest-monitoring project developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center aimed to provide a unified nest-monitoring scheme to track reproductive success for all North American breeding birds. NestWatch invites people who are interested in the natural world to help monitor the success of nesting birds and better understand the threats they face. These data will provide a wealth of information about breeding birds and the factors that influence their success across different landscapes. For more info, go to


New BVAS Birding Guide Now Available

Birding Hotspots of
North County

In response to repeated requests, BVAS has produced a full-color brochure highlighting some of the best birding spots in North County. The brochure profiles 14 different coastal and inland birding sites that promise a varied bird list in a range of habitats. A detailed site map and directions are included, along with notes about visitor services at each site. Award-winning photographer Chris Mayne contributed the dramatic bird photos that illustrate the brochure.

The brochure was partially funded by a San Diego County grant. A committee headed by Judi Wilson oversaw the project, with graphic design services provided by Daniel Sanchez. The brochure is being distributed free of charge at the BVAS Nature Center and at several other North County sites. Stop by to pick up your copy today, and go birding!


Looking for Birding Optics?

For unbiased advice, reviews and ratings of binoculars & spotting scopes, check out this new website:


Support our Ruddy Duck Club members
Click on the above picture for a list of all current members

Ruddy Duck Club

This special group of local businesses and organizations support the nature education and recreation programs offered at the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center with an annual donation of $100 or more. To request your “no obligation” Ruddy Duck Club packet of membership information and benefits, please call Kelly Deveney at 760-721-2441.


Conservation Matters

The environmental scoping process for the Buena Vista Lagoon Enhancement Project is complete. Read about it HERE. A fact sheet for the project can be found HERE.

Check out the Conservation Page for more BVAS conservation news, including the possible BVAS purchase of land for conservation.


Camp Pendleton Family
Strikes Birding Gold

Amy Saye learned to appreciate birds when Madeline, her teenage daughter, became fascinated by them herself a few years ago. For the last two years, the Sayes have been rewarded for their interest by a bird that has chosen to build its nest and raise its young inside the Saye’s garage. What bird? It was her namesake—a Say’s phoebe, of course! Pretty neat, and highly unusual. But that’s not all. In October this year, after the phoebes had fledged, a beautiful golden bird showed up in the front yard. Amy and Madeline finally puzzled out its identity—a rare prothonotary warbler! Amy shared her discovery with BVAS, and invited others to come to her yard to see this special bird.

The remarkable story of the garage-nesting Say’s phoebes and the first-ever recorded sighting of a prothonotary warbler on Camp Pendleton can be read HERE!

Buena Vista Lagoon Featured
In YouTube Video

A great video by Michael Sosebee featuring the Buena Vista lagoon is available on YouTube, narrated by our own Tom Troy and Joan Bockman. See it here:


BVAS is on Facebook


Ridgway’s Rail Society?

Earlier this year, just about the time the BVAS Board was launching its fundraising campaign to purchase two wetlands parcels in Oceanside, ornithologists were putting the finishing touches on a name change for one of Buena Vista Lagoon’s signature bird species.

In June, BVAS announced a new group, the Clapper Rail Society, designed to recognize donors to the new BVAS land acquisition fund. A pair of endangered clapper rails were known to breed in the cattails along the edge of the lagoon parcel being sought. Several years ago, “Clara the Clapper Rail” was the emblem of the community’s campaign to prevent a hotel and restaurant from being developed on that site. The Clapper Rail Society seemed like the perfect name for the new group.

But it turns out that the American Ornithologists’ Union had been puzzling for a number of years over the classification of clapper rails. New genetic analysis confirmed that western clapper rails didn’t quite match up with either the clapper rails or the king rails found in the eastern U.S. In fact, it was concluded that the rails in California were a totally unique species, all on their own. In July, it all became official. What formerly had been known as clapper rails in California are now identified as a new bird species called Ridgway’s rails, named for Dr. Robert Ridgway, an ornithologist who focused on proper species identification and classification at the turn of the century. Just to be precise, it should be noted that Ridgway’s rails are further divided into three subspecies in California, and our “Clara” is most properly called a light-footed Ridgway’s rail.

So what do you think? Should we now recognize donors to the land acquisition fund with lifetime charter membership in the “BVAS Light-footed Ridgway’s Rail Society”? We’re sure you have an opinion on the issue. Just send in your donation along with your preference, and we’ll be sure to tailor-make your certificate accordingly.


A New San Diego Birding Listserv

A new bird-sighting listserv operated by the San Diego Field Ornithologists has taken over the role formerly held by SDBirds. For a number of years, SDBirds served as the popular go-to site for posting and obtaining information about interesting bird sightings in San Diego County, and was widely recognized for providing an extremely valuable service to San Diego birders. In November, however, SDBirds was officially disbanded, and it no longer operates
as a listserv.

The circumstances surrounding the demise of SDBirds underlined the concerns of some in the birding community who had long felt a San Diego birding listserv would be more properly administered by an association of birders, rather than by an individual person. Operation of the new listserv will be fully accountable, with the rules of operation and their implementation subject to the democratic review and approval of the group’s broad and diverse membership. SDFO, as an established organization, will be able to provide for the on-going and uninterrupted succession of management and operation of the new listserv.

The new San Diego birding listserv is called

Its aim is to provide the most timely and accurate birding information possible to subscribers. The new listserv welcomes current reports of rare and otherwise unusual birds from the field, links to photographs of unusual birds seen locally, migration news, information on population trends, historical records, local pelagic trip reports and schedules, and other information of interest to field birders dealing with the status and distribution of San Diego County birds. The management of the new listserv will be by the annually elected officers and Board of the SDFO, with daily oversight provided by a group made up by some of the Board members and/or their assignees.

An additional benefit of SDFO ownership will be the presence
of SanDiegoRegionBirding reports on regional and continent-wide compilation listservs. This will ensure the sharing of birding information from San Diego County with those living elsewhere in California and across the United States.

BVAS supports this new community-based birding listserv, and encourages its members to participate.

To join the new listserv, go to the following website:


Public Bird Walks
Monthly Bird Surveys

BVAS conducts regular monthly bird surveys of Buena Vista Lagoon and Whelan Lake Bird Sanctuary. We also offer one or more other bird walks at various locations within the county each month. We welcome birders of all levels to join us on these excursions. See Field Trips for details.


Becoming a Nature Guide

Have you considered becoming a BVAS Nature Guide? We lead school classes and other groups on nature walks and tours of the Nature Center. Our nature programs are prepared to make it easy for us to learn and to teach, but give us plenty of opportunity to share our own stories and nature knowledge as we talk to our young visitors. We need more guides for this fall. For more information, please email Fran MacNeel at

More info on this and other volunteer opportunities can be found HERE.


SD County Checklist

More than 500 bird species have been identified in San Diego County. Get busy, birders! Here's a checklist to start recording your sightings.



January Calendar

Fri Jan 2 Board Meeting 9am
Sat Jan 3 Whelan Lake Bird Walk 8am
Thur Jan 8 Surprise Bird Walk 8am
Fri Jan 9 Nature Guides Meeting 10am
Sun Jan 11 South Bay Salt Works Bird Walk 8am
Sat Jan 17 San Dieguito Bird Walk 8am
Sun Jan 18 Joey’s and Johnny’s Clubhouse 1-4pm
Sun Jan 18 Native Plant Club 2pm
Wed Jan 21 General Meeting and Program 6:30pm
Mon Jan 26 Preschool Nature Storytime 10am
Sat Jan 31 Basic Birding & Lagoon Bird Count 8am

Nature Center: 2202 S. Coast Highway
Oceanside, CA 92054

Contact Info

760-439-BIRD (760-439-2473)

BVAS Mailing Address:

Buena Vista Audubon
PO Box 480
Oceanside, CA 92049-0480


Carlsbad Lagoons and Wetlands

The three Carlsbad lagoon foundations - Buena Vista, Agua Hedionda and Batiquitos - together with Buena Vista Audubon have started coordinating their activities and working more closely together with the City of Carlsbad under a new umbrella group, Carlsbad Lagoons and Wetlands (CLAW).Click on logos below to check out activities and common interests of all of our lagoon foundations.



Webmaster: Larry Spann

The contents of this website are copyrighted by BVAS Audubon
All photos are copyrighted by Suzann and Larry Spann, unless otherwise indicated. Please do not use without permission.