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


November General Meeting

"Birds of the Coastal Wetlands"

With Chris Mayne

Wednesday, November 18
At the BVAS Nature Center

6:30 p.m. Social, 7 p.m. Program

The BVAS November program will feature some of the amazing bird images recently captured by award-winning photographer Chris Mayne. With remarkable patience, persistence, skill, and sometimes a little hard-earned good fortune, Chris is able to capture some of the most dramatic moments in a bird’s life. Chris’ pictures document such things as courtship behavior, territorial defense, birds capturing prey and feeding young. Reminiscent of some of John James Audubon’s famous paintings, Chris’ photos are able to transport the viewer directly to that special moment, almost as if one were physically present at the scene. His November program will focus on an array of birds found in the coastal wetlands of San Diego, from foraging sandpipers to soaring raptors. We hope to see you there.

NOTE: As is our custom, there will be no general meeting or program in December, as we take a break for the holidays and conduct the annual Christmas Bird Count. Following November, our next general meeting will be in January, 2016.

2015 Oceanside Christmas Bird Count

Sunday, December 27

The date is set for this year’s Oceanside Christmas Bird Count! BVAS has been sponsoring the Oceanside CBC for as long as we can remember, making it a cherished holiday tradition. Last year’s Oceanside tally was 192 species. In addition to its high species total (generally within the top 12 counts in the nation), the Oceanside count is known for its high level of participation. Over 130 birders joined in the effort last year.

For those new to this game, here’s a quick summary. The Audubon Society CBC was begun in 1900, when a group of friends in New York City decided that, rather than participate in a Christmas Day “Side Hunt” of birds, it might be more enjoyable and beneficial to the birds they treasured to go out and count the number of species they could identify in a day. The Christmas count quickly spread to other neighboring cities and states, and now has become an international phenomenon with over 2,500 individual CBCs conducted worldwide last year. To be considered an official CBC, it must be registered with the National Audubon Society and must be conducted during one 24-hour period between December 14 and January 5. An official center point for the count is selected, and a 7-mile radius is drawn around the center to determine the count circle. All sightings must be recorded within the boundaries of that count circle.

The Oceanside CBC count circle is divided into different sectors, each with its own leader and team of birders. Each team meets early on the day of the count and goes off to survey its area. After a full morning of birding, the teams begin gathering at the Nature Center to turn in their results, compare notes, and enjoy a luncheon of Annette’s famous chili. At 2 p.m., “The “Reading of the List” commences. As the coordinator goes down the list, team members shout out whether they observed that particular species in their area. There are always a few unexpected sightings worthy of exclamation, as well as notable “no-shows” from among the list of expected birds. Once the overall tally is completed, participants head home with a warm glow of accomplishment from time well spent and a job well done.

Everyone is invited to participate in the Oceanside CBC, regardless of their level of expertise. If you’re interested, please send an email to Andy Mauro at: Please include your name, address, phone number, and a sentence or two to indicate your general level of birding experience. Join us!


Ridgway Rail Society!

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

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

We're Making Progress!

There’s good news regarding both property acquisitions now being sought by BVAS. The California Wildlife Conservation Board has advanced the proposed purchase of the 3.5-acre Buena Vista Lagoon parcel for funding. Following review and approval of the property appraisal by the State Department of General Services, the project would be placed on the WCB agenda for final funding. This final step is expected to take place at the WCB meeting in November, with escrow to close by yearend. With respect to the 31-acre parcel adjacent to the San Luis Rey River, WCB is currently still reviewing the proposal. The project was recommended for approval by local staff, and WCB is expected to advance this project for funding as well, possibly within the next month or so. A review and approval of the appraisal by the State would then follow, before the project would be returned to WCB for final funding. If all goes as expected, this acquisition would close escrow during the first quarter of 2016.

The wonderful support received by BVAS from its membership and the community at large has been a tremendous help in advancing these acquisitions through the State funding process. BVAS continues to seek funds to support the acquisitions and help meet future expenses associated with the restoration and on-going management of these properties. If you haven’t yet made your donation and become a member of the Ridgway’s Rail Society, please consider joining now. There’s still time for you to become a part of this historic effort to help preserve the natural heritage of our community!


Joey’s and Johnny’s Clubhouse

BVAS Nature Center
Sunday, November 15— 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.


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!


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.


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.


Nature Discovery Lab
It's a Small World After All

The Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center has an exciting new exhibit—a high-quality microscope linked to a large flat screen TV. Visitors will be able to focus in on the microscopic details of nature—bird feathers, bits of animal bone and hair, leaf tissue, insect wings, etc. They’ll even be able to view the multitude of life in a few drops of lagoon water.

This “Nature Discovery Lab” project has been on the wish list of the Nature Guides for several years. The dream became a reality over the last few months thanks to several generous contributions. It all started when BVAS Nature Guide Chris Clark saw a similar project at the Elfin Forest Interpretative Center in Escondido. He discussed it with Tom Munnecke, who had been responsible for installing the microscope at Elfin Forest. Tom gave Chris all the details, and then contributed $500 to help fund the new exhibit at BVAS. Chris then contacted Ken Bauer from Microscope World in Carlsbad, who decided to donate the expensive microscope and camera to BVAS. Board members Dave and Kathy Billings pitched in by contributing the flat screen TV. Finally, the beautiful new desk with drawers and cabinets was built and installed by Mike Christensen, husband of Nature Guide Dovey Christensen. The result of all this generosity can now be enjoyed by the many students who attend our guided lessons, as well as daily visitors. What a wonderful collaboration! The next time you visit the Nature Center, be sure to stop off at the Nature Discovery Lab and take a closer look at the biodiversity and microscopic world of the Buena Vista Lagoon.


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. The San Diego Association of Governments released the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Buena Vista Lagoon Restoration Project in July.

Check out the Conservation Page for more information on the draft EIR as well as other BVAS conservation news.


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


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.


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.



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.



November Calendar

Fri Nov 6 Board Meeting 9am
Sat Nov 7 Whelan Lake Bird Walk 8am
Sat Nov 7 Pelagic Birding Mexican Waters 7am
Sun Nov 8 Cottonwood Creek Bird Walk 8am
Thurs Nov 12 Surprise Bird Walk 8am
Fri Nov 13 Nature Guides Meeting 10am
Sun Nov 15 Joey’s and Johnny’s Clubhouse 1pm
Wed Nov 18 General Meeting 6:30pm
Sat Nov 21 San Dieguito River Park Birding 8:30am
Sat Nov 28 Basic Birding & Lagoon Bird Count 8am
Mon Nov 30 Pre-School Nature Storytime

December Calendar

Fri Dec 4 Board Meeting 9am
Sat Dec 5 Whelan Lake Bird Walk 8am
Fri Dec 11 Nature Guides Meeting 10am
Sat Dec 19 San Dieguito River Park Birding 8:30am
Sun Dec 20 Joey’s and Johnny’s Clubhouse 1pm
Sun Dec 27 Basic Birding & Lagoon Bird Count 8am
Sun Dec 27 Oceanside Christmas Bird Count
Mon Nov 30 Pre-School Nature Storytime


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.