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The Valley Habitat June 2013 A Joint Publication of the Stanislaus Audubon Society and the Yokuts Group of the Sierra Club

Yokuts Annual Potluck Picnic June 7th, 2013 This year’s Yokuts Potluck will be on Friday, June 7th, starting at 6:00 p.m. at Anita’s, 1003 Coldwell Avenue, Modesto, CA., 529-2300. All friends of the Sierra Club and Stanislaus Audubon are invited. Bring a favorite dish to share, a beverage or two, your own table settings, and a lawn chair. Enjoy the start of summer with friends, great food, and a fun evening .

Fracking - View from Chair

by Anita Young, Chair, Yokuts Group of the Sierra Club

get us to believe that fracking is the answer to our dreams of economic recovery in the Valley.

Aside from the fact that fracking continues our dependence on carbon-based fuels that lead to greenhouse gas emissions, fracking is wrong in so many ways. You will recall scenes in the film, An Inconvenient Truth, that show decommissioned oil fields in several locations throughout the world. These fields have become utter wastelands, the land and groundwater polluted beyond recovery, the jobs in that sort of boom-and-bust industry a distant memory. We can look at California's histoOlsen extolled the economic virtues of fracking from ry showing the degradation of land and rivers caused the Monterey Shale deposits that run from Southern California north to the west section of Stanislaus Coun- by the gold rush in the 1800s. And just five years ago one of the major Valley "industries," residential conty. She said "it could be the best news for the valley's economy in a long time." According to a report by the struction, went belly up, demonstrating the fallacy of depending on construction for long-term economic staUSC Schools of Engineering and Public Policy, "Powering California: The Monterey Shale and Califor- bility. nia's Economic Future," (, paid for Spend an hour searching the Internet and you can find in part by the Western States Petroleum Association, "the jobs and economic opportunities that would come images of similar devastation from the fracking that has with development of the valley's oil resources could be been quietly going on for 20 or more years. More recent evidence shows environmental destruction on several an incredible turning point for our region... could add fronts: from 512,000 jobs in 2015 to 2.8 million new jobs by 2020. Nowhere else are we going to see this level of job Hydraulic fracturing injects, under great pressure, mixtures of water, sand and chemicals that break up shale creation." oil deposits, which are then refined to produce natural Sound too good to be true? We have a few questions for gas and other petroleum products. That water and chemical mixture remains underground, leading to the honorable Assemblywoman, and for Michael Rupermanent contamination of the aquifer and the perbio, former California State Senator elected in 2010 manent removal from the water cycle of vast amounts who abruptly quit in February to go to work for Chevof water needed for agricultural and domestic use. ron, and for the big players in the petroleum industry. ``````````````````````````````````````(Continued on page 6) They are currently engaged in a full-on media blitz to Recently I spoke to the Democratic Women's Club about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the procedure used to extract oil or natural gas from underground deposits of oil shale or oil sand. I was asked to speak because I had written a rebuttal to Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen's op-ed piece in the Modesto Bee in late March.

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Stanislaus Audubon Society RECENT SIGHTINGS OF RARE OR UNCOMMON BIRDS MERCED COUNTY: On April 22, David Suddjian saw a BREWER’S SPARROW at the Willow Point parking lot of O’Neill Forebay. Kent van Vuren had an uncommonly large flock of at least 182 WHIMBRELS migrating through on Henry Miller Road. Richard Ranc saw two ARCTIC TERNS at the Los Baños Creek Reservoir on April 28. Kent van Vuren had a DUSKY FLYCATCHER at Dinosaur Point Road on May 5, and a CASSIN’S KINGBIRD at the San Luis Reservoir on May 8.

STANISLAUS COUNTY: Kathryn Parker had a NASHVILLE WARBLER at Orange Blossom Recreation Area on April 19. Nine participants of an Audubon field trip to the San Joaquin River N.W.R. saw two MARBLED GODWITS foraging with Avocets on April 20. A male LARK BUNTING was seen during a Mt. Diablo Audubon field trip in Del Puerto Canyon on April 24. Judith Aukeman reported seeing a male RED CROSSBILL prying open pine cones in a conifer at Beyer Park on April 30. If accepted by the S.B.R.C., this sighting would be the first spring record of this irruptive species in Stanislaus County. Ralph Baker saw a MACGILLIVRAY’S WARBLER on Adair Road on May 5. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen by John Harris near his home, four miles east of Oakdale, on May 8 and 10. In uncanny timing, the last Olive-sided Flycatcher John had at his yard was on May 9, 2012. Jim Gain saw two VAUX’S SWIFTS flying over 10th Street in downtown Modesto on May 11. Kathryn Parker had three SANDERLINGS at the Modesto Water Quality Control Facility on May 11 also, which is the second-Saturday access date set aside for birders.

Olive-sided Flycatcher © John Harris

Red Crossbill © Tom Grey

ONLINE NEWSLETTER REQUEST PERSISTS Stanislaus Audubon Society continues to collect email addresses from those who would prefer to receive Valley Habitat in color online. If any Audubon members wish to receive this newsletter online, email with “Online Newsletter” as the subject. Put your membership name in the body of the text WITH YOUR POSTAL ZIP CODE. Valley Habitat 2

Stanislaus Audubon Society BIRDS ARE OF FEATHERS – PART FOUR by Salvatore Salerno FLIGHT Flight is the supreme achievement of birds, and humans have envied such freedom for as long as they have been able to dream. Myths relating man’s attempts to course through the air range from Africa to China, but the best-known to us is that of Daedalus and Icarus. To escape from the Labyrinth that Daedalus had made and was imprisoned in, he created wings of willows, eagles’ wings, and beeswax. His son Icarus, heedless as boys can be, flew too close to the sun and perished in the sea when the wax melted. The actual history of human-powered flight is littered with fatalities, due to a misapprehension of the crucial differences between birds and men. Even though Otto Lilienthal, the “Glider King,” managed to defy gravity for more than 2,000 flights, he too succumbed to the fate of Icarus in 1896. If anatomy is destiny, then birds are exquisitely designed for flying, and humans for creating machines that can only mimic that organic phenomenon. The modern sky is filled with numerous aircraft, but none is as agile as a hummingbird, as graceful as an albatross, or as maneuverable as all the other birds between them. For thoroughness, I should acknowledge that some forty species of birds do not fly. Penguins adapted to the sea, so their wings have become flippers. Ostriches and their kin are too heavy for lift-off—up to 320 pounds—so they have developed strong legs for running up to 43 miles per hour. Kiwis of New Zealand

filled an ecological niche that had no predators until the 13th century, when humans, and the mammals that follow them, arrived on the island. Flight is so generic to birds, however, that even present-day flightless birds evolved from ancestors that could fly. How do birds manage the lift, weight, thrust and drag forces needed for flight? The structures of birds aid immeasurably. Birds possess a high metabolism and their food

is rapidly digested, so they burn energy more quickly for the sustained effort needed to remain aloft. Also, birds have fewer bones than terrestrial vertebrates, and those bones are filled with air instead of marrow. As a result, birds are true lightweights—a dove four ounces, a chickadee just four-tenths of an ounce. Furthermore, birds possess a keel-shaped sternum attached to strong muscles that are needed to flap their wings. They have no teeth, jaws, or noses, further reducing weight and air friction. Their internal organs form a compact center of gravity, made more possible by short wing and tail bones. Their lungs sit close to air sacs that deliver fresh air

with a high oxygen content in a unidirectional flow, keeping the volume of air constant. We now come to the feathers that ultimately achieve the deed. All of the thousands of contour feathers, in addition to serving other functions, lie down in a smooth, intricate fashion. Their precisely arranged feather tracts combine to give a bird’s body the sleek, aerodynamic shape it needs to cut through air. Flight is a specialized activity that can be accomplished only by special flight feathers, which number just a few dozen on a bird. A bird’s wing has a curved top, a thick leading edge, and a long tapering tail to it. The nine to eleven primary flight feathers on each wing are asymmetrical, with their rachis offset forward and their widest points forward towards the tip. These feathers, attached to the “hand,” have an outer web that is built to be stiff and strong for slicing the air. The secondary feathers are broad, long and more symmetrical, helping to give the bird uplift in flight. When the air contacts the front of a bird’s wing, the dynamics change as it goes above or below the wing. The speed of the wind and its angle determine how much air gets deflected downward. Lift is created when there is increased air pressure below the wing. At the same time, the airflow hugs that curved upper surface and goes behind the wing in a downwash, reducing air pressure and providing additional buoyancy. Wing feathers act both individually and together, to give a bird control over the subtleties of flight.

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Stanislaus Audubon Society AUDUBON FIELD TRIPS June 2, Pinecrest Lake/Kennedy Meadows. We will visit these areas in search of such montane species as Sooty Grouse, Mountain Quail, Williamson's Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpecker, Clark’s Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadee and Cassin’s Finch. We will picnic under the pines. Trip leader Ralph Baker, Meet in front of the closed garden center of the Riverbank Target (2425 Claribel Rd) at 7:15am. We’ll be back mid-to-late afternoon.

Audubon Field Trip Email List If you would like to be on a group email to advise you of all Audubon field trips, please email: Dave Froba at Stanislaus Audubon Society

June 15, July 21, August 17, September 15 (two Sundays and two Saturdays) San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge is huge and offers the most diverse habitats in the area, including mixed species transitional savannahs, riparian forest, oak woodlands, grassland, and seasonal wetlands. Trip leader, Bill Amundsen ( 521-8256, ), chooses the particular habitats to visit each month based on conditions and season. Meet at the Stanislaus Library parking lot at 1500 I Street. at 7:00 a.m. We'll be back early afternoon. June 9. Dry Creek, Modesto. The resident birds have now been joined by those who have migrated in for the summer, all frenetically engaged in activities of nesting and raising young. While the time for unusual sightings has waned, the opportunity for a lot of action views has increased. But while the birds will be extra active, we will have an easy and pleasant day inModesto's parks. Trip leader, Dave Froba,, 521-7265. Meet at the Stanislaus Library parking lot at 1500 I Street. at 7:00 a.m. We'll be back about noon. July 14, Calaveras Big Trees State Park. We’ll walk the North Grove Trail, visit Dardanelles Overlook and picnic on the river, where we might be lucky enough to see an American Dipper. Trip leader Ralph Baker, Meet in front of the closed garden center of the Riverbank Target (2425 Claribel Rd) at 7:15am. We’ll be back mid-to-late afternoon.

Board of Directors: Bill Amundsen, Ralph Baker, Eric Caine, Lori Franzman, Jody Hallstrom, David Froba, Jim Gain, Daniel Gilman, John Harris, Harold Reeve, Salvatore Salerno. Officers & Committee Chairs President: Sal Salerno

985-1232 (

Vice President: Eric Caine 968-1302 ( Treasurer: David Froba Secretary: John Harris

521-7265 ( 848-1518 (

Membership: Revolving San Joaquin River Refuge Field Trips: Bill Amundsen 521-8256 ( Other Field Trips: David Froba 521-7265 ( Christmas Bird Counts Coordinator; Secretary, Stanislaus Birds Records Committee: Harold Reeve

September 7, Oakdale Recreation Area. We'll be looking particularly for fall migrants. Trip leader to be announced. Contact Dave Froba for more information,, 521-7265. Meet at the Stanislaus Library parking lot at 1500 I Street. at 7:00 a.m. We'll be back early afternoon. September 14, Caswell State Park. This park on the Stanislaus River near Ripon has one of the largest original riparian forests in the Central Valley. These ancient oaks and other trees attract birds in migration.Trip leader to be announced. Contact Dave Froba for more information,, 521-7265. Meet at the Stanislaus Library parking lot at 1500 I Street at 7:00 a.m. We'll be back early afternoon.

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How to Join Audubon To become a member of the National Audubon Society, which entitles you to receive Valley Habitat and Audubon Magazine, send your check for $20.00 to: National Audubon Society Membership Data Center P.O. Box 422250 Palm Coast, FL 32142 Visit our web site:

Yokuts Group of the Sierra Club & Stanislaus Audubon Society Wednesday, July 3rd Dayhike (2D) Yosemite Valley floor to Glacier Point by way of “4 mile trail”. This well maintained and graded trail is actually four and a half miles each way and gains 3,200 feet from the floor to Glacier Point. The hike up includes spectacular views of the valley along the way. Refreshments, including snack foods, are available at the top. For further information, including the meet-up time and place, please contact Yokuts trip leader Randall Brown at 209 6325994.

Friday July 26-Sunday July 28 Car Camp/Day Hikes (1A) Lake McSwain (Yokuts) Enjoy the summer under the shade of the oaks at Lake McSwain, located off hiway J-59. (Left on

Merced Falls Rd, east of Snelling, pass Hornitos Rd entrance to McSwain Lake on McClure Rd.) Amenities include a marina store, hot showers, 2 children playgrounds, swimming beach, hiking, fishing, patio and kayak rentals, fuel and propane, restroom facilities and fish cleaning stations. Campsites in D-Loop are available to reserve by calling (855) 800-2267. To make a boat reservations at marina call (209) 378-2534. Contact outings leader Alan at or 209.768.5881 for meeting times and more info. July 30th – Aug 4th Backpack (2B) Yokuts Annual Summer Backpack 19th Annual Yokuts backpack: Tablelands Ramble. This summer’s trip will start in the Sequoia National Forest near Big Meadows, pass through the Jennie Lakes

Wilderness, and enter Kings Canyon National Park on the first day. After stopping at various scenic lakes along the way, we will reach the unique, high plateau area known as the Tablelands on day 3, and camp there for two nights. Days 3-5 will entail mostly offtrail hiking. Day 4 will offer an option for a side trip to one of many lakes in the tablelands area, or possibly a hike to Coppermine Pass with majestic views in several directions. On days 5 and 6 we’ll venture down the upper watershed of the Marble Fork of the Kaweah, via Pear Lake and Emerald Lakes, then out by trail to the Wolverton trail head. The trip will involve a car shuttle of approximately 1 hour at each end. For further details, please contact Yokuts leaders Jerry Jackman (209.577.5616) or Randall Brown (209.632.5994). A $50 reservation fee is required to hold a spot. Limited to 10 experienced backpackers.

These are the participants of a Stanislaus Audubon field trip to Monterey County on May 4-5. Photos of some of the birds found there can be viewed on the chapter's S.A.S. Facebook page. Online Valley Habitat for Yokuts

Yokuts Group of the Sierra Club members who want to receive the color version of the Valley Habitat online can sent an email to this address to opt-in: Type “SUBSCRIBE MOTHERLODEYOKUTS-NEWS first name last name “ in the body of the message.

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Yokuts Group of the Sierra Club & Stanislaus Audubon Society (Fracking Continued from page 1) Toxic chemicals, as well as erosion and runoff from drilling operations, have fouled fishing streams and aquatic habitat. Leaks and spills of hazardous materials have polluted bodies of water, forests, farms, and backyards. Farmers and ranchers report serious health symptoms in livestock near natural gas operations. (Natural Resources Defense Council) Airborne emissions could affect regional air quality. Fracking may also lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil operations. There are tremendous air quality issues associated with fracking - can we endure any more air pollution is a region that has some of the highest rates of asthma and other respiratory disease in the nation?

energy policies to ensure our children's future," according to John Detwiler, a private citizen from a grassroots group of 500 people in western Pennsylvania, one of dozens of such groups across the United States. A growing number of citizens feel that continuing to invest in petroleum-based power will distract investors from developing renewable energy sources at a time when we need to significantly reduce our dependence on carbon-based energy in order to stop global warming. The Sierra Club is just one of many citizen-based conservation groups that oppose forms of energy development that trade short-term economic gain for such a long-term negative impact on our environment.

California's real gold lies in our rich farmland - some of the highest quality soils found anywhere in the world. The cold, hard truth about fracking is there is NO EN- Reports from other states show fracking is hightly damaging to farming. Can we afford to sacrifice this longVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY WAY TO DO IT. Kathryn Philips, Director of the California Sierra Club, term resource and pillar of our state economy for the short-term gain from developing another carbon-based says the Sierra Club wants assurances and the "certainty that Big Oil's practices won't leave us with a fuel? dirtier world." California's other gold is in the sunshine we enjoy for Since 2005 we have seen large-scale fracking projects more hours a year than nearly anywhere else on earth. in Pennsylvania, Texas and North Dakota. There have Solar, properly sited and appropriately sized, along been numerous grassroots protests about the long-term with the development of other renewable sources of damage caused by hydraulic fracturing: "Fracking, and energy, will lead to a healthy economy, a green econothe entire process of shale gas extraction, is not the so- my, one that will avoid the boom and bust of oil and natural gas. The mantra will no longer about reducing lution to our energy challenges, as the oil and gas industry portrays it to us; instead, it is scraping the bot- our dependence on foreign oil - it will be about reductom of the geological barrel, bringing unacceptable ing our dependence on carbon-based fuels. California can and should be the leader in renewable energy and health, climate, and environmental consequences green technology. while delaying and distracting us from developing

BIRDS ARE OF FEATHERS – PART FOUR (Continued from page 3)

As amazing as wings are, they cannot fully function without tail feathers, or retrices. A bird that has lost its tail cannot forage well, migrate or remain with its flock, and we know how such tales can end. Virtually all birds have twelve Valley Habitat 6

retrices that open fan-like and are extremely flexible for steering, balancing, banking, and braking. Watch towhees spread their tails wide to slow down their entries into brush. Observe how hawks turn down one wing and a few retrices to tilt to one side. Note how falcons will fold up their tails and wings for a stooping dive. All flight feathers are continually acting apart

or in concert, making the minute variations that enable birds to finesse what they do best. There is a force of genius that runs through all of nature, and with reverent attention, we can witness exquisite expressions of that force in feathers, and in the birds that flourish because of them.

Yokuts Group of the Sierra Club Yokuts Sierra Club Joins Meetup

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Anita Young 529-2300 ( Steve Tomlinson (Steve.tomlinson97@gmail,com) Maryann Hight 417-9114 ( Pending Brad Barker 526-5281 ( Anita Young 529-2300 ( Candy Klaschus 632-5473 ( Dorothy Griggs 549-9155 ( Randall Brown 632-5994 ( Nancy Jewett 664-9422 ( Kathy Weise 545-5948 ( Milt Trieweiler 535-1274 ( Leonard Choate 524-3659 Jason Tyree (

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Yokuts Group Fall Garage Sale

The newsletter crew has just finished putting 1,140 labels on this issue of the Valley Habitat that you hold in your hands. They will be taking a well-earned break until September.

The Valley Habitat

A little reminder regarding the garage sale next fall. As members are enjoying the summer months we can be starting to gather things this summer to donate to the garage sale‌..treasures to pass on to someone else. The time and place for the Fall Garage Sale will be announced in the September issue of Habitat.

June 2013

June 2013 Valley Habitat  

June 2013 joint publication of the Stanislaus Audubon Society and the Yokuts Sierra Club