Calendar: Speaker Series
These free monthly programs feature scientists, photographers, authors, international travelers and others speaking on a wide range of topics related to birds and their environment.
Both members and non-members are invited to attend, but we encourage you to become a supporting member so we can continue this popular Speaker Series.
Time and Place: The programs are usually held on the third Wednesday of the month, except for December, July, and August. Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are held at
Cubberley Community Center, Room H1
4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
(see street view map or map PDF)
Refreshments at 7:30 PM, program at 8 PM
In Celebration of our Baylands
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Ashok Khosla, American Avocet, Snowy Egret,and Ruddy Duck - all by Steve Zamek
In the 1920s, John Fletcher Byxbee, a Palo Alto city engineer responsible for water management, started defining the area that we now call Baylands. Over fifty years ago, environmental awareness and activism shifted the city from exploiting the land at Baylands to restoring its wetland environments and changing much of it into a nature preserve.
Ashok Khosla will tell us about the history and ecology of Baylands, its evolution from a future hotel site to a nature park, and from 40 acres in the 1940s to over 2,100 acres in the 21st century. Saving an estuary is a major conservation success story. However, history does indeed repeat itself, and Ashok will discuss a few of the challenges our backyard faces today.
The famous wildlife photographer Moose Peterson has described the Baylands as having some of "the West Coast's finest bird photography." Our own Bay Area Bird Photographers club has joined with SCVAS to celebrate its success - and the pictures in the presentation will be some of the most exciting our entire bay area has to offer.
Ashok is the President of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, and is active in the wildlife art community, including teaching wildlife photography for SCVAS and other Audubon chapters, in Alaska for the University of Alaska, and on international birding tours. You can see more of his work at seeingbirds.com. He also draws atrociously and is an enthusiastic fan of nature journaling with John Muir Laws.
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Neotropical Raptor Projects in Belize
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
King Vulture, Ornate Hawk-eagle, and Ryan Phillips (left) tagging a Stygian Owl
Located on the Caribbean coast and bordered by Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is home to a large number of rare and endangered species including the Jaguar, Baird's Tapir, and Harpy Eagle. With approximately 70% of its native forest still intact, this small Central American country is an ideal location for research and conservation efforts. During this talk you will learn about Belize Raptor Research Institute's (BRRI) cutting edge research projects currently underway in Belize, such as the Solitary Eagle Project, Stygian Owl Project, Hook-billed Kite Project and the first Raptor Watch Program in Belize, as well as their conservation efforts in the Central American gem of Belize.
After spending three years in Belize working on The Peregrine Fund's Harpy Eagle Restoration Project, Ryan Phillips, Belize Raptor Research Institute Founding Director and Raptor Biologist, realized that nearly all the raptor species in the Neotropics were virtually unknown and faced many threats. That is why in 2009 Ryan formed BRRI dedicated to raptor research and conservation. The founding of BRRI represented the culmination of one of Ryan's lifelong goals of creating a conservation organization as he has spent extensive time in Central America and has worked in Belize for nine years. Ryan currently teaches in the Environmental Studies Department at De Anza College where he can use one of the most powerful conservation tools, education, to spread his passion about biodiversity to get younger generations excited and engaged in conservation biology.
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Birds, Birding and Birders of the Southern Cone
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Alvaro Jaramillo, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Flightless Steamer Duck, Torres del Paine National Park - all in Chile
The Southern Cone? Is that an Ice Cream place in Georgia? Nope, it is the triangle-shaped southern section of South America. The cone includes Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and the southern bits of Bolivia and Brazil. What makes it special is that there are so many habitats and neat areas here, the Pampas, Patagonia, the Matorral, the Humboldt Current, Iguazu Falls, the Yungas, the Chaco - so many spots that are truly and uniquely South American. It is the land of Rheas, penguins, horneros, seriemas, as well as Southern Right Whales, Marine Otters, Viscachas and Vicunas. A part of the world blessed with some enigmatic, unusual, beautiful and often rather unique creatures. But what absolutely is the icing on the cake is that the southern cone includes some of the most memorable and scenic parts of the Americas. This includes snow-capped volcanoes, huge granitic spikes, the big sky country of the Pampas and Patagonia and coastlines that are perhaps only rivaled by California for their beauty. Come enjoy an evening exploring a gorgeous part of the world and its equally fantastic bird and wildlife through the eyes of a birder-biologist who has an unbridled passion for this part of the world.
Alvaro Jaramillo was trained in ecology and evolution and has a particular interest in bird behavior. Research forays and backpacking trips introduced Alvaro to the riches of the Neotropics, where he traveled extensively. He is the author of two books, including the Birds of Chile, an authoritative yet portable field guide to Chile's birds. Alvaro writes the Identify Yourself column in Bird Watcher's Digest. He recently finished part of the sparrow chapter for the Handbook of Birds of the World, and is writing a photo guide to the birds and wildlife of Patagonia, as well as a field guide to the warblers. He runs a birding and nature tour company Alvaro's Adventures, where the focus is to have fun, learn a thing or two and just enjoy birds and nature.
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Annual Meeting with potluck picnic and volunteer recognition
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
McClellan Ranch, Cupertino (get directions)
Join your fellow SCVAS members for the Annual Meeting on the lovely grounds of McClellan Ranch Preserve, where our headquarters is located. We will enjoy a dinner-potluck with old and new friends so please bring a main dish, casserole, salad, or hors d'ouevres to share. Beverages and desserts will be supplied by SCVAS. Bring your own plates and utensils so we can do our part to reduce waste. Meet the SCVAS Staff, Board Members and Officers, and vote in the annual Board Officer elections. Browse our fantastic Nature Shop! We will also present awards to our many deserving volunteers during the short program. Come, join us!
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July and August 2014
There are no programs in July and August. But our Nature Shop and Headquarters (get directions) are open! Join one of our other events going on this summer. Our Speaker Series resumes in September.