Field Trip: Valley Owl Prowl
Enjoy this rare opportunity to join an experienced “owler” to see and/or hear several different species of owls and learn about their amazing adaptations as nocturnal predators! We’ll visit a couple locations to try to see little Burrowing Owls. We’ll explore some oak woodland habitat and attempt to call in a Western Screech Owl. Then, as it gets later, we’ll check out the roadsides and rice fields for Barn Owls and Great Horned Owls. Bring a traveling dinner with you so your growling stomach doesn’t scare away the owls! You may want to bring a small flashlight to gently illuminate the path when walking (the leader will have a large spotlight to view the owls). Quiet children age 10 and older are welcome.
Field Trip Leaders
Rudy Darling has been a birder since 1963 and a member of the board of Sierra Foothills Audubon (SFAS) since 1998 and is currently its president. He is in charge of the Grass Valley Christmas Bird Count and their Bird-A-Thon fundraiser. He also leads several field trips each year for SFAS, specializing in owls and birding by ear and has taught classes on those interests for Sierra College adult education. He is Nevada County editor for North American Birds and eBird. Formal training includes a BA in Biology (Antioch College, Ohio) and an MS in Ecology (U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul).
Special note about the field trip
A special note about Field Trips Please arrive at the location indicated 30 minutes prior to your scheduled event. This will allow us time to check you in and ensure the trip leaves promptly. We ask that you follow your field trip leader from the meeting location to the final destination. Anyone arriving after the field trip leader has left may not be able to join the group. Most field trips will be limited to the first 20 reservations. Walk-in registration may be available for some events during the weekend of the Festival. Weather may change a trip's itinerary, but most trips will be conducted rain or shine. The weather in the valley during January is variable. It is generally cold and sometimes rainy, with daytime highs ranging from 50F to 65F. Be sure to bring the following on your field trips: rain gear, waterproof footwear, layered clothing, binoculars, camera, small flashlight, water and sack dinner. Please also check out the Tips & Etiquette below to help you enjoy your day to the fullest.
Tips & Etiquette for bird watchers
To make your trip more enjoyable for yourself and others, we ask you to please use these following etiquette tips:
- Wear clothing suitable for the weather and area you'll be hiking in. It's practical to layer clothing to accommodate fluctuations in temperature. Wear comfortable shoes that have a good grip and are waterproof when necessary. You may want to take sunscreen, a hat or rain gear.
- Bring binoculars or a scope for a better viewing experience.
- Bring water on long outings to stay hydrated.
- Bring a Field Guide if you are interested in learning more about the birds you see. If you are a beginning birder, look for a guide that specializes in birds of northern California.
- Be courteous to other explorers. Stay with your group and pay attention to your trip leader. Walk quietly and slowly. Do not disrupt animals or damage their habitats (breaking branches, trampling vegetation). Turn off cell phones or other electronic devices. If you are taking children with you, explain to them proper etiquette before the trip. Always behave in a manner that will enhance the image of the birding communities in the eyes of the public.
- Tune up your senses and listen carefully. Scan the horizon and tree canopies. Look to the ground for prints, feathers and other traces of wildlife. Please remove litter and leave natural items where they belong. This will keep it enjoyable for others when they visit.
- No dogs or pets allowed on any California Swan Festival event, workshop, or program. Please leave Fido with friends or family and not in the car during a field trip.