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


June Annual Meeting
And Movie

"Pelican Dreams"
A Story of Friendship, Survival,
and the Beauty of Flight

Wednesday, June 17
At the BVAS Nature Center

6:30 p.m. Social, 7 p.m. Annual Meeting,
7:15 p.m. Showtime

“Pelican Dreams” follows the exploits of Gigi, a 4-month old
pelican who stopped for a rest on the Golden Gate Bridge one afternoon in 2008, caused a massive traffic jam, and became a star of YouTube. The bird was captured by a tow truck driver and delivered to International Bird Rescue for rehabilitation.

This film by Judy Irving, her first major work after the 2005 hit documentary “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill,” was released late last year and won high praise as a New York Times “Critics’ Pick.” The film is about wildness, why we need it in our lives and what we can do to protect it. Gigi was starving when she alit on the bridge. Insufficient fish supplies have left thousands of brown pelicans emaciated, and their breeding levels close to zero for the past five years. Brown pelicans were nearly extinct a few decades ago due to the pesticide DDT, and were listed as endangered. After DDT was banned, the pelican population rebounded and they were eventually removed from the list. The birds are having trouble again, but Irving’s film generally takes an optimistic view about the new threats being faced by brown pelicans. Her study of brown pelicans is affectionate, at times humorous, and reveals a sense of wonder and awe at the birds’ simple beauty.

Come enjoy this engaging, bird-oriented movie on the BVAS “Big Screen.” And, as those of you who have been on a BVAS-sponsored pelagic birding adventure know, we always supply the popcorn.

Special Note: In 2015, BVAS and seven other Audubon chapters contributed to the support of a monitoring program of Pacific brown pelicans nesting at the Channel Islands, their only U.S. breeding colony. This study was needed to understand how this subspecies is faring at a time when scarce food supplies are causing multiyear breeding failures. Audubon also generated over 1,000 letters to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urging greater attention be paid to our beleaguered pelicans. As a result, funds and staff time have been allocated for pelican monitoring and conservation, and things are now looking up. The USF&W Service and fisheries managers are working to ensure enough of the
anchovies and other forage fish required by pelicans remain in Pacific coastal waters, and the agencies are establishing plans to monitor and protect pelicans for the long term.


BVAS Annual Meeting and Board Election

Wednesday, June 17, 7-7:15 p.m.
(Prior to the Movie)


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
May 17—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.


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.


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.


BVAS Nature Camp

June 22-26, 2015      9 am - noon

Last Chance! It’s time to sign up your kids for summer fun at the Nature Center! “Camp Crawdad” is geared for children ages 6-10, and will run the week of June 22-26, Monday-Friday. We’ll have lots of fun activities to capture the attention of the campers, and help them build an awareness and appreciation for the natural things in our neighborhood. We’ll learn through walks, talks, crafts, games, songs, and stories about the lagoon’s animals and plants, and the people who used to live here. We’ll meet some feathered and furry wild critters, go on a bug walk, and examine the life in a cup of water from the lagoon.

Registration fee of $100 ($89 for BVAS Friends) includes all materials. You can download a copy of the registration form HERE. Print it out, fill it out, and drop it off at the Nature Centerr, or, if preferred, stop by the Nature Center for more information and to pick up a registration form. Class size is limited, so reserve your space early. Get the summer started on an exciting, happy note!

Click Here for Registration Form


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.

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


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.


June Calendar

Fri Jun 5 Board Meeting 9am
Sat Jun 6 Whelan Lake Bird Walk 8am
Fri Jun 12 Nature Guides Meeting 9:30am
Sun Jun 14 12-hour Pelagic Bird Trip 7am
Wed Jun 17 Annual Meeting and Movie 6:30pm
Sat Jun 20 San Dieguito Bird Walk 8:30am
Sun Jun 21 Joey’s and Johnny’s Clubhouse 1pm
Jun 22-26 Summer Nature Camp
Sat Jun 27 Basic Birding & Lagoon Bird Count 8am

July Calendar

Fri July 10 Board Meeting 9am
Fri July 10 Nature Guides Meeting 9:30am
Sat July 11 Whelan Lake Bird Walk 8am
Sat July 18 San Dieguito Bird Walk 8:30am
Sun July 19 Joey’s and Johnny’s Clubhouse 1pm
Sat July 25 Basic Birding & Lagoon Bird Count 8am
Mon July 27 Preschool Nature Storytime 10am

August Calendar

Sat Aug 1 Whelan Lake Bird Walk 8am
Fri Aug 7 Board Meeting 9am
Fri Aug 14 Nature Guides Meeting 9:30am
Sat Aug 15 San Dieguito Bird Walk 8:30am
Sun Aug 16 Joey’s and Johnny’s Clubhouse 1pm
Mon Aug 24 Preschool Nature Storytime 10am
Sat Aug 29 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.