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Raptorama is here: Birder season begins in Half Moon Bay
November 08, 2013, 05:00 AM By Samantha Weigel Daily Journal

Randie Marlow
Raptorama kicks off on Friday and runs through Sunday with indoor workshops at Cameron's Pub.

Shorebirds, songbirds, egrets, herons, hawks and vultures will take center stage during this weekend’s first ever Raptorama to begin birding season in Half Moon Bay.

The Coastside Land Trust is sponsoring this new extension of its annual birding workshops and encourages the public to come learn about and witness raptors in their natural habitats, said Eric Ruteledge, project coordinator for the CSLT.

“The land that we preserve here on the coastside is home to some of the most amazing and diverse group of raptors in the world and it’s quite unique to have this variety of birds so close to an urban area,” Ruteledge said.

The event kicks off on Friday and runs through Sunday with indoor workshops at Cameron’s Pub, habitat walks, lectures and an art show.

Coalition members from the Sequoia Audubon Society and the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory will talk about local habitats, how to identify different species of birds in the field, migratory patterns and how to capture the perfect mid-flight photo.

The public will be guided through walks in the field at Wavecrest, Half Moon Bay State Beach, Pillar Point Harbor and Pescadero Marsh with experts and state park volunteers to scope for birds in their natural habitats. Wavecrest is famous for its variety of resident and migratory raptors including the white-tailed kite, turkey vulture, red-tailed hawk, prairie falcon and more.

Allen Fish, director of the GGRO, said Wavecrest has been one of his favorite spots on the coast since he first visited in it 1987. Fish is a raptor biologist for the nonprofit research group through the National Parks service. He will be giving a talk Saturday evening with an A-Z lexicon of raptor trivia, Fish said.

“Raptors are continually fascinating to me because they grab people’s attention so incredibly,” Fish said.

Raptors and birds of prey are inherent parts of the world’s evolutionary history, Fish said. Healthy birds can be a sign of a healthy ecosystem and, in ancient times, he believes they would have been indicators that there would be good hunting in the area, Fish said.

The excitement and fear people experience when viewing raptors dates back to ancient times, Fish said. Ten-thousand years ago, New Zealand was home to massive haast’s eagles that are legend to have eaten Maori people, Fish said.

As much as Fish relishes in the history of the keen hunters, he will be sticking to more current events and how parts of the Bay Area host the largest hawk migrations in the western states, Fish said. His lecture is titled “Accipiters to Zipper Tendons: An Indirect Flight Through a Raptorphile’s Lexicon.”

“People experience magic when they see raptors. When you slow down your life enough to look out the window … and see the eyes of a red-tailed hawk, you can’t help but step out of your body a little bit,” Fish said.

Raptorama starts with a free welcome reception and California Raptor Art Show opening from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Coastside Land Trust office in Half Moon Bay. Fish will be lecturing 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday evening. Workshops and walks are $15 for adults and $5 for ages 16 and under.

For more information visit

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106



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