Professional Activities
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Sep 15-Dec 15, 2015 Taught General Biology at Santa Monica College as an Adjunct Professor.  
Sep 4-7, 2015 Attended the 13th International Grouse Symposium in Reykjavik, Iceland, where I presented a paper on statistical habitat suitability modeling for Sierra Sooty Grouse. Really enjoyed being intellectual and partying with my old European grouse researcher friends Marc, Claude, Emanuel, and Luca. My wife Mini was finally able to enjoy their company as well. Many attendees had been conducting research in the arctic, and their reports on dramatic climate-related ecological change in the arctic were truly sobering.  conference abstracts
Jun 22-Jul 31, 2015 Taught a summer General Biology course at Santa Monica College.  
May 28, 2015 You can call me Dr. Bland. After taking a "break" for many years - teaching and conducting field studies - I made final revisions to my dissertation and plopped it on my old committee members' desks, all 459 pages. Humility aside, they were very impressed - and I'm not talking about the size.  UCLA Professor Hartmut Walter promptly petitioned for readmission "with departmental recommendation".  In a miraculously short 5-1/2 weeks four professors read the manuscript, and I made the recommended revisions, gave an oral presentation/exam, and filed the final manuscript.  There will be no more grumbling about that monkey on my back. Some cherry-picked praise by my professors: "my god this is really interesting Geography", "very timely and well done research", "you really did an outstanding job", "superior dissertation", "I am super impressed", "I like your mastery of biodiversity and people", "you did a great job". dissertation webpage
Jan 9, 2015 The corporation I recently founded, Game Bird Research Group, was granted tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service.  
Apr 24, 2014 Founded a nonprofit corporation, the Game Bird Research Group, dedicated to research and monitoring of upland game birds. GBRG website
Jan 31, 2014 Gave an oral presentation at the Annual Conference of the Western Section of the Wildlife Society in Reno, titled Habitat Associations of Sierra Sooty Grouse Include Elements of Old Forest.  
Dec 21-28, 2013 Reconnoitered a part of the Meili Snow Mountains (Mt Kawagarbo), in northwestern Yunnan, China, as a potential field study site. The area is bordered by Burma (Myanmar) to the west, Tibet to the northwest, and Sichuan Province to the northeast. It was formerly a part of Tibet, and Tibetan culture still prevails. It is famous for its >20K ft peaks and rich cultural, physical, and biological diversity. It has long been difficult for foreigners to access. However, in recent years it has experienced major tourism development, including highways and airports, and is now easily accessible. I was delighted to establish contact with several local guides and outfitters who are keen about wildlife and ready for adventure. The status and distribution of the region's splendid pheasants and other gallinaceous birds remain poorly known. photos
Jun 21-23, 2013 Joined pika biologist Lyle Nichols for a weekend of grouse territory mapping and pika observation at Mineral King, Sequoia National Park.  The area is known to be good for Sooty Grouse, but no previous observation/location data existed. We recorded locations of 17 male breeding territories and 2 brood-rearing sites.  Grouse in the area are of the howardi subspecies, which is a California Species of special Concern.  Grouse habitats and populations in the area appear to be doing well. photo
Jun 20, 2013 Met with Jan Hamber and Paul Collins of Santa Barbara Natural History Museum to view and photograph a Sooty Grouse feather Jan had collected at Mt Abel (near Mt Pinos) in 1976.  The feather is the last physical evidence of Sooty Grouse in the Sky Island Region of south-central California. Recently, there has been confusion regarding its whereabouts, or whether it even existed, but after our meeting Paul made sure it was entered into a world-wide online database for museum specimens (ORNIS).  photo
Jun 14-15, 2013 Attended a 2-day training workshop on GIS spatial analysis and modeling at UC Santa Cruz's Center for Integrated Spatial Research.  Improved my skills and knowledge of raster analysis, terrain modeling, corridor modeling, habitat suitability modeling, and geoprocess modeling in ArcGIS.  
Apr 13-17, 2013 Assisted in the capture of Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse near Malad, Idaho.  The birds were transported to north-central Nevada for release.  The project aims to reintroduce Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse to Nevada, where they have been extinct for more than a century. Trapping was a collaborative effort between Idaho Fish and Game, Nevada Department of Wildlife, and the US Geological Survey. photos
Feb 11-25, 2013 Assisted in the capture and radio-tagging of red-breasted geese at Durankulak, Bulgaria. Red-breasted goose is an endangered species that nests in Siberia and winters primarily in Bulgaria and Romania. Population declines in recent decades appear to be due to illegal hunting and changes in landuse. The Branta Conservation Centre has been deploying satellite transmitters on the wintering grounds in an effort to identify migration stopover sites, where measures can be taken to reduce illegal hunting and conserve habitats. My wife has been teaching Bulgarian counterparts how to use traditional Indian leg nooses to trap the geese, as well as attach satellite transmitters with harnesses made from Teflon ribbon. I was invited to help because I'm known to follow her instructions diligently, even under field conditions. During our 10 day trapping session we captured 3 geese and successfully fitted them with satellite transmitters. Their migration can be followed at and photos
Feb 1, 2013 Gave an oral presentation at the Annual Conference of the Western Section of the Wildlife Society in Sacramento, titled Home Range and Seasonal Movements in a Southern Population of Sooty Grouse.  
Sep 15, 2012 Visited private lands near Snelling, CA, to assess whether restoration of game pheasants might be feasible. Since the owners converted to organic dairy farming about 20 years ago, habitat conditions have improved for pheasants, especially with respect to weedy ditches and edges. A proliferation of orchards and vineyards in the surrounding area has apparently inhibited natural recolonization by pheasants. I have summarized the interests of the land owners in a letter to my contacts with California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Pheasants Forever. After further assessment, wild-caught pheasants might be released on the land, or a program of pen-rearing and release might be initiated.  
Jul 20-24, 2012 Attended the 12th International Grouse Symposium in Matsumoto, Japan. This was the 3rd IGS I have attended. They are held every 3rd year in different countries. I gave an oral presentation on "Regional Extirpation of Mount Pinos Sooty Grouse." My travel costs were reduced thanks to a $1000 travel award form the IGS awards committee. The meeting was cordial and very well organized. I enjoyed seeing old grouse acquaintences from Norway, France, Germany, Sweeden, and China, and made new friendships with grousers from Japan, Italy, Russia, and Germany. Prior to the symposium I joined a field trip to the Japanese Alps (Mt. Norikura) to see Japanese Rock Ptarmigan. During the symposium I was able to meet a Japanese princess, and tour the oldest castle in Japan. photos
May 13th, 2012 Visited a male Sooty Grouse discovered hooting in the southern Greenhorn Mtns by John Schmitt. Alison Sheehey took me to the exact location. This bird is the southernmost Sooty Grouse known in California. I surveyed the area and 10 more mountaintops further south in 2002 and did not find hooting grouse at that time. The bird appears to be a mature adult, based on plumage and persistent hooting (>6 weeks). The amount and dispersion of fecal droppings in the area and lack of countersigning by other individuals suggest he is alone, and the lack of old or over-winter droppings suggests he arrived at the site a few weeks prior to my visit. The site is about 4.5 miles south of the southernmost bona fide hooting area at Sunday Peak. My working hypothesis is that he is/was associated with the Sunday Peak hooting group, but chose to try his luck breeding alone further south. If this is the case, he might represent an attempt at recolonizing historic range. He is still close enough to the Sunday Peak group to be a loosely-associated member, and may well spend the winter with them. CDGF is preparing to put a satellite transmitter on him if he returns next spring.    photo
Feb 1st, 2012 Gave two oral presentations at the Annual Conference of the Western Section of the Wildlife Society in Sacramento, one on the Regional Extirpation of Mt Pinos Sooty Grouse, and another on the First Reteat Census of Sierra Sooty Grouse. Attended a Fisher Symposium also because many habitat and conservation concerns for fisher overlap with those of Sooty Grouse.  
Nov 14th, 2011 Gave a presentation on my Sooty Grouse studies to staff of the USGS Field Station at Dixon, CA. Tentatively agreed to collaborate on habitat modelling and analysis of Pinecrest radiotelemetry data.    

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