Tuesday, January 21, 2020

My Little "Big Year"

Big Years (in other words years in which as many bird species are seen by one person as possible) are known to many people now, including many non-birders, thanks to various books and at least one movie!

I am not a very dedicated bird lister but I have been keeping year lists for quite a while - since around 2005.

Especially when I was more involved in insect study, I was a very lazy birder indeed and was lucky to top 200 species in a given year. But I've become more bird-oriented of late, and decided that it would be fun to try to see 300 different bird species in 2020. This is a decidedly puny number, especially when keeping in mind that the ABA (American Birding Association) area, United States, Continental U.S., and other big year areas as they are variously defined have records all exceeding 700 species or 800 species, depending on the area.

I don't believe I'll ever do one of THOSE Big Years, but I think it would be fun to shoot for a personal record, especially as we have a couple trips planned which should help quite a lot with the total tally (namely to Massachusetts and Maine next summer, and southwestern regions further afield of San Diego County here and there during the year).

So my current 2020 total is 116 species as of yesterday (January 20).

Most of these are easy San Diego County species, but a two day trip to the Salton Sea on the 19th and 20th of this month helped quite a bit.

Here are a few photos of some of those Salton Sea birds:

Burrowing Owl, with that "wise" look. along Schrimpf Road, E. of S,. end of Salton Sea, Imperial County, California. 

Burrowing Owl, along Schrimpf Road. Very cooperative regarding allowing photos from the truck-as-blind.

Burrowing Owl by its burrow, Schrimpf Rd. Sunday was sunny, allowing for better photos. Monday was very cloudy, unfortunately. 

Green Heron, Unit 1, Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. Flushed from the top of an embankment by a wandering birder. It then perched "hidden" in the nearby ditch as shown here. Spotted by Gary Waayers.

A rather blurry shot taken from a great distance of a Tundra Swan, a rarity in this part of the country. Unit 1, SBSSNWR.

A "nice" bird indeed - one of two Wilson's Snipes (spotted by Gary Waayers) seen from the northern platform, Unit 1, SBSSNWR. The bird to the left is a dowitcher.

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