Big Year Update – 242 Species

After birding the Antelope Valley this morning, my year list for Los Angeles County now stands at 242 species.

April 4, Coastal Los Angeles County

BBI has a project site on the coast that I am surveying for birds for a full day, twice per month. While the site is heavily disturbed, it is surrounded by tidal wetlands and mudflats, and a given visit invariably results in a list of 50+ species. On this site visit, I found the following new species for the year:

  • Cliff Swallow
  • Caspian Tern
  • Semipalmated Plover
  • Snowy Plover

April 11, Charlton Flat, Angeles National Forest

While performing trailwork in the Angeles National Forest (a requirement to run the Angeles Crest 100 trail race), I heard the following two new species:

  • Black-chinned Sparrow
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher

Continue reading “Big Year Update – 242 Species”

On Species 196

(NOTE: This was an introductory post I wrote for bloombiological.com)

Allow me to introduce myself: I am Marcus C. England, Vice President of Bloom Biological, Inc., a Senior Biologist, a birder, an ultrarunner, a husband, a stepfather, and a dog owner. It is important to note that the order in the list does not connote importance. At the beginning of 2015, I started what I am calling a “Pseudo Big Year”. A Big Year, in birding parlance, is when a birder spends a year of focused effort trying to observe as many bird species as possible in a defined area. In my case, this defined area is Los Angeles County, California. Why “Pseudo”, you ask? Because, unlike many birders doing a Big Year, the pursuit of a large number of bird species is not the sole focus of my existence during this effort. I still have a job, I still have a family to spend time with, and I still am spending a large amount of my free time as a trail runner. All of those things take up a large amount of my time. The thing that is different for me in 2015 is a significant effort to make time specifically for birding, and a significant effort in using ebird and other sources to “chase” particular species that have been observed by others. As a birder, even when it was a primary use of my outdoor time, I was never much of a “chaser”, so this is all new to me.

A male California Gnatcatcher, a threatened species, photographed by the author on a project site in San Diego County in February 2015.
A male California Gnatcatcher, a threatened species, photographed by the author on a project site in San Diego County in February 2015.

Continue reading “On Species 196”

Los Angeles County 2015 Big Year

At the beginning of 2015, I started what I am calling a “Pseudo Big Year”. A Big Year, in birding parlance, is when a birder spends a year of focused effort trying to observe as many bird species as possible in a defined area. In my case, this defined area is Los Angeles County, California. Why “Pseudo”, you ask? Because, unlike many birders, the pursuit of a large number of bird species is not the sole focus of my existence during this effort. I still have a job, I still have a family to spend time with, and I still am spending a large amount of my free time as a trail runner. All of those things take up a large amount of my time. The thing that is different for me in 2015 is a significant effort to make time specifically for birding, and a significant effort in using ebird and other sources to “chase” particular species that have been observed by others. As a birder, even when it was a primary use of my outdoor time, I was never much of a “chaser”, so this is all new to me.

I never intended to use a blog to document what I was doing, but I had multiple friends and colleagues request that I do. I will not go back and write about everything that occurred in January (there was a lot), but I did end the month with 176 species, which is only 22 species short of my total for all of 2014. From this point forward, I will write new posts when significant events on this journey occur.