Tuesday, December 31, 2013

San Diego County Bird #200: Vesper Sparrow

While working outside yesterday I heard the faint refrains of a singing Vesper Sparrow. That is county life bird #200.

My birding in San Diego includes these previous visits. In September 1981 I drove into the Anza-Borrego visitor center on the way from the Salton Sea to Ventura. That netted me 4 species. I held those 4 species alone for over 20 years. In April 2004 I took a 5-day pelagic trip from San Diego, but no other birding other than the harbor and open ocean. That bumped my total to 29 species. I visited San Diego twice in 2008. In March, Troy Guy and I flew from Portland to Cabo San Lucas to ride back to San Diego on an empty whale watching boat the entire length of Baja. Then Terry Hunefeld showed us around to some favored birding sites, including San Elijo Lagoon. My county list jumped to 99. In October 2008 I came back with Marlene on an "anniversary" trip (our 30th!). Marlene hung out on the beach at a bed and breakfast in Encinitas, while I spent 3 days on a boat trip at sea. That brought me up to 112 species.

Marlene and I moved to San Diego county in late September 2013. Starting a new job, losing a job, unemployed and searching for a new job, and starting another new job, not to mention moving 3 times in 60 days, prevented a whole lot of birding. Nevertheless, birding one morning per week in those 3 months, I tallied 186 species to bring my life total in the county to 200.

Tomorrow starts a new year. I think 300 for the year in San Diego County is a good goal to try for. To get that many I have to bird desert, mountain, coast, and ocean (which I was going to do anyway). But it is not so many that I have to chase every rare bird reported. For instance, eBird reports that Barbara Carlson leads all county birders this year with 391 species. [Not all birders use eBird. Inconceivable!] In 6th place for the year, at 301 species, is Nancy Christensen whom I met last Sunday at Oceanside looking for a Glaucous Gull that showed up after we left. That seems just about the right goal to try for. It allows me to explore new areas, search for several life birds, and have fun, without stealing time from more important things.

So expect to hear about my efforts...