Thursday, January 6, 2011

More Local Surprises to Finish the Year

Nike and I love our early morning walk (before work or a weekend cycle) from our house and along the edge of the back bay and through Pecho Willows. Although there are often interesting birds (a typical 40 minute walk yields 40-65 species of birds), it is a really beautiful place to be (photos left and the masthead). The light is always different depending on the time of day, the amount of fog or clouds and the angle of the sun. The path through Pecho Willows (below) often has bird surprises, errant golf balls from the adjacent golf course that I collect for my golfer son, and occasional deer or coyotes (which I have to restrain Nike from chasing). My neighborhood has some color as shown in the picture of our commercial fisherman neighbor's house, below.

When I want to get out on my bike, but don't have a lot of time, I can pedal to the campground next to Islay Creek in Montana de Oro State Park, or the Audubon Overlook on the edge of Morro Bay, or Sweet Springs Nature Preserve with its fresh water pond and platform on the edge of the bay, or the coastal scrub habitat and hill top lookout of the bay at the Elfin Forest, or the pastureland and ag. fields of Turri Road or the old oak forest at Los Osos Oaks - all within four miles of where I live!

I did find a couple of new BIGBY species in my neighborhood toward the end of the year. The Tundra Swan shown below was first seen flying by in the company of an unsavory Mute Swan and after calling Kaaren Perry about this local rarity, she photographed it on the bay, as shown here on November 23.
I also found a Swamp Sparrow on the day after I got back from my 160 mile trip to the Carrizo Plain - right at the end of my street! (BIGBY # 317)

My last BIGBY bird of the year, on December 31, occurred at Laguna Lake in San Luis Obispo. I rode my bike the 12 miles there, got on my rubber boots and walked through the flooded vegetation along the shore (photo), playing the bittern recording on my iPod. An American Bittern answered and was seen briefly as it flushed. This was my 318th BIGBY bird and my last species for the year.  I thought of the birds I had missed for the year and was satisfied, as they were few.  The surprise species for the year were many!


  1. 318 by foot and bike....congrats Jim! An impressive feat.

  2. Thanks Steve. This year I'll see how many birds I can see in green big days.