Sunday, February 20, 2011

Walking Big Day

The very rainy weather of December gave way to a much drier January. January 22 seemed like a good day to do my first walking big day since the days were too short for a serious cycling big day. After walking Nike along the edge of the bay first thing in the morning (52 species, including the California fanning its tail at the bottom of this post), I figured I would put my scope and tripod in a carrier on my back and walk east and north around the edge of the bay. Hopefully, I would get to the Elfin Forest Overlook at the correct tide for shorebirds, and then go on as time allowed. The Snowy Egret below was feeding along the edge of the bay. They have been quite active lately, and showing the breeding plumes for their upcoming courtship.

After checking Pecho Willows at the end of my street for a second time,  I stopped at several spots along the edge of the bay. The tide was coming in, with a scheduled high tide of 4.47 at 11:53 AM. (closer to 12:30 by the time the high tide got to the bay below the Elfin Forest).  There was still a muddy edge along the bay for shorebirds and herons.  I walked through the first of two local Audubon preserves,  Sweet Springs, where I added some common ducks, shorebirds and a few passerines.  I played my recordings of the two common rails (Virginia and Sora) as well as the possibly extirpated Black Rail. Virginia Rail answered with the "dirty old man laugh."

I took advantage of being on foot and cut across the new addition to Sweet Springs and on the paved road along the bay toward Baywood.  Just before the Baywood Pier,  I stopped to check the gulls where fresh water seeps into the bay.  In with the usual Ring-billed, Western and California Gulls, there was a surprise adult Glaucous-winged Gull (they are less common back in the bay then on the beach and adults are much less common than immatures in this part of California).  Since the tide was well up by now, I decided to head straight for the Elfin Forest.  I tried to pick a route that went by as many stands of pine trees as possible, but the heavy December rains had likely helped to push out unusual land birds including the many Red-breasted Nuthatches that had been here in the fall.

Unfortunately, by the time I got to the Elfin Forest overlook of the bay the tide was too high for shorebirds. I did spot Royal Terns out in the bay, which were intermediate in size between the Caspian and Forster's Terns that were present (closer in size to the Caspians, but with a thinner and less reddish bill and a different crest, as well as missing the large black under the primaries on the Caspians).  I heard a Marsh Wren's scratchy call along the edge of the estuary.  I tried for every imaginable rail here with my recordings, but only Virginia answered. I quickly walked over to the more easterly (inland) overlook, but was still to late for the shorebird masses.  I, therefore, hiked through the pygmy coastal oaks to the east end of the preserve and down to South Bay Boulevard. 

I birded the eastern end of the bay to see the shorebirds that should have been pushed up near the road by the high tide, but very little was present.  I saw the reason for this, as a Peregrine Falcon grinned down at me from his pole-top perch. He gave a characteristic second grin and then flew out to the bay.  I kept walking north along the edge of the bay to get away from the falcon no-fly zone.  After a couple of hundred yards of walking, I approached large flocks of ducks in the ponds and waterways formed by the high tide, and shorebirds on the few dry patches of pickleweed. Two male rusty headed Eurasian Wigeons stood out in the crowds of American Wigeons, Northern Shovelers (new), Green-winged Teal (new for the year) and other ducks (2 Gadwall were new for my year). The flocks of shorebirds  consisted mainly of godwits and willets.

                       I saw the resident flock of Canada Geese out in the bay and one white guy - by size I thought it was likely a Snow Goose. Then all hell broke loose - all the birds flushed, even the geese. I could not imagine that the Peregrine would flush the geese.  I looked up in time to see a third year bald eagle (pictured here) fly by. This was a green year bird for me, as was the goose (which I could positively ID by the black grin patch as it flew by).

After I worked the flocks in the bay with my scope, I walked back south along the bay and then east up Turri Road to check the wetlands, overgrown pasture, and willow riparian habitat which extends east from the bay.  I figured that a quick check might yield Western Bluebird, Western Meadowlark, Horned Lark, Sora, Virginia Rail, White-tailed Kite and Prairie Falcon. The bluebirds (new BIGBY bird) were numerous on the barb wire fence lines, Virginia Rails were many in the proper tule-lined wetlands (along with a couple of year-bird Soras) and the meadowlarks were surprisingly few (new for my BIGBY).  The lark, kite and falcon were absent.  I did enjoy watching a Cooper's Hawk chasing its smaller cousin,  a Sharp-shinned Hawk, for quite a distance before it lost interest (or stamina).  A single Tree Swallow (new for my year) called as it flew overhead, finally landing on a wire ands showing off its deep green back and clean white underparts.

I hurried back to the Elfin Forest preserve to see if I could find new shorebirds for my green year and the tide was at a perfect level. I could not, however, find the wintering Pectoral Sandpiper or the resident Red Knots in amongst the hundreds of shorebirds.  Before too long I had to head home, as I still had about 2 1/2 miles to walk home before it got too dark to bird.  I walked back along the edge of the bay and added Common and Red-throated Loons to my year list.  This California Towhee was spreading out its tail feathers near my house.  I and got back home at around 4:30 with 109 species including 15 new ones for my walking green year from this 10 mile walk.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Leading a Green Field Trip at the 2011 Morro Winter Bay Festival

Although my green big year was over, I wanted to continue to do green birding in 2011, and encourage others to do more green birding (it's nice to have company once in a while).  For both reasons, I approached the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival organizers about leading a bicycling-birding trip.  After some initial concerns over logistics and liability, they agreed.  I had no idea if participants would sign up for such a trip and I had not led such a trip locally (I did lead one for the Kern Valley Festival the prior spring with low attendance).  I figured that I would design a trip that had minimal miles and hills, but still had a high number of species.  I thought that a 1/2 day trip would be enough for a first time trip like this.

Based on the amount of cycling and birding I had done locally, I had a fair idea where I wanted to go from the Morro Bay Community Center (festival headquarters, below).  My birding buddy, Ross Schaefer, and I got on our bikes and checked out the planned 8 mile route one week prior to the Saturday, January 8 trip.  We had a good time birding for a half day on our bikes, even if the birding was a little slow due to less than optimum tide levels.  We found nothing unusual, but had a fair variety of species - almost 70 species.  The only problems I could see were the really cold and windy conditions at Morro Rock and the time limit, which might severely limit the number of stops on the trip (I would have to limit the stops and not take my scope out every time).  I found out that the trip filled up early, so at least there was interest.

On January 8, I got up early so I could pedal the 30 minute ride from home to meet the participants at the community center before the 7:30 starting time. Although I was early, many of the 8 participants who signed up were not. By the time we got going it was about 8:00 AM.  Lesson # 1 - cycling trips take longer to get going than vehicle trips - plan accordingly.  It turned out to be a friendly and enthusiastic group of beginning to intermediate birders who were on this trip.  All of the group were decent cyclists with only one participant who lagged a bit due to having a bike he was unfamiliar with. When we started with a bright yellow Townsend's Warbler at the community center parking lot, the whole group seemed excited by the bird and I relaxed a bit since it was clear this group would be happy with the usual local birds and I didn't need to be preoccupied with finding rarities or particular target birds.  That was fine by me!

We practically coasted from the center down to Morro Rock where we were greeted by a variety of grebes, loons, gulls and scoters in the harbor mouth.  One of the resident adult Peregrine Falcons glared down at us from its perch up on a spire on this massive basaltic plug (the remains of a no longer active volcano).  A Canyon Wren gave its descending song from the rock and White-throated Swifts gave their grating "chittery" calls from above the rock, but we could not visually find either.  Pelagic Cormorants (some showing their winter white flanks on their otherwise all black body) sat on a large rock next to Morro Rock, where they breed in sheltered spots on its almost vertical face.  Larger Brant's Cormorants flew by occasionally.  Since I had frozen my rear off at the Rock the weekend before, I was relieved that it was warm for this festival trip to the rock.

From the rock we pedaled over to the nearby sandy Morro Creek mouth, where we found a variety of gulls , including Mew Gulls, which were distinguished by their smaller size and unmarked small yellow bill.  An adult male Northern Harrier tipped back and forth as it flew by low to the ground, giving everyone good looks at its silvery gray color and white rump.  It was starting out to be a productive trip, but a little slow to get the group moving.  Lessen # 2 - it takes a long time to get a group of people going at stops on a bicycle birding trip - stops have to be limited and attempts should be made to see some of the birds without getting off the bikes. ( I did not use a long cable I brought along to lock all of the bikes together, but would still bring it in case it was needed on future trips - since some of the birders did not bring a lock.)

From the vicinity of the Rock, we cycled around the edge of the bay, south toward the natural history museum, with a nice stop at the Bayshore Drive overlook of the bay and Grassy Island.  Here we saw a good variety of birds such as Spotted Sandpiper teetering along the shell strewn shore below us, Snowy Egret strolling the bay's edge, many shorebird species farther out on a tidally exposed sandy island and our second Osprey of the day perched on a mast.  The tide was better today (not too high or too low, just right) and many of the species were concentrated in a few areas.  When leading this cycling bird trip, I had to think about keeping the group together as well as where to stop and finding as many birds as possible, but stay on our time schedule.  It kept me preoccupied enough during the trip that I totally forgot to photograph the group despite the fact that my camera bag was strapped to my waist! Lesson # 3 - don't forget to take pictures.

We stopped to scope the bay from the point where the natural history museum is perched.  There are vantage points at this spot whence (I always wanted to use that word) birders can scope the bay to the north and the south.  We added a few more ducks, grebes and shorebirds from this point, but after the late start and the flat tire we were running short on time.  Lesson # 5 - birding with a group by bicycle is like birding in Mexico: itineraries are made to be broken "so go with the flow". At this point, we decided to split up, with one group going back to the community center and one group doing some more birding.

The remaining birders went on tho the Morro Bay State Park Campground where we saw a camouflaged Brown Creeper living up to its name on the trunk of a tall Monterey Pine, among a flock of "butterbutts" (Yellow-rumped Warblers) and other birds such as Downy Woodpecker. I was down to one birder at this point, so we checked some sparrow flocks on the way to the last stop, a small marsh on the way back to the center. We sat and played a rail recordings. Several Virginia Rails answered and one of them came to the edge of the reeds, where we saw it briefly - skulking through the vegetation. Other marsh birds such as Marsh Wren, Song Sparrow (above), Red-winged Blackbird and Lincoln's Sparrow seemed to be excited by the Virginia Rail calls as well.

We then returned to the center. The trip was a little rough around the edges since it was a first time trip. With a few changes next time, including a longer time and earlier start, it should be a smooth and even more enjoyable trip (as long as I have such friendly participants). We ended up with well over 80 species, including some fun sightings - not bad for a field trip by bicycle!

Snowy Egrets Feeding with Ducks, Grebes and Cormorants in Morro Bay

More than just ticking species off,  I like to see bird behavior that is new to me on my daily birding. For example, I have observed Snowy Egrets feeding with two species of ducks as well as cormorants and grebes in Morro Bay.  On 3/1/10, I watched a Snowy Egret feeding with an adult male Red-breasted Merganser (pictured). The merganser fed by swimming below or mostly below the surface of the shallow water and the egret followed it, apparently looking for animals stirred up by the duck. In turn, when the egret stirred up sediment by moving it's foot around, the merganser came over and appeared to be watching for anything brought up by the egret. Both were clearly following the other and feeding off the efforts of the other species (mutualism). I watched this for about ten to fifteen minutes in Cuesta Inlet before walking on.

Cattle Egrets feeding on insects stirred up by cattle is well known, but this was the first I had seen or heard of a Snowy feeding cooperatively with ducks. I did find an article on Little Blue Herons commensaly feeding with White Ibis (The AUK 95: 667-681, October, 1978). Eric Johnson, a friend and former Cal Poly ornithology professor, referred me to an article published in a late '60's ornithological journal (The Auk, Condor, or Wilson's Bulletin) on dozens of egrets and herons feeding with Red-breasted Mergansers in Florida.

On 2/21/10, and again on 3/3/10, I observed a Snowy Egret (the same one?) standing next to a group of Blue-winged Teal (pictured below) at Cuesta Inlet. It was clearly watching for anything it could eat as the teal moved their bills through the sediment both below and slightly above the water level.  It was a low tide both times. The teal appeared to ignore the egret both times I observed the egret feeding next to the teal. It appeared to be a very one way relationship (commensalism) as the egret ate things stirred up by the teal, but it contributed nothing and the teal appeared to be oblivious to the egret's presence as they were concentrating on their feeding in the muck.

On May 23, 2010,  I observed a Snowy Egret feeding with two Double-crested Cormorants. I was at the Audubon Overlook in Los Osos at low tide and numerous birds were feeding in or around the channels of water that snaked through the exposed mudflats at low tide. The Snowy Egret appeared to be following the cormorants as the cormorants swam in the channels. The Snowy would follow on the dry land next to the channel (walking and flying to keep up with the cormorants) and occasionally go into the water after something near the cormorants. There were Great Egrets nearby that were not behaving in this manner. I watched this for about twenty minutes and then I left.  It appeared that the egret benefitted from the cormorants, but I did not see the cormorants follow the egret at all.

On February 11, 2011,  I watched a Western Grebe follow a Snowy Egret around as it stirred up sediment with its feet.  The grebe would watch and occasionally go under water in the direction of the egret, when it was actively moving a foot under water. The grebe was totally submerged or partially so when it was under water in the vicinity of the grebe. This was at Cuesta Inlet in Morro Bay and at a higher than average tide. It went on for about ten minutes and then the Western Grebe stopped following the egret.

On March 14, 2011, I again observed a Double-crested Cormorant and a Snowy Egret interacting. I was on my morning walk along Cuesta Inlet (Morro Bay) when I saw an adult Snowy Egret and an adult Double-crested Cormorant following each other around at low tide in a tidal channel at about 7:45 AM.  The cormorant would swim under water and the Egret would follow.  The egret would stir up sediment with its foot and the cormorant would come over and feed.  They both fed several times during this behavior.  This lasted about ten minutes and then they went their separate ways.

On March 26, 2011, at about 9:30 AM, an adult Snowy Egret was feeding with two female Red-breasted Mergansers in the water near the edge of the main channel from Cuesta-by-the-Sea into the bay. The mergansers and the egret seemed to be following each other around, all three feeding.  After about five minutes the egret flew over to another egret and left the ducks.  After a minute or two of crest raising and flapping of wings by the egrets, the same egret went back to one of the mergansers and they resumed feeding together.  The merganser and the egret started going up a shallower side channel.  It was shallow enough that when the merganser swam under water you could always tell where she was by turbulence on the surface above her.  As the merganser worked further up the channel, the second egret joined them - one egret would feed on either side of the merganser, sometimes snagging fish within inches of the side of the duck.  It looked like the egrets were harassing the duck, but several times when he got away from the egrets the merganser would return to them. The egrets were walking around in the water, but I saw none of the foot shaking feeding technique often used by Snowies.

They all seemed to be doing well at catching fish and two more Snowy Egrets flew in.  Now the merganser was really surrounded as she worked further back in the shallow channel.  The egrets mostly stayed within two feet of the merganser.  The duck seemed to be doing most of the work of stirring up fish from the bottom and then the egrets and the duck would feed.  This went on for about ten minutes, with one of the egrets leaving and the remaining three following the merganser about 50 yards back to the main channel, where the merganser went into deeper water and the joint feeding ended.  All of this observed behavior occurred in a twenty minute period. Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets were in the vicinity, but they were not feeding with the mergansers or any other birds.

On April 5, 2011, Snowy and Great Egrets were out in number near and in Cuesta Inlet of Morro Bay.  Tide was low and egrets and Double-crested Cormorants were feeding in the channels.  Starting at about 7:30 AM I watched three Snowies feeding as they followed three cormorants as they dove and fed while swimming under water in the channel.  This went on for about ten minutes, during which time one cormorant flew off and two egrets continued their pursuit (pictured).  About two hundred yards away, five different Snowies followed a single cormorant as it fed in another channel.  Five nearby Great Egrets did not join the pursuit, although one flew over the cormorants and another Great Egret landed nearby.  So, at least eight Snowies in Morro Bay engage in this type of behavior and Great Blue herons and Great Egrets are in the vicinity during such joint feeding, but they do not appear to join.  I watched for about ten minutes before I had to go.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I was representing clients in Superior Court when my phone vibrated in my slacks' pocket. I dashed off to the vacant jury room when I saw it was Maggie (local birder) calling. I wondered what bird had been found, where I would have to ride my bike to see it, and how I would get out of work soon enough to see the bird if it was a good one. Such thoughts crossed my mind whenever I got a bird call in 2010. In fact, the hardest part of my green big year was not the 3634 miles I cycled, or the 348 miles I hiked, or the kayaking, or the running with my binoculars. The hardest part was juggling my work and family commitments with my quest for bird species.

I originally got interested in green birding in 2007, when I saw an item on BIRDCHAT (internet bird listserv) about doing a BIGBY. This stands for "Big Green Big Year" and was coined by Richard Gregson from Quebec. He has promoted green birding on the internet, and encouraged BIGBYs all over the globe. This type of green birding was a response to the many "big years" and "big days" done by birders who traveled all over the world to see how many birds they could see in a year or a day. To some birders, driving and flying all over after big year or big day bird species seemed inconsistent with the pro-environmental ideals espoused by most birders.

I first tried a BIGBY in 2008 and found 262 species in San Luis Obispo County, biking and walking from my home in Los Osos and my work in San Luis Obsipo. In that same year, Andy Kleinhesselink and Josiah Clark, of San Francisco, found 295 species in Northern California, including a cycle to Mono Lake and back! This appeared to be the record for North America and was something to shoot for (with a camera, not a gun!).

It took me a year to think about it, and get up the gumption to make a serious attempt to break 300 species. I spent the last 6 months of 2009 planning my year (some species were findable only at particular locations and for limited times) and setting up a blog to chronicle my efforts. I had never biked more than a two day trip and I had never had my own website or blog, so I was challenging my 58 year old mind and body. It turned out that setting up a Google blog was not hard, but I suspected that my planned nine day spring bicycle trip out to eastern Kern County to boost my total species count would not be so easy.

I started my 2010 green big year on January first, when I pedaled from my house in Los Osos to Cayucos and back (25 miles), tallying 122 species despite some bad luck that shortened my trip (see my blog). My green birding trips for the year varied greatly in time and distance. I rode my bike over 100 miles in a day on two occasions in 2010. Both days involved some significant hill climbs and both days netted me new birds for my green year. My longest pedal was a ten day (one rest day), almost 600 mile trip from Los Osos inland to the Mojave Desert, top of the Greenhorn Mountains (south end of the Sierras) and along the South Fork of the Kern River. This trip added my only out-of-county green birds, including Northern Goshawk, Brown-crested Flycatcher, a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers, and other birds of the desert and Sierras. It also included some hair-raising rides on Kern County highways with no bike lanes (it would have been worse but for the very considerate professional truck drivers). This trip contributed 16 species to my green year total. In contrast, my shortest trips were my walks to the edge of the bay and the patch of trees at the end of my street, Pecho Willows. This daily ritual, with my dog, not only provided many locally rare birds, but gave me a real feel for the changing seasons as bird species came and went, the weather changed, and the tides varied

I really liked the actual green birding, but not my big green year concern over possibly missing a rare bird that had been found by another birder. Chasing a bird on my bike was not only harder physically, but it took up to 3 times longer than driving. Green birding made it more difficult to fit chasing into my schedule and decreased my chances of seeing a recently found bird. For example, I missed the county's third Red-necked Stint (on the Morro Bay Estuary mudflats) by 5 minutes. As I feverishly arrived on my bike, local birders were walking away from the location (never a good sign) talking about how the bird looked just before it flew off into the distance. I never did re-find the Eastern Phoebe found in riparian habitat along Los Osos Creek, despite 5 tries on my bike (numerous people had seen it before and after my visits!). I missed a fall Northern Parula seen in Oceano, despite two attempts, including one where it was initially found by a birder standing right next to me! I searched long and hard, but the bird was part of a flock that totally dispersed in a downpour.

Nevertheless, I did successfully chase some good birds, like the 24 mile (one way) pedal to see California's second (!) Ivory Gull - a beautiful and aptly named gull from the Arctic circle that was completely unexpected in sunny Pismo Beach. Instead of ice flows and Polar Bears, it was contending with beachcombers wearing shorts and sandals. I cycled another 45 miles (one way) to see a different white northern visitor - a first winter Glaucous Gull at the Elephant Seal haul-out near Piedras Blancas.

While chasing was harder, finding birds did not seem to be hampered by my green forms of transportation. It helped that my neighborhood, including Pecho Willows, had 20 warbler species, Tundra Swan, Semipalmated Sandpiper, American Golden Plover, White-winged Dove, Black Swift, Clay-colored Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Orchard Oriole, and other unusual species in 2010. My favorite green birding find was the county's first Bar-tailed Godwit that I flushed while on a run along the shore of the Morro Bay Sand Spit. Other birds I discovered on my green birding in 2010 included Tundra Swan, Stilt Sandpiper, Red-naped Sapsucker, Tropical Kingbird (below), Magnolia Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler and Swamp Sparrow.

I did have some low points in my green year. During my first ride out to the Carrizo Plain on February 15, I practically collapsed along the road from exhaustion, having ridden too fast into a head wind, with a bike that was packed too heavy, on a route that was unnecessarily long and difficult, and without the proper conditioning. I barely limped into the California Valley Motel before dark at the end of this 70+ mile ride. Another bad experience occurred on March 26 while searching for Greater Roadrunner on San Luis Mountain with my mountain bike. My front tire caught up on something and I did my impression of a briefly airborne roadrunner as I flew over my handlebars on the descent of the mountain. Unfortunately, my landing was more like a sack of potatoes and I broke several ribs. Fortunately, it did not prevent me from cycling for more than one week (I just had to sleep sitting up for a few weeks).

Overall, the green big year was a very enjoyable experience and I have no regrets. I liked the challenge - finding as many species as I could in one year without using any gas. I developed a larger appreciation of the landscape and the birds of Central California because I experienced this area in a very different way than driving from spot to spot. Memorable rides included pedaling along Kelso Valley Road into the Mojave Desert from Lake Isabella, hearing and seeing a large variety of resident and migrant birds (like the plain Gray Flycatcher, the elegantly marked Mountain Quail and the contrastingly colored black and yellow Scott's Oriole) in the willow cottonwood riparian corridors, on the rocky slopes, and in the scrub and Joshua tree desert (respectively). Cycling on Soda Lake Road on the Carrizo Plain with the fields of early yellow, blue and white wildflowers in the late winter along with flocks of bright blue Mountain Bluebirds and the yellow meadowlarks, glowing in the morning sun, was unforgettable. The ride along the road on both sides of Alta Sierra summit in the warm and bright high-elevation sun of the Greenhorn Mountains, with dark blue skies, large patches of snow on the ground between towering firs and pines, the beautiful songs of Green-tailed Towhees and Townsend's Solitaires, and the loud cries of the Pileated Woodpecker, was breath-taking (or was that the altitude?).

The non-bird wildlife sometimes stole the show from the birds on my green year. Examples included the lone Prong-horn Antelope standing near me in a sparse brown weedy field in eastern Kern County, the striking blue gray Ring-necked Snake with the bright orange collar and underparts found along the bluffs trail at Montana de Oro (elsewhere on the trail was a group of 6-8 Pacific Rattlesnakes), the prehistoric looking Horned Lizard I couldn't quite catch at Cerro Alto, a playful fox and a cautious bobcat at the Montana de Oro Campground, the endangered Red-legged Frogs and Western Pond Turtles close up at the Harmony Headlands trial, and (most of all) the impossibly big Blue Whale I saw while scoping for pelagics off Montana de Oro (photo below).

The scenery was incredible at times, and on a bike I really saw beauty I would have missed from a car. The photo below of a seasonal wetland in Kelso Valley (near the South Fork of the Kern River) was only one of the hundreds of scenes that I came across in my travels that made me stop and be amazed.

My 2010 green big year total of 318 species was more than I had expected when the year began. While I could have likely gotten 8 - 10 more species for the year, I am satisfied with the total as well as with the process of reaching it. Someday soon, I suspect that someone will ride across the country and find twice this many species in a green big year. Fifteen year old Malkolm Boothroyd (with his parents) rode over 10,000 miles from mid 2007 to mid 2008 (Alaska to Florida to Texas), tallying 548 species, but some might argue that it was not a totally a green year since he used buses and ferries to get home from Texas and it was not in one calendar year. Either way, I am humbled by his efforts and he is in his own amazing category so far for green birding!

While I may not ever do a serious green big year again, I will continue to as much green birding as I can. I encourage others to do it as well; it is good for the environment and an enjoyably different birding experience. I will also continue to post blogs on my green birding. I plan on seeing how many species I can see while walking from my home in 2011 (see my ongoing tally in the right margin of my blog). I will try to do a green big day at least once a month, either walking or on my bike. Enjoy green birding in 2011!