As the progress report attests, our blockbuster weekends have proven a successful as well as enjoyable strategy for covering squares not adopted by individual observers. In the project's final breeding season, their usefulness only increases. Therefore, I'm proposing an accelerated schedule through the first weekend of June, including some single-day as well as weekend events. We will do some blockbusters later in the summer too, but the places will be determined by the success of those earlier in the spring. Again, as we approach the end of the project, flexibility is essential. As always, you're welcome for a single day as well as the full weekend on these field trips.
Celebrate the results of our fourth winter season and kick off our fifth and final breeding season of the San Diego County Bird Atlas!! It's time to get together for another WingDing!
Mark your calendars for Sunday March 25th for our Spring WingDing. For a change of pace, we're going to meet for breakfast at the Marina Village Conference Center in Mission Bay. Plan for some birding beforehand, along the San Diego Flood Control Channel. Phil and other atlas participants will have scopes set up along the channel, beginning on the south side near Dog Beach at 7:30 AM. This will be a great opportunity to bird with fellow atlasers, to see some great birds, and to get some informal identification tips from Phil and others.
A buffet-style breakfast will be served at 10:00 AM in the Captain's Room at the conference center. Phil will give an update on our fourth winter season and set the tone for our fifth and final breeding season. Time to strategize!
We will award more of the coveted bird atlas hats, designed by our own Fred Belinsky of the Village Hat Shop, to anyone who has cleared a winter threshold for the first time. And we will award museum store gift certificates to anyone who has cleared the threshold in more than one square. The museum store will be reopening in the spring, in the new wing of the museum, and it promises to become one of your favorite places to shop!
After breakfast, we'll be treated to a presentation by Robert Patton. Robert is a consulting biologist monitoring Least Terns, Snowy Plovers and other shore species for the San Diego Zoological Society, San Diego Unified Port District, U.S. Navy, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex, California Department of Fish and Game, and San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy. Robert has participated in the Rancho Santa Fe Christmas Bird Count since 1986 and has compiled it since 1996.
Robert has studied the Least Tern and Snowy Plover with Elizabeth Copper and Brian Foster since 1981, and they have monitored nesting birds at the South San Diego Bay saltworks on and off since 1983. He will present some of their research results and discuss several species breeding on coastal strand and artificial fill sites around San Diego Bay, including multiple tern species, Black Skimmers, and Horned Larks.
Watch for your invitation in the mail. We hope you can join us!