Farewell to Wrenderings
We did it! The magnitude of our accomplishment is a terrific achievement toward which all San Diego County Bird Atlas participants can take pride in having contributed. Over 387,000 records in the database, over 45,000 hours in the field, 197 species confirmed breeding, aggressive coverage goals reached in 97% of 479 squares for both the breeding season and winter, a sound basis for a limitless variety of studies in bird distribution, ecology, and conservation...
Setting goals that are defined and reachable--and then reaching them--is the essence of accomplishment. Success entails completion. I feel a certain wistfulness, though, in closing the door on our five years in the field together on the bird atlas. Because, as great as the scientific accomplishment of the project was, I found the human side of our effort even more gratifying. New friendships made, old friendships deepened, the camaraderie of spending time in the field, working toward a common goal. The birding skills that so many people sharpened. The knowledge and appreciation of the land and its infinite variations. All of these are a legacy that will enrich the rest of our lives and serve San Diego's common good. To all our participants and supporters, thank you for sharing this vision. I must single out for special thanks Ann Klovstad. Because of her talents and dedication, the San Diego County Bird Atlas reached a far higher level of achievement than it could have without her. Her professionalism shaped every phase of the project, and it is only because of that professionalism that the San Diego County Bird Atlas can serve as a model for similar efforts. Thank you, Ann.
Please bear with me in this final, critical stage of the project. I will be asking many of you to reflect on certain observations as I fit the pieces together and look at our results in the context of each species' biology. I will be asking you to review accounts for each species in which your observations play a leading role. And I ask for your patience and understanding in helping me focus now on the reason for all our work--getting the results out to the broader world that will use them to appreciate and conserve what makes San Diego County unique.
Mary Clark's Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris clarkae, sketch by Nicole Peretta.