San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[San Diego County Bird Atlas Project]

Bird Atlas News and Updates
Winter 1997

Feathering Our Nest Egg
Christmas Bird Counts Count Toward the Bird Atlas
Blockbuster Weekends

Feathering Our Nest Egg

We are proud to report that the San Diego County Bird Atlas has been approved for a grant of $40,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The grant requires a two-to-one match, which we met with the CalTrans contribution, Ogden Environmental's donation of map production, California State Parks' contributed services of Paul and Mark Jorgensen's time, and individual donations.

The successful but lengthy process of application involved a preproposal, invitation to submit a full proposal, recruitment of five reviewers from specific arenas, resubmission of budget requests, and many telephone calls and faxes to Washington and San Francisco. We greatly appreciate the reviewers, whose comments demonstrate the widespread support among the community for this project. Thanks to Barbara Kus, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, SDSU; Jim Sulentich, NCCP Field Representative, The Nature Conservancy; Liam Davis, Associate Wildlife Biologist, California Department of Fish and Game; John Lovio, Natural Resources Specialist, Southwest Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command; and Mike Smith, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The funds will help support our professional staff and volunteers in their efforts during the second and third years of this ambitious and timely project.

--Katie Boskoff

Christmas Bird Counts Count Toward the Bird Atlas

The Christmas Bird Count season falls entirely within our three-month winter season for the San Diego Bird Atlas, so all Christmas Bird count data can double as Bird Atlas data. The only trick is that the observations must be recorded in our same grid framework. Phil Unitt and Ann Klovstad are coordinating with each Christmas Bird Count compiler in San Diego County to ensure that this happens. So please, contact the compilers and participate in as many Christmas Bird Counts as you can handle!

San Diego, 20 December:
Claude Edwards, 619-563-6695

Borrego Springs, 21 December:
Bob Theriault, 760-767-3312

Oceanside-Vista-Carlsbad, 27 December:
Dennis Wysong, 760-754-1264

Rancho Santa Fe, 28 December:
Robert Patton, 619-560-9681

Lake Henshaw, 29 December:
Claude Edwards, 619-563-6695

Escondido, 3 January:
Ken Weaver, 760-723-2448

Cuyamaca, 10 January:
Clint Powell, 760-782-0654

Blockbuster Weekends

With bird atlases elsewhere, as the project nears completion, some participants have engaged in "blockbusting," forming task forces to cover areas that were falling through the cracks. Yet why wait for the end of the project? By starting "blockbusting" early, we can get together for a fun weekend in the field while tackling squares that have not yet been adopted, speeding us toward our goal of covering the entire county.

Blockbuster weekends are scheduled on four dates this winter:

10-11 January -- Anza-Borrego Desert
Meet at 7:00 am on Saturday 10 January at the Tamarisk Grove Campground. Overnight camping reserved at Tamarisk Grove.
24-25 January -- Dulzura/Potrero region
Meet at 7:00 am on Saturday 24 January at Jamul Post Office, on the south side of Highway 94, just east of the center of Jamul. Overnight camping reserved at Potrero County Park.
7-8 February -- Lilac/Valley Center region
Meet at 6:30 am at the Valley Center Post Office on the west side of Cole Grade Road, just north of Valley Center Road. Overnight camping reserved at Hellhole Canyon County Park.
21-22 February -- Campo/Boulevard region
Meet at 6:30 am at the Buckman Springs Rest Area along Interstate 8. Overnight camping at participant Frank Unmack's ranch between Boulevard and Jacumba.

Thus they begin after the Christmas Bird Count season. Being spaced every other week gives participants in blockbuster weekends time to cover their adopted squares, too. Blockbuster weekends are not leader-guided field trips in a traditional sense. Rather, after we gather early Saturday morning to see the size of the whole group, we will divide into small teams of one to three people, each of whom will take on a square for the day. Every participant will have responsibility for finding and identifying birds. In the late afternoon we will gather at a group camp site, giving us a chance to share our experiences and socialize. Dress warmly, bring your own food and water, and prepare for winter camping! The next morning, the teams will take on another square, and the whole group can reassemble in the afternoon, perhaps at a restaurant on the way back to town.

It should be a great opportunity to meet your fellow participants and get into some areas that have seldom been touched by birders. Less experienced participants may be able to team one-on-one with the more experienced for an opportunity to enhance their skills. Participants with 4-wheel-drive or other vehicles able to negotiate rugged dirt roads are especially welcome! Even if you can't come for the whole weekend, consider joining us for at least one day. Please call 619-232-3821 ext. 235 a few days ahead of time to let us know if you can take part in a blockbuster weekend.

Winter 1997 Wrenderings | Wrenderings Archive | Bird Atlas Introduction