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.
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:
Borrego Springs, 21 December:
Oceanside-Vista-Carlsbad, 27 December:
Rancho Santa Fe, 28 December:
Lake Henshaw, 29 December:
Escondido, 3 January:
Cuyamaca, 10 January:
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:
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.