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

Progress Report
Summer 1999

The San Diego Bird Atlas' second winter season was a great advance over the first. Our winter database is at 79,445 records, meaning the amount of winter data recorded in the second season was about 24% greater than in the first. Even more impressive is our geographic coverage, 427 of 479 squares, 89% of the total and a huge advance over the 329 covered during the first winter.

Because one of our threshold criteria is that the winter data from each square be spread over at least three winters, the winter threshold goal cannot have been met yet in any square. But the goal is already within easy reach in many squares. The criterion that 90% of the number of species on the target list be recorded has already been met in 175 squares (36.5%), and the criterion that our observers devote at least 25 hours to covering the square has already been met in 88 squares (18.4%). Both of these criteria have been met in 74 squares (15.4%), which therefore need just a single field trip in a subsequent year for their threshold to be cleared.

Now that we are in our third of five breeding seasons our breeding-season database is growing rapidly again, over 80,000 records. We now have significant data from 421 squares (88% of the total). The threshold goal, with 50% of the number of species on the target list confirmed breeding, has been cleared in eight more squares, thanks to the efforts of


John Dietrick in R10, East San Diego
Claude Edwards and Barbara Moore in V10, Imperial Beach
Marjorie and Don Hastings, Joe Barth, and Tony Mercieca in R13, Casa de Oro
Paul Jorgensen in E28, Palo Verde Canyon
Phil Nelson in I23, Yaqui Flat
Frances Shaw and Phil Unitt in R11, Lemon Grove
Ken Weaver in C16, Oak Grove
Herb Young and Mary Mosher in H25, Casa del Zorro

Furthermore, the reduction of the target lists for the desert squares lacking oases now means the threshold has been cleared, with 50% of the target list confirmed, by


Richard and Susan Breisch in N28, Arroyo Seco del Diablo
Margaret and Bert McIntosh in J25, Mescal Bajada
David Seay in O27, Egg Mountain
Bob Thériault in G25, Borrego Sink

The most ambitious threshold has now been cleared in 70 squares (14.6%). In 35 additional squares the threshold has been reached with all criteria met and between 33% and 50% of the number of species on the target list confirmed. Participants reaching this level are


Debi and Dan Bylin in J12, Wild Animal Park
Lisa Ellis and Margaret Lesinsky in C1, San Mateo Point
Robbie Fischer and Joe Morlan in F5, Ysidora Basin
Don Grine and team in M7, Del Mar
Ed Hall in K20, Julian South
Lori Hargrove, Art Morley, Paul Jorgensen, and Pete Famolaro in F23, Borrego Palm Canyon
Ann and Tom Keenan and Richard Webster in M20, Cuyamaca Peak
Ed Wallace and Joe Worley in Q8, Bay Park
Kirsten Winter and Charles van Tassel in N10, Miramar Reservoir

Note that in some cases the criteria for the threshold are met by the combined efforts of observers working independently. If it seems that our progress is slow, please note also that at least 50% of the target list has been confirmed in 15 more squares that have only the 25-hour criterion still to be met and 33% of the target list has been confirmed in 83 more squares beyond that. I am sure that at our next wingding, in September, we will have many new threshold-clearers to recognize.

With our field assistants made possible by our grant from CalTrans, we tackled 47 un- or poorly covered squares, sometimes revisiting those targeted on blockbuster weekends. Early in the spring we concentrated in the Anza-Borrego Desert, with Paul Jorgensen's help both in the field and getting us to some of the most remote parts of the park. And thanks to Ann and Richard Payne for so graciously putting us up at their home in Borrego Springs. As the season progressed, our effort shifted upslope.

--Philip Unitt

Redhead chick sketch by Nicole Perretta

Summer 1999 Wrenderings | Wrenderings Archive | Bird Atlas Introduction