“People often ask me how it is that I seem to be so much at peace. There is a primary reason — and it is available to all who wish to have it. Here’s a simple prerequisite to attaining peace at that level. I invite you to observe the beasts, birds and fish and let them teach you. Let this be a daily routine and life, as you know it, will never be the same.”
– Eddie Bo

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day 12 - Rest Day, Geography lesson

Although the weather was nice today I decided to take the day off from birding.  It has been 12 days straight of birding for me, so I think a little break is in order.  Also, there are a million things I have been neglecting that could use some attention.

So instead of a birding report, I bring you a little presentation on the geography of Santa Barbara County, and a little on how it plays into my Green Big Year.  In the future I will discuss how this will impact the number of species I may be able to find during the year.

I had a local 6 year old draw the figure below showing the major birding regions of Santa Barbara County.  Actually, I did it myself, but wish I had a 6 year old to do it, for it would look so much better!

This figure is a very crude adaptation from a figure in Paul Lehman's essential work "The Birds Of Santa Barbara County, California".  An updated online version of this work can be found here:

For our purposes, Mr Lehman has organized the county bird habitat into 4 regions: Coastal (C), Mountain (M), Interior (I), and Cuyama Valley (V) (I have subdivided the Coastal region into North Coast and South Coast).  Each of the 4 regions contains differing habitat, and therefore supports a different set of bird species.

The South Coast runs from Carpinteria in the east to Gaviota in the west, and also contains the population centers of Goleta and Santa Barbara (where I live).  Due to the proximity to home, this is where I will spend the vast majority of my time birding this year.  I can reasonably expect to make a round trip biking journey to any spot on the South Coast in a single day.

It is a bit more difficult to access the coastal mountains (directly north of Santa Barbara), but with a long day of riding I could also reach a good part of this area and return home in a single day - I am hoping with all the cycling I will be doing my fitness level will improve and this will be more easily possible later in the year.

Pretty much anything else is the county will require a multi-day excursion.  For example, it is about a 75 mile ride from Santa Barbara up the coast to Santa Maria.  From Santa Maria to Cuyama would be an additional 55 miles.

I do hope to make some multi-day journeys this year to the North Coast, Interior, and Cuyama Valley areas.  There are some species in these areas that are rarely, if ever found in the South Coast. Plus, who can pass up a night in Cuyama!  

I am presently sifting through "The Birds Of Santa Barbara County, California" and various ebird reports  to come up with a plan of attack for these jaunts.

Stay tuned, more birding tomorrow!


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