After being away over Christmas and taking two days to participate in the Cachuma Christmas Bird Count, I got back on the bike this morning for the penultimate day of the Green Big Year. Let me tell you, the first half hour was reeeealy cold.
I set out on an unlikely outing. Just as we were leaving town for Christmas I got a report the Rebecca Coulter had found a Swamp Sparrow in Carpinteria. This was 11 days ago. As I needed this bird and had not ridden to Carpinteria in some time I decided to give it a shot. I had no idea if the bird would still be in the vicinity.
I rolled up to the address. The first thing I could not help but notice was the road crew with the chainsaw about 40 feet away, and moving in my direction - not encouraging. The next thing I noticed was a Swamp Sparrow! Literally the first bird I saw after stopping. Having had difficulty on the ID of this bird before, I got some long looks, checked my references, and looked again to verify the field marks. The bird was even kind enough to pose for photos. Sure enough, Swamp Sparrow for #286!
I was so pleased with this rapid sighting that I hopped on the bike and raced to Montecito for a breakfast engagement that I had assumed I would not be able to make.
Swamp Sparrow (Really!)
Now a bit of administrative business. You may recall my somewhat truncated adventure to Big Pine Mountain back in June:
The net result of this adventure was the addition of two species, Lawrence's Goldfinch and Mountain Quail. You may also recall I got a ride part of the way back home after running out of food and nearly running out of water. The bit about getting a ride home has been nagging me ever since. I have decided to remove these species from my total, as they were not gotten with solely human power. It's a bit disappointing as I worked far harder for these birds than any other during the year, but this way I can end with a clean total and no asterisks next to these species.
After the addition of this 1 species, and the subtraction of 2, the year's total stands at 284.
Vermont has recently added 2 species to bring their total to 279.
The Score: Vermont 279, Green Big Year 284
Today I rode a total of 26.7 miles