“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

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Final Wrap Up

Greetings all and Happy New Year!  This will be the final blog post for my Green Big Year.  Thanks for following along, it has been a great experience and I appreciate all the support that has been directed my way through the year.

Thanks also to Tom Berriman, Santa Barbara Audubon, and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies for fostering the friendly contest between my Green Big Year and the state of Vermont.  To Vermont, thanks for the motivation and better luck next time!

Some statistics:

As part of the Green Big Year I went birding 160 days.  I spent 10 nights away from home.

I saw new birds on 89 of these days, about 56% of the time.

Final species total was 285.  I posted photos of 239 species, or 83% of those seen.

I rode 4409 miles, and walked 2.5 miles for a total of 4411.5 miles.
      (Even in a very efficient car that's 100 gallons of gas!)

That works out to 15.48 miles per bird species.

Some thoughts:

When I hastily decided to pursue this project at the end of last year I did so with few expectations and little planning.  I really had no idea what I was getting into.  I was not even sure if this concept had been done in Santa Barbara County before.  As it turns out it had not, so that made it fairly easy to set the record.

At the beginning of the year I was thinking that the most optimistic result would be in the range of 270-275 species.  Although I did miss a few of the expected birds I got pretty lucky and managed to add 33 species that I had not planned to find, which propelled me well past the original expectations.

In terms of the species total, could I have done better?  Certainly!  There were reports of 51 species throughout the year that I figured I had a chance to see but did not.

You'll note I actually went birding less than half the days of the year.  More time in the field equals more birds.  I was away from the county several times during the year and missed some species that only appeared briefly.  My aborted trip to Big Pine Mountain certainly cost me some species.  I had planned on getting out to Cuyama but never made it there, which likely cost me a couple of species also.

I learned late in the year that the Green Birding record for a single county in the USA is 301 or 302 species.  Had I put more focus on this project I think I very well could have matched or passed this total, but we'll never know for sure.

And what next?  I do not have any major projects planned for the upcoming year (yet).  I have come to quite enjoy Green Birding and plan on continuing.  It is so nice to be able to hear the birds as I ride along, and stop instantly to investigate an interesting sight or sound.  I am also certain I will get in the car to go find birds also - maybe even today!

Thanks, and see you out there!