I have been asked more than a few times for updates on the status of my Los Angeles County Big Year, enough so that I figured I’d post an update about it. I am still at 254 species, as noted here. While I have been out birding, a lot, I have not been “chasing” and adding to that total. Here’s why:

  • Time spent in final race preparations for another failed attempt at completing the Angeles Crest 100 in August.
  • Expected and unexpected trips to Ohio.
  • Extensive fieldwork, almost full time, in Kern County. While I see a lot of birds there, none of them count toward the Big Year total.
  • Summer “doldrums”, where the birds quiet down and birds are harder to find.
  • 254 species is a lot of species for one county, so the odds of “stumbling” into something new, without a concerted effort to do so, are smaller.

In addition to those primary reasons above, we’ve been in the midst of a reorganization at my consulting firm, giving significant ownership stakes to several deserving employees. For my part, and this is completely voluntary, I am retaining my title of Vice President and a lot of oversight responsibility, but a lot of day-to-day management tasks are being distributed among other staff. This, in turn, allows me to have much-wanted field time. I am also being given time to get back to what I so enjoyed in the early stages of my career: writing and art. This should be evident through what I post on this website. I also think it makes me a better biologist.

As far as the Big Year is concerned, I have considered it a “pseudo” Big Year from the start. Indeed, the first post I made about it on this site stated it would be “pseudo” Big Year because it wouldn’t be my priority in life. That said, I will be crewing a friend at the Mogollon Monster 100 trail race in Arizona this weekend, and intend to get out and catch fall migration and increase that species total as much as I can after I return.

Mixed shorebird flock, coastal Los Angeles County. Photo by Marcus C. England.
Mixed shorebird flock, coastal Los Angeles County. Photo by Marcus C. England.

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