January 2016 in Review

I am running the Sean O’Brien 50 mile race on Saturday. I’ve rushed to get through all my tasks at work so I can get out cleanly at mid-day today. Fully packed and ready to go, my mind has turned fully to the race and all that entails. In the little time I have left before driving to Malibu Creek, and in an effort to do something seemingly productive, I thought I’d at least take a moment to review how I’ve progressed (and not progressed) on the goals I’ve set for myself for 2016.


Aside from birds I’ve found while running, I have done as planned and spent most of my birding time in my local “patch”. Most of that time has been at Elyria Canyon Park next door to my house where I’ve recorded 47 species on the year. I’ve added a few new species to my California and Los Angeles County life lists as well, and sit for the year at 105 species for Los Angeles County and 110 for California. In February, I will be taking a day trip to Santa Cruz Island (home of the Island Scrub-Jay, which is only found on that island and nowhere else), and a pelagic birding trip in Los Angeles County waters.

This Eastern Phoebe at Madrona Marsh was Los Angeles County life species 270 for me.
This Eastern Phoebe at Madrona Marsh was Los Angeles County life species 270 for me.


I don’t think my weight has changed since I noted my weight loss at the start of the year. I have work to do on that before the really big races this summer. After being knocked out by illness for more than a month around the holidays, I have recovered well and had a really good last month of training. I’m not in the best shape of my life, but I’m certainly in the best shape I’ve been in more than a year. My only goal for Sean O’Brien tomorrow is finishing. I will run the whole thing in my comfort zone, and my fitness level and in-race management will determine how quickly I cross the finish line. Hopefully, my post-race recovery will go well so I can continue exploring new places in the San Gabriel Mountains soon.


I am continuing to struggle to finish my Snapping Turtle illustration. To build my portfolio of recent work, I’m working small right now on a variety of species groups. Most of these small pieces just take a couple days. I didn’t really contemplate how difficult the scale detail on the turtle would be, and the whole process is taking forever. I have made progress on it, though, and hope to finish that and be on to my planned Bobcat in February.

Partially-completed pen and ink illustration of Snapping Turtle by Marcus C. England.
Partially-completed pen and ink illustration of a Snapping Turtle by Marcus C. England.


I’m starting to make sales on various microstock sites of some of my nature photographs. I’ve also sold a few things in my Zazzle store. It isn’t much, but I’ve been photographing stuff for my own reference purposes for years (as most naturalists do) and anything is more money than they earn sitting on my hard drive.


Zero progress whatsoever, except for my blog posts. That’s fine, however, as I don’t intend to work on any writing projects until the turtle picture is completed.


Again, no significant progress.


The survey season is ramping up. I’ve been busy.

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