February 2016 in Review

Another monthly update on the goals I’ve set for myself for 2016.


Birding has been mostly productive, with a large number of Los Angeles County life birds observed during my pelagic trip on February 28. As of this writing, I’m at 139 for the year and 277 for life in Los Angeles County, with 149 for the year and 297 for life in California. I’ve added a few new species to the list for Elyria Canyon Park as well, and as of today the eBird list for that park sits at 90 species, 88 of which I have seen there.


The Sean O’Brien 50 mile race did not go as planned. I felt I was well-prepared. I woke up on race morning with gastrointestinal issues. My stomach felt “off” during much of the race. The best I felt the entire race was about 20 miles in. I reached an aid station that had restrooms and there was blood in my urine. I didn’t want to drop… indeed, it was the furthest thing from my mind when I arrived at the aid station. I left the station to continue the race, but my mind was also racing with thoughts of whether I was doing the right thing. About three quarters of a mile out I decided to turn around. I’ll replay that in my mind a lot. Health, of course, is paramount. Blood in the urine is commonplace in distance running and typically (believe it or not) benign, but it can also be the sign of a significant problem, and it is generally advisable to end your day when that happens. Anyway, there was no health issue and it was almost certainly caused by the weight of my intestines because of the GI issue smashing on my mostly empty bladder.

Since then, I’ve been enjoying my days in the mountains. I injured my knee, however, this past weekend on a training run and am restricted to hiking (which can also be painful) for the time being. If I can’t run long this weekend, which is looking doubtful at the moment, I will almost certainly not run the Old Goats 50 at the end of the month. My year, from a running perspective, really isn’t going as planned.


My snapping turtle illustration is finally complete. I’ve also been studying artists and illustrators that are doing this kind of work for a living and have found a model that I intend to follow. This includes digitally-colorizing pen and ink artwork, and development of a new website.

Snapping turtle. Illustration by Marcus C. England.
Snapping turtle. Illustration by Marcus C. England.
Allen's Hummingbird. Original pen and ink illustration scanned and digitally colored. Marcus C. England.
Allen’s Hummingbird. Original pen and ink illustration scanned and digitally colored. Marcus C. England.


No additional news since last month.


No additional news since last month.


No additional news since last month.


I’ve been busy with a few days of field work most weeks this month. I will likely be out 5 days a week starting in April, primarily working on riparian bird surveys near Santa Clarita and Swainson’s Hawk surveys in the Antelope Valley, with a few visits here and there to survey for raptors in the San Bernardino Mountains.

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