Re: Big Sit! 2020

Linus Blomqvist

I had thought of Lake Los Carneros too. El Capitan or Refugio state beaches sound like good candidates as well. I was planning to scout out a spot around Coal Oil Point / Devereux Slough. If there's a way to cover some ocean/beach and slough habitat, and get some warblers etc in the trees, it could be pretty good. If it were in the winter, I'd also say Campus Point with the Lagoon right there. But I've only birded in the county for less than a year so I'm probably not the right person to know the best spots. Hopefully we can get several circles and see what works best.

A search for previous mentions of big sit in this email listserv yielded this prophecy:

I predict that we will not exceed 70 species on any Big Sit in SB Co.

Challenge accepted!

Linus Blomqvist

On Sat, Sep 5, 2020 at 1:41 PM Mark Holmgren <maholmgren33@...> wrote:
Hi Linus,
Can you think of a place in Santa Barbara County that would produce a high 24-hour list for a Big Sit?
Many of us have thought about places and tried a few of them. I hope you get some good responses.  Here are three of my thoughts for places.

El Capitan Ridge is quite a special place even if it has never reached its potential as a Big Sit spot.  It's a Chumash midden site, totally disturbed, but disturbed at a time when the only plants available to recolonize were natives.  It's a good teaching spot.
As for numbers of birds, it can be good if there is water in the creek below the site, which one can look down upon. Very near shore the drop-off is steep so one can at times see deeper water birds close to shore.  Additionally, there is rocky shore, Euc Woodlands, some Chaparral, ag land, grassland, power lines, and more.   

East end Lake Cachuma.  Not likely to get these conditions again here in the near future.  It's hard to believe that we spent 5 hrs standing along Hwy 154.  Visibility is diminished now due to the obstruction of tree growth between the highway and the lake.

Lake Los Carneros Dam.  I don't think I've ever done a Big Sit here but when conditions are right I think 75 or 80 species over a 24-hr period might be possible in either fall or spring.

I can't think of any situation in SB County that matches what the Morro Bay Big Sit spot can accomplish when conditions are right there.  I think their high count is in the 120s.  Join that count to see how it's done.

Mark Holmgren
Santa Barbara

On Sat, Sep 5, 2020 at 11:39 AM Linus Blomqvist <linus.blomqvist@...> wrote:
Hi all,

I wanted to draw your attention to a birding event organized by the New Haven Bird Club: The 2020 Big Sit! For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept, the idea is to establish a circle 17 feet in diameter and then try to see as many birds as possible from within that circle in one day. The circle can be anywhere - even in your backyard - and you can bird for as many hours as you want; it doesn't have to be the full day.

This year the event takes place on October 10 and 11 (you can pick either day according to your availability).

More than a hundred teams across the country typically participate every year, but rarely if ever has there been one from Santa Barbara. It'd be really fun to get some participants here, and I'm going to do my own circle.

Participating is easy: no pre-registration is required, and you report your sightings using eBird.

The organizers emphasize the importance of following all local and state protocols for covid-19 safety. Given the situation in our county, doing it individually is the safest option. But you're allowed to do shifts, so you can have several participants in your team and just split up the day between you. 

During the day, there will be communication over social media platforms, and perhaps we could report highlights and status updates (ie, the number of species seen so far by each team) on our email list as well, to make it feel more like a collective experience.

More information can be found at


Linus Blomqvist

Join to automatically receive all group messages.