Topics

Big Sit! 2020


Linus Blomqvist
 

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 www.thebigsit.org.

Linus

______________
Linus Blomqvist


Mark Holmgren
 

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 www.thebigsit.org.

Linus

______________
Linus Blomqvist


John Callender
 

Mark (and Linus, and the group),
 
I replied separately to Linus to mention that I'm thinking I might do a Big Sit on one of those days at the Romero Canyon Fire Road hawkwatch site. Not because it's a good spot for maximum species count, but because it would be during the time when Broad-winged Hawks might be migrating and I wanted to keep an eye out for them. (I note that we likely won't be able to follow the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory numbers this year to warn us of Broad-winged Hawk pulses, since I don't think the GGRO will be reporting hawk numbers due to their volunteer program being suspended.)
 
An interesting potential Big Sit spot that I wonder about would be in the restricted-access part of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Natural Reserve, at the southern end of the Estero Way causeway with a view of the estuary mouth. We've been able to resume regular bird surveys in there thanks to help from CSMNR Director Andy Brooks; I wonder if a whole-day sit there (maybe broken up into a few shifts by different volunteers) might produce some interesting numbers.
 
John Callender
Carpinteria


Phila Rogers
 

HI ALL:  I did a sit in the Botanical Garden in Strawberry Canyon in Berkeley before I moved to SB.  I'm a big fan especially at 91 years of age.  Sitting is now a specialty.  TheI birds in your sit circle quickly accept your presence and go about their business.  Back of the natural history museum is always birdy but there may be too many people.  I'm open to suggestions of places near Oak Park where I live.  Phila Rogers


On Sat, Sep 5, 2020 at 2:42 PM John Callender <jbc@...> wrote:
Mark (and Linus, and the group),
 
I replied separately to Linus to mention that I'm thinking I might do a Big Sit on one of those days at the Romero Canyon Fire Road hawkwatch site. Not because it's a good spot for maximum species count, but because it would be during the time when Broad-winged Hawks might be migrating and I wanted to keep an eye out for them. (I note that we likely won't be able to follow the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory numbers this year to warn us of Broad-winged Hawk pulses, since I don't think the GGRO will be reporting hawk numbers due to their volunteer program being suspended.)
 
An interesting potential Big Sit spot that I wonder about would be in the restricted-access part of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Natural Reserve, at the southern end of the Estero Way causeway with a view of the estuary mouth. We've been able to resume regular bird surveys in there thanks to help from CSMNR Director Andy Brooks; I wonder if a whole-day sit there (maybe broken up into a few shifts by different volunteers) might produce some interesting numbers.
 
John Callender
Carpinteria


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
______________
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 www.thebigsit.org.

Linus

______________
Linus Blomqvist