In January 2016 I posted, "I made a particular effort to get out frequently this month and participate in an eBird challenge and in iNaturalist challenges. I enjoyed getting out but need to get back to a more relaxed pace." Well, that didn't happen. My pace picked up. I got heavily into eBird and into iNaturalist, which are websites where you post your observations and are very useful tools for researching flora and fauna. Through this effort, I learned much about nature, human nature, and myself. It was great fun, and I met many new friends and fellow naturalists. I am especially grateful to my husband Lindsey who sees me traipse off and is patient when I ask him if he wants to see my photos. I am very thankful for my friends - Jan, for art and camping, who has to put up with my birding and Merryl, who is my birding buddy, who has to put up with my photography and insects. Thank you Jeff and Carolyn from El Dorado Audubon for great field trips. And thank you to all those with whom I have spent time in the field. It is great to have people with whom I can share the fun. And I am very grateful to have friends and family that remind me of all the other things in life.
Some things I have learned:
- I have learned many new places to visit. I have also learned that each place requires a longer visit than I ever have time for. I have enjoyed the diversity and sometimes subtleties of habitats.
- I have learned so much when it comes to recognizing birds by sound. I have also learned that I have a long ways to go.
- Patience is required in all things, yet I have not learned patience. This is an ongoing task for me.
- I recognize a wide variety of birds, insects, and some plants, but can become quite unsure and easily talked into or out of an ID. I need to work on my skills and confidence.
- I learn a lot from being with others who are knowledgeable in a subject, and also I need space and time to process information in my own way. I need to pace myself with trips with others and trips alone.
- I learned about nature and art journaling. This has helped me observe more closely. I also learned that I need to let go of self-judgment and criticism of my art skills (and probably in other aspects also). Sometimes it is hard to start, yet the only way to improve is to keep doing it. The journal class I took with Jack Laws was very liberating in that regard.
- When you travel with other experts, they point out many things that you might not otherwise see.
- I enjoy "discovery" and the element of surprise that comes from finding things randomly on my own.
- Bird Sounds
- "Way of Water" art journaling class in the Northeastern Sierra-Nevada
- California Master Naturalists Conference including Nature Journaling with Jack Laws
- "Earth Now" Conference
- Calligraphy class
- Colored Pencil Botanical Illustration
Some of the things I did:
- Gave a talk on Bees to a Girl Scout group
- Gave a talk on entomology and insects to a different Scout group
- Gave a talk to the Lorquin Society on my monthly butterfly count
- Participated in a Coastal Bioblitz for World Ocean Day
- Participated in Tejon Ranch Invertebrate Bioblitz
- Participated in monthly butterfly survey with Irvine Ranch Conservancy
- Participated in monthly bird survey at Rancho Los Cerritos
- Participated in monthly bird survey at Los Cerritos Wetlands with Sea and Sage Audubon
- Served as secretary of the Lorquin Entomological Society
- Volunteered as a Trail Steward for El Dorado Nature Center
- 270 volunteer hours (Citizen Science 192, Interpretation 53, Program Support 25)
- 299 bird species for the year, 245 in LA County - eBird rank 40 in LA County, 42 in Orange County
- approx 1900 observations, 900 species, 2800 identifications logged in iNaturalist
Some of the places I went:
- Pelagic trips/Whale watching trips
- Quail Lake and Holiday Lake
- Bonelli Park
- Joshua Tree NP
- Morro Bay
- Whittier Narrows
- Wardlow Park
- Legg Lake
- San Gabriel Spreading Grounds
- Convict Lake
- Sycamore Canyon
- Deforest Park
- Cruise to Vancouver
- Culp Valley - Anza Borrego
- West Fork San Gabriel River
- Buckhorn Campground
- Redrock Canyon Campground
- Kern River
- "Trail of a Hundred Giants" in Sequoia National Forest
- Malibu Lagoon
- Northeastern Sierra-Nevada
- San Bernardino Mountains
- Whitewater Preserve
- Near Temecula at Dripping Springs Campground
- Idyllwild, CA
- North slope of the San Gabriels
- St. Andrews Priory
- Point Loma
- Trails above JPL
- Santa Fe Dam
- Cibola NWR
- Bolsa Chica
- Huntington Central Park
- ...and many more that are too many to name
I think some of the most standouts are:
- The trip to the Northeastern Sierra-Nevada and separately Jack Law's Class stand out as inspirational and educational
- The Weekend in Culp Valley Campground and the Great Birding Day looking at Gulls and Visiting Bolsa Chica stand out as deeply soul satisfying and having perfect pace for viewing nature
- Tejon Ranch BioBlitz stands out for sharing with others and as a magical place
I will have to see how 2017 proceeds and how I can balance my year. I know I want to continue to take photos, do a lot more artwork and creative projects, explore new places, and learn new things.
I look forward to sharing with you all.