While children look forward to December 25th with great excitement, what gets most birders motivated at that time of year are Christmas Bird Counts. As the year draws to a close, what better way to end it than participating in the Pasadena-SanGabriel Valley CBC?
Newcomers are always welcome on the Pasadena-San Gabriel Valley CBC. If you’re new to birding or to Christmas Counts, this is a great opportunity to learn more about our local birds. We will team you up with more experienced participants, or you can cover an area on your own.
The center point of our circle is the intersection of San Gabriel Boulevard and Duarte Road. The territory covered extends seven and one half miles in every direction from that spot, thus making a circle fifteen miles in diameter. Aside from the notable man-made attractions of this area, including the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl, JPL, Cal Tech and the Mt. Wilson Observatory, the San Gabriel Valley and environs also host many species of birds. In fact, over 280 species have been recorded during the count’s six and a half decades of existence.
Some of the important areas to be found within in the count circle include Big Santa Anita Canyon, all of the Whittier Narrows area, the San Gabriel River, Peck Road Water Conservation Park, Eaton Canyon, the Huntington Gardens, the L.A. County Arboretum and a portion of Santa Fe Dam. The northern border of the circle tops out at 5,700 foot Mt. Wilson; a location that offers the possibility of both regular montane and higher elevation birds that may have moved downslope by late fall and early winter.
From that list it should be obvious that there’s plenty of diversity in the circle, and the fact that well over 150 species are routinely found on count day demonstrates it. Adding another dimension to the count are the unexpected vagrants that inevitably turn up. Some are discovered well in advance of the count but others surprise us on count day.
The 2014 Christmas Bird Count will take place on Saturday, December 20. We’ll have the usual pre-count meeting at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center on Wednesday, December 17 at 7:30pm. At the meeting there will be an overview of the count and checklists and other count materials will be available. We’ll also review procedures and assign count areas. If you can’t be at the meeting, you can still sign up for an area to count via e-mail.
As always, we will hold the traditional post-count dinner and wrap-up on count night. We’ll not only have some good food, but be among the first to find out what interesting birds were found on the count. See Meetings for details.
For additional information, please contact count coordinator Jon Fisher at JonF60@hotmail.com.