I’m trying to figure out how it got to be March, time is flying past for me this year. I thought it might be fun to do a quick update on my sort of big year challenges. The main page for these is here.

The goals for this year:
– Bird at least weekly
– At least 15 in-county locations
– 100 Portfolio Quality species images
– more out of area trips

And how am I doing?

Well, the weather has sucked, and a few other things — which can mostly be described as ‘getting old sometimes sucks’ — have slowed me down. Despite that, I’m pretty happy with things. I’ve birded seven county locations for 80 species in county, compared to 49 in 2018. My overall year list is 111 species (vs 95 in 2018), and that includes two trips so far, one down to Morro bay for the elephant seals (and some birds), and my SCVAS outing to Merced NWR where we found 56 species, a new high for me at that location.

Photographically I’m behind a bit, because of lack of time, weather and my X-T3 being in repair for a while, and early on I was putting more energy into birding, but I did an outing last week primarily for the camera (and the walk) at Palo Alto Baylands and added some nice species to the list. My photo big year list is at 22 species, and I’m not sure any of them are what I’d call portfolio, but some are pretty good and a couple of them are really nice species catches, such as a Glaucous-winged Gull and a Hairy Woodpecker.

This wandering around and shooting is letting me get familiar with the the X-T3, and I’m finding the images quite nice, and the autofocus seems really good once you sort out how to tweak it for conditions. I’m getting better rates of sharp focus on birds where on the X-T2 things might be just a bit off, but I’m still sorting out how I want to set the AF up. The exposure system does a wonderful job overall without the need for much tweaking.

So it’s a good start. Things need to ramp up, and will, since I’m doing a number of outings for SCVAS in the next two months and we’re starting to see the first signs of spring migration going.

And I’m not going to complain about the rain, since what we’re seeing is really how this area lived with winter before we hit the big drought… But it is nice to see the reservoirs finally filling up…