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By: Wes Fritz
On Jan 1st 2008, I had a remarkable day of 130 birds in the county. Then, it seemed
like the winter birds were coming in easy. I thought “Wow, I should do a Big Year”.
Knowing that Dave Compton & Joan Hardy had set the bar high, I knew that this would
be a daunting experience to try to come close to the previous County Big Year record.
I had always wondered if I could get one new bird per day in the course of a year.
After living in the county for 9 yrs and birding almost every day, I felt comfortable
using the habitats and time windows to focus on my target birds. By February, I was
committed to this task. I looked over the Big Year 2000 Spreadsheet. I divided the
county checklist into 3 columns: for-
My favorite finds of 2008: Cook’s Petrel, Red-
I feel like the biggest “misses”, in my search for birds, were Laysan Albatross,
Swainson’s Hawk, Ancient Murrelet, Bell’s Vireo and Baltimore Oriole. These were
all on my “for-
The best thing about this 2008 Big Year was that it was done on public property.
I did not use VAFB for any birding days. I have a strong interest in pelagic birding.
I do not miss many boat rides. I did two 5-
I still believe that a new bird could be found each day in the course of a year.
Timing is everything, along with a good spring and fall migration, and a couple great
Visit Wes’s California Target Birds website: CA Target Birds >>
Wes Fritz -
Current Total: 358
Year Completed: 2008
Previous Record Year 2000:
(tied at 337)
Year 2000 Participants:
Becky Hoban (326)
Cher Hollingworth (314)
Wes Fritz (358)
Cher Hollingworth (334)
Photo: Brad Schram