Sequoia Audubon Society
                              San Mateo County, California

The Big SIT 2016! October 9, 2016, Pescadero

Sequoia Audubon's Sixth Annual Big SIT! at Pescadero State Beach and Marsh Natural Area was blessed with good, clear, mild weather for the first nine hours of the count. Coupled with a relatively glassy sea, our SASsy Seawathers team detected 95 full species (96 including an unidentifiable Jaeger sp.). At 3:45, the fog arrived suddenly and decisively, ending our hopes of adding enough species to reach triple digits.

As of this writing (October 13, 2016), the SASsy Seawatchers have the highest recorded species total for the United States in the entire 2016 Big SIT! Only a team with the unfair advantage of being located in Mexico has bested our total!

JOIN US IN 2017 and be a part of sedentary ornithological history!

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Heroes of the count:

Doug and Donna Pomeroy arrived before 6:00 am and stayed all day; Doug also undertook extensive Sherpa duties.

Mark Kudrav kept alive his streak of attending every Big Sit, despite having moved from the county this year, and made some excellent contributions.

Arnel Guanloo
joined in the afternoon and found the Greater Scaup. He was also part of the team that helped see and ID the Broad-winged Hawk.

Susie Hons came to the count, as usual, after leading an Edgewood Walk. Thanks to her careful eyes, we were able to add the MacGillivary's Warbler (as well as the Marsh Wrens with which it was associating). As we've come to expect, she brought the dense date bars of dieting doom beloved by all.

John Epperson and Sue Rowinski arrived in mid-afternoon bringing a friend they'd met, Huibee, a visiting student from China. They helped introduce her to birding!

Leslie Flint found all sorts of good birds, and did the trudging work to find the MacGillivray's Warbler. She also had the best look and description of the Broad-winged Hawk.

Ginny Marshall found the Green Heron, a bird that has become scarce at Pescadero, and aided in the ID of the Broad-Winged Hawk.

Nelle Lyons provided context on the park and pond bird ID.

Marshall Dinowitz and Lisa Kelly eagerly awaited and applauded Osprey sightings and contributed to record-keeping and genial banter.

Barbara Dye and Kim Dailey participated avidly during their time on the hill, with good sightings and questions; Barbara helped with the rocky shorebird search, and Kim with the raptor sightings, locating the first Turkey Vulture.

At the end of the day we were joined by the three members of the Big Ride team – Rob Furrow, Chris O'Connell, and Chris Hayward – who helped us garner the last two species, Blue-winged Teal and Northern Pintail.

Jennifer Rycenga, captain of this immobile ship, detected a few birds, her favorite of which was her first-ever Cassin's Auklet seen from shore.

Looking Around
SASsy Seawatchers looking around.

Team Checklist in Taxonomic Order

1. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
2. Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
3. Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera
4. American Wigeon Anas americana
5. Northern Pintail Anas acuta
6. Gadwall Anas strepera
7. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
8. Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
9. Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
10. Greater Scaup Aythya marila
11. Black Scoter Melanitta americana
12. Surf Scoter Melanitta perspicillata
13. Common Merganser Mergus merganser
14. Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
15. Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
16. Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
17. Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis
18. Clark's Grebe Aechmophorus clarkii
19. Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
20. Virginia Rail Rallus limicola
21. Sora Porzana carolina
22. American Coot Fulica americana
23. Black Oystercatcher Haematopus bachmani
24. Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
25. Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
26. Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa
27. Black Turnstone Arenaria melanocephala
28. Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
29. Sanderling Calidris alba
30. Surfbird Calidris virgata
31. Wandering Tattler Tringa incana
32. Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
33. jaeger sp.
34. Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus
35. Common Murre Uria aalge
36. Pigeon Guillemot Cepphus columba
37. Marbled Murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus
38. Cassin's Auklet Ptychoramphus aleuticus
39. California Gull Larus californicus
40. Western Gull Larus occidentalis
41. Heermann's Gull Larus heermanni
42. Herring Gull Larus argentatus
43. Glaucous-winged Gull Larus glaucescens
44. Elegant Tern Thalasseus elegans
45. Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica
46. Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata
47. Common Loon Gavia imme
48. Black-vented Shearwater Puffinus opisthomelas
49. Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
50. Pelagic Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus
51. Brandt's Cormorant Phalacrocorax penicillatus
52. Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
53. Great Egret Ardea alba
54. Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
55. Snowy Egret Egretta thula
56. Green Heron Butorides virescens
57. Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
58. Osprey Pandion haliaetus
59. White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
60. Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
61. Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
62. Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
63. Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
64. Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
65. Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
66. Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
67. Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
68. Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
69. American Kestrel Falco sparverius
70. Say's Phoebe Sayornis saya
71. Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
72. California Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
73. Common Raven Corvus corax
74. Chestnut-backed Chickadee Poecile rufescens
75. Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
76. House Wren Troglodytes aedon
77. Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris
78. Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
79. Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
80. European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
81. American Pipit Anthus rubescens
82. House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus
83. Purple Finch Haemorhous purpureus
84. American Goldfinch Spinus tristis
85. Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria
86. MacGillivray's Warbler Geothlypis tolmiei
87. Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
88. Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
89. Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
90. California Towhee Melozone crissalis
91. Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
92. White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
93. Golden-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia atricapilla
94. Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
95. Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta
96. Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus


Big Ride Team
The Big Ride Team

Team Checklist in Chronological Order

1. Mallard – 6:00 am
2. American Wigeon
3. Virginia Rail
4. Killdeer
5. White-crowned Sparrow
6. Great Horned Owl
7. Spotted Towhee
8. Double-crested Cormorant
9. Gadwall
10. American Coot – 6:45 am
11. Common Raven
12. Eared Grebe
13. Pied-billed Grebe
14. Yellow-rumped Warbler
15. Heermann's Gull
16. Brown Pelican
17. Western Grebe
18. California Gull
19. Western Gull
20. Pacific Loon
21. Jaeger sp. (likely Parasitic)
22. Common Murre
23. Common Merganser
24. Black-bellied Plover
25. Northern Flicker
26. Great Egret
27. Bewick's Wren
28. Northern Shoveler
29. Brewer's Blackbird
30. Red-winged Blackbird
31. Anna's Hummingbird
32. Ring-necked Duck
33. Surf Scoter
34. Ruddy Duck
35. Black-vented Shearwater
36. Pelagic Cormorant
37. Clark's Grebe
38. Black Oystercatcher
39. American Pipit
40. Common Loon – 7:49 am
41. Chestnut-backed Chickadee
42. Belted Kingfisher
43. Red-throated Lon
44. Black Phoebe
45. Brandt's Cormorant
46. Glaucous-winged Gull
47. Song Sparrow
48. Elegant Tern
49. Green-winged Teal
50. Wrentit – 8:37 am
51. Downy Woodpecker
52. Black Turnstone
53. Marbled Murrelet
54. Say's Phoebe
55. European Starling
56. Western Meadowlark
57. Cinnamon Teal
58. Northern Harrier
59. Red-tailed Hawk
60. White-tailed Kite – 9:00 am
61. American Goldfinch
62. House Wren
63. Snowy Egret
64. Black Scoter
65. House Finch
66. Lesser Goldfinch
67. Pigeon Guillemot
68. California Scrub-Jay
69. Sora
70. Least Sandpiper – 10:33 am
71. Bushtit
72. Common Yellowthroat
73. American Kestrel
74. Osprey
75. Surfbird
76. Wandering Tattler
77. Green Heron
78. Herring Gull
79. Cassin's Auklet
80. Greater Yellowlegs – 11:15 am
81. Red-shouldered Hawk
82. Pomarine Jaeger
83. Sanderling
84. Golden-crowned Sparrow
85. California Towhee
86. Purple Finch
87. Marsh Wren
88. Turkey Vulture
89. Red-throated Loon
90. MacGillivray's Warbler – 1:25 pm
91. Marbled Godwit
92. Greater Scaup
93. Broad-winged Hawk
94. Peregrine Falcon
95. Northern Pintail
96. Blue-winged Teal – 3:50 pm


The BIG day…not quite as you've heard it described before!

You report birds, AND you decide how!

You can bird all day long without having to move much…

Or, You could get stay fit as you bike the hills and dales of the San Mateo coastline.


The Big SIT! Sunday October 9, 2016, at Pescadero State Beach and Marsh, atop the hill overlooking the North Pond, accessed using the bridge that Sequoia helped to fund. Officially the day begins at 8:00 am – contact Jennifer Rycenga for more information for early bird birders! We go until at least 5:00, sometimes 6:00 pm. Bring layers, snacks, and a fun attitude. If you've got a scope, bring that, too. The Big SIT! is an annual celebration now for Sequoia Audubon, the birding equivalent of tail-gating, as we search for as many species as we can see from a 17.5 foot diameter circle. We've seen, on average, over 85 species each year we've done this – and created memories, found migrants, and eaten some really delicious food!

On the morning of Sunday October 9, 2016, the Big RIDE! takes place. This starts at 7:30 am at the Gazos Creek Beach Access parking lot, and is done around 1:00, when participants can join the Big SIT! if they want (even gloating like they did last year about seeing more species than those on the hillside did), or go home to well-deserved rest. The Big RIDE! covers from Gazos Creek, then along Cloverdale Road, through Pescadero Town and down to Pescadero State Beach and Marsh. Like the Big SIT!, the idea is to accumulate as many species as possible

These twin BIG events are pledge fund-raisers. You can pledge a flat amount as a donation, or you can choose to pledge an amount per species seen (i.e. .10 cents/species, if the Big SIT! team saw 90 species, would equal a $9.00 pledge). Both the pledge options can be accessed using the buttons below or at the Sequoia donation page.


You may use these Donate buttons to fulfill your pledge. You may enter a flat amount or an amount equal to species-pledge times number-of-bird-species seen by the SASsy Seawatchers Big Sit team.

Please, enter the name of the person who solicited your pledge on the PayPal donation form. Thank you!

Use this button to support The Big Sit 2016
Use this button to support The Big Ride 2016 - Support Green Birding!

Thank you for your donation!

Click on the image of either poster to download the PDF file.The Big Sit Poster

Click on the image of either poster to download the PDF file.

The Big Ride Poster

The Big Sit is an all-day birding event, in which bird-watchers try to see as many species as possible from one designated spot. Each year Sequoia Audubon Society fields an open-ended team of birders — dubbed the SASsy Seawatchers — for this international event. Our chosen spot is typically the observation area at the top of the hill overlooking the North Pond at Pescadero State Beach. This hill can be accessed using the new bridge that SAS helped purchase and install. The SASsy Seawatchers — a team of friendly, skilled, and fun-loving birders, including (we hope) YOU — will be on the hillside all day, spotting bird species and having a grand rollicking time doing so. There will be a table with food and drink, and radios to listen to football and baseball playoff games, lots of people with cameras to take pictures of the birds and the birders. Be there! You can show up at any hour, and you can stay for as long or as short as you like.

Anyone, of any skill level, can participate. You can be a part of the bird-watching team, helping to accumulate a high team species total for the day. You can also pledge an amount per species seen; e.g., if you pledge $1.00 per species, and the team sees sixty species over the course of the day, your pledge would equal $60.00. Third, you can help collect pledges towards the event's total. You can do any combination of these three activities, too, even all three of them! Enthusiastic participation is encouraged: let's help the birds we love!

All the funds raised in this pledge drive stay right here in San Mateo county, to aid in Sequoia Audubon's mission: protecting native birds and other wildlife and their ecosystems by engaging people of all ages in conservation, education, advocacy and enjoyment.

More on the Big Sit! This is an event in which birders detect as many species as possible from within a 17.5 foot diameter circle. Described as "the equivalent of a tail-gating party for birders," the Big Sit not only creates birding camaraderie, but it also helps us to learn one location very very well! See Bird Watcher's Digest for past results, the rules, photos, and the light-hearted dimensions of the event. Enjoy the fun, be a part of the SASsy Seawatchers, and help Sequoia Audubon Society to help the birds.

The Big Sit!™ is hosted by Bird Watcher's Digest and New Haven Bird Club and is sponsored by SWAROVSKI OPTIK.
The Big Sit! is a registered trademark of the New Haven Bird Club, Inc.

Final Reports from previous years:


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