Sequoia Audubon Society
                              San Mateo County, California

The Big Sit!

Thanks for all who participated - donations are still welcome!

The Big SIT 2018! October 14, 2018, Pescadero

Bald Eagle by Donna Pomeroy
Bald Eagle Pescadero Marsh Nature Reserve 10/14/18 (Donna Pomeroy)

The Eight Annual Big SIT! was perhaps the most beautiful day yet, weather-wise, for this event at Pescadero State Beach and Marsh Natural Reserve. Twelve participants each made contributions to our 86-species day, highlighted by a BALD EAGLE. Some notable catches included the early-in-the-morning Canada Goose in the lagoon (Donna), the Snowy Plover on the beach (Leslie), the Black-vented Shearwater (Ginny and Jennifer), the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (heard only, Donna and Jennifer), Marbled Murrelet (Jennifer and MOB), Marbled Godwit (Gary), Clark's Grebe (Ginny), and the Bald Eagle (group effort). Hearing multiples of both Virginia Rail and Sora was enjoyable, and we had excellent views of acrobatic Say's Phoebes throughout. However, the weather might have been too nice, as there were no migrants or vagrants to speak of, and almost no new species were added after noon. A paucity of shorebirds and little in the way of tubenoses, as well as no owls – all of these factors held the species count down.

Participants: Donna and Doug Pomeroy, Jennifer Rycenga, Peggy Macres, Gary Deghi, Anne Kelley, Leslie Flint, Ginny Marshall, Marshall Dinowitz, Lisa Kelly, Susan Stratton, Chris Macintosh.

The species, in order seen:

  1. Great Blue Heron                         (6:00 am)
  2. Mallard
  3. Killdeer
  4. Black Phoebe
  5. Virginia Rail
  6. Marsh Wren
  7. Spotted Towhee
  8. American Wigeon
  9. Northern Shoveler
  10. Northern Flicker
  11. Hermit Thrush
  12. Brown Pelican
  13. Western Gull
  14. Brandt's Cormorant
  15. House Wren
  16. Song Sparrow
  17. Canada Goose
  18. Common Merganser
  19. Eared Grebe
  20. Common Yellowthroat                    (7:00 am)
  21. Wrentit
  22. Black Oystercatcher
  23. American Coot
  24. Heermann's Gull
  25. California Gull
  26. Glaucous-winged Gull
  27. Sora
  28. Great Egret
  29. Surf Scoter                            (7:11 am)
  30. Gadwall
  31. Red-tailed Hawk
  32. Pied-billed Grebe
  33. Common Murre
  34. Western Grebe
  35. Double-crested Cormorant
  36. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  37. Red-throated Loon
  38. Savannah Sparrow
  39. Pacific Loon
  40. Common Raven                           (7:30 am)
  41. Red-shouldered Hawk
  42. American Goldfinch
  43. Peregrine Falcon
  44. Cinnamon Teal
  45. Western Meadowlark
  46. Eurasian Collared-Dove
  47. California Scrub-Jay
  48. Black-vented Shearwater
  49. Pelagic Cormorant                      (8:00 am)
  50. Brewer's Blackbird                     (8:05 am)
  51. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  52. Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  53. Purple Finch
  54. Say's Phoebe
  55. Common Loon
  56. Marbled Godwit
  57. Belted Kingfisher
  58. Northern Harrier
  59. Snowy Plover
  60. Sanderling                             (8:42 am)
  61. Marbled Murrelet
  62. Greater Scaup
  63. Black Scoter
  64. House Finch
  65. Anna's Hummingbird                      9:35 am)
  66. Northern Pintail
  67. Snowy Egret
  68. European Starling
  69. American Kestrel
  70. Lesser Goldfinch                       (9:55 am)
  71. Turkey Vulture
  72. Red-winged Blackbird
  73. Bewick's Wren
  74. White-tailed Kite
  75. Clark's Grebe
  76. Green-winged Teal
  77. White-crowned Sparrow
  78. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  79. Herring Gull                           (12:00 noon)
  80. Short-billed Dowitcher                 (12:15 pm)
  81. Least Sandpiper                              
  82. Western Sandpiper
  83. American Crow
  84. Bald Eagle                             (2:00 pm)
  85. Lesser Scaup (5:00 pm)
  86. American Pipit (5:25 pm)

There were four species new to the cumulative Big SIT! list for Pescadero: Lesser Scaup, Bald Eagle, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. The cumulative total of species is now at 162 for this spot – rather extraordinary!

The eBird list can be found here. Entries of bird photos and other taxa from the day can be found in the following personal listings on iNaturalist:

Jennifer Rycenga -

Donna Pomeroy -

The link to the standings, pictures, and narratives for all of the Big SITS can be found here.

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 14, 2018, 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 14, 2018, the Big RIDE! takes place. This starts at 7:00 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 2018
Use this button to support The Big Ride 2018 - Support Green Birding!

Thank you for your donation!


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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