58-250 progress and a wee bit more

Several months ago I decided to indulge in a fun little project, a personal game in which I would attempt to photo-document 250 species in each of California's 58 counties. I believed 250 was a reasonable number that would encourage the inclusion of a wide variety of organism, from birds, fish, and mushrooms to trees, grasses, and snails, and that when put together, they would provide a broad overview of the species and habitats in each county. It would also force me to learn more about organisms I knew little about and encourage exploration in parts of California I rarely if ever visit.

Over the past several months, two milestones in this quest have been passed. While exploring a small patch of rocky shore in Moss Landing; a spot where sandy shore and mud flat come close together, I found the recently emptied shells of several species of bivalve along the beach (some still had meat or other soft tissue inside). These included both Pacific and Japanese Littleneck Clams, Pacific Gaper, Washington Clam, Nuttall's Cockle, and for my 250th species recorded in Monterey County, the Bent-nosed Clam! Encouraged by the latest rains, I've since added quite a few fungi to the list as well as wintering birds, putting me at 299 species found, photographed, and ID'd in Monterey County. Not surprisingly, there is a disproportionately northwestern bias to the list with an emphasis of offshore, coastal, and coastal woodland species while it short-changes the vast expanses of open range and interior oak woodlands in the southern part of the county. Hopefully, this spring I will compensate for some of these oversights with records of Monterey County Greater Roadrunner, Grey Pine, Lesser Nighthawk, tarantula (Aphonopelma iodius for those following the spider news!) and more.

Additionally, while coming down from a quick trip to the Sierra Foothills at the end of December, I stopped briefly at Knights Ferry along the Stanislaus River where I photographed several birds, including these rather ominously-comic Turkey Vultures:

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2582142

I hadn't realized it at the time, but this was my 29th county with inaturalist records, meaning I now have at least one record for half the counties in the state! The real challenge now will be getting good coverage of those largely urban counties around the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles County.

Lastly, I'm up to 988 photographed and identified species! This weekend will include a trip to northern California and while I won't be adding any new counties to the list, with any luck, I will get out and get a few new species, pushing me to a thousand!

I want to thank everyone who has encouraged me in this, and for all the help people have so generously given as I've muddled my way through the identification of trees and snails and mushrooms and seaweeds and about a hundred other organisms more!

RJ

Posted by rjadams55 rjadams55, February 12, 2016 23:58

Comments

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Inspiring. I've got to up my skills and effort! Overwhelming to think about all those counties..

Posted by leptonia over 4 years ago (Flag)
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Fantastic! Keep up the good work and complete the project and set an example and very high standards for the rest of us. And we learn from yours postings.

Posted by lonnyholmes over 4 years ago (Flag)
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Well done, RJ. Congratulations on surpassing your 250 mark in Monterey County, and with a marine invertebrate!

Posted by gbentall over 4 years ago (Flag)
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Thank you for all your help on those marine invertebrates @gbentall !

Posted by rjadams55 over 4 years ago (Flag)
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This may inspire me to do a similar project here in WA.

Posted by mrfish33 over 4 years ago (Flag)

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