Trip Report
My Big Year video (OT)- a year long journey
Tuesday October 30, 2012 8:37pm
Credit: Slater

My "big" year is up, it was actually my first year birding. A very fun year. A GREAT down day activity that mixes well with rock climbing for sure! Who knew?
I always thought those "bird guys" were nerdy. I guess I'm one of them!

260 total, 226 county. I didn't leave the state, and barely left the county.

Not a big number, but with two jobs and two kids under 8 years old, it's about what I expected.
I was hoping to see half the birds in the county and I accomplished that, and met some really fine individuals along the way and learned a lot about the world I took for granted for so long. Who knew there were acorns in the telephone poles on my route to work? Who knew there were red and yellow and blue birds in SLO county? Who knew there was more to life than surfing and rock climbing? It was fun to expand my horizons as a 40-something, keeping an open mind. It was also fun getting to know the other climbers on the "Birds" thread.
Cool group!

I was blessed many times over this year, and spent a lot of great time with son and daughter getting outdoors and discovering new places. And I think that is what it is all about.

Here is the Big Year video I put together today... enjoy!

Bird on,

Tom Slater- Nipomo

  Trip Report Views: 1,178
About the Author
Slater is a trad climber from Central Coast and co-author of "California Road Trip - Climber's Guide to Northern California" and "California Central Coast Climbs: San Luis Obispo".

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Jeremy Ross

Gym climber
  Oct 30, 2012 - 08:55pm PT
Very nice, my friend.


  Oct 30, 2012 - 08:56pm PT
I have NEVER seen anybody take to something as fast as you took to birding.



Trad climber
  Oct 30, 2012 - 09:32pm PT
Love the music in the vid.

Did I help to inspire this persuit with the BIG YEAR thread? Hope so as I didn't follow up on my end...

this just in

Justin Ross from North Fork
  Oct 30, 2012 - 10:13pm PT
Right on Tom. Pretty cool Owen loves to bird as much as you. Thanks for the vid.

Trad climber
Pt. Richmond, CA
  Oct 30, 2012 - 11:58pm PT

That was fantastic. In my county(Alameda) Big Year, I only managed 212. My (lame) excuse is that SLO Co has a bigger possible total. Seriously, way to go! That IS a big number. I can only speak for myself, but Prod's prodding did inspire me to focus close to home, which was great for me. Thanks, Prod. I am particularly pleased that you also engaged your kids. That's a hopeful sign for the future.

P.S. If you are ever up in the SF Bay Area, maybe we can go out to some local spots.
john hansen

  Oct 31, 2012 - 12:16am PT
That is an amazing set of photos, and all taken in one year.

Really good stuff, what kind of camera/lens did you use?

dee ee

Mountain climber
Of THIS World (Planet Earth)
  Oct 31, 2012 - 11:53am PT
That was great! Quite a few on the vid I haven't seen .........yet.

I' gotta' start saving for a new camera.

Next year I may do a B.Y.

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  Oct 31, 2012 - 12:57pm PT
Great job capturing so many birdies, fun to watch! SoCal is a pretty darn good local birding venue me thinks. We need to get out there more :-) Keep having fun with the boids!

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Oct 31, 2012 - 01:12pm PT
Boy oh boy...that was great. I live up the coast in Santa Cruz and I also spend alot of time on the water (sailing) and in the mountains. I really need to be more vigilant... your vid was really engaging...I am enjoying these vid TRs...wish I could learn to be that clever at editing.

thanks for some lovely fun to be doing it with your kids, also. NEat!


Sonoma County
  Oct 31, 2012 - 01:32pm PT
great video Tom!! fun to try and ID the birds in your vid.

were you able to photograph most of your obs. What are some that you didn't get shots of?

Birds are so cool! :)

Trad climber
Central Coast
Author's Reply  Oct 31, 2012 - 04:54pm PT
I had to borrow the Clark's Nutcracker, black-throated swallow, and Piliated Woodpecker pics. I got a clarks, but only its butt. The Piliated was way to high up in Yosemite Pine, and the sparrow just wouldn't hold still for a photo.
But I got the other 257 on my own. Very challenging. Some of the pics suck, but that is how it goes sometimes, you can't always get close enough. Sometimes they cooperate, but not always. The sage sparrow I lured out with a recording. After that, he was very chatty.

Sorry Prod, I saw the movie and started about 4 months before your post date. The movie was very inspiring to me. Funny though, that my dad had been a birder for decades. It just never rubbed off until I saw the movie.

Yeah, the central coast is dynamite, Oceano, Montana De Oro, Morro Bay, Pismo, Oso Flaco... all close by

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
  Nov 3, 2012 - 12:01am PT

Totally enjoyed your pictorial video!!..excellent...
The music was fun.., too.



Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Nov 3, 2012 - 01:06pm PT
Wow - great job with the video. That was a lot of fun to watch. I really enjoyed the choice of music.
And congrats on the "new hobby" Isn't life a trip?

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