Thank You!!!

Thank you!! Sometime this morning I passed the 4000 views mark for this blog. I started it in 2013 during my green birding year so that averages out to about 200 views per month. Not bad for a biking birder that doesn't know what he's doing.

I tried to do a little research as to how long the average blog lasts before the blogger gives up. The best figure I could find was about nine months. I've noticed that most of the blogs that followed mine and those that I followed have stopped publishing. What happened to you, Bud Glory, of Artless Poems? I miss your poetry. Did you go back to the future where you came from? Many of you will not know what that means. You can go back into the past and check it out.

How about you Thomas of Let's Geog. It looks like you've turned 18 last year. That probably means higher education, girls, or both.

It seems that 200 views per month is probably not a great total in the larger scheme of things as it turns out that many blogs are out there just to earn money. If I get my views up I will be able to sell advertising. That's not something I would do unless the MTA would like to use the site or maybe the local bike and repair shop:>)

What I find the most interesting thing about blogging is the international aspects of it. I'm now up to 78 countries in which my blog has been viewed. You have to wonder how a person in Syria came to view my blog. What were they Googling? The color intensity of the map below shows where my blog had landed in the last two years. I will have to work on China and most of Africa.

The stats indicate that this blog is still growing in viewership. So once again thank you. I still don't know what I'm doing but will slog on and will see where it goes.

 

These days, you have the option of staying home, blogging in your underwear, and not having your words mangled. I think I like the direction things are headed.

Marc Andreessen

 

 

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Wrap Up 2014

At the end of 2013 I did several posts that were titled, Wrap Up 1,2,3, and 4–The Birds, The Logistics, The Blog, and What's Next? Since 2013 was a “green” year, wrapping it up was a little more significant than 2014. I did not do as much birding in 2014 with most of my time spent doing bird survey work for Save Our Shorebirds(SOS) at Virgin Creek Beach and The Mendocino Land Trust on Big River. I did continue to do my weekly Little River Airport outings but didn't travel to inland Mendocino to bird. I also didn't blog as much in 2014 and I'm a little surprised that I've even kept this blog going. But I sort of enjoy blogging and it allows me to vent about the current state of birding like the last post (as of this writing, 1/13/15, the ABA still has not recognized Dorian Anderson on their blog), the sad state of the planet because of climate change, and news about biking and alternate means of travel.

So this will be a mini version of the 2013 Wrap Up posts and I'll try to get it done in one post.

Wrap Up–The Birds. Although I didn't spend as much time birding I did manage to see 220 bird species. 221 if you want to count the Mute Swan. I didn't spend anytime inland but did do two pelagic trips. I had 5 new county birds with 2 being lifers. I guess the best bird was the Cory's Shearwater. It's only the third record for California. I got a picture but it's not pretty and the California Bird Records Committee, our birding gods, haven't approved it yet.

The second lifer was a Murphy's Petrol which was too far off for a picture. Note that the two lifers were on pelagic trips. The biggest excitement for land birders was the Black Skimmer found on Virgin Creek Beach. It was a first record for Mendocino County with two more to follow in a short period of time.

I found a female Mountain Bluebird at the Little River Airport. The behavior of other birders trying to relocate the bird made me swear off reporting birds of high value found at the airport.

My fifth county bird is a secret. It has not been reported on any birding website and has not been Ebirded. This is because of it's threatened status in California. A colony of these birds was found in Mendocino County in 2013. Only a select few birders know of the existence of this colony and you will not get the location from me. The birds are Bank Swallows.

Some other notable birds that I got pictures of–a Lawrence Goldfinch at the Little River Airport.

My best picture of a South Polar Skua.

One of my favorite birds to get a picture of is the American Avocet. This one was on Virgin Creek Beach.

2014 was the year of the Elegant Tern in Mendocino County with hundreds being seen.

And finally a Pectoral Sandpaper which is not rare but I really like this picture of one dwarfed by the giant kelp.

The link to Wrap Up 1–The Birds for 2013 can be found here.

Wrap Up 2–the Logistics for 2013 can be found here. I'm a failure on the logistics for 2014. Didn't keep track of anything. Don't have any idea as to how many vehicle miles I saved. I have continued to use the bike and bus to do most of my birding. I fill-up my truck about every two months. The price of a bus pass has increased but it's still cheaper to ride the bus. I believe a round trip from Mendocino and Fort Bragg is now $1.06 instead of $.96. Due to a tire change by Catch a Canoe and Bicycles Too I had no broken spokes or flat tires. The bus was generally on time. So much for logistics.

Wrap Up 3–The Blog get a little more interesting. 2013 is here. At the end of 2013 I had 651 views of my blog. At the end of 2014 I had 2,584. A great increase in views. While in the big picture of blogs that might not be a high number, I'm happy with it. Comments were up to 92. That's 37 comments for 2014, down from 55 in 2013. Maybe people weren't as chatty this last year. I wrote 191 posts in 2013 (hard to believe) and only 82 in 2014.

In 2013 people in 25 countries had viewed my blog. At the end of 2014 that was up to 60. I need to fill in the map of Africa a little more. Just added Finland today. Who knew how popular I was in Moldova:>)

 

WordPress tells me that some of my most popular posts were written in 2013. One of those was the Psychology of Bus Riding Part Four–How Not to Sit Next to the Weirdo. I'm actually proud of this series of posts. It was picked-up by the Mendocino Transit Authority and linked to. This year it strangely took off again due to some financial company in England. The mysteries of blogging! Another 2013 post was the Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future. It has continued to be a popular post for the last two years. My most viewed 2014 post was Haboobs–Is Phoenix Doomed. I think it is but I will let you decide.

My followers with blog sites remained the same in 2014. Check the link above for a listing. Many thanks for following my blog if you are still out there. I added two email followers for a total of four. One is a friend back in Pennsylvania. Kathryn, sorry for the PTSD problems that my post called Blues on Wheels caused. All of us former postal employees have the same memories. There is a local birder following me. Henri I recognized your email address. Thank you for checking out my blog. Alison, you are still my number one commentator, Le fael!

Wrap Up 4–What's Next. The link to 2013 is here. What's Next was sort of a projection of what I would accomplish in 2014. Some of my projections actually happened. This blog was continued. Many of the projects around the house got done with some of them being a work in progress. Rat, squirrel, and mouse proofing under the house got done. It wasn't a pleasant project. An old rotten fence got taken down and is part of a landscaping project still ongoing. Renewed an old interest in butterflies. My efforts to make California State Parks here in Mendocino County more friendly to bike riders will get done, hopefully soon. Hooded Merganser/Wood Duck nest boxes didn't get done but are still planned. I did get one bird house for swallows done. Of course it was made out of recycled material. Working on my photography was started but was limited. Getting caught up with my reading material didn't happen. Keeping most of my birding within a local count circle around my home is still being contemplated. Taking pictures of Happy birds is an ongoing project. This is the most elevated Fox Sparrow I have ever seen. Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrap Up 4–What Next?

My experimental “green” birding year took up most of my free time. 2014 will be a year to catch up on my reading material and projects around the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing about climate change can unsettle and depress a person. To help me clear my mind I want to get back to my mindful meditation practice. Birding is a way of meditation for me but just being out there ticking off birds on a list doesn’t work for me.

I’m going to work on my photography. I normally leave my camera on one setting and hope for the best. I hope to improve on that. I’m also going to work on processing after taking the picture. Note the picture on the right. It’s the first time I’ve ever used a frame. 

Two of the projects I would like to work on this year are building Hooded Merganser/Wood Duck nest boxes for the ponds at the Little River Airport. I have talked about this with the manager of the Little River Golf Course and he wants to help. Of course we will have to have some rain to fill the ponds. Compare this current picture with one of the very first I used in this blog.

Pond at West End of the Airport

The other project is trying to make California State Parks more bike friendly. Part of that will be more bike racks at various places. Pictured below are the racks I’ve had to use this last year. Since both are located in main parts of MacKerricher State Park I think they need some upgrading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m also thinking of working on a photography project titled, “Happy Birds–The Birds of the Woods Taking Baths”. I may have to work on the title. It would look something like this.

 

 

 

As far as my birding efforts go I will be cutting back a day of birding in general. I plan to continue my Save Our Shorebirds (SOS) Survey at Virgin Creek Beach with less frequent trips to Ukiah using the MTA and my bike. I will continue my weekly birding visits to the Little River Airport. 

I’m looking at another way to keep my birding carbon footprint low for 2015. Talk about long range planning! With a new app called, “Count Circle” I can draw a circle similar to a Christmas Bird Count circle around my home. It contains some of my most popular birding areas and lot’s of areas to be explored. It will give me a reason to get to know my neighborhood and keep me close to home. Much of the area can still be done by bus and bike. To show what a great area I live in, the circle contains the Point Cabrillo Light Station, Russian Gulch State Park, Mendocino Headlands State Park, most of, if not all, of the Woodlands State Park, Van Dame State Park and Navarro Beach State Park. It contains Big River and the Caspar Upland Trail and also a large portion of Jackson Demonstration State Forest. It contains lot’s of the Pacific Ocean. I might have to charter my own boat.

 I plan to continue this blog with posts on birding, biking, public transportation and climate change. They just will not be as frequent. My wife gave me a great Christmas present. It consists of putting my logo, “Greenbirdingmendo” on a hat, jacket, tee shirts, a banner and business cards. So the adventure will continue.

P.s. 1/19/14

I have entered my “local” patch, the Little River Airport, in the “PATCHWORKING CHALLENGE”. More information about this challenge can be found on the “Green Birding” website.

 

Wrap Up 3–The Blog

I have never done a blog before nor had I ever contemplated doing one. It seemed natural to do one for my “Green Birding Mendo” year. Where would I start? How would I learn? I had never considered myself a writer and had to struggle to take the time to do it. A little investigation on the internet and I found several companies that hosted blogs and you could do it for free. That part certainly appealed to me. They said it was easy to get started. I guess it was. I decided on WordPress, signed up and plunged into this blogging experience. If you read my first blogs you might get a laugh at my attempts to insert a picture and wrap text around it. I found all the buttons above the writing screen intimidating. What were links? What were tags and why did I need to use them. I wanted to use my Ipad but all the reviews for the WordPress App were bad. Then I found “BlogPad Pro” for WordPress and I was on my way. In fact I would find it hard to blog on my regular computer now. BlogPad Pro had a simple “How To” section on their website that answered all my questions. I still don’t know what most of those buttons do but I can get by.

When you finally start a blog you wonder what do you say? There’s no sense writing to yourself so how do you get noticed? Is your message important enough to continue? Will people read it? You actually need some encouragement, so thank you for your comments and your decision to follow my birding year.

I guess you can divide this blog into four subjects, the birds, climate change, bus riding and biking. Each subject attracted an audience. There was lot’s to say about each. It was time consuming researching each subject. I finally found a system that made it easier. I used the “news” app, “Flipboard” and it allowed me to target my subjects. When I found something that interested me I could save it to the “Pocket” app for later reading. “Pocket” sent me an email saying that they were impressed with my stats. I was in the top 5% of readers in Pocket and that I had read 287,987 words which was like reading, “The Great Gatsby” 6 times. I’m a better reader than writer.

So there were some people out there reading my blog. What are the final stats for the year? I actually stayed up until midnight on New Years, something I haven’t done in awhile, to get some screenshots of my blog statistics. 

The year ended with a flurry because my post, “Contrasts–A Tale of Two Birders” got linked to the ABA’s Blog. Total views as of this date, 10 days into the new year, have jumped to 1,107 mainly due to a November post called, “80%–EIGHTY FREAKIN PERCENT. It got over 350 views in the first two days of January. Still don’t understand how these things happen.

 

My blog got viewed in 25 countries. The United States came in first with Canada next, followed by the United Kingdom. Since the first of the year I’ve added 3 more.

For the year I wrote 191 posts. Never would have thought that possible. I wrote on lot’s of subjects. Some of the posts were pretty bad. Some of them I’m proud of. I’m glad I wrote, “Contrasts–A Tale of Two Birders”, mentioned above. My 5 part series on the “Psychology of Bus Riding” caught the eye of the Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA). This one on “How Not to set Next to the Weirdo” was the most fun to write. My “Miami is Doomed” and “The Marshall Islands are Doomed” attracted some attention. One post that seemed to get noticed continually during the year was, “The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future”. It’s a combination of science fiction and history written from the point of view of a 24th century historian, “…all agree that the people of Western civilization knew what was happening to them but were unable to stop it. Indeed, the most startling aspect of this story is just how much these people knew, yet how little they acted upon what they knew.” It’s a frightening quote. There is one post that I wish had gotten more attention. It is called, “So—What’s the Hurry??”. It was an “Inside Climate News” story about, “The Most Important Climate Paper Few Have Ever Heard of”. The startling fact is that, “80 percent of all fossil fuel reserves would have to remain untouched to prevent uncontrollable warming.”

Thanks to my followers.  

Bud Glory of “ArtlessPoems” was one of my first followers. Bud specializes in “poems lacking poetry”. In Bud’s words, “I, Bud Glory, am writing this in the year 2012 having just traveled back in time from the year 2020…The future is hotter—much hotter; and by the year 2019 so much ice (that once made up the polar ice caps) has melted that sea levels have risen by 50 feet, totally wiping out island nations and cramming everyone into the centers of their continents; and population densities all around the world are so high that individual drops of water in the ocean have more freedom of movement than any person on land.” That might be the reason Bud was attracted to my blog. You can read more about him here

Ici & Là Nature (walk and bike in France) has been following me for sometime. Who(what) is Ici &Lá Nature and what does it mean? “”Ici & Là” means “Here and there” since our goal is to propose walking and biking tours everywhere in France and bordering countries. “Nature” because when you walk or bike, most of the time you are surrounded by Nature. Nature because this is also a very “natural” way of travelling close to the soil, the traditions, the people.”

“We are a group of European (for now mainly French) Outdoor Travel companies that market ourselves in English through Ici & Là Nature, a portal offering you a selection of some of our best trips.”

They have a great website and their blog has some great photography. Give them some consideration if you are planning a trip to France and biking or hiking is in your plans.

Thomas Hoather has the blog, “Let’s Geog” In Thomas’ own words, “My name is Thomas Hoather and I am currently 17 years old but will turn 18 in May 2014… I grew up in Winsford in Cheshire and I go to Knutsford Academy sixth form…I decided that I wanted to take Geography on to degree level for, well, many reasons. One is that I have enjoyed geography lessons since about the age of 11 where I was first properly introduced to it in year 7 (or 6th grade for those American geoggers out there)…Another reason is that the world is always changing therefore so is geography.” Thomas answers Geography questions sent in to his blog. I had the honor of asking him his first question.

Andrea C. Stumpf works in Theater Design and Production and is trying to live her life in a more environmentally friendly way. She states, “I love nature, its beauty and diversity.  I have become more and more worried that it is disappearing.” She has done some excellent posts on Germany’s “Green” Energy Program. Her blog is, “Barefeet In The Sand“.

James Elliott is a young journalist. He writes, “I’m a freelance journalist and political blogger.  I have a regular blog with The Huffington Postand I have been published on Liberal ConspiracyLeft Foot ForwardNew Left Project, CounterPunch and Mondoweiss.” His blog, “James Elliott-Journalist and Blogger Writing On Politics” will lead you to some of his writings.

Kendall F. Person is thepublicbloggerHe writes on a wide range of subjects. He states, “High school, college, ups, downs, high, lows. Life is what we call it. Its always given me exactly what I put into it. Close family. Friends are bond. Middle aged now. Rolling the dice again. But different this time around. I accept my limitations and I understand that gifts are for sharing.” His blog, “Where writing is a performance art and every post is a show.” is here.

Juan Bermćidez-Rey has the blog, “The Environment Wire” where he reports on the latest environmental news. What’s his blog all about? “With so many things going on all the time, and so much information being released everyday, how are you supposed to keep up with what’s going on in the world? Particularly, issues concerning the environment (climate change, food politics, preservation and conservation, environmental justice…) are constantly evolving, and the really important stuff is very hard to track. The Environment Wire is designed to help you keep track of the world. It constantly scans the web in order to select the most important stuff going on out there.”

I have two email “only” followers. Alison–thanks for your support and encouragement. You have the record for comments on my blog.

To the other email “only” follower I don’t know who you are. As far as I know I never got a message about you. Thanks for following me.

My next “Wrap Up” will be what I’m planning in the coming year. Stay tuned.