Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The California Expedition -- The Estimates

My brother-in-law got back from California on Monday. I went to see him tonight and hear about his trip. Nothing short of magnificent. So we have some preliminary species numbers. Some of these are guesses so don’t hold us to the numbers but here is an estimate by category of new species that he observed in California.

• 33 Birds (exact count is 34 but he can’t count the California Condor by the rules)
• 10 Butterflies
• 10 Moths
• 5 Dragonflies
• 60 Trees
• 4 Whales
• 10 Mammals
• 4 Lizards
• 200 to 300 Plants (not trees or grasses)
• 2 Galls
• 10 Grasses
• 25 Species of Tidal Pool Life
• 2 Kelps

So by my count that is a minimum of 376 and a maximum of 476 different species. One of the members of their trip who is just a birder came back with 2 birds. She has been to California before. Her life list is long enough now that she was thrilled to get the 2 new ones.

While the trip was highly successful, their days must have been grueling. Up a 4:30 AM, go all day like mad men until 11 PM. No eating until after dark except for the very fastest of fast food ate on the fly. They logged 7,400 miles. My brother-in-law will be weeks sorting this all out and getting it logged in his journal. I will get the final real figures when he has completed the project. He is happier than a mad dog in meat locker.


  1. Amazing list. "Gall" sent me to the dictionary. How on earth (well, it would have to be on earth) could one possibly find so many plants? Clearly, I don't know how to see. Something has happened to my computer. The type size is so small. Congratulate your brother for me.

  2. I have a friend who would love trekking through the wilds and playing Darwin. Did your brother-in-law go with friends or did he go with a tour, a Nat Geo or Audobon tour for example. Your comments keep getting better and better. And we do have a self-appointed watchdog. She kneels at the back of our church, rattling her rosary beads. Her name is Colleen Perfect. She is convinced we are all going to hell, so she prays for us. Our last Archbishop told her to stop e-mailing him. For that matter, our former Archbishoops would have been invited to our Synod as you suggested, but they would have showed up. They might even have offered help. In the meantime, keep that window seat under the oars saved for me. A friend has come up with a superb idea. Buy out the clothes in the stores like Goodwill. Put them in neat piles in the parking lot of churches that believe in the rapture. Leave a note. "We had to leave. Sorry we had to leave you behind."

  3. My brother-in-law went with friends. Serious birders though. The woman who planned out the trip is one of the top birders in Pennsylvania. She had been to California before and knew where to go. As I noted above she was delighted to add two birds to her life list. These people are obsessed with birds. My brother-in-law is obsessed with all of nature.

    Charon has your reservation in his computer. I love the idea of the clothes in the parking lot!