Friday, October 22, 2010
A Whole Week at Home-The 1st This Year
It is Friday evening, the beginning of week #43. As my blog entry title says, I have been home every nite for over a week which is the first time this entire year that has happened. I have not actually tallied up all the nites I have slept in my own bed this year, but I know that it is less than 30. So I am going on about being home for an entire week because it definitely marks a dramatic shift in this big year for me.
While the first 9+ months have been about birding almost everyday from sunrise to sundown, now I am entering the final 10 weeks of 2010 and the rhythm of the year has radically shifted to pretty much one of waiting to see what rare bird will show up on the internet, and can I possibly get to where it is in time to try to see it. As you know, my YTD is currently at 688 different species seen. I believe that there are only 3 more birds that I should see no matter what--rusty blackbird, rock sandpiper and common redpoll. Everything else not yet seen by me at this point in the year are rarities within the lower 48 states.
I have studied the probabilities of which rare birds have made fairly regular appearances in the fall and early winter over the past few years. Based on this review, I believe there are another half dozen that I have some reasonable expectation of seeing before the year comes to a close. Any others beyond that number will be a very nice surprise. I plan to keep on birding as the opportunities present themselves. With the 3 birds I mentioned above I will reach 691 which as best I can tell extends my big year record for the lower 48 states. While I did not set out on January 1st expecting to achieve such a high number, I am pleased that my birding process/schedule, and the good fortune of several rare birds showing up already this year has resulted in this level of success.
The photo above is of a terrapin taken nearby my home when I was out looking to see if rusty blackbirds had returned to central NC. So far they have not, but I know they will. Week #42 ended up with 61 birds seen including the white-cheeked pintail that is a provisional bird for the YTD count, so it is not included in the YTD total. I am waiting to hear early tomorrow morning about the weather conditions at Bodega Bay, CA before deciding to jump on a plane to fly out for 1 last pelagic trip this year. Stay tuned!