Sunday, December 5, 2010
A Snow Covered Morning in Chapel Hill
It is Sunday morning and as the picture above shows we had a nice little bit of snow starting yesterday afternoon here in Chapel Hill. I have been coming to or living in Chapel Hill since the mid 70's and my experience of winter over that 35 year period is one of my personal reference points about global warming. This part of NC rarely sees significant, if any, snow now.
It has been nice to be home since Friday evening, getting some rest and quality time with my wife. This last phase of a big year is really not to my liking since I much prefer to just go birding rather than constantly being ready to "chase" the next rarity. I have rarely done "chasing or twitching" in the past. Most of my rare birds have happened because I was already birding somewhere when one showed up, or because I made a point of birding in a place like Gambell, on St Lawrence Island, AK.
I want to thank some of the followers of this blog for their suggestions/assistance lately about reaching my now final goal of seeing 700 different birds before the end of this year. I listed recently some of the more likely rarities that might be seen, and have received in the comments some ideas about finding these birds. The really rare code 4 or 5 birds I will find out about immediately on Narba. For timely info on gyrfalcons, redpolls and thick-billed murres I will need to constantly scan the internet bird sites or hear from my birding contacts, or readers of this blog.
Other than the common redpoll and the thick-billed murre, which I plan to search for the week before Xmas up in New England, most of the other rarities are much more iffy in where they could show up. For example, slaty-backed gulls could be on the west coast or the upper midwest. Gyrfalcons could appear in WA, the plains states, the upper midwest or New England. So I have to be ready to hop a plane as soon as one is found. As a result, I am currently waiting a few days before returning to the west coast to try for the brown shrike again in hopes of some other rarities also being seen out there. In the mean time maybe a western spindalis or a loggerhead kingbird will show up in FL. Stay tuned!