Friday, November 1, 2013

Just 2 Months Left for 2013 Big Year Birders

In 2010 during my lower 48 big year, I was not only birdwatching.  I also built my year around visiting favorite places, seeing close friends and seeking out good food.  To that end, my wife and 2 friends spent 10 days at the end of October and beginning of November in Italy.  Most of the time was spent in Florence where from the summer of 2003 to the summer of 2004 my wife, daughter and I lived.  We have been back almost every year since to visit our Italian friends and to soak up the pleasures of Italy.

One of our favorite places to visit in Florence is the Bargello museum which is known for its sculptures.  I particularly like this little guy who is the essence of joy to me.

The Bargello also has some animal sculptures including an owl which is a gufo in Italian.

Besides lots of walking the streets of the city, we spent many quality hours at our favorite wine bars and restaurants. 

The handmade ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach a topped with a cream sauce is a regular menu choice, as are grilled porcini in season.

When I returned from Italy in early November 2010, I had a message on my phone from Wes Fritz telling me about an ivory gull that had been hanging out in San Luis Obispo for a few days.  I had gotten home about 5 PM, and was on a plane at 6 AM the next  morning.  Unfortunately I arrived about 6 hours after it was last seen that day so I did not get to add an ivory gull to my big year list.  However, because I was in southern California at that time, I did see a black-tailed gull and a taiga bean goose over the next couple of days which raised my total for the year to 690.

So where are Neil, Jay and Ron as the calendar turns to November?  Ron has done a recent post on which shows that he is now at 679 for the year.  Jay is as I write in Louisiana in hopes of seeing a yellow rail.  As of yesterday he is at 690 + 2 provisionals.  He still has several code #1 and #2 birds to find principally in TX, AZ and CA.  With 2 full months to go, he is confident that he will go beyond 700 total birds. 

Neil spent Wed. evening watching a different kind of bird--the St. Louis cardinals losing at Fenway park to the Boston Red Sox who won their first world series at their stadium since 1918.  It was also the Red Sox 3rd world series championship since 2004 after having gone 86 years without winning one.  I think the jinx of the bambino is definitely over.  Neil ended October with 726 birds + 2 provisionals so far for the year.  I believe that there are 6-7 mostly code #1 or #2 birds that he will definitely see.  Every bird after that will be a code #3 or higher vagrant.

As I did recently, I am going to share some key data from 4 other big years.  Sandy Komito in 1998 was at 738 plus 3 provisionals on Nov. 1.  He would see only 7 more new birds over the next 2 months of which 4 were code #3 or higher.  Lynn Barber in 2008 was at 704 by this date.  She saw 19 more new birds by Dec. 31 of which 11 were code #3 or higher.  Bob Ake in 2010 was at 714 by Nov. 1.  He saw 17 more new birds over the next 2 months of which 14 were code #3 or higher.  In 2011 John Vanderpoel was at 729 by this date.  He saw 14 more new birds + 1 provisional by year end of which 12 were code #3 or higher.  Stay tuned!

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