Tuesday, December 17, 2013

52 Weeks in the Books with Just 2 More to Go

There are only 2 weeks left in 2013 for big year birders to find a few more new species for their lists.  In 2010 by this date I did not yet know that I had just seen my last new birds for the year.  I had gone to North Dakota to see both common and hoary redpolls which on the day that I saw them I thought were my 700th and 701st birds for my lower 48 big year.  Little did I know that because I had not created a bird list on my blog until February, I had left 3 birds off the list when I did my initial 200+ bird entry.  Followers of my blog pointed out an entry error I had made on scissor-tailed flycatcher, and when I went to carefully review my list I found a few entry errors including that I had left northern harrier, blue-headed vireo and hermit thrush off my list back when I first started it on the blog.

Imagine my surprise then to discover that the 2 redpolls were actually my 703rd and 704th birds for the year (click on any photo to enlarge).  Even though I went up to Massachusetts to join a CBC in hopes of seeing a thick-billed murre on the 19th of December, I did not see one, and so my final count for 2010 was 704.

So where are our big year birders with just 14 days left to bird?  Ron Furnish did another post to talk about his recent trip to Texas to see whooping cranes.  This was his 687th new bird for the year, but in his trip report he said he does not expect to do any significant birding before 12/31, and that the cranes might be his last new bird for 2013.

Jay Lehman has been birding so hard that he is not close to caught up on his blog.  He had a very successful trip to Anchorage and Nome, and also out to Adak with Neil Hayward, John Puschock and Bill Sain.  I believe he is currently in Arizona picking up more birds as well.  Jay started his year a bit slowly and then missed 2-3 weeks in August because of a flooding problem at his home in Cincinnati, Ohio.  As a result, he still is searching for some code #1 and #2 birds that he did not have time to find earlier in the year.  His count is now up to 721 + 3 provisionals last I heard.

Neil as I write is amazingly flying back to Alaska to look for a rustic bunting that has been coming to a feeder in Homer for the past week.  I believe that this is his 7th trip since May to Alaska. He had been in Florida where he saw a La Sagra's flycatcher, but missed finding what appears to be a returning white-cheeked pintail at Pelican Island NWR.  With the little bunting he saw in northern California, and the La Sagra's he is now at 744 + 3 provisionals.  He has still not added the aplomado falcon he saw to his list which would bring his confirmed total to 745.  Sandy Komito's record of 748 set back in 1998 is definitely in play.  Stay tuned!

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