Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Bigger January

Snowy Egret

It has been an amazing January so far.  And the month isn't even over yet!  If it's one thing I learned about last year's BIG JANUARY, it's not about how many birds you find as it is more about locating the rare birds first. And then finding the easier ones along the way. With that strategy in mind, I've really been able to rake in the birds this month.  So here are some of my birder tips for the Big January Challenge.......

Eared Grebe
Study where each of the birds hang out.  It took me a year(and I'm still learning about new locations!) to figure out where everything is!

Female Costa's Hummingbird
Take a trip somewhere fun on January 1st to jump start your Big January. It doesn't have to be far, but preferably a place with a different habitat full of different birds that you won't find in your own area. We chose the ocean and found lots of great water birds that of course, are rare to our desert.
Marbled Godwit
Familiarize yourself with human behaviors.  People can be difficult to work around....especially the ones with dogs.......and truly the ones that refuse to keep their pets on a leash!!!  Once people enter the picture on the trails or beaches, the birds disappear.  So understanding human routine is very important.  Plus birds are the most active during those early hours of sunrise. If you are chasing a rare to find bird, head directly to the area where it is seen and DO NOT STOP to count the other birds.  That can come later. More than likely the bird will be gone if you make too many stops. 

Fox Sparrow
As a global community, we have forgotten about working together.  Many things are done online or with computers which of course takes the human equation out of the picture.  I have found in my own profession that much of the work is now mandated without discussion.  Collaboration is just a word.  But in the real world it is still very much alive. Teaming up with other birders has allowed us to find greater amounts of birds and share in that celebration. And it is a celebration.  The greatest gift for a birder is a life bird. Plus we're really easy to shop for....anything with a bird on it:)

Recently, I teamed up with Gordon's Birding Adventures, Kathie Brown from Kathie's Birds and Melody Kehl(a bird guide who knows her stuff!) and Audubon. And there are more dates with other birders coming up.  We can accomplish the impossible with an extra set of eyes or ears. Together we all enjoy the benefits and beauty of this passion we call birding. 

Allen's Hummingbird
I will follow up with totals and other incredible birds on part 2 of this "Bigger" January in a few weeks.  But for now I'll leave with some special moments while on the trails.



Townsend's Warbler

Mexican Spotted Owl

Rosy-faced Lovebird

Greater White-fronted Goose
Harris's Sparrow(juvenile)

Western Screech-Owl

Rufous-capped Warbler
Elegant Trogon
And that's why this January has been a much bigger January:)  Stay tuned for more......


  1. What a great start to the year, Chris. I hope it keeps going that way.

    I leave for my trip to Costa Rica tomorrow, so am hoping to see at least the Greater White-fronted Goose from your images in San Francisco!

  2. great capture of the hummingbird

  3. The Mexican Spotted Owl has such an exquisite home like taken out of a fairy tale! Like "the owl" by the Brothers Grimm.

  4. What a wonderful start to the year Chris :) I love the screech owl hiding in the cactus :)

    I hope you continue to see lots more birds as January progresses :

  5. Chris, you are having a great January. Great tips and beautiful birds. I hope January ends with an explosion of birds for you. Have a happy day!

  6. Love the owl in the cactus. And the video. LOL.

  7. Lovely shot of the Egret, and those owls really know how to choose great places to make their homes,..they are fantastic photos.Continue to enjoy January birding Chris and good luck in finding more to share with us.

  8. Niestety film nie jest dla mnie widoczny. Napis, że nie jest dostępny w moim kraju :(. Zawsze się ptakom, które siedzą w kaktusach. Pozdrawiam.
    Unfortunately the film is not for me to see. The inscription that is not available in my country: (. Always the birds that sit in cacti. Yours.

  9. Excellent tips, Chris! What a terrific start to your Big January! So many fantastic birds and we are only halfway through the month. All are wonderful, but I especially love the two owl photographs and the stunning Townsend's Warbler. Here's wishing you a very birdy second half of January!

  10. your glee makes me so happy
    I enjoy every photo you post...because they are terrific
    and I love birds

  11. I have always loved looking at your bird photos...the one of the owl in the darling.


  12. Chris, your willets in the surf look like they are standing in snow! Your rosy faced lovebird photo is exquisite and so is your Rufous-capped warbler! You are well on your way to doing a Big year! (Will this year be bigger than last year? I think so! You should post a comparison of stats from where you were at this time last year and where you are now! then update it periodically as you go along.)

  13. Beautiful shots!! You know which ones are my favorites. The owls of course. I never knew owls burrowed in cactus!

  14. Some good advice in your post, Chris, and some beautiful pictures too! You won't be surprised to hear that the two owl images are my favourite - both in great positions.

  15. I hope 2014 proves to be a good year for you and yours!

  16. Great advice! And cute video....I actually appliqued a bird on a branch on a plain totebag once and still use it. :-) I really want to try to do some real birding this year now that I have the new camera!


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