One step at a time. One month at a time. One bird at a time. It's time to take a look back on this years very often slow trek to the top, finding birds.
We began in January. It was a good start to the year finding 4 new lifers in one month. That's almost unheard of these days. The birding was fun and the temps were wonderfully COLD! I love birding in the cold weather. On a rare snowy day in Sierra Vista, I found my exciting lifer, the American Bittern. Then it was off to Lake Havasu where we found another cool bird, the Yellow-billed Loon. These two bird species are favorites of mine and I had been really looking forward to observing them in the wild. Then, on a windy day, I chased the McCown's Longspurs. I like grassland birds, but I had a nasty headache from the blustery conditions in Green Valley while helping birders target these two longspurs. If I were ever a paid guide, I think my strength would be finding grassland birds. Another bird, which was less exciting, was the Barrow's Goldeneye. All birds are awesome BUT some birds are more exciting to find than others.
Let's begin. January, 2016 I began the year with 706 observed bird species in my life. And then it began as I added American Bittern, Yellow-billed Loon, Barrow's Goldeneye and McCown's Longspur
So in March, I added Yellow-chevroned Parakeet, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Black Turnstone and Spotted Dove.
In April, I began lacking the energy needed for chasing birds. It was starting to get hot outside and the idea of standing in the desert sun was not my idea of fun. I almost didn't go but thanks to Magill's encouragement, I went. And I got myself a random lifer, AND RARE!, warbler for the state. April-Prothonotary Warbler
If April was hot, May was even hotter. I wasn't thrilled about hearing a Black Rail. I would have liked to see the bird but it's a difficult one to see in the wild. We chased the ABA first, Pine Flycatcher. Thanks Jeremy for driving! They were hot days and the only way I survived was by drinking ice cold water in my camelpack. Not my idea of fun birding. While the excitement level was high, I was looking forward to birding in Wisconsin during the month of June in cooler temps. May-Black Rail, Red-headed Woodpecker, Pine Flycatcher
Then June came. I didn't go anywhere exotic, but I did find myself enjoying the cooler temps of Lake Michigan with my people. I missed being around the Wisconsin birding crowd. It was a tight study in a window of 3 weeks. During this trek with Gordon, we landed the most lifers including rare gems like the Kentucky, Cerulean and Kirtland's Warblers. Many were a lot of fun to look for.....except maybe the Mourning Warbler due to the intense cloud of mosquitoes.
June-Yellow-throated Vireo, Kentucky Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Sedge Wren, Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, Acadian Flycatcher, Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers, Kirtland's Warbler, American Woodcock, Little Gull, Mourning Warbler, Winter Wren and Alder Flycatcher.
In July, it was back to the heat. I didn't want to return to Arizona but I had to save money. I didn't think anything was going to come my way. That is, until a Hudsonian Godwit flew into Arizona. This is where I began to change as a birder.
|American Three-toed Woodpecker|
In November, I did not find any lifers. However, I have been adding old files into iNaturalist and I wanted to verify an ID on this hummingbird below. I had labeled it a White-necked Jacobin, but the ID had never sat quite right with me. When a birder is unfamiliar with new birds, it can be difficult. To make it worse, I wasn't truly a birder in 2011. I was more like a bird photographer. I had only started getting interested with the birding challenge after this trip to Panama. So technically, I added a tick on my list by adding this beautiful Snowy-bellied Hummingbird. So November wasn't really a bust:) When a birder can ID a bird with certainty, it then makes the bird a lifer even though I saw this bird back in Boquete in June of 2011.