Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in review

Mountain Bluebird, Badlands National Monument, South Dakota 

I saw a facebook update on someone's "year in birds" and realized I hadn't really done any tallying of how 2012 went for me bird-wise. When I did do a tally (thank you, eBird), I was pretty darned impressed!
Bronzed Cowbird, near Donna, Texas 

Northern Hawk Owl, near Fryeburg, Maine 

Here are my numbers:
North America (USA) Lifelist total: 371 (updated after a counting error)
2012 total birds: 282
2012 lifers: 52!

FIFTY-TWO! I had no idea! That's what happens when you visit seven different states in a year, baby! A big trip west, a big trip to Texas, and my move to Maine: keys to birding success.

Brown Jay, Salineno, Texas

Burrowing Owl, Badlands National Monument, South Dakota
Greater White-fronted Goose
Common Eider
Greater Sage-Grouse
Red-necked Grebe
Eared Grebe
Great Cormorant
Ferruginous Hawk
Whooping Crane
Upland Sandpiper
Hudsonian Godwit
Marbled Godwit
Glaucous-winged Gull
Black Guillemot
Green Parakeet
Northern Hawk Owl
Burrowing Owl
Barred Owl
Short-eared Owl
White-throated Swift
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Western Wood-Pewee
Dusky Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Philadelphia Vireo
Brown Jay
Clark’s Nutcracker
Black-billed Magpie
Chihuahuan Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Mountain Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Rock Wren
Mountain Bluebird
Sage Thrasher
Yellow-throated Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Cassin’s Sparrow
Brewer’s Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Crimson-collared Grosbeak
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird
Bronzed Cowbird
Hooded Oriole
Altamira Oriole
Audubon’s Oriole
Pine Grosbeak
White-winged Crossbill
Common Redpoll

Hudsonian Godwit, Pine Point, Maine

Some really special moments on this list: the trip down the West Coast and across the northern plains, going up the Rio Grande to Salineno, moving to Maine and going to the beaches. Who knows what 2013 will bring?

Crimson-collared Grosbeak, McAllen, Texas
So how did your year go?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Snow, snow, snow

It's been snowing like crazy up here! Here's the view from the porch:
We had to park out by the storage garage way back there on the left.

Look at it come down!

It was so beautiful that I wanted to go out to Wharton Point to see it fall on the sea water. It seems so crazy to watch snow hitting the ocean, or in this case Maquoit Bay:

Here's what it looked like back then:
This is the same place I saw all those little Least Sandpipers back in September:

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Anticipation: sneak peek at the spring birding trip!

Every year for the past three years I've traveled down to Texas to visit my parents and see new birds, and 2013 will provide a new twist on the trip: sister Mary and I will be going to Big Bend!

Usually, I go to the Rio Grande Valley, my birthplace and home until I went to college. Mary, however, has been lobbying for a Big Bend trip after spending time there with her hubby, professional drummer and all-around cool guy Jim. So this time around, we'll be headed for the Chisos Mountains and points west!

So far, my research indicates we'll be seeing some crazy new specialties like Phainopepla, Scaled Quail, and more. We might be a touch early for the featured bird, the Colima Warbler, but I like heading down there in February or March. Why so early in the year? because I grew up in Texas and know how hot it gets even in February! Next year, I'll head down for the last week in March.

You'll recall previous trips from 2010, 2011, and 2012. This time around, it'll be Mary and me, "roughing it" in Big Bend National Park. 

Can't wait!