Perhaps I'll start entering posts here again, mostly in an effort to motivate me to get out there and bird more. Life has taken quite a busy turn of late; I'm now married with a son, and that little man takes up a lot of time. He's only 7-1/2 months old, so he needs us an awful lot. Between work, him, my blacksmithing (yeah I do that too now), rockhounding (yup, that too), and my woodworking and spoon carving (don't do that nearly enough anymore either!), birding has taken a hit. About the only time I'm sure to be out there is when I go on a trip because #everytripisabirdingtrip!
Does Blogger even recognize what a hashtag is? Clash of technologies!
Today, I stand at 457 lifers. My last bird was the famous Great Black Hawk that hung out in Biddeford, Maine, for a few days early this month. I happened to see him on his last day: I cut out of work for a "long lunch" and drove the 35 minutes to the intersection of Fortunes Rocks Road and Lily Pond Avenue, right on the coast. A lot of posh homes and rocky beaches, highlighted by the presence of a very flighty GBHA! I saw him within 5 minutes of my arrival, which was quite exhilarating. I followed him for a bit, and I even managed to get a horrible photo of him on my iPhone. Why didn't I bring my camera!?
See him? No??? Well, let me help you.
Zoomed and circled here, the hawk is facing left.
It was such a thrill to see this visitor from Mexico and points south; I'll likely never seen one again, which makes me a little sad, but I'm SO GLAD I took that long lunch! Later that afternoon, only hours after I'd seen him, he flew out to sea and was gone.
That's one crazy bird. This article explains that the consensus is that this is the same bird as was seen on South Padre Island, TX, in April of this year. The crazier thing is, as someone quoted in the article points out, GBHAs don't migrate. So why this bird chose to fly to Texas and then to Maine is really anyone's guess, so Darwin might say he has a death wish; he's not likely to survive very long unless he heads back home, wherever that might be. Perhaps he's following in my footsteps.
Meanwhile, I've been doing some Excel-and-eBird obsessing/planning for future work-related trips (Orlando, FL, in Feb 2019; National Harbor, MD, in July 2019; and Nashville, TN, in Feb 2020), and I realized that I hit 400 lifers in 2013.
That was 5 years ago!
It's taken me 5 years to get 57 birds! And that includes the infamous puking pelagic trip, as well as two trips to SE Arizona (one in September 2013 and one in February 2017, not exactly high migration), a trip to Big Bend and western Texas (and my first Painted Bunting, among other things), and a San Antonio/home trip involving a Golden-cheeked Warbler!
That's a lot of miles for 57 birds.
At any rate, the planning for future lifers continues. That Orlando work trip may well yield 19 lifers, and that's just going to involve driving from Orlando and staying somewhere on the Space Coast! If I were to really branch out and go down to Ding Darling or even the Everglades, that number would go up 28 possible lifers. Of course, never count your lifers until they're spotted.
So there are birds out there. Hell, I still haven't even seen a Spruce Grouse up here in Maine, and my friend and potter Garrett Bonnema tells me he practically trips over them on his mountains hikes out in western Maine near Bethel (where my in-laws live). And there are American Three-toed Woodpeckers and Black-backed Woodpeckers (up in Baxter State Park, about 5 or 6 hours away) to see here as well. At least I got my Bicknell's Thrush on Mt. Washington last June.
There's still plenty to write about, too.