Day 1 - And We're Off... Hiccups Included

Friday, January 01, 2016 6 Comments A+ a-


Before the sun graced the surface of my great state this morning I was off in the dark.  My goal was to avoid a boring first bird for the year.  No House Sparrows. No Starlings. No Rock Pigeons.  If I could avoid those 3 I would be happy.  I contemplated an early owl outing but decided it was a waste of energy.  With a Big Year like this pacing ones-self is necessary, and quite difficult.  I find that most birders who have any competitive spirit want to sprint out of the gates each year.  The eBird Top 100 has facilitated this immensely in recent years, stoking the flames of competitive local birding. Today I wasn't worried about jumping to the top of that list--in fact I will intentionally make sure I don't rise to the top.  If my numbers here are at the top of the pack, then figuring out my identity will be even easier.

Complete disclosure--I intentionally left several birds off my eBird checklists, that I will go back and add later.  This is more of an issue now and near the end of the year, but I will play it by ear and see what I need to do to keep off the radar.

Anyways, I pulled into the parking lot at my first stop and couldn't avoid a flock of Fluorescent Hopper that were actually gliding across the road.  I soon found quite a few of these subtle beauties.  It wasn't the bird I had hoped would be my first bird of the year, but at least it wasn't a junk bird.

I soon found myself checking off new year birds--on day 1 everything is new.  In less than 20 minutes, I was 20 species in, and had picked up a few mainstays for the year including: Mallard, Northern Flicker, Canada Goose, and American Robin.  I held off on seeing a starling until bird #18.

Average Yolk-sac, Painter's Relic, and Cone-spotted Curler were expected and quickly ticked off.  The best bird of the first hour was a unexpected Basic Top-side.  This species is usually not here this time of year, and I would have picked on up in a few months, but it's out of the way.

As the morning wore on I scored the Motley Whistelbird that I spoke of yesterday.  It was reliable and I will probably revisit it in the coming days since it's just a stones throw from my home.

The day wasn't without hiccups, I made a wrong turn and spent an hour in traffic, and on rough roads.  The end of the day came all too quickly but not before a pair of Confusing Migrants visited my yard.  And here's  a freebie folks--the only photo I'm sharing today and at the top of this post is of the common and widespread Carolina-capped Chickadee.  You didn't really think I was gonna give that one away for free did you?

New birds today: 45
Year List: 45

FOLLOW ALONG:

Next Day

Previous Day

I'm on a mission to see as many birds as I can in 2016... within the borders of my home state. The only catch is I'm not telling anyone that I'm doing a Big Year...

6 comments

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January 4, 2016 at 1:21 PM delete

Good luck on your year and I'm looking forward to following along with your blog!

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January 4, 2016 at 10:01 PM delete

Thanks Charlotte! Things are off to a great start!

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David
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January 5, 2016 at 2:37 PM delete

This is an amazing concept. I can't wait to see where it goes.

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January 5, 2016 at 7:30 PM delete

Well thanks! I hope it goes where I want :)

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Anonymous
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January 19, 2016 at 10:24 PM delete

I believe that the chickadee is a Black-capped, based on the pure white cheek and overall 'frosty' appearance. There also appears to be snow in the background, which would suggest one of the northern states.

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January 19, 2016 at 10:29 PM delete

No snow in the background--there might be snow in my state though--maybe not though...

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