Day 14 - Leaps and Bounds and Fever-birds

Thursday, January 14, 2016 1 Comments A+ a-

The slow process of seeking out the first 100 species for 2016 might seem drawn out.  But in reality, I will strike 100 this weekend--probably sometime early on Saturday to be exact.  How do I know this?  Well, I love it when a plan comes together.  This weekend is looking like a perfect storm of birds available, combined with my time for birding.  I'm going to be birding a little way from home this weekend.  Let's just say I'm going to the southeast northwest  part of Narnia for a little bit.  Looking at the possibilities I'm guessing I'll add between 40-50 year birds over the holiday weekend.  That's a big chunk.

Saturday will likely be my 2nd biggest day of the year in terms of adding new birds.  After Day 1, it's impossible to have another 40+ day unless I were to crawl under a rock until May and try to pull out a magical day of birding. Even then it would be a long shot. After this weekend, things will slow dramatically, and then I'll be dreaming about days of 2 and 3 new year birds.

As for today I had planned to drive out to a a nearby forest and try to scare up just one bird for the day.  It would have kept me ZERO day free for the week.  But a strange set of circumstances changed that and I was able to try my hand trying to track down a few birds closer to home.  Things started off slow as I stopped at three locations and birds were scant.  I was beginning to worry when I came over a hill and in the distance spotted a small flock of Trawlers.  Both Usual Trawler and Secret Trawler were present and new for the year.  I expected both this weekend, so now I don't have to wait.  I made a quick jump over to one of my favorite local eBird hot spots where I found a not so regular Fierce Marauder amongst about 25 other species of birds.  I noticed another bird that was roosting behind a pretty mangled tree.  After I put my eyes on it, I was surprised to find an out of season Toasty Newspaper-bird4 New year birds in about a 20 minute span.

I thought my birding was done for the day and would have been happy with 4 new year birds.  But something told me to take a break at lunch and head for The Hills.  I only had about an hour so I made a bee-line to an area I knew would be active.  It didn't disappoint.  In 30 minutes I cleaned up with 5 new year birds.  Namely I picked up 3 species of Fever-birds!  Far-and-wide Fever-bird, Favorite Fever-bird, and Isolated Fever-bird were all new year birds and save me potentially a lot of trips back-and-forth to look for them later.

I also saw a handful of one of my favorite species, the Gorgeous Tree-gem.  Spectacular at any time of year, I enjoyed watching them move about.  During my time I also add a Smaller-billed Conquistador for the year.  9 new year birds on January 14th--leaps and bounds on a day when it wasn't expected.  All within about 20 miles of my house. I won't be able to pull that off again.

It was an exciting day and actually means things will slow down more so after this weekend.  I won't head back to The Hills till later in the spring and now have narrowed my list to just a few more targets for January.  I could range further and wider from my home patch and possibly add another 80-90 species this month.  But I won't.  I have a long road ahead, and after this weekend I'll have a better idea of what the next 50-60 days will look like.

The plus side with picking up your targets is that it leaves time open to chase down the unexpected--the birds that really help make a big year big.

New birds today: 9
Year List: 94


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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...


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January 14, 2016 at 10:21 PM delete

Gorgeous Tree-gem = Kinglet?