Day 20 - To Chase of Not To Chase?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

 The Chase...

That is the question... For the 3rd day in a row I am posting a ZERO day.  I had planned on making an excursion at first light with 3-4 possible year birds.  2 of which rank as 3's on my ranking system.  I assume these species will show up again later in the year so when I made the decision not to try for them today it was due to the odds I will be able to see them later. I did eventually make it out and try to track down a much needed Thief for the year, but after an hour and 2 miles trudging through the forest I called it quits.

Having to weigh the risk v.s. reward on a chase can be difficult.  If you have a sure thing why not go get it?  There are various reasons why--distance, time required, accessibility, weather, "stayability" of the bird, the list could go on.  Usually some combination of one of these and the odds of me being able to find the same species later are what finalizes my decision making.

It gets more difficult with 4's and 5's though.  When the odds are not in my favor, it's usually a must go scenario.  But those same reasons mentioned above have weight here too.  If a bird is 150 miles away and I can't make a 300 mile round trip drive until Saturday; then it has to wait until Saturday.  In some cases when the bird has a high likelihood of sticking around I Will wait till it is more convenient.  I've already missed a 5 this year, because I thought it would continue--oops.

A missed chase could be the difference between a big year record and a slight miss.  It's pretty damn near impossible to get 100% of the species seen and reported in any state in a given year.  You would have to do nothing but go birding--be able to drop what you're doing at a moments notice time and time again. and have the financial means to do this.  You also have to have an extreme amount of luck.  Sometimes 15 minutes is all it takes to miss a year bird.  A flyover, flyby. mist-netted, window-killed, whatever.

I have no expectations of seeing 100% of the reported species in Narnia this year.  I can't even fathom what percent I' will get.  I know generally what I'll need, but at the end of the day what shows up, is reported, and I am able to take a legitimate shot at will determine my total.  All of this goes through my head every time I have to decide to chase or not to chase... And I won't know for another 346 days if some of these NOTs were a mistake!

New birds today: 0
Year List: 135


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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...