Day 21 - Keep Calm and Bird On

Thursday, January 21, 2016 2 Comments A+ a-

As a birder there are few things more frustrating than a missed chase.  It doesn't matter if its a 10 mile drive, or100 miles.  Whether you spend 15 minutes looking, or 15 hours.  A missed chase is usually a huge let down and leaves you wondering "what if?".  What if I had left an hour earlier?  What if I had tried yesterday?  What if the light would have been better?  What if I just missed it because I didn't look hard enough?  What if, what if, what if?

Today was a day full of what ifs?  I put together a plan to seek out 5 targets that had been reported in the last week.  3 were birds I have to get that are regular but rare here in Narnia.  The other 2 are residents that usually require a little work to find.  The reports provided plenty of details, and several seemed like slam dunks.  I planned on no-less than 3 year birds when I started the journey into the out lands--I shouldn't have planned on anything...

The first stop was actually a success;  I pulled up to the location and after 15 minutes of looking I finally found the Clown Curler right where it was supposed to be.  I was positive that this was a good sign.  I took off for my next target which required scanning through fields full of birds.  I spent an hour and just couldn't pick out my target.  Using my time tested method of risk v.s. reward, I decided that I could risk leaving and probably find this bird later in the year.  The reward being that I had other targets that would be easier to find right?

After a little bit of a drive I pulled up to my next target where I expected to find a roosting Surprised Thief.  Surprise surprise, no thief.  I was flabbergasted.  This was supposed to be the slam dunk and I had driven a bit out of the way to look for it.  I will see one eventually this year, but when there is a slam dunk you typically take it.  I spent an hour searching the area but nothing... The hour here wasn't the frustrating part, but the trip there and back added another 90 minutes.  Two-and-a-half hours I could have put towards something else!

Knowing my time was limited I rushed to my last target, completely skipping one bird on my list since it was a long shot.  I arrived as it was starting to get dark and everything was quiet.  The songbird I was searching for was nowhere to be found.  I finally gave up and went home...

Days like today are a drag on your spirit during a big year.  The best laid plans don't matter if the birds just aren't there.  What if I had done this yesterday? Most of the drive back to civilization was silent contemplation listening to the radio and asking a barrage of what ifs in my head.  At the end of the day nothing I missed will make or break my year--I will see everything at one point or another.  So instead of dwelling on what could have been, just keep calm, and bird on.

New birds today: 1
Year List: 136


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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 22, 2016 at 9:44 PM delete

I know you won't confirm it, but I'm 99% sure that the Clown Curler is Harlequin Duck.

January 23, 2016 at 3:53 PM delete

That's a good guess. If I am giving clues with every birds name, that certainly seems to fit into my naming schema. But one never knows with this game :)