Day 7 - One Week Down

Thursday, January 07, 2016 2 Comments A+ a-

After yesterdays shenanigans and almost having a zero day I decided to go for a slam dunk this morning by visiting an owl roost I've had luck with in the past.  But the weather was less than ideal for a couple miles on foot, so I opted to skip the roost and save it for another time.  Instead I waited till around lunch time and planned out a quick drive through a nearby park (less than 10 miles round trip) where I had 4 target birds.  I was almost certain that I could find one of the four with little work.  The Grassland Fiddler despite being a common find year round had managed to evade me for 6 days.  Keeping my no zero days streak going I figured this was the easiest year bird within 10 miles.

The other 3 birds I had picked were all regular finds in the area--a bluff if you will, dominated by a mix of grassland (hence the fiddler), small cliffs, and mostly open habitat.  The drive in was quiet, as has been the routine lately.  But at the first bend in the road I spotted a distant bird that I presumed was a Slayer.  I got my optics on the beast and it was indeed a Field Slayer, 1 of the 3 others I hoped to find.  Although I have infrequently seen them here over the years, this was really the least likely of the possibilities, so I was happy with the find.

I'd only gone another hundred yards when I heard the call of a Cliff Statue from my passenger window.  I stopped and saw a small flock moving through the shrubs and grass on the hillside. Although I certainly would have added these birds in the near future, I was happy to find the 2nd of the 3 others I had hoped for.

I dipped on the 3rd bird; I scanned the bluff and every nook and cranny where I thought one might be. But it was fruitless.  I started working my way back to the entrance of the park and was almost all they way back when I caught the shapes of what looked like 2 Grassland Fiddlers in a bush about 100 yards away.  A quick look through the glasses confirmed it.  3/4 ain't a bad at all!  All in less than an hour and without having to rack up lots of miles on the black top.

 A Grassland Fiddler...

And just like that the first week of 2016 comes to an end. For sake of putting some statistics out there, that means the year is almost 2% complete.  As of tonight I have added 69 species to my year list.  If my goal was 300 species this year I have effectively seen 23% off all the birds I will encounter in the next 98% of the counting period.   If my goal was 325, then it's 21% off the birds. And if it were 350 that would be 19% of the birds.

No matter how you look at it there are far more days left in the year than birds to see.  As the days roll on my strategy will become more calculated and many of my trips (especially during the fall and spring) will simply be to test my luck at adding completely unexpected birds to the list.  But January is far from over and I still have a lot of birds around here to find so tomorrow it's back to the grind and figuring out what I will find.

New birds today: 3
Year List: 69

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...

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Anonymous
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January 23, 2016 at 6:55 PM delete

Just guessing: Field Slayer is a Shrike, and Grassland Fiddler is a Meadowlark.

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