Day 109 - The Perfect Storm (& 200th Species)

Monday, April 18, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

“Meteorologist see perfect in strange things, and the meshing of three completely independent weather systems to form a hundred-year event is one of them. My God, thought Case, this is the perfect storm.”

― Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea 

Sometimes all your ducks line up in a row--or to quote Sebastian Junger, "this is the perfect storm".  Although his verison of the perfect storm was an ominous and unforgiving force of nature wreaking havoc on the open ocean, my version is more of the stars aligning type storm.  If you follow birding, migration, and weather in the United States, you know that the middle part of April has been wild.  Hot temperatures, freezing temperatures.  More than a foot of snow in Colorado.  More than a foot of rain in Houston.  Huge winds in the west. Mega-migration in the midwest.  High Island getting its annual inundation of birders and migrants.  This April is turning into the perfect storm for birding--and the weather is a key to it.

Some will blame El Nino, while others will just look at history and see patterns that generally April shapes up to be an interesting month anyways.  And it's no different here in Narnia.  After the early boom, things slowed down for a bit, I was becoming increasingly anxious waiting for new migrants.  I made daily excursions to expected locales for expected arrivals--and nada.  Then the perfect storm crept across the nation so to speak and I got a mi-April wave of migrants.  I can't get to specific--as with most of my posts, but it all started with a Speckled Probe.  That first probe of the season quickly led to finding The Crook, and several Striking-wings.  3 new year birds in one morning.  I decided to press my luck and turn up the pressure on a local breeder--I headed to the Edge of the Conifers and drove a lonely stretch of road.  It wasn't long before the Savory Whistlebirds started popping up.  4 new year birds and the big year rolled on.

It's no secret that big years survive and thrive not on the every day species, but the unexpected, or the least expected.  Mathematically speaking if the average year list for birders in Narnia were 400 species, and the big year record was 450, then one could assume that more than 50 species would have to be the least expected sorts.  The under-400's are going to see a few unexpected, while the over-400's are going to consist of listers who typically chase a number of unexpected.  So if 75 species are of the least expected, we can assume a small percentage of those are completely unexpected as well.  These 75 are the must-gets.  You will miss birds, but these 75 are absolutely integral to a big year.  I've already had a handful of these least and unexpected--and I've also missed a few.  Those hurt.

April has already had its fair share of unexpected birds in Narnia--and I've tracked them down.  I can't share their names here--that might be a clue.  Remaining vague at this point is my best weapon for anonymity.  I've been lucky, I've been persistent, and I've stayed on course. And through it I've kept ticking of birds.  My first Bulky Loungers showed up as well as the False Anglers, and a Lowly Follower Arid Migrants, Summer Ornaments, and Camouflaged Hikers all added to my excitement as my Year lest crept towards a milestone--200 species.  The lucky bird was a Trivial Sprinter.  And then a few more species rolled in capping off a sometimes excellent and at other times slow 10 days of birding.

The perfect storm has been brewing and my secret big year continues 1 bird at a time as I look towards 250, then 300.  It might only be a matter of weeks--and 50 days from now I could easily be past 300...

New birds week: 15
Year List: 203


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