Day 144 - Running Out of Targets

Monday, May 23, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

May has been going well. I actually had a 12 day streak of finding at least one new year bird every day starting on the 9th up until the 20th. Crazy as it may seem but that was the longest streak of days with new year birds in 2016. I only made it 8 days into 2016 before I had a zero day and I thought for sure that I wouldn't best that. Who knew May would be so prolific? Sadly the streak did end over the weekend while I chose to take a little break from the chaos. There were a couple potential misses that will result from not making it out--but I'd been birding so much the past 3 weeks, I needed to take the bench for a few innings.

That didn't mean I wasn't right back at it on Monday. There was one sighting over the weekend of a regularly occurring migrant that had managed to escape my grasp somehow. It seemed like this spring was not a great one for them here in Narnia, and that would have potentially been an issue as it was a completely expected species. I knew this bird wasn't the kind to just up and leave overnight when they show up. Traditionally they are seen for a number of days when they do arrive so I knew I could chance waiting till Monday.

I was up early and out the door. During big years there are certain places you find yourself over and over again looking for birds. This morning marked my 4th visit to The Runway this month. The Runway is a hot spot that will turn up a good chunk of specialty birds for me in 2016--but it is also birded often by many so when I am there I risk being seen by others. This morning I was in and out in under an hour and arriving just after sunup I avoided any other birders. I snagged my year Strapping Hiker without having to even exit the car.

Given the success, I had some time to kill so headed to a nearby park where I might be able to turn up a decent bird reported over the weekend. I also ran the risk of running into other birders since there was a rarity reported. I only made it 100' from my parking space when an old friend appeared. Busted. I could play this one one cool though and I did. We split up to look and neither one of us turned up the rarity. But a singing Obvious Singer was new for 2016 and was a relief since I had chased and missed 2 already this year.

Eventually another birder I knew showed up and I decided it was time to high tail it. For many this would mark the end of their birding for the day, but during a big year, in a big bird month like May, I ventured to a nearby woodlot to see if I could uncover something unexpected. There is no doubt in my mind, that I am on a hot streak right now, and luck seems to be in my favor on an unprecedented scale. So I don't know if I should be surprised or not when I can heard the calling Trivial Hustler from the woodlot. It's the first report this spring in Narnia but the call is unmistakable. Eventually I got some good looks at it in the trees before it disappeared. It's unreal the luck I've been having.

This hustler marks the 292nd species for my 2016 big year. This is my 100th new year bird in the past 5 weeks and my 76th new year bird in May alone. May has been pretty incredible, and I'm simply running out of targets at this point. That's all I will say right now. Come the first week of June, I might say a little bit more about what a crazy month it's been...

New birds today: 3
Year List: 292


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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...