Day 195 - The Summer Slog

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 1 Comments A+ a-

Here we are again, talking about how slow things seem to be going. 13 days through July and despite my best efforts I am yet to add a single year bird this month. Frustration runs high some days. As I scuttle through the forest in search of a specific bird this past week I keep thinking I will come across it just around the next bend, or over the next rise. It's out there and today I will see it. But no such luck. I feel like I am repeating this process almost every time I venture into the field. The specificity of the birds I need right now makes my birding rather focused. I have to go to place A and look for Bird B in order to make this year successful. At times it is just agonizing...

The past 7 days seem to be filled with this repetitious moment. I look down at my list of July targets and think something has got to give. When is one of these just going to fall in my lap. The next 2 weeks hold a lot of value if some dominoes tip the right direction. This weekend could be fortuitous with 3-4 year birds in my sights. Several of which I just can't seem to get a grasp on this year...

The summer slog is real. Long, hot, dry, and no new birds. I think with the coming days and the possibilities at hand, I might actually hit 310 soon. Any new birds would again breathe life into things. A new birds helps drive me to get out and look for something else. At this point I've narrowed my July list down to 9 possibilities. And being perfectly honest, I could miss all of them this month and still add them in the next couple. I think the thing about a big year for most is that you want to get where your going as fast as possible This means if you are setting out to break a record your goal isn't to get there on day 366--you want to get there by day 300 and be able to squeeze anything you can out of those last 66 (65 most years) days.

Take for instance something happening right now. This year Olaf Danielson is attempting to break the ABA Big Year record. And by attempt, I should say in all likelihood the record will fall in the next week. Danielson is sitting at 747 species on July 13th. That's just insane seeing as how the current record is 749. If the record falls before July is over that leaves 5 months to pick up pretty much anything. Olaf certainly seems focused on his year. The lengths he has gone to for some birds is impressive. He hasn't tried to keep at a pace of anyone that has come before him, instead setting a pace that seems impossible to break. 800 species for the year doesn't seem that far fetched given the amount of time left

He's also 50+ birds ahead of the guy in 2nd place. It's insane. And I would be lying if I said I wasn't envious of that type of pace. I would love to set a ridiculous pace, and break the record in August or October. But realistically with what I know November of December is looking more on target. State big years are inherently harder in that sense. There are far more limited #'s of birds in a state each year, than in the ABA area. Getting the birds is somewhat easier, and the travel isn't anywhere as extreme. But it's near impossible to break a record this early. Here's a slice of big year data for you--there have been fewer species reported thus far this year in Narnia than the previous big year record. So let's make that impossible instead of just near impossible.

The point is, I have to get what I can get, while I can get it. That means 1 bird here, 2 birds there, and if I have a really good day this fall maybe 3 birds way over there. Before you know it, those 1's, 2's, and 3's start adding up. That's my strategy as of right now--if only I was getting those 1's and 2's...

I'll leave this right here for the moment and come back in a few days--hopefully a few birds richer... Hopefully.

New birds this post: 0
Year List: 307


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July 14, 2016 at 9:40 AM delete

The guy in #2 is at 744 - barely behind Danielson.