Day 295 - My goodness how the time has flewn

Friday, October 21, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

"How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?"
- Dr Suess.
As predicted in my previous post things took a turn for the better in the 3rd week of the month. After the abysmal 2 weeks that kicked off this October I picked up 3 years birds in quick succession. Two were expected fall arrivals here in Narnia, but both were perhaps a moment sooner than expected. I had both slated for November finds in my outlook for the remainder of the year, so picking both up in mid-October was both a surprise and a relief. The 3rd was what I call a "freebie", it was on my list of possibles, but I had no expectation of seeing one.  The first new species came as I lazily birded an afternoon away. I wasn't taking things all to serious, and had almost vacated the location I was birding when a rather basic looking Ripple Flocker was brought to my attention. Number 340 for the year.

The flocker is somewhat regular in Narnia during the winter months but it had been a poor previous winter for them so I missed finding one at the onset of the year. Although I was excited to tack another species onto my growing total, I was disappointed that my time was running out for a couple birds, and despite concerted efforts I had missed 2-3 species I hoped to wrangle in by October 15th. Every day that passes I look over the list of possible species remaining and it slowly shrinks. A new year bird that is expected in November but seen in mid-October is always a positive but if I don't chip away at the October needs, the month can pass and I will be missing a handful of birds I expected.

The truth is I have some big holes that I expected to fill this year and just managed to miss the ball. Going into a big year you generally know when and where you need to be to maximize your species count. I knew these things. And yet I managed to let a couple species slip through my grip by not providing enough time, or opportunities to make sure I had them. I have missed at a minimum 3 regularly occurring migrants in Narnia this year. They are by no means common, but they are reported, and with some frequency annually. I thought I would grab all 3--I messed up.

So here I am mid-October now and I know those 3 are forever lost to time. What could have been? If I focus on those I will miss out on the opportunities ahead like in the middle of week 3 when I headed out and tracked down a Wandering Top-side that was reported the previous day. I had skipped this chase several weeks ago knowing more were on the way. And with some good fortune, 1 showed up close enough to home to track it down and save a real chase for later. Another November regular I had no complaints about removing from the needs list 1/2 way through the month of October. Year bird number 341.

After nabbing the Top-side in the morning I thought I was done birding for the day, but got an itch to head out in the afternoon in search of anything.  Really I had 2 targets in mind, and I quickly found neither of them.  Not wanting to throw in the towel, I headed to what has become my go to rarity magnet this year and started looking through fields, trees, water, and the birds. I caught some commotion out the corner of my view and saw what I knew was a Mercenary! It had been months since I'd seen one but I knew this was a different species than the previous just off the initial look and how it was acting. I watched the bird and took some photos to try and have some evidence for later. The bird briefly lit, giving the appearance I was hoping for--it took to the air again and after a short display and some more commotion I lost it in the distance. I was fairly certain the bird was a Jim Beam Mercenary, and it was new bird #342 fore the year.

Decision time again--do I share the sighting, or do I sit on it? I spent a few minutes and didn't see the bird again. I could share the sighting and give others an opportunity to perhaps seek it out. I could not report it, which would give me some animosity, as this species might be one that can be figured out. I was torn and not sure how to handle the situation. I had a feeling the bird might not be relocated even if I shared it--so I wasn't worried about giving someone else the upper hand. At this point I was more concerned about giving up my identity here, to the small following who could probably put two and two together with a little eBirding, or listserv sleuthing in combination with the blog. I really didn't know what to do, and I won't tell you, so it's even more confusing...

So here it is October 21st and only 10 days left in the month. Every month slips into oblivion faster than the previous, and before I know it the clock will strike midnight on 2016. I added 3 species in the previous week which in all fairness is about right. I still have 5 possible targets that I could add to my bag before October fades away and I will put forth as much effort as is reasonable to do so. My goodness how the time has flewn...

New birds this post: 3
Year List: 342


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