Day 316 - T-Minus 50 Days

Friday, November 11, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

This is the final stretch. The last 50 days of 2016. The beginning of the end (maybe figuratively and literally given the election results here in the states). A mix of nervousness and relief share time tumbling around in side my head. I'm nervous about finding a good chunk of birds to ride the year out on (and about the future of this great land in the hands of a mad man). I'm relieved to finally be able to stop with the nonsense that this endeavor has become (and that the election is over). It's a weird collision of feelings and thoughts (birds, big years, politics, and life). I've been nervous for most of the year. Every time I chased a bird, or found a bird, or was even out thinking that I might find a bird. And every time I had a successful chase or find, I was washed over with a sea of relief--only to have the nerves come roaring back soon after when the whole process would repeat itself. The literal end of the year, and the potential end of times all rolled into one... That's the end of my post election rant and the only mention of the election all year--despite it being a centerpiece of Americana in 2016.

I spent a great deal of this year so far birding by myself. I've always birded by myself a lot, but I think this year I had a lot more alone time than usual. There were numerous chases that no one knows about, where I sat sometimes for hours or entire days in a car by myself. Combine those with all the quick outings or daily jaunts and the hours alone add up. Here's a quick stat for you. Thus far in 2016 I have spent just over 761 hours birding--or roughly 31 entire days. That's 1/10th of my year so far doing nothing but looking for or at birds. In addition, if I were to get on average 8 hours of sleep a night, then so far this year I have slept 105 days--or just over 3 entire months of the year. So out of 10 months if we take away the 3 months I spent sleeping, then I have spent 1/7th of my time awake looking for or at birds.

When you spend a lot of time alone, you have a lot of time to think about things, and in particular birds. That was what a great deal of my time alone was spent thinking about. The next chase, the next find, the list of birds I had to get. There were times this fall when I would be walking reciting the list of upcoming birds I would need. I could tell you exactly what birds I expected to see each month and needed by the end of the year. The list got smaller and smaller as we got into November, but it was still right there running laps around my head constantly.

I often speculated what rarities might show up in the coming days or weeks, or what major misses I would have for the year. The internal and sometimes external dialogue (yes I talked to myself on occasion) often left me jittery. And there was no one I could talk to about any of it, well except for myself. Now I did do plenty of birding with others during the year--I'm not sure the exact amount of time, I'll calculate that later--so it wasn't all alone time. I actually had plenty of great conversations with friends, and other birders throughout the year. I think none were the wiser to my shenanigans.

So here it is the start to the final 50, and I'd still like to add a bird for every 3 days if possible. That might be overreach, but a kid can dream right? As my journey has progressed I've spent some time also following the pursuits of several national and world big years as they progress. Records fell this year including the North American and World Big Year records. Will the Narnia Big Year record fall as well? Or has it already been topped? I'll let you know in maybe 51 days or so.

New birds this post: 0
Year List: 347


Next Post

Previous Post

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...