Day 335 - November in the Books

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

The clock just struck 11:00 PM on 2016... So mathematically speaking it actually just hit 10:00 PM, but if we are going for symbolism, 11/12, then it sounds better to say 11:00 PM right? Let's not get lost in the details and just stick to the premise that it's the final hour, and there are still birds to be seen. But first, I have to regale you with the last few days of November and catch you up where we left off with me hinting at a possible 10th new year bird for November. I would be lying if I told you I didn't like Marauders. As a family, they are one of my favorites. A lot of birders and people, in general, have very little appreciation for this widespread, wandering, gregarious, and truly interesting group of birds.

I have all but tapped out the marauder keg barring a mega showing up in December, with the exception of one of the rare, but seemingly annual species that had only been seen once so far this year. So as I mentioned in my previous post, after multiple reliable reports surfaced and it appeared said bird would be sticking around at least through the weekend, I took off with one of my birding buddies to see if we could track it down. They have no idea about this secret big year, so it was just birding as usual. It was a great day to be out in the wilds looking at all things wild. The marauder wasn't difficult to find--year bird #353 the Glacial Marauder was quickly added to the list. This also made for 10 new year birds in the month of November, a number I am more than happy with.

10 new year birds. That's only one less than October and August combined. It is tied with March for the 5th biggest month total for new birds after January (145), May (85), April (56), and September (17). It wasn't completely inconceivable that November would be a big month given the October doldrums... In fact, if you take a loot at my October Recap, I might have saw this coming...

of the birds I hoped for in the last half of October, almost every species is still possible the remainder of the year. All is not lost. What this could mean is that I have an exceptionally great November with perhaps as many as 10 new year birds. It's certainly possible.

It wasn't hard to imagine the holdovers I expected in October, popping up in November. In fact from day 1 they started to show up. In all, there were only 2 species I had listed for October or November that I didn't end up getting--yet. Numbers wise I didn't spend all that much time birding in this month, just over 40 hours, but I didn't go birding 10 of the days. One surprising number is the mileage I turned out this month as I put over 1,500 miles on my car chasing birds. I can see that number getting passed in December, knowing that I will be on the tail of almost every reported species that seems like I have a reasonable shot at getting.

So what exactly does December hold in terms of chances for new birds? To be frank, there is a very short list of possibles left. I list 12 species that I "might" have a shot at. That's assuming Narnia has the winter of a lifetime and the birding gods send in the rarities on an unprecedented scale. Realistically, I imagine if I add 5 more year birds in December that would be a success. Let's shoot for 7 though, with a couple of the less expected species, plus 5 somewhat expected winter birds. That would put me at an even 360 for the year, a nice round number that divides into 12 months nicely.

But there are no guarantees. I might still be sitting at 353 in 31 days when the last seconds of this year drift away into 2017. It's hard to believe it's almost over, hopefully things don't flyby to fast here in the end...

New birds this post: 1
Year List: 353


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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...