Day 336 - The Beginning of the End

Friday, December 02, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

The last time I did a big year and December hit, I was all but done. I had gotten most of the birds I was going to get for the year, and I slowed down immensely. I still added a handful of species in the last 31 days. I chased pretty much every rarity that popped up (not many). But I didn't go out in search of birds all that much. The fact is by December, you've really done all you can, and are at the mercy of the chase. I certainly helped myself with a little luck and planning--putting myself in the right place at the right time for something to happen. Something I will be doing again this year. That plus chasing anything reported is my best bet... But I don't want to go out with a whimper, and act like just because it's winter again I can relax. I haven't had this mentality at all this year, so I don't want to start now.

This means going out and looking for birds, even when it's not necessarily the right time or place for one of the few remaining targets. I would like at a minimum to try to get out for an hour every day in this final 31. I would also like to try to post as mush as possible--perhaps every day again like I did in January. I won't be able to fill the posts with tales of new birds, but I can surely relate back to some things that happened this year, try to share a little bit more about me, and end this story with a little humor and fun.

Do you know who I am yet? I can tell you now that at least 2 people have correctly ID'd me this year. And it may have been much earlier than anticipated. I was surprised--or maybe not so much. One of the sleuths did a fantastic job of piecing the puzzle together. A little luck may have helped lift their guess to flight, but once they started finding clues, they quickly came to the right conclusion. I was impressed. I didn't let on and denied up and down that they were correct.

Another guessed outright, saying they were sure who I was, but I did my best to misrepresent the facts. Something I've done to help keep my identity more guarded since. I was a little too loose in the beginning with information and perhaps the idea of doing a secret big year on a moment's notice was the reason. Too much information led the folks over at Birdforum too quickly start eliminating states based on some numbers I threw around. Again, I responded in kind by saying well maybe those numbers are correct--but they might be an average, short term, long term, you'll have to figure it out. What a bunch of cry babies some of those guys turned out to be. As interested as they were one moment, they threw a hissy fit when I tossed a wrench into their gears.

It was never supposed to be that easy. It was fun for me none-the-less. Since then guessing has gone quiet. The following I had early on diminished pretty dramatically. That was expected to some degree. I am getting more hits on a blog I haven't posted to in years than this one--yikes. That's okay though. At the end of the day, a big year is about ones personal goals. You don't do a big year for anyone but yourself. It' fun to include others, or make a game out of it--but if really is about self no matter how you hack it.

And I hacked the first day of December way with a big fat zero day. This should be the norm for potentially 20-25 days this month. I hope that won't be too boring. I went birding at a place I hadn't been since January. In fact, the last time I visited was on January 7th at the end of my first week of the year. I tallied 3 new year birds that day. The point of that trip wasn't to find a specialty bird--it was to keep my streak of days seeing new year birds alive. I think every new bird I saw that day I've seen a handful of times since. I haven't been back because there was no reason to go back. It's not much of a hot spot, and the bird list for the area is quite small. Limited habitat, noise, and location all contribute to that.

But I thought that maybe, just maybe a couple species of birds could show up here that I don't have yet. The odds are slim, but if I check the area once or twice a week from here on out who knows. If I were to find one of the birds I imagine that could use the habitat, they would both be location firsts. But today wasn't that day. I got my hour in and spent some time just enjoying being away from a computer. One day down and 30 more to go. It's going to go way too fast...

New birds today: 0
Year List: 353


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