This morning I attended a bird walk at Ivy Creek Natural Area with the local Monticello Bird Club which I'm part of. Ivy Creek is on the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains than what I live on in the city of Charlottesville. For some reason, although still uncommon Summer Tanagers are present on the Charlottesville side of the mountain but occur only extremely rarely on my side of the mountain. Because of this I do not have it yet this year.
I really was hoping for a Summer Tanager on the Ivy Creek walk today and soon into the walk I asked leader Peter Brask what the chances were for one today. He said basically almost no chance as he's never seen one there. Oh well I thought. About half way through the walk someone called out a female tanager. Obviously, I assumed a Scarlet Tanager as it's the only common tanager there. But to my delight, Stauffer Miller one of the if not the most experienced birder on the walk said that it didn't have black wings and he heard it's call and that it was a Summer Tanager! The female Sum.T gave several nice looks at it perched near the tops of small trees. Lifer for me and year bird 365!
As I've said before, I'm completely happy with any number between 375 and above for total number of birds at year's end and I'm nearly 100 PERCENT that I'll get over 375 but I'd really love to get 400. In order to get that, things have to click. Yes, I'm going to Arizona and if all goes as planned that should be over 25 new birds. That gets me within arm's reach of 400. We're going to Chincoteague Virginia and area, that should bag me about 3-5 new birds. The numbers are inching up. In addition to these 2 trips, unexpected birds are crucial. Unless everything goes perfect with Arizona and Chincoteague (30+ new birds in Arizona, 5+ in Chincoteague) which is unlikely, I can't reach 400 on these 2 trips alone. This is where unexpected or hard-to-get birds come into role. I'm doing amazing with unexpected birds right now. Just since I've been back from Alaska 2 weeks ago I've added 6 new birds(which is totally unbelieveble, thus the title "they're coming like crazy!", 4 of which were unexpected (Mississippi and Swallow-tailed Kites, Baird's and White-rumped Sandpipers), 1 a 50/50 chance I thought I'd get it this year (Summer Tanager), and 1 an important but near-sure bird (Pectoral Sandpiper). If this trend continues, 400 is a piece of cake. If few more of these birds come, I'll end up somewhere in the upper 380s or 390s which is TOTALLY AWESOME.
Until 366 or more news.