Revised 2011 bird total:
437 species

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mid-October overview

It's now early/mid October and I only have 2.5 months left in my Junior Big Year.

It's been over a month since my last year bird (Red-necked Phalarope, number 366 on September 10).  Truthfully, this is not surprising super surprising.  Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Blue-winged and Connecticut Warblers (other than an odd vagrant) would be the only birds that I could possibly still pick up in my area.  Those are very tough and it's now late for them.  I won't really get any more new year birds in may home area other than possibly Northern Goshawk if I get really lucky.

I'm at 366 for the year and 400 is my goal for the year's end but if I get in the 390s somewhere I'm solidly happy.  I'm over 350, my original goal, what more can I ask?

Brown-headed Nuthatch will be the easiest year bird I still can pick up.  It is very easy on a certain trail in Chincoteague Virginia, a place I'm visiting this November.

Northern Goshawk will nearly certainly be placed on my year list one way or another.  In late October or early November I'm making a quick run up to Waggoner's Gap Hawk Watch in Pennsylvania where I should be able to get a gos.  If not I have a couple of backup options.  Goshawks do rarely migrate through this area.  The local Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch (where I've been spending most of my time lately) records one or two most years.  Arizona has a population of Goshawks and with luck I can possibly get one.

On my trip to Chincoteague Va in November I'll be stopping over at some awesome birding islands with the Monticello Bird Club.  These islands can hopefully host several easy year birds: Great Cormorant, Purple Sandpiper, one or both of the Sharp-tailed Sparrows, and possibly an oddity.  

Arizona will nearly surly get me 20-30 year birds.

I should make 400 but you never know.  What if weather scrues up Chincoteague, the Islands, or Arizona and diminishes the number of year birds I get?  There's always iffs.

On another note, I may have to subtract a bird from my year list: Northern Hawk-Owl.  The one and only individual I have this year was the injured one I rescued and found alive on the side of a road in Alaska (see August entries in my blog for more information in the post titled Day eleven of Alaska trip - Welcome to Denali I would say!).  Because the bird was found injured, unable to fly along side of the road I don't know if it's countable or not.  If any of you readers have info on this, please comment and let me know.

UPDATE OCTOBER 14 2011: last night I attended the monthly meeting of the Monticello Bird Club in which I'm on the board of directors for.  This month's speaker was Bob Ake, who did a Big Year in 2011 and ended up with the second highest record for a Big Year (731)!  I asked Bob about my Northern Hawk-Owl and he said that I can keep it on my list.  He said that since I was the one to find it on the road and stumbled upon it it counts.  If someone else had found it, taken it and then told me about it and I came to see "their" bird it wouldn't count, but this wasn't the case so fortunately I'm still at 366 not 365!  

Until 367 or more news.


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