I spent this weekend on two different Christmas Bird Counts for my 2 local counties - Augusta and Rockingham.
Yesterday (Saturday) I went out with Rockingham CBC coordinator Bill Benish and his wonderful friend Larry. It was great to be birding with Bill again, he is a great birder and got me my life Acadian Flycatcher back in May. We had a fun, great day and saw some nice birds including a beautiful look at a Merlin eating a bird (titmouse?)
Today I went out with Augusta CBC coordinator Allen Larner, Augusta Bird Club president Penny Warren, and Penny's neighbor Mark who is also a birder . They're all wonderful people and good birders but especially Allen, he his an amazing birder and a SPECIAL THNAKS to him for getting me many birds over the course of my Big Year. Today was amazing. I got up early to join them in "owling". We didn't hear any owls but got a beautiful look of a Barn Owl in the headlights on a pole alongside the road. Beautiful! Probably my highlight was seeing 2 Brewer's Blackbirds, I got them as a lifer in Arizona but they hold a special place for me, they were my number 400 for the year. Great to see them again.
I plan to chase the Hooded Crane in Tennessee next week and I'll coincide my trip with whenever Big Year birder John Vanderpoel (www.bigyear2011.com) is going so I can meet up with him at the crane. However, at the moment John is "stuck" on Adak Island, Alaska due to a failure with an airplane-related issue. He may not be able to leave Adak until Thursday!
Let's see how it goes. For those wondering my count that haven't been following along, my year total is 429.