Revised 2011 bird total:
437 species

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day one of New Jersey trip - number 432

A couple of days ago I came down with a cold so I've been a little bit slow going.  I contemplated not going on this trip but the cold wasn't bad enough to stop me from my last Big Year trip.  Normally I would say "oh, let's just go next week" but at this point in the game there IS NO next week - I am now in the final days of my Junior Big Year.  2 more full days.  

I left home about 9:30 am this morning with my dad.  We went through the Baltimore area on our way here and since I've been there for 2 chase trips in the last 1+ month, I recognized almost every place in the area.  In fact, we drove within a mile or two of where I saw my life Le Conte's Sparrow back in late November!  

Our first stop in NJ would be the Avalon Sea Watch where a group of Common and a male King Eider are being seen.  We arrived to find several other birders there.  The Common Eiders were easy - tons of them, both male and female swimming about.  A lifer for me and number 432 for my Junior Big Year!  There were lots of other sea ducks as well - Black and Surf Scoters and Long-tailed Ducks.  But the King Eider was not to be seen.  One of the birders there said that the King was seen about an hour before I arrived but a boat scared it off.  I will try for it again tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the day - I have 7 targets.  I will start in Cape May and try to locate both a Bell's Vireo and Eurasian Wigeon being seen in Cape May.  Then I will work my way up to Avalon again, stopping in Stone Harbor at a location where Saltmarsh and Nelson's Sparrows are often seen, according to eBird.  It's going to be a great day.

I have some photos of the sea ducks including the eiders from today that I will post on this blog later.


  1. Great job getting over 430 in one year! I'm twelve and I only got 399 this year. Next year I might try a blog like you and try for a higher number. Great Job!

  2. Hello Skyler! 399 is very impressive! Wow! I am so happy to hear that you will be doing a Junior Big Year in 2012! I visited your blog, it looks wonderful. I will be following your progress! If you'd like to talk more or ask any questions about my year, feel free to email me:

    One suggestion, if you'd like your blog to become popular, contact NARBA ( NARBA is a rare bird alert organization/website and they list Big Year blogs. Under the "about NARBA" link is an email address. I contacted them and they most happily put my blog on their website, and I'm sure they would yours as well.

    Good luck in 2012!


  3. Great job. I'm also doing my first junior big year at age 12.Hopefully you can come visit my blog at Good luck.