Well I am off and running and chasing a Smew. Never thought I'd be typing that sentence. It will not be my first bird of the year, as I have already seen a Cardinal, Downy Woodpecker and a House Sparrow in the backyard this morning.
Its an uncommonly warm day for January 1 and I should not freeze while hunting my first rare bird. Freezing is my biggest fear and I am sure I will be running back to the car to warm up, often.
We were out for about an hour at the Whitby Harbor in search of the Smew. No luck in the first location, but it wasn't hard to add new birds to the Year list, starting with a few easier ones: Canada Goose, Mute Swan and Ring-billed Gull. The sun was out and the wind was light so I wasn't that cold, so it was enjoyable as I saw my first of many Lifers, including a Long-tailed Duck, Common and Red-Breasted Merganser and a Greater Scaup. Couldn't have done it without Sue, and my iPhone. As with everything these days, when it comes to birding, there are many Apps for that.
In all, the first day netted me 19 birds, including 7 Life List Birds, the last of which was an American Kestrel.
It was more fun than I had ever thought birding could be. Never thought I'd be one of them! But without the goal of A Big Year, I may never have started.
Of course, the Smew I had been after never showed, but I guess that's the fun and adventure of it all. Perhaps it's just waiting for me on another outing into the cold this Winter.