Sunday, 1 July 2012

Halfway Home

July 1: Canada Day and 200th anniversary of The War of 1812.

A chance to look back at the first 6 months.

In the first half of the year I have seen 438 ABA Species(440 overall), 400 of which are life birds for me, as my only experience with birding prior to this year was a love of photography and nature and I had photographed birds more than any other wildlife.

In 6 months I have counted birds in 8 States and 2 Provinces: Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Texas, West Virginia, British Columbia, and of course, right here at home in Ontario.

I have traveled thousands of miles by air, sea, bike and on foot and have been to places I'd have never traveled to if not for my Big Year.

I have met wonderful people and discovered that birders are amongst the nicest, if not the nicest people you will ever meet.  I have exchanged e-mails with Sandy Komito and John Vanderpoel, and a few other birders from around the country, who have offered advice and encouragement.

I have discovered that goals can change rather quickly.  I had a modest goal of 300 when I decided to do this, late in 2011.  After I passed 300 I decided that I would have a good chance of 500.  Now with 162 to go, I do not believe that 600 is an unrealistic goal with 6 months to go.  Call me crazy, but with trips to Newfoundland, Arizona, Nevada, California, Florida, perhaps New Jersey and with fall migration looming, I think I can aim for this number.  Why not?  I may never have another chance to see 600 birds in a year again.  Then again, 10 years from now, I may be going after 700 plus.

Friday we head to St. Johns Newfoundland, and over the following 3 weeks I will be in Michigan, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Florida for work,(and a little birding), and Arizona, Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota,(including the Sax-Zim Bog), and Illinois for birding.

I will need a lot of help and would be appreciate any advice and suggestions.

Now to wrap up my Texas trip.  My favourite bird of the trip was the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher,(a very good substitute for the elusive Fork-tailed Flycatcher I have yet to get), yet I didn't include any photos.  I intend to make up for that with lots of Scissor-tail photos, plus a few more from my last day in Texas.

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