Sunday, 2 September 2012

Heading into the Final Third

I started September on a slow note, having missed out on finding a Connecticut Warbler on Toronto Island yesterday morning.  We were only there for a short time, but both Sue and I did have a great look at a Philadelphia Vireo, so that was a bright spot.  I had to catch the 9:15 ferry so I wouldn't be late for work,(pesky work often gets in the way of a good day of birding), and I did see a bird flitting about in a tree near the ferry dock that could have been a Connecticut Warbler or just a vireo or confusing fall warbler, but it never sat still long enough for a good look or photo.  Such is birding life.

This morning I went out to Van Wagner's Beach in Hamilton to search for recently seen Sabine's Gulls and Long-tailed Jaegers, but I had to leave for work before 9 am and once again missed out on the birds.  Of course, as often happens, the birds, at least the Long-tailed Jaegers, made a guest appearance later in the morning in the presence of more experienced birders.  Lucky for me, those birds are possibles on my overnight pelagic next Sunday, according to Edna, one of my new New Jersey birding friends, non of which I have even met yet, though they already feel like friends.  Those who know me, know I am not always a very sociable person, so making friends through birding has been a new and positive experience for me.  Who knew?

And with no new birds to report, this is a good chance to look back at the first 8 months of what has become a pretty successful first year of birding.  And not so bad a Big Year.  In fact, based on E-Bird and NARBA reports, 492 species would be in the top 15 of North American Birders.  My Life List, including birds seen prior to 2012 and non ABA species, is now at 496, insuring I will pass 500 species on both lists sometime next week in Cape May.

By the numbers:

350 of 492 birds in the United States:

Florida:        125
Arizona:         83
California:      64
Texas:            40
Alaska:          20
Nevada:         12
Minnesota:       3
Michigan:         1    
Missuri:            1
West Virginia:  1

142 birds in Canada:

Ontario:             132
Newfoundland:     8
British Columbia:  2

My total Ontario list is at  217, which is good, but not anything special compared to some of Ontario's more hardcore and experienced birders.  Of course, I  haven't chased birds in Ontario that would be easy finds in other parts of North America, such as a White-winged Dove in North Bay.  I am glad, though, that I chased and found the Western Bluebird early in January.  It was the rare bird I chased and found and I doubt I will see one anytime in the next three months.  I've learned a lot in the first 8 months and have made a lot of tactical errors in terms of strategy, but hey I didn't know what I was doing back in January and, to be honest, I still have so much more to learn.

Especially those confusing fall warblers, and pesky look-a-like shorebirds and gulls!

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