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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

January 2012 Birding Status Report

In 2012 I'm committed to several birding goals, including getting my 20 Bird Minimum Daily Requirement as well as posting at least one eBird checklist every day. I'll give a quick report each month of how I did with those goals and the resultant highlights for the month.

In January I got my 20 Bird MDR every day! There were three days where I didn't get 20, but I was able to do a Makeup Birding Day the following day and see at least twice as many birds as I missed the day before. I averaged 27 birds a day, with a high of 48 on my busiest birding day and a low of 11 on my lowest day. I have a provision for doing a Birding Shabbat and skipping at least one day a week to let the birding brain rest--but instead of taking real breaks I chose to make up those days when I only incidentally saw a few birds in the yard or on my way to church. That may have left me a little frazzled and suffering from some slight Bostick Syndrome, so first lesson learned this year is I need to take some real Birding Shabbat days to rest up. Also, I drove a total of 1168 miles for birding last month--I'd like to drop that down a bit.

 As far as eBird checklists, I submitted at least one for each day and ended up submitting a total of 84 checklists this month (average 2.7 per day), so pretty good! I saw 97 species in January--not bad for mostly birding a couple of local patches (mostly Spruce Run-20 visits, Assiscong Marsh-8 visits, and Demott Pond-20 visits). I'd like to do better than that in February and do some more exploring to see new places and some additional birds.

I am also dedicated to filling a few more holes in my ABA list this year. In January I saw two new birds for my North American list (Common Chaffinch and Razorbill), which is as many new ABA species as I got all last year. So, more chases and some strategic trips for me this year will be nice. Easiest bird I still need for my ABA list is Dovekie, so we'll see if I can knock that one off here soon :-)

Best local birds that I was able to see by birding every day this month were locally rare (trigger eBird notices) Greater White-fronted Goose, Cackling Goose, Brant, Common Teal, Iceland Gull, Red-breasted Merganser, Snowy Owl, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Common Chaffinch. There is some question about whether the Common Chaffinch that spent a month at some backyard feeders a few miles from my home here in NJ is a wild bird or escaped cage bird. Since I've seen these guys in the UK, Germany, Denmark, and New Zealand, I don't really care :-)

I saw a lot more birds this month than I would have without taking the eBird challenge and being dedicated to my 20 Bird MDR. Life is good!


Laurence Butler said...

The rewards of diligence...Good job Mr. Birdchaser' you're motivated and motivational.

Mikael Behrens said...

Sounds fun! Have these efforts helped to find new areas to bird as well? Are you leading any bird walks these days?

green investing said...

wow, you are one motivated guy! Probably would be a great motivational speaker.

Unknown said...

You are the man! I can't I say I did that well, but I still had fun playing.

birdchaser said...

Mikael, I figured out how to get 20 birds in a couple of close by local patches, so in a pinch (when I was on my way to work or didn't have time) I could do that, but going out every day I did start going to some other sites, including to track down birds that others had seen in the county. I'm not leading any birdwalks these days except for my university classes. Would be nice to start doing that again. I like my local patches out here, but I miss Hornsby Bend!

Kathie Brown said...

Good for you. I don't know if I am getting 20 birds a day but I am submitting at least one checklist a day and usually more. Today I submitted 3 for my yard and 5 others from around town!

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