For anyone who cares, I finished 2007 with 251 species in New York State, throw in a few species I picked up while on vacation in Disney World in Florida and that number only goes up to 255. Certainly this is well short of Corey’s big year of 316 or Rich Guthrie at 317, but I’m not retired nor do I have a girlfriend in law school who happens to live only a short drive from Jamaica Bay. I also have 2 young kids, which as Mike at 10,000 Birds understands is a challenge to give enough time, effort and energy to both loves.
There were of course a lot of great moments, I’ll have to admit I spent a lot of with Corey of 10,000 Birds. In February we had two great trips one was north to Oregon Plains Road where we might have had the best success of anyone, with stunning looks at Red and White-winged Crossbill, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch and a nice and very cooperative group of Gray Jays. Another trek that same month was on Presidents day to Jones Beach to seek a bird, which I shall not name here. It was cold, cold and cold. It was also the first time I got to meet Mike from 10,000 Birds (noticing a theme here).
There was also the Short-Eared Owl spectacular in Ft. Edward, which I saw with both Corey and my Wife. By late March, Corey and I were standing in a snow covered field listening for American Woodcock, which did not sound but we found many tracks in the snow. We also got to hear hooting Great-Horned Owls, a new property bird for that location.
March was also a fabled trip to Lake Champlain to look for Tufted Duck and the first time I met Jory. We saw nearly every kind of duck that day including Barrow’s Goldeneye and Eurasian Wigeon, but no Tufted Duck.
April the great excitement builds for migration and we made lots of little local trips.
In May I headed down the NYC over mothers day to participate in the New York City Audubon Birding Challenge, where once again the team from Staten Island that I was one narrowly edged out the team from Brooklyn for the victory. A week later I joined Corey, Chad Witko and my wife to do the HMBC Century Run, where despite miserable conditions we finished with over 120 species in 24 hours.
In June, 4 bird bloggers (Corey and Mike from 10,000 Birds, Patrick from The Hawk Owls Nest and myself) traveled over hill and dale in search of field birds such as Henlow’s Sparrow and Upland Sandpiper and the next day climbing a mountain in the dark to listen to the surreal song of the Bicknell’s Thrush (and we also got Mike his life Ruffed Grouse).
July had yet another trip up north with Tom W., Jory and Corey to search for Spruce Grouse, in one of the most remote and dramatic places I had ever visited in the Adirondacks, the trip was a bust on our target species, but no trip to the Adirondacks is ever a bust.
August is time for shorebirdsand other than a quick trip to Montezuma NWR in Central New York to get Sandhill Cranes (and missing a Whimbrelbecause we were lazy), we spent a lot of time at the Cohoes Flats and Peebles Island. Corey had his mystery shorebird, that even David Sibley commented on, but a lot of the sightings would not have been possible without Zach B., who spent a lot of time looking through every shorebird in Cohoes, and eventually would turn up a pair of American Golden Plovers a rather uncommon bird in these parts. I also was one of two people to snag a briefly stopping Buff-breasted Sandpiper in Albany County (Thanks Rich and Corey!)
September Corey and I did the first ever fall Century Run with the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club. We were one of only two groups that participated (it was labor day weekend) but we ended with around 90 species.
October Corey went to Germany and I hung around the house. November rolled in with winter finches and waxwings and it wasn’t long before Common Redpoll, Pine Grosbeak, Northern Shrike and Bohemian Waxwingwere all added to my year list. A late trip to Noblewood on the shores of Lake Champlain also got us a late Dunlin and a Little Gull (Hey Corey, we saw a Little Gull!)
December was spent doing Christmas counts, in Saratoga, Albany, Rensselaer and Columbia Counties and while I only added one new species (Snow Goose which I had somehow managed to miss up till then), but there is nothing I like better than spending the day counting birds.
What’s in store for 2008? Well who knows, as of this writing I’m 10 days in to the year and haven’t gone birding once. Too tired, a little stressed and generally distracted. I will however I have the opportunity to be on the Gulf coast the first week in April, so hopefully I’ll get something good out of that!