2013 Year in Review!
It’s hard to imagine when looking back over the year that it all took place in 2013. The possibility of me doing a true ABA big year is out of the question. In spite of that, I knew I could accomplish a personal best year if I put some effort into it. I started the year by planning several big trips around the country. As the year progressed I added several smaller trips and one last big one. If I were to plan it over again, I would have devoted more time to some specific locations I birded. That said, I had a fabulous year! Here are some of the specifics about the year you may find interesting.
– I birded 35 states and Canada through the course of the year.
– I birded 5 National Parks and almost countless state parks and state and national Wildlife Refuges.
– I traveled over 23,000 miles during the year by car and cruise.
– I added three life birds and one new ABA bird bringing my ABA list to 669.
– My total number of ABA species for the year was 458, a personal best for ABA area.
– My total for New York State was 286
– My total for Sullivan County was 210
Highlights of the year were as follows:
Mega-rarities: FIELDFARE, NORTHERN LAPWING, CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK and FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER
Rarities: besides the above birds, I also had a number of ABA rarities. They included: PINK-FOOTED GOOSE, BARNACLE GOOSE, Attwater’s Prairie Chicken, Ruff, Gyrfalcon and Hoary Redpoll
Life birds: Black-capped Vireo, Yellow Rail and Fieldfare.
New ABA bird: Golden-cheeked Warbler
Rarities for New York State: Smith’s Longspur, Townsend’s Solitaire, Pink-footed Goose, Barnacle Goose, Ross’s Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, King Rail, Gyrfalcon, Hoary Redpoll and Harris’s Sparrow.
And now to the “Bird of the Year” Category. I have chosen three areas where a “Bird of the Year” will be named.
1.) ABA area: there were several worthy candidates for my “Bird of the Year” for all of North America. While I had four extreme rarities through the year , without question the “Bird of the Year” award goes to “FIELDFARE” Of all the birds, this one is by far the rarest with the least number of records overall. This cooperative bird was seen by many people during its stay.
2.) New York State “Bird of the Year” goes to “KING RAIL”, This was a new state bird for me, making it automatically the rarest of birds I saw in the state. This extremely cooperative bird remained for an extended period and was enjoyed by many observers.
3.) Sullivan County “Bird of the Year” …..? There were many birds to consider for bird of the year in the county. Our first record of “Ruddy Turnstone”, our third and fourth record of “Whimbrel”, Our fifth and sixth record of “Lapland Longspur” and of course there was the “Snowy Owl Irruption” . Then when I thought new birds were no longer possible for the year, the first record in 30 years of a LONG-EARED OWL occurred here in the county. After considering all factors, I was down to two candidates. Ruddy Turnstone and Snowy Owl. The Ruddy Turnstone was very cooperative and seen by all the people who wanted to see it. It was a first record for the county and a beautiful bird in near breeding plumage. The Snowy Owl was our first record in many years, but there have been many records in the past. The Snowy Owl was seen by perhaps 100 people and left all involved with a memorable experience that will last a lifetime. In any other year, the Ruddy Turnstone would have easily taken first place, but, this year “Snowy Owl “ is my Sullivan County “Bird of the Year”!
I’d like to thank all my birding friends for helping make this a fabulous year for me!