I started the year with no particular plans. I had just completed my personal best year in 2013 and was quite exhausted from all the travel. I decided that I would just chase lifers and new county, state and ABA birds. That would certainly keep me busy. Well as you all know, birding has a way of taking on a “life of its own”. That’s exactly what happened in 2014!
The year started out quietly enough with lots of local birding and my usual trips to Long Island. Before I knew it, rarities began to show up around the state and the chase was on. Soon, a Caribbean Cruise and a summer pelagic off Long Island produced fantastic results with many great birds. Closer to home some rarities in the county continued to boost my home county list.
– This year I only birded New York, New Jersey and Florida. I also birded Belize, Honduras and Mexico via a western Caribbean Cruise.
– I added 22 world lifers, another 5 ABA lifers and 2 new ABA birds. This brings my ABA list to 676 species.
– In New York I added: WILLOW PTARMIGAN, Chuck-wills-widow, Eurasian Collared Dove, Audubon’s Shearwater, Band-rumped Storm-petrel, WHITE-FACED STORM-PETREL, Fea’s Petrel, BRIDLED TERN, Common Ground Dove, Cassin’s Kingbird and Couch’s Kingbird. That’s a whopping eleven new state birds, three of them lifers! This brings my state total to 396!
– Sullivan County provided some great new birds for me as well. I added three new county birds this year. CACKLING GEESE, BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCK and RED CROSSBILL! This brings my county list to 278!
Additional Highlights of the year were the following:
– Garganey – life bird seen in Burlington, Vermont
– Whiskered Tern – life bird seen in Cape May , New Jersey
– Mangrove Cuckoo – nemesis bird finally seen in Cozumel, Mexico
– Green-breasted Mango – nemesis bird finally seen in Roatan, Honduras
Bird of the Year: as usual three categories
-World Bird of the year: WILLOW PTARMIGAN! I have tried for this bird twice in Alaska and it has always been one of my most desired target birds. I would never have imagined that I would get to see this bird in New York State!
– New York State Bird of the Year: probably any other year, White-faced Storm-petrel would have taken the prize, but this year WILLOW PTARMIGAN takes this category too!
– Sullivan County Bird of the Year: Cackling Geese are one of my favorites, finally adding this bird to my county list (and the county list overall) would have taken first in another year. This year however BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCK had to take the prize!
And my annual total are:
Sullivan County – 216
New York – 290
ABA – 317
World – 378
I can’t imagine I will be having a year like this again anytime soon, but anything can happen in birding!