But I can say that by all accounts, yesterday was a great day of birding for me. Mostly I chased down local rarities found in 2012 on the Ano Nuevo Christmas Bird Count or from before. Definitely nice to get some time looking at the ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK that Ron Thorn found out on Stage Road. I lost the bird as it went over a ridge near San Gregorio, when suddently the bird flew right over me coming from behind. I was left wishing my camera wasn't in the bottom of my panniers somewhere. By the time I got it out, the bird was sitting on the distant ridge again. And, wouldn't you know it, took off just as I was taking a picture through my scope. Not sure how it turned out in the end. I'll try to get the photo of it up as soon as I figure out how to do such things.
Another great bird, actually the first I tried for was the BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER that my friend Garth Harwood found up by his place about two weeks ago. I rode my bike up to see the bird a few times at the end of December, but there is nothing like a little nervousness about having this (the first morning of a Big Year) be the morning that the bird doesn't show up. It's a nice little nervousness and it keeps it fun. As does watching bird behavior. I've notice this bird following a Red-Breasted Sapsucker up a Sweetgum (Californians call it a Liquidambar I've noticed). It was feeding on the dripping wells of sap that the Sapsucker had drilled. A Ruby-Crowned Kinglet was doing the same (I've seen Chestnut-Backed Chickadees and Anna's Hummingbirds feeding that way in my garden too).
Anyway, its cool to see another Black-Throated Blue Warbler. The last one I saw was when I was a National Park Ranger in Isle Royale NP in Lake Superior. These guys bred there and became my favorite warbler.
Those two birds, the RLHA and the BTBW, I didn't get to see in 2011, so it felt good to see them this year. Gives me hope that the 276 mark from my last effort will be surmountable. I have a lofty goal of seeing 300+ this year, but who knows. It helped that the YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER we found at my house on the Christmas Bird Count was still around. Also the EASTERN PHEOBE was an easy bird to miss in a year of birding in San Mateo County. Tons of other great birds too and lots that I missed. None of the misses were critical in the sense that I won't see them again this year (I'm knocking on wood right now so that the Harlequin Duck continues to stick around).
|The Black-Throated Blue Warbler at Dearborn Park. Photo taken by Chris Johnson.|