Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Thursday, January 24, 2013

2012 - a quick review

I haven't posted in a few months, I know. I'm a very poor journalist.
So here's a short post I decided to write for you about my year.


List for month: 67
Lifers: 1 - American Black Duck
Total yearlist: 67
Total lifers for year: 1

Birding at my grandparent's in the country on Jan 1. Awesome mix of woodlands and open grassland. Neat birds seen included Field Sparrow, Northern Harrier (male!), and Hermit Thrush.
Birding with my sister at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park (eBird) and later at the same location with friends (eBird). Found my lifer American Black Duck as well as neat stuff such as Rusty Blackbird, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and an Otter.

Obviously the bird on the right


List for month: 40
Lifers: 2 - Fox Sparrow and Winter Wren
Total yearlist: 76
Total lifers for year: 3

Birding alone, as per usual, at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park (eBird). Birds: lifers Fox Sparrow and Winter Wren plus a Greater Scaup (uncommon find inland)

Very flattering photo of my lifer Fox Sparrow


List for month: 61
Lifers: 1 - Broad-winged Hawk
Total yearlist: 90
Total lifers for year: 4

Begining of migration, including my first Palm Warbler for the yard - an Eastern subspecies.
Birding alone at Phinizy again was also pretty successful. No lifers, but still a nice outing. (eBird)
Probably among the best photos I've ever taken (Broad-winged Hawk)

(For a detailed review, see April: a Month in Migration)

List for the month: 88
Lifers: 4 - Prothonotary Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, and Cape May Warbler
Total yearlist: 122
Total lifers for year: 8

Birding at Congaree National Park for the first time was a neat experience. Dreadfully hot, but I found my lifers Prothonotary and Prairie Warbler. (eBird)
Later during the month I found my lifers Worm-eating Warbler and Cape May Warbler in my yard.
Birding at Phinizy Swamp alone, I found the usual birds, but with 5 FOYs, I wasn't complaing.
At a friends house at the end of the month I found some nice migrants including Cape May Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, and Kentucky Warbler.

As always, my photography is so breath-taking. The colors are totally right here and there's not noise at all!

(For a detailed review, see May: a Month in Migration)

List for the month: 95
Lifers: 2 - Black-and-White Warbler and Yellow-breasted Chat
Total yearlist: 139
Total lifers for year: 10

Very nice migrants in the early portion of the month, including Blackpoll Warbler and Bay-breasted Warbler and my lifer Black-and-White Warbler, in my yard.
Birding with my brother at Phinizy Swamp, I found awesome birds such as Bobolink (numbering near a thousand individuals), Yellow-throated Warbler (adults feeding juvenile birds), and my lifer Yellow-breasted Chat. I also heard one of my nemesis species, Northern Waterthrush (didn't count it). (eBird)
Later in the month, I helped my father (an elementary school teacher) lead two field trips for his classes. The kids were lucky enough to see the Ospreys on their nest on the Windshear tower, and Painted and Indigo Buntings feeding on grass seeds in the constructed wetlands. (eBird 1, eBird 2)
I decided to bird a little more at Phinizy later in the month with my sister. We found FOY Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and Green Heron, as well as Glossy Ibis (3 individuals) - a fairly strange sight inland. (eBird)

Okay, still pretty good - my lifer Yellow-breasted Chat

List for month: 80
Lifers: 0
Total yearlist: 141
Total lifers for year: 10

Birding at Phinizy twice with my sister. First time (June 4), we found the usual suspects, but a single Painted Bunting being particularly cooperative was probably the highlight of the trip. Second time (June 15) we found, apart from the usual suspects, a trio of Tree Swallows on the wire near the campus, including a juvenile. Only this year have the Tree Swallows began breeding in the Augusta area, so this was a fairly nice spotting for June.
Also, Bobwhites are cool.
Van Gogh's Bunting


List for month: 125
Lifers: 24
Total yearlist: N/A
Total lifers for year: 34

Birding with my sister at Phinizy Swamp on the 7th (eBird). A very successful trip, including my lifers Cliff Swallow and nemesis Least Bittern as well as my first Black-crowned Night-Heron for Richmond County. Also noteworthy was another Tree Swallow, which appear to be gaining prevalence in the Summer months here.
A week later, we went birding with extended family from California (eBird), not nearly as successful as the first trip, but I finally found my FOY Black-bellied Whistling-Duck.
Then, of course, there was the trip to California. I racked up a total of 33 lifebirds. A full memo can be found here: parts 1, 2, 3, 4

Just your average, run-of-the-mill Allen's Hummingbird photo


List for month: 113
Lifers: 16
Total yearlist: N/A
Total lifers for year: 40

Still in California up until the 9th. See full memo.
My first Swallow-tailed Kite for the yard! My sister had told me she saw the bird the day Kyle and I returned from California, and I was able to relocate it a few days after.What a gorgeous bird!
Birding at Silver Bluff Audubon Center & Sanctuary for the first time, with my mom and brother (eBird). My mother isn't a very outdoorsy person, but was very excited to see Wood Storks, a Blue Grosbeak, and a Bald Eagle. I was surprised to find out she enjoyed herself very much. I found lots of shorebirds in the muddy, vegetated ponds, including my lifer Pectoral Sandpiper, the species I was targeting and the reason I decided to come to Silver Bluff.
I ended the month with a trip to Phinizy on the 31st. Nothing particularly exciting, but I did see my FOY Yellow Warblers and met Richmond County's no. 1 birder for the first time.
Another highlight for August were the hundreds of Nighthawks I see migrating over my yard every August and September- truly an amazing sight!

My lifer Pectoral Sandpiper!
...wait, nevermind.


List for the month: 74
Lifers: 2 - Chestnut-sided Warbler and Philadelphia Vireo
Total yearlist: N/A
Total lifers for year: 42

Two lifers in the yard - Chestnut-sided Warbler on the 17th and Philadelphia Vireo on the 24th. The Philadelphia Vireo was actually a pretty excellent find for my county, being only the 10th or so record ever.
Birding at my friends house (incidental), I found some nice migrants in the pecan trees in his yard, including Redstarts, Parulas, Yellow-throated, Chestnut-sided Warblers.
Birding at Phinizy Swamp with my dad on the 22nd (eBird), I found my official lifer Northern Waterthrush at the end of the equalization pond, as well as my FOY Sora on the constructed wetland trail.

Back to the amazing photos! (Philadelphia Vireo)


List for the month: 78
Lifers: 1 - Swainson's Thrush
Total yearlist: N/A
Total lifers for year: 43

Mini-fallout in the yard on the 1st, including: Redstarts, Yellow-throated Warblers, Black-and-White Warblers, Pewees, and Yellow Warblers. Not incredible, but beats the ho-hum everyday mockers and cardinals.
Another mini-fallout on the fifth brought about a record number of species for the yard, including awesome birds such as: Pewees, White-eyed Vireos, Tree and Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Redstarts, Cape May Warblers, Parulas, and Magnolia Warblers. FOY species included: Tennessee and Black-throated Green Warblers, plus Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Of course, the day wouldn't be complete without a lifer, and I was lucky enough to run into not one, but three Swainson's Thrushes.
Y'all probably noticed I visit Phinizy every month. During October, I visited it twice. The first time nothing exciting showed up, and the second time was nearly the same, with the exception of a Sedge Wren calling from within a wet field. I was confident enough to report it to eBird, but not confident enough to add it to my lifelist.

I'm not obligated to post my lifer photos am I?
Because that Swainson's Thrush photo was just too amazing.
(White-eyed Vireo)


List for month: 70
Lifers: 2 - Surf Scoter and Brown Creeper
Total yearlist: N/A
Total lifers for year: 45

Went birding at Phinizy three times during November (surprising?). The first trip, I was chasing a female Surf Scoter reported at the equalization pond. This is a rare bird inland, and a lifer for me. Also present in the pond was my FOY Redhead. The second trip I went with my brother in late afternoon, searching for a Short-eared Owl reported the day before. We didn't find the Owl, but just after dusk, King Rail and Virginia Rail started calling. The Virginia Rail would be a lifer for me, but I am hesitating adding it to my lifelist, given its a heard-only bird. We neglected to check the equalization because it was getting late, and it was just my luck! apparently my friend Vickie had been there the same afternoon and had spotted a Red-breasted Merganser hen in the equalization pond, another rare duck inland. This urged me to visit Phinizy for a third time, but I was only able to go two days later, because I was sick over the weekend. I dipped on Red-breasted Merganser when I did go, but my trip wasn't at all in vain. I managed to find my lifer and nemesis Brown Creeper! A bird that had been evading me for a few Winters already. Despite still feeling pretty bleh after being ill, the trip was well worth it.

Creepiest bird I've ever seen


List for month: 69
Lifers: 0
Total yearlist: 234
Total lifers for year: 45

Birding at Phinizy Swamp twice. Neither was particularly exciting, but the first time I observed my first Hooded Merganser for the county. (2nd trip eBird)
For once she's not in Bulloch County!

2012 as a whole
Total yearlist: 234
Lifers: 46
eBird Checklists: 376

I think I can confidently say 2012 was my best year birding by far. It really urged me to get out more and increase my knowledge and experience. I definitely made memories I will remember my whole life and 2012 is a year I will never forget.

So there's my "quick" review of 2012. The new year has started out very well, already on 84 for the yearlist, including two lifers!

Wishing you all the best for 2013!
Liam, the Colorblind Birder

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this and viewing your photos! I love your sense of humor, too! Keep up the good birding!