Monday, December 6, 2010

Please Don't Pray For Me, I Get By

An existential Ring-necked Duck ponders its reflection. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Wow. The whole year list thing has really stalled. I've gone a whole month without adding a single bird. Of course, thats easy to do when you refuse to chase anything simply for the sake of putting it on your year list. This is borne out of three (3) factors: laziness, gas-wasting guilt, and my ceasing to update my county lists in California. If I did not suffer from these ailments, I would be motivated to drive and bird a lot more. But as things regrets! 

Western Bluebird. Little more needs to be said. Morro Bay, CA.

Right now, I'm at 387 or so, which is really modest. This includes birding in coastal California, southeast Arizona, the northern end of the Gulf of California (yes, thats Mexico), and coastal/offshore Alaska. Basically, I'll be happy just getting to 400. I'm not really competing with anyone (all my other nerd-friends keeping track have much higher totals), and no one will fault me with taking quality over quantity this year. We've already discussed this, but I really like talking about it, so we will do so again. For example, last year the only new shorebird I saw was Upland Sandpiper (PENNSYLVANIAFTW!!!). This year, its Common Sandpiper, Long-toed Stint, Red-necked Stint, Wood Sandpiper....not bad, eh? Gotta love them Eurasian pipers.

A probable Glaucous X Herring Gull. They are best identified by their love of fried chicken. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Here in San Francisco, there's not much to add. There's an Indigo Bunting at Golden Gate Park, a Northern Parula at Ferry Park, a Clapper Rail at Heron Head Park....I don't know. I can't seem to get excited about them, though I have a deep and powerful love for all these species. My chasing instinct appears to be waning. But fear not BB&B fans, December will hold a flurry of birding....its up to Arcata this week for the Brown Shrike and other avian goodness, and I think I'll get some birding done in southern California later this month. I'm looking forward to it.

A Savannah Sparrow lurks. Morro Bay, CA.

So all in all, the Y2K10 list is going to be heavy on region-specific specialties (particularly southeastern Arizona birds and Aleutian Island seabirds and migrants) and totally lacking in birds that are relatively widespread and easy to see in a lot of places (i.e. American Redstart, Clark's Nutcracker, things like that). I think I'll end up about where I did last year actually (although I don't have a number for that), It's fine. Everything's fine. I'm not one to jump the shark. That said, this is all boring, dorky power-birder stuff, so I'll quit while I'm ahead. Toodles!

PS For more on guilt-free Big Years, check out Keith Hansen's blog here and Jim Royer's blog here! They've got some beefy totals for 2010, and are definitely on to something.

This pair of Horned Grebes have made the journey to the end of East Bay. Berkeley, CA.


  1. Hi, Steve! Thanks for leaving a comment on our blog, Hipster Birders, and leading me here. Your site looks great! Can't wait to read your future posts and browse through your archives. Best of luck.

  2. Oh, wow, I'm SO into the non-planet-eating birding--nice! I think it's a bit ironic when people who claim to be nature lovers have no second thoughts about burning through carbon swanning around (no pun intended) the globe 48 times a year. So, I'm lovin' your less than totally nutty huge year list and am sure the birds, however indirectly, appreciate it, too. =) More importantly, they benefit from it.

  3. @Nick - Hope you enjoy it! @Babbler - Although Ive done year lists before, this year I started (in February) mostly because 2 dear friends of mine were doing a year a couple. I was so disgusted that I had to start one myself. But its definitely been nice keeping it mellow, for the reasons you mentioned and more.