Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Best Way To Deal

Least Bittern. By far the best looks I've ever had of one, and the only one I saw in 2011. Martinez, CA.

I am proud to announce that I have reached my goal of 550 bird species this year. While a paltry number to serious year listers, it involved only 5 states, 2 countries and one round-trip plane flight, and most importantly....not doing a big year. Pretty good for a casual big year/Ano Tranquilo, I reckon. I didn't think I would be able to make 550 happen, but a trip to California's Carrizo Plain got me a staggering 5 year birds, including embarrassing previous misses like Purple Finch and hard to find birds like Mountain Plovers...not to mention #550, a pair of LeConte's Thrashers frolicking around Soda Lake Road.

Red-shouldered Hawk. Not unusual by any means (to me), but I like the picture. Ventura, CA.

Besides my high number of species this year, what stood out was that about 110 species were life birds! That's almost a 1 to 5 ration, nerds. Of course, this is mostly because I got to seriously bird Mexico finally, but I got a number of new birds stateside as well...Baird's Sparrow, White-rumped Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit, Greater Sage Grouse, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Three-toed Woodpecker, Dusky Grouse and Falcated Duck were all lifers. Two of those were in California, my home state, which is pretty sweet.

Today I'll post some pictures that I have not gotten from this past spring, I'll get to the rest of the year hopefully sooner than later. My house, the beloved Sunset Space Station, is embroiled in a foreclosure fiasco with the soulless swine of the real estate industry...being homeless, of course, can complicate one's blog output. Thankfully, we are having a house party tonight, which is the best way to deal with such bullshit.

Happy New Year!

Allen's Hummingbird. Did someone say "facemelting"? Ventura, CA.

Aplomado Falcons are great. I got to see a number of them in Veracruz State, near the coast, where they are not uncommon, and don't wear the tainted jewelry that many of the Texas birds sport. This one was near Alvorado, Veracruz, Mexico.

Roadside Hawk. One of the many lifers I got this year. Chavarrillo, Veracruz, MEX.

Yellow-throated Euphonias can be quite common just a day's drive south of the border, but you probably won't ever see one in the states. Chavarrillo.

Long-billed Thrasher...or in this case, No-billed Thrasher. This is kind of a fuck-up picture, but I like it anyways. Chavarrillo.

Mississippi Kites! So many! Not to mention a Swallow-tailed Kite. Counting massive flocks of raptors was great fun. Chavarrillo.

A Band-backed Wren charges up a tree. Also a lifer. Chavarillo.

Short-tailed Hawks were one of the relatively few resident species we saw every day from the hawk-counting tower. It was a lot of fun watching them hover high over town, then stooping down into people's backyards to kill things. Chavarrillo.


  1. Hey, does the Allen's Hummingbird have eyelashes, or am I seeing things? happy new year!

  2. So many drool-worthy birds I've never seen... I like that wren- kinda like a stretched out creeper. The Least Bittern is slowly climbing up my list of birds I'd go apeshit over in real life. Hope you had a great new years, lemme know when you're gonna be in OR.

  3. @Sarah - Wow, I think you're right...good eye!

    @Jen - Thanks, I'll send you an email soon...please begin staking out all Portland area rarities, apreesh.