I’m now home in Niwot, CO till Saturday when I return to Florida for a trip to the Dry Tortugas, a critical visit in anyone’s “Big Year” attempt. Today I added Franklin’s Gull and will try to find the N. Three-toed Woodpecker on Wednesday. Thursday evening will find me on Cameron Pass seeking the Boreal Owl, but for the most part I’ll be tending to some Peregrine Video work and planning and booking the remaining pelagic trips for the year.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the last ten days. Florida was a successful trip and a lot of fun as well. Forty-eight new year-birds were added to the list. I actually saw a Mangrove Cuckoo for the first time in the United States! All those Florida exotics are now out of the way. The two days on the Colorado prairie with my brother, Bill, added ten new year-birds including another owl species. The year list now stands at 449 species. I guess I’m satisfied with that. My goal was 450 species after the Dry Tortugas trip and I’ll reach that before it begins.
It’s only natural to compare my totals with Bob Ake’s 2010 totals and Lynn Barber’s 2008 totals. As of April 4, I’m running 18 birds ahead of Bob Ake and 22 birds behind Lynn Barber. These numbers are so fluid it’s too early tin the year to draw conclusions. The next 25 days should be very telling. Migration has started and is coming like a steam roller. Slow at first, but building momentum as it rolls on. Will my plan work? The Dry Tortugas trip is earlier than optimum, but scheduled to allow full coverage of Texas during the last two weeks of April. My hope is to get all the eastern warblers you’d expect in Texas, mop up on the remaining shorebirds and as well as the Hill Country specialties and Big Bend specialties before I return to Colorado April 30. I spend 5 days in early May in Southeastern Arizona. This could be risky as well IF I don’t get on top of the eastern migrants before I go. Arizona is followed by Illinois and Michigan and then the Alaskan trip. We’ll know how this year is going by June 15. It’s going to get wild and crazy, stay tuned and join the ride.