Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My List

I'm not really one to keep a lot lists when it comes to birding as I usually end up misplacing them. I do have a birding diary in which I write down new species that I see and a small field guide for recording various dates and observations. I'm not quite sure what my species count is up to since I moved to Alberta, but I think I'm running close to 50 now. A modest number but not too shabby considering the amount of hours I work. I could check my bird diary but after a long day I'm too lazy to get off the bed to go and find out. But 45-50 seems a good ball park figure.

One thing I thought I'd try this year since I've seen a few online, is to try to record a year list of all the birds I've seen in the year. So here is my list (in non-taxonomic order) so far, which I'm sure will grow quickly over the next couple months as the weather continues to warm. I might be missing a few as I just did this list up over the weekend off the top of my head to start out.

1. Common Raven
2. Black-billed Magpie
3. Evening Grosbeak
4. Pine Grosbeak
5. Bohemian Waxwing
6. Common Redpoll
7. Downy Woodpecker
8. House Sparrow
9. Slate-coloured Junco
10. Herring Gull (as of yesterday)

I suppose I could also add a couple "honourable mentions" to the list.....Canada Geese which I heard but didn't actually see over the weekend, and a hawk, either Sharp-shinned or Red-tail. I'm just taking a wild guess as it was atop a pine tree some distance away.

The other thing I started to do last year was to make a short of birds I've never seen before that I knew were in the area and try to add them to my life list. I had quite the breakthrough with the number of different woodpeckers I saw. This year I still have a couple species left over from last year I'd dearly like to knock off - the Belted Kingfisher and the Red-Breasted Nuthatch. This last one surprises me considering just how common they are here.....and yet I haven't seen one yet. But as for these two species I have a good idea of where the best odds are of seeing them so I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

The other interesting thing I should add for anyone interested is that I got a tip off a local online discussion board of sightings of a Red-Winged Blackbird. (Where it was sighted isn't a surprise as I know this spot well and go there specifically for some excellent viewing opportunities.) What was a bit unusual was the date...March 17, a bit earlier than they normally appear here. I made a trip to the general area a couple days later to see if I could spot any but came up empty.

Anyhow, these are my modest birding contributions over the past few weeks. I look forward to seeing my little list grow and I also have plans for a couple big hikes this summer to place I have yet to visit so I'm curious about what I might see.

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