Monday, February 1, 2016

Black Hole

I ended 2015 with a pretty modest bird list and hope of surpassing that number for this year.  February tends to be a bit of a black hole for me since by mid-January I've tended to see all of the usual suspects that over-winter and that tend to frequent the bird feeders in my yard.  My list then tends to gather a bit of dust with very few additions until late-March or early April when either all the migrating species start to show up in the yard or the weather warms up and allows me to venture out a bit more.

Overall, we've had a pretty tame winter so perhaps this year the February "black hole" will be filled up a bit more.  I'm especially encouraged since my bird list is now up to a grand total of 11 (pretty much from just looking out my kitchen window here) and for the past three years it's taken in to early April before I hit 11 species.  Hopefully this will mean a banner year for me.  I'm aware of a few local birders who can hit around 200 species in a year and while I won't be giving their totals any serious competition, I do find it useful to peruse their lists online to get a sense of what can be seen here.  I have a few favourite spots around town and it helps to see what the possibilities are in terms of what I might see in the future.

One way I'm hoping to fix my little February black hole is to participate once again in this year's Great Backyard Bird Count.  It's something I've taken part in in the past but the last couple of years unfortunately saw me working for most of it.  This year I happily find myself on days off for the majority of it.

I've made it a goal though to do my best to get a few more species for my list and beat the February rut.  I'm on pace at the moment to see over 130 species which would put me over the moon if I did happen.  To get even close to that I'll really have to up my game as we head in to the Spring.  This past month was my best January in terms of species since I started keeping track about 4 or 5 years ago so I do have my work cut out for me.  But I do love that challenge.

Here is my birding list for January.  Nothing really earth-shattering, really, though the flocks of Canada Geese I saw down in Calgary were an early bonus since we won't see them here for a little while yet.

1.  Common Raven
2. Black-billed Magpie
3.  Downy Woodpecker
4. Pine Grosbeak
5. Common Redpoll
6. House Sparrow
7. Black-capped Chickadee
8. Bohemian Waxwing
9. Rock Dove
10. Canada Goose
11. Hoary Redpoll

1 comment:

Angelina Pratt said...

That is an impressive goal. My favorite is the Common Raven, we don't seem in Ottawa. At least I have not. I love that bird, and enjoy watching them at the Tim Hortons whenever I visit Fort McMurray. :)