I’m interrupting Hawaii to celebrate my Birdiversary!
Exactly two years ago, on a camping trip to Stub Stewart State Park, I started birding in earnest. I’ve come a long way since that first Northern Pygmy Owl.
In some ways I miss the naiveté of starting a new project; everything is foreign, lots of mistakes are made, and much is learned from them. It’s a good thing this is birding because so much is still new, I make plenty of mistakes, and I continue to learn from them. There are always new birds to find, and old birds to misidentify. And if all else fails, there’s always gull identification.
In 2016 I had hoped to see owls (all of them), but especially the Great Grey Owl. And thanks to Scott Carpenter and the Put an Owl on it Birdathon team, mission accomplished.
I had a total of 48 owl encounters in 2016 (21 of those were Great Horned), and I even managed to meet a Northern Spotted Owl in California. And I had the pleasure of birding with David Sibley. Good times.
Another highlight of this year was finally making it to Malheur. And I was lucky enough to go with a great group of people from Audubon. I can’t wait to visit again because Malheur is for everyone! Much love for our public lands.
On that trip I accomplished another year goal of seeing Rock Wrens.
And bluebirds like this Mountain Bluebird.
Did you know September 24th is National Bluebird of Happiness Day? I didn’t either. Marking the calendar to celebrate happiness next year.
One goal I dipped out on this year was seeing a Yellow-breasted Chat! Dang, I miss those birds. I’ll have to make a better effort to find them in 2017.
All in all it has been a pretty good bird year. And it’s not quite over yet! In honor of my birdiversary, Tomas and I drove 2-hours east to Arlington, Oregon, in search of a new bird.
We sifted through dozens of Cedar Waxwings.
Nope. Until we finally spotted them.
Yes! Bohemian Waxwings!
Bohemians usually stick to the far North in Alaska and Western Canada. But some years, if food supply is low, they’ll follow the fruit and berries where they can get them. Reports of Bohemians in Washington and Oregon have spread this winter and I’m happy we caught up with them.
They’re slightly larger than Cedar Waxwings, grayer overall without the yellow-ish belly, and they have rufous undertails. A closer look:
So fun! We waited until we thought they’d perch nicely on the juniper below the wires, but a Sharp-shinned Hawk zoomed in and spooked the whole flock. Things are always exciting in the bird world.
Tweets, chirps, and cheers to the next year of birding!