As I plan for a Big Year for the county, I’ve been looking over the data on eBird for Washington County for counts of birds for the last few years. This year’s reports have new records — 196 for the county and 167 by the top individual, the team Fred & Chris Pratt. They are gone three months of the year which makes the feat even more impressive.
We had finch irruptions this year but few if any rare species like the Northern Hawk Owl or Varied Thrush of former years so based on about 200 species for the county, I’m going to to set a personal target of 170 species in Washington County for 2013. (I have only logged 132 species for this year although we were gone from the state quite a bit.) So, off we start next week.
I decided to set some monthly goals as well based on past arrivals of species on eBird. I took a look at January bird records and set a target of 35 species for the month. Many of them will be easy (crow, chickadee, blue jay, nuthatches,etc) but I’m hoping to see Bohemian Waxwings, which I’ve missed this year, a Northern Shrike, which is a nemesis bird for me, and a return of Pine Siskins and Pine Grosbeaks. The waterways have pretty much frozen up so the Mallard and mergansers I have on the list may have to wait until later. I also need the Common Redpolls to hang around for another week.
The next step in my planning will be to spend more time with maps of the county, putting together a list of hot spots and areas that have potential that I’ve never visited.
Given the new two feet of powder, I have a feeling that much of my January birding will be on snowshoes or XC skis. Oh Darn!