Thursday, January 5, 2017

Oh-fer: A summary of my county bird listing in 2016

It has been my goal to see over 300 species in a year in San Diego County for each of the past 3 years. I'm not trying overly hard; I'm not chasing any but the most nearby rarities. But still, others are finding over 350 species in a year. And I'm finding the regular residents and migrants and "regular rarities." I'm just not driving 45 miles to view one bird at one location when a rare bird pops up. So occasionally I make a day-long trip to see a bunch of the long-staying rarities on a circuit. Sometimes it works; other times not so much.

On November 26, 2016 I posted this message on the San Diego Region Birding list.

It sums up my rare bird chasing for 2016.

Subject: Oh-fer

Spent the whole day chasing this week's reported rarities.
Started at the Bird & Butterfly Garden where I did NOT see the Gray Flycatcher, Black-and-white Warbler, or Blackburnian Warbler.
Then over to the Sunset ball fields where I proceeded NOT to see a Lapland Longspur or Red-throated Pipit.
Down the road at Nestor Park I easily found the shady characters, but was UNABLE to find the Pine Warbler.
After a nice lunch I drove to the San Diego River mouth where there was NO sign of Burrowing Owl, Palm Warbler, Eurasian Wigeon, or Greater Scaup.
Finally, as the sun set, there was NO Franklin's Gull at Mission Bay.
My luck is 100%.
A wonderful and very typical birding day.

Greg Gillson
Escondido

Is it any wonder I don't like chasing other people's rare birds, but would rather find my own? But like my favorite sports team, I'm always enthused as the new season (or year) starts with encouragement that is somehow crushed as the year nears its end.

So I'm both excited and depressed that I started 2017 with these two birds on a brief stop after the January 1 pelagic trip...

Eurasian Wigeon
Eurasian Wigeon. STILL at San Diego River mouth, January 1, 2017. Greg Gillson.
Burrowing Owl
Mocking my 2016 listing prowess,.. and preparing me for 2017's eventual listing disappointment, this Burrowing Owl is STILL right out in the open and STILL at San Diego River mouth, January 1, 2017. Greg Gillson.
And on January 2nd, while outside at work, a rare Plumbeous Vireo inexplicably landed in a tree right beside me at eye level!

This great start to my year's bird list means only one thing about 2017... crushing disappointment lies ahead.