informal thoughts on acting, writing, and birds
Resolution time: Every January I break out The Sibley Guide to Birds and go about selecting four to five "target" species for the new year. While limiting myself to five or less may seem like the most causal of birding for some big listers, these lists tend to serve me as a nice guideline as to what my goals and priorities will be for birding that year. Am I going for pelagics? Rare boreal species? Nemesis birds? Or am I going to want to break out a new book and set my sights on a trip outside the ABA area?
Now, sometimes these lists are a wash. 2016 had me looking for American Woodcock (I somehow spaced on all my breeding season plans, and on my one outing, dipped on the bird at a "guaranteed" spot) and Atlantic Puffin (you need to get on a boat for those, I did not get on said boat) so I spotted neither. Which is painful to admit.
I did manage to find Fish Crow and Burrowing Owl on a March trip to Florida, though! So, maybe half isn't bad?
Nah. When you're going for four species in 365 days, half is pretty bad.
This year's list reflects two goals: one is to get out west of the Rockies, and the other more important goal is to go deeper in my own "backyard" by studying and searching around for some of the less common species in Southern Maine. Puffins and Woodcocks are out for me this year, and these five feathered fellows have taken their rightful place:
Joined Jeff Wells and Rob O’Connell on a Cessna 207 to Matinicus Isle to participate in annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Flight out, approx. twenty minutes in very rough winds. Gusts up to 45 knots. Flight was breathtaking, if a bit white-knuckle. Dozens of golden islands in early light and eight foot swells scattered like torn lace over Penobscot Bay.
Despite Matinicus’ reputation as “an island of outlaws,” most people we met on the island were friendly enough. One eighty-year-old man was surprised to see more footprints than just his own in the mud on the road. All seemed to know exactly what we were up to. Only one woman gave us trouble, telling us to get off “private property” and letting out her massive, but thoroughly uninterested dog.