Well, I must say it’s been a pretty good year. I made my goal for the year, and then some. I wanted to see 250 birds in the State of Florida, and I found 259, and I also found 272 total this year (including visits to TX, MD and VA). I also have discovered the fun of keeping track of county lists. I’ve decided to keep track of three counties near where I live, and hear are my totals for this year: Seminole (170 species), Orange (174 species) and Brevard (170 species).
I also added 76 life birds to my list, thanks in part to the ABA allowing me to count the Nanday Parakeet.I’ve included a list of them below in the order that I found them. The list I’m including below comes straight from eBird, so you may notice aBudgerigar listed, even though I don’t believe it’s ABA countable.
It would be hard for me to pick my favorite finds for this year. Near the top of the list would have to be the flycatchers though: Scissor-tailed, Fork-tailed, Ash-throated, Yellow-bellied and Vermillion Flycatchers, Western and Gray Kingbirds, and a Say’s Phoebe. Sparrows have also been fun this year: A Clay-colored right at Mead Gardens, then Nelsons, Saltmarsh, Grasshopper, Vesper, Field, Bachman’s, Harris’s, and even a Lark Sparrow at Fort De Soto. I also found a fair share new new warblers: Orange-crowned, Worm-eating, Magnolia, Blackpoll, Prothonotary, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Tennessee, Canada, Blue-winged, Bay-breasted, and Louisiana Waterthrush. I also enjoyed the shorebirds for this year: Wilson’s and Rednecked Phalaropes, American Oystercatcher, Purple Sandpiper, Wilson’s and Piping Plovers, Red Knot and a White-rumped Sandipiper (which I’ve probably seen before before I knew how to identify them). And I’ve even learned to appreciate gulls and terns, adding Sandwich Terns, Black Terns, Sooty and Bridled Terns, Great-black Backed, Lesser Black-backed, Bonaparte’s Gulls, and last but certainly not least, an Iceland Gull.
This year has also been a year where we’ve been able to see some wonderful birds we don’t normally get to see in Florida. We’ve had Red-breasted Nuthatches come to Florida inunprecedented numbers, a Snow Bunting decided to sunbathe at Playalinda Beach, Scoters have been frequently seen, and a whole slew of Razorbills have invaded Florida’s waters, extending south to Miami, rounding the penninsula and being seen even in the panhandle of Florida’s gulf coast.
There were a few birds I missed seeing, despite valiant efforts: Nashville and Hooded Warbler (which I saw last year but hoped to see again this year). I had a brief glimpse at what I still think was a Wood Thrush, but I didn’t get a good enough look to be sure, so I had to log it as Catharus sp. (totally unsatisfying). And even though I found an Orchard Oriole this year in FL, try as I might, I have not been able to find a single Baltimore Oriole anywhere in the state this year.
I haven’t decided on all the details of my goal for 2013, but at the very least I want to increase my FL life list to 300 species. I need 36 more FL birds to make that happen. That seems pretty doable, so I may need another challenge too. I’m not sure.