My species count has slowed quite a bit during February. That’s not really surprising though. Nearly every bird I saw during January was a first-of-the-year find and I had great success in chasing down some very rare birds.
While I was chasing down birds like this Rough-legged Hawk, I was also finding those common winter species, like chickadees and titmice. There are still a few rarities around that I simply haven’t had time to chase, but they are fewer and widely scattered around the state.
So I have been putting more time into birding some of my familiar locations, like Colliers Mills and Assunpink Wildlife Management Areas. And I have taken time to go out birding with my friends, taking a break from the hard-core chasing that dominated January.
Now my species count stands at 162, after finding Wood Duck with my friends during our north shore run yesterday. I don’t know if I would have believed, on December 31st, that I would have 162 species by the middle of February. I am very happy with my results, thus far.
There are only a few weeks, perhaps three or four, before the shore migration begins again. Not long after that, the neo-tropical migration will begin in earnest and, with luck, my species count will begin to rise again.
Until then, I am enjoying winter birding at the Jersey shore and in the Pine Barrens, two activities that I enjoy the most.