Finishing February – 166 Species

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February proved a challenging month for me.  I was able to rack up a big number in January.  But most of those birds were also common species that tend to hang around New Jersey all year.   And I had good luck finding many of the rare species that popped up here and there, mostly because I spent so much time in Cape May (take note those of you planning a big year) during January.

February was tough sledding, though.  Aside from a nasty cold and stomach virus that sidelined me for several days, I missed more rare birds than I found.  I chased Pacific Loon, Golden Eagle, Yellow-headed Blackbird, and Ross’s Goose.  No luck.

So I shifted from chasing to birding again.  The difference?  I spent more time birding old, familiar haunts that I had neglected in favor of chasing those rare birds.   And while I didn’t find as many “new” birds, I had a great time birding along the North Shore with friends, wandering along trails in the Pine Barrens, and even going back to a couple spots to have another look at some pretty amazing rare birds before they decide to make their exit.

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With my shift in focus, February birding became enjoyable and allowed me time to begin planning for the Spring migration.  Whale watching tours begin operating in March, offering the opportunity to make up for a pelagic birding tripped missed while recovering from the flu.  Shore birds will also be on the move and some of the best areas for birding are well on their way to recovering from the impacts of Superstorm Sandy.

I am finishing February with 166 species – a number much better than I dared hope for when planning last year.  And I’m excited by the thoughts of March birding and witnessing once again the miracle of Spring migration.

Good Birding!

Greg

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4 thoughts on “Finishing February – 166 Species

  1. Mjc30s

    Hi Greg.  I’m not doing a Big Year, but i wanted you to know that I’ve started, for the first time ever, insured by you, a yearly list at the beginning of the year. (Usually, I would casually just make a list after, say, my first Spring trip to Forsythe.)  My end of Feb list is 131, as I’ve missed all the shorebirds and Cape May specialties.  But I’ve enjoyed your blog and am glad you’re feeling better.  

    All best, Marc Chelemer

    Reply
    1. njbigyear Post author

      Marc – thank you! I have gone back and forth on being a “lister” during my birding activities. I have loads of those little pocket notebooks filled with birding day lists. It has been a while since I devoted so much time to putting together lists and sharing them on eBird, though. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog and that it has added a new element to your birding. Good Birding! Greg

      Reply
  2. Sandra Keller

    I think my total for 2011 after Feb. was 132. About that. That was the year I had 320. You are doing well! Keep chasing though! There’s been Yellow-headed Blackbird in Salem County. You still have another month for Ross’s Goose down here.
    I always found March to be my “worst” month. Not too much new in. Always tired of chasing missing rarities, etc. But since you took a little break in Feb. maybe you’ll be chasing again a lot in March! Good luck!

    Reply
    1. njbigyear Post author

      Thanks Sandra…I’m having a pretty good time right now and enjoying birding again. I’ll probably do some chasing before the end of the month, but right now I am focusing on birding new areas. Check out my most recent post. Greg

      Reply

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