For many of us, today marks the unofficial end of Summer.
Yes, yes – according to the calendar, the summer season will still be with us for another three weeks. But we’ve all noticed the days are growing shorter, the temperatures are dropping (just a little), and fall bird migrations are well underway.
Birding during the summer, for me, usually takes a back seat to many other activities. In past years, I would rarely pick up my bins after the first week in July (the last NJA Citizen Science grassland survey, most seasons) until sometime in late September or even October.
My New Jersey Big Year has been a little different, though. While I still had a busy summer filled with family fun, I managed to make time to chase down a few of this season’s rare birds.
My bird count stood at 293 on June 30th. During July and August, I added Summer Tanager, Stilt Sandpiper, Cattle Egret, Royal Tern, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, and Barn Owl. With only two days left in August, I added the 300th species to my list, Philadelphia Vireo.
I’ve missed a few birds here and there, too. I came up empty handed after chasing the reports of Ruff, King Rail, and Sandwich Tern. And I tried several times for Brown Pelican and Brown Booby without luck.
There’s still four months to go in 2013 and lots of great birds to find before January 1st, 2014. As I come to the final push of this amazing Big Year, here is My New Jersey Big Year summary (ending on August 31st):
- Bird Species – 300
- Miles Traveled – 7048
- Counties Visited – 17
- Checklists submitted to eBird – 207
According to eBird, there have been 358 bird species reported in New Jersey since January 1st so, clearly, I still have several to chase down. Fall is a great time of the year to go bird watching and I hope to see many of you in the field during the coming weeks and months.
Until next time, Good Birding!