|Eider at the Superbowl|
April was a good month for migration, and I saw lots of warblers at local spots such as Glenwood Lake, Marshlands Conservancy, NY Botantical Gardens (where I saw a Prothonotary Warbler), and Central Park (including Hooded Warbler and Red-headed Woodpecker).
The real good migration birding was, of course, in May, and I visited three of the best migration spots on the East Coast: Central Park, Mount Auburn Cemetery in Boston, and Cape May. In all, I saw or heard 29 species of warblers in May, including 20 in a single day in Central Park. In Mount Auburn, I saw my life Black-billed Cuckoo and my first ABA Wilson's Warbler, among scores of other birds. The real highlight of the month, however, was the World Series of Birding. I captained a team, the Vagrants, and we had a caffeine-and-insanity-fueled big day in Cape May, netting 134 species. If that wasn't enough, my teammate Lewis Lolya, his father, and I did the same thing again the next weekend, but in New York, seeing 120 species, including my life Red-necked Phalarope.
In June I didn't do as much birding, but did manage to get two nice grassland lifers in Connecticut- Upland Sandpiper and Grasshopper Sparrow. July was similarly low-key bird-wise, but I did conduct a research project with the Bronx Zoo Ornithology Department about invasive trees and their impact on birds (spoiler alert: they don't help, and they could hurt somewhat, according to my data).
August, on the other hand, was packed with birding. A whalewatch at the start of the month got me my life Manx Shearwater, a trip to Plymouth Beach the next day was highlighted by Roseate Tern, and my second annual Big Day by Bike in Marshfield and Duxbury was a huge success, beating last year's total 76 to 68, including a rare-for-Massachusetts Royal Tern. Towards the end of the month, my family traveled to Paris and Asturias, in Northern Spain. The birds were good, and included my 500th lifer, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, White-throated Dipper, Alpine Chough, Eurasian Curlew, Long-tailed Tit, and Booted Eagle.
|Allegedly a photo of a bird, if so, this is a Rufous Hummingbird|
Normally I would do a big "Top 10 birds of the year" post, but that seems a bit excessive to have 2 year end posts, so here it is:
- Griffon Vulture
- Snail Kite
- White-throated Dipper
- Egyptian Vulture
- Long-eared Owl
- Eurasian Curlew
- Alpine Chough
- Booted Eagle
- Thick-billed Murre
- Upland Sandpiper
Honorable Mentions: Long-tailed Tit, Short-tailed Hawk, Alpine Accentor
Looking ahead to 2012, there seems to be a potentially fantastic year of birding in store for me. In the short term, I am going to be in Pennsylvania tomorrow and the next day, hopefully tracking down the Green-tailed Towhee in the area to start off the new year. More distantly, I have two awesome trips planned: in February I am going to the Yucatan Peninsula, and in July/August I am attending Camp Chirichuaua in Southeast Arizona. It should be a fun year overall, especially given that in March I can drive, which should improve my birding opportunities locally.
Happy New Year!