Sunday, March 1, 2015

2015 BIG YEAR - February Update

February 2015

This is the second monthly summary of my 2015 CONDO BIG YEAR!!!

Red dot is my condo building

Red mark is the blue area defined in the first map

Click for - BIG YEAR RULES

The birds! (new species in bold)-

Canada Goose - 268
Mute Swan - 4
Gadwall - 2
American Black Duck - 2
Mallard - 17
Redhead - 11
Greater Scaup - 241
Lesser Scaup - 1
Surf Scoter - 762
White-winged Scoter - 8745
Black Scoter - 14
Long-tailed Duck -16121
Bufflehead - 19
Common Goldeneye - 1345
Common Merganser - 263
Red-breasted Merganser - 2409
Common Loon - 1
Horned Grebe - 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
Bald Eagle - 22
Red-tailed Hawk - 6
Ring-billed Gull - 453
Hering Gull - 2900
Thayer's Gull - 2
Iceland Gull - 14
Glaucous Gull - 76
"Nelson's" (Herring X Glaucous) Gull - 1
Great Black-backed Gull - 450
"Great Lakes" (Herring X Great Black-backed) Gull - 1
Rock Pigeon - 2
Mourning Dove - 387
Snowy Owl - 7
Downy Woodpecker - 2
American Kestrel - 1
Merlin - 1
American Crow - 1
Common Raven - 2
Black-capped Chickadee - 4
American Robin - 1
European Starling - 134
Snow Bunting - 4
American Tree Sparrow - 11
Dark-eyed Junco - 2
Northern Cardinal - 28
House Finch - 7
Common Redpoll - 1
House Sparrow - 655

Total species - 45

Total ebird checklists - 22

Best birds of the month: COMMON RAVENS(2), Snowy Owls (7), Thayer's Gulls (2), Hybrid Gulls

Useless seasonal rarities: Common Loon, American Robin

Highlight "big year" birds: COMMON RAVEN!!! But also some copies from last month (Snowies, Redpoll etc)

Checklists of the month:

#1 - (3 snowies?! good gulls!?)
#2 - (several neat sightings)
#3 - (storm! hopefully March is better...)

Total species added to the big year this month: 5

Big year total to date: 50

Target species going forwards: Should I try for Great Horned or Eastern Screech via audio calls? From my balcony? Or on the ground? I didn't do it in February, that's for sure... Now hopefully we get some epic migration in March! Maybe some good raptors? Golden Eagle? Goshawk? And dare I say Gyrfalcon!?

eBird needs alerts - ebird seems to have deleted this feature (???) but you can be darn sure I should have had American Goldfinch by now...

KM driven: 0
KM flown: 0
KM by boat: 0
KM by train: 0
KM by helicopter: 0

(1 Kilometer = 0.621371192237334 Miles)

Previous summaries: January



I could have gone to Florida for the month without hampering my big year effort what-so-ever... But I saw a number of exciting birds - so it was worth staying around! To heck with freezing cold weather, the beauty of condo-birding is staying inside (and warm) while still getting my winter birds... The Ravens on the last day of the month were a major boost and have me ready for migration! (Species 183 all-time for the condo)

Some of the species tallies (7 Snowy Owls, 22 Bald Eagles, 76 Glaucous Gulls) tell me that I'm doing everything right, but there just aren't many rarities around... It takes time to find these megas! If you have been reading along, i'm sure you're well aware that I REALLY want a Gyrfalcon - and keep looking (nearly) every day... This is THEE time to do it!

The behaviour observations and watching the formation of lake ice has also kept my interest. How much longer can we sustain this cold?! In the past 10-15 years, it was not unheard of to get some early spring migrants by now (blackbirds etc), so presumably they're primed and ready to go at the first sign of warmth...

Beyond that, I'm still doing my thing! There is clearly no eiders at my end of the lake... I didn't really add a useful big-year-species - and March is categorically the worst time of the year for mega-rares... Oh well - you can bet I will keep on lookin! By the end of the month I will hopefully have scored some highlight-species - especially in the hawk department where my position along the south side of Lake Ontario catches some of the flight counted at the Beamer Hawkwatch...

Exceptional lake ice - right to the horizon - on February 17th... 

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