Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Sunday, February 7, 2010


John and I set out from the house this morning, headed for Mackay Island NWR.  We went there on January 1 as part of our first day of the Big Year.  We drove the causeway slowly with the emergency lights flashing.  We were looking for American Bittern and King Rail, just as we were that first day.  We parked and walked the edge of the marsh on each side of the road, got back in the car and drove a little further, then walked another stretch of road edge.  Along the first stretch to our amazement, we flushed a Least Bittern, a bird I've seen only once before during the winter and that sighting was also at MacKay Island.  After lots more walking we were returning to the car when an American Bittern flushed to our left (photo).  My yelp of joy provoked a King Rail to call.  So we had bagged the birds for which we were searching.
Going from there to Back Bay NWR to scan the ocean sounded like a good idea.  At the ocean we did carefully study a Pacific Loon just beyond the surf.  But the hoped for scoters, grebes, and gulls were not there.  So we moved on to Fort Story.  As we were approaching Rudee Inlet it just made sense to stop and give it a look.  There were a few Surf Scoters, a female Common Eider, a Purple Sandpiper, and quite a few gulls.  In the midst of those gulls was an immature Little Gull, a catchup bird for John since he missed the one at the hotel yesterday in NC.  But unlike yesterday, there were only two Bonaparte's Gulls in the flock.  So you don't always need lots of Bonies to get a Little Gull.
We did make it to Fort Story, and after being checked out, we went to the bay overlook near the first landing monument.  There was not a lot flying except Red-throated Loons and Red-breasted Mergansers, plus a few Northern Gannets and a large unidentified alcid.
We headed home to get ready for our trip to Arizona tomorrow and to watch the Super Bowl.  Go Colts.  My species total now stands at 295.


  1. Almost 300! But I noticed what must have been a typo . . . go colts?!?!? Oh well, by now I'm sure you've seen the error of your ways!! Renee

  2. Bob, I just came across your blog. Want to wish you and John the best. I will be following along for some vicarious birding!

    Paul Bedell