Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my 72nd birthday.  It started last night when Wes picked up Chris and me at the San Francisco airport and we drove north to Ukiah CA where we checked into a motel at 1:00am, got four hours of sleep, and resumed driving, arriving in Eureka CA, the vicinity of the target bird, around 9:00am.  Eventually, there were about a dozen birders looking for the Brown Shrike, an Asian vagrant which was found a couple of weeks ago and since then has been playing peek-a-boo with those trying to see it.   When the bird has been seen, it was in bushes around a coastal pond.  We spent three plus hours searching until it began to spit rain.  We hadn't seen the bird and it was getting hungry, so we went into town to a wifi restaurant where we checked out the weather forcast and the rare bird reports and then had lunch.  After lunch, we went to the north rock jetty west of town and had a great bird show including Black Turnstones, a Wandering Tattler, Surfbirds, and a couple of Rock Sandpipers (web photo), the latter being a year bird for Chris and a state bird for me.  We also had Black and Surf Scoters, Harlequin Ducks, Double-crested and Pelagic Cormorants, two Pomarine Jaegers harrassing a Black-legged Kittiwake, Common Murres, Pacific Loons, Western Grebes, and Herring, California, Western, Ring-billed, and Glaucous-winged Gulls.  After the rock jetty, we decided to get motel rooms and try to catch up on some rest.
     I have decided as a birthday present to me to take the two splits which ABA has sanctified this year.  As most of you already know those are Pacific Wren (from Winter Wren) and Mexican Whip-poor-will (from Whip-poor-will).  I have gotten both of those birds earlier in the year and ABA Big Year rules allow splits during a year to be counted.  I was going to wait until the end of the year to add them, but my birthday seems an appropriate time to bring them in.  That's the reason my total has jumped two birds without my getting any new ones today.  With that addition I am now tied with Lynn Barber for the third highest all-time Big Year list total.  I need four more to reach second.  First is totally out of the question.
     The weather is questionable for tomorrow, so we'll just have to see what it looks like in the morning.  If it's not raining, we'll probably go look for the Brown Shrike again.  If it is, we'll head south and get positioned for another attempt at flying home.


  1. Hope you get some good birthday sleep and the shrike as well. Congratulations on moving up to third place tie! What a great year for you! Renee

  2. Happy big day!! That shrike is a will-o'-the-wisp in bad weather, no doubt. Maybe in the future they'll invent remote-control katydids that you can fly around the thicket edges .... Good luck tomorrow. And good effort today.

  3. My father-in-law lives in Eureka, he got me started birding 12 years ago. Maybe he will be helping to find the shrike tomorrow! I started following your blog a couple of weeks ago and read all your posts to get caught up, Congrats! Big year on a tight budget, your doing awesome and you had great birds today on the jetty.

  4. Happy Birthday Bob and congrats on the new birds. What an AMAZING BIG YEAR but I don't believe anyone is surprised you are near the top. I hope you got the Shrike today. Remember, you can sleep when you die!! Audrey

  5. Happy birthday! Good luck with a strong finish, you seem to be firing on all cylinders.