Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

No Shrike in the Rain

Today was pretty much a repeat of yesterday, just with more rain.  We spent the morning watching, waiting, wiping optics, and hoping for an appearance by the Brown Shrike.  But none of the dozen birders saw any hint of a shrike.  There were some songbirds (shrike food) moving around like the Sooty Fox Sparrow (web photo), but they didn't seem to attract the attention of our wished-for bird.  Around noon we reconvened at the McDonalds to use their facitlities, get some food, and log-in to their wifi.  There wasn't any further good news about a rarity anywhere, so I continue to be on track to go home tomorrow.  However, a Black-tailed Gull was found in Newfoundland, increasing my resolve to go since there's almost always a Yellow-legged Gull there during December.  Chris on the other hand has nothing to go for, so he's planning to stay in California near an airport (San Francisco) in case a rarity is discovered somewhere requiring a flight.  He'll wait a few days until the weather in northern CA is predicted to improve and then he and Wes will try for the shrike again.
     I should have mentioned the other day that John Spahr has returned from his trip to Chile and is interested in finishing the year with some more year birds.  He presently has 694 for the year after adding Fork-tailed Flycatcher and Pink-footed Goose yesterday.  His goal is to get to 700.  Chris Hitt is also at 694, and he now has the top Lower 48 BigYear List and is working to get to 700 before the year's end.  Today is Chris's birthday.  Amazing that we have back-to-back birthdates!  To celebrate the three of us went to one of Chris's favorite Chinese restaurants in San Francisco where we had the expected wonderful meal. Wes dropped us off at our motel near the San Francisco airport and headed on home.  At the motel I've been working on the travel plans for Newfoundland.  It's not going to be cheap to get there and the weather isn't your ideal resort weather.  But you know...a year bird or two is hard to ignore.


  1. Mmmmmmm. The Chinese food sounded great! Especially after that rain. I re-read Jim Vardaman's "Call Collect, Ask For Birdman" about his 1979 ABA Big Year. I had forgotten that he had a White-cheeked Pintail at Laguna Atascosa NWR with John Arvin 10 April! Also noted that a Whooper Swan at Oakville, Ontario 16 March - with Davis Finch! Both are on his final list of 699. What a December he had!