Monday, January 23, 2017

2017's Early Going

Heidy Ho, Birding Neighbors!  After completing two Big Years in 2016 I have been doing great.  I'm relaxing!  I'm still out birding but it's at a much more relaxed pace without any crazy goals in mind.  Yet anyways.  Crazy goals will be coming soon I think...

I'm still thinking about my major birding goals for this year.  Sometimes it takes me awhile to figure such out.  I am brainstorming some ideas.  In the meantime, here are a few cool birds I have seen to start off 2017.

Remember the Long-tailed Duck from the Glendale Recharge Ponds in 2016?  Well, he's still present!  I'm very impressed that this duck has hung around my patch for as long as he has.

Jim Ripley found an impressive adult Trumpeter Swan in Buckeye.  This thing is huge, but it's hard to get close to because it is on private property.  I've seen the thing twice this year already.  It's been the most reliable Trumpeter Swan in Maricopa County's history and is the County's third record.  I got to see the first record in 2015 but the bird's were hit and miss for many people.  The second record was discovered on private property.  And this record, well, this record resulted in this huge bird staying put in one field for a few weeks.  Almost everyone who got to see it went away glad.  Too bad this bird didn't show up a few weeks earlier, and then it could've been a part of my Maricopa County Big Year of 2016!

Black Vulture, Dean and Beloat Riparian Area.  For some reason this Vulture is always cool to me.

One of the best highlights for me this year was watching a pair of White-tailed Kites.  Caleb Strand and I enjoyed this bird up close, and the two of us also found these birds in 2016.  These White-tailed Kites have hung around in a field in the Buckeye area reliably and many other birders have made trips to go and see them.  The White-tailed Kite is one of my favorite raptors, and they can entertain!

Caleb Strand relocated this Rusty Blackbird at Coon Bluff Recreation Site along the Lower Salt River.  This is an awesome bird in it's basic plumage.

One day I decided to do a hardcore Pinal County birding day, and I went to the Santa Cruz Flats looking for Pinal County lifers.  I got 6 of those birds out of about 12 that I was hoping for, and it was a neat day despite the fact that it was raining a lot of the time.  Along the Santa Cruz River there is a Louisiana Waterthrush that has returned for a second straight winter.  As I got to see it last winter, why not see it again this winter.  This bird has treated me well lately.  I got to enjoy this one up close, and we can't forget about the one I got to see in Maricopa County last year!

That's pretty much it for now.  And, before I head off, here are a few things I want to accomplish this year for my birding in 2017:

I want to explore more, more, and more.  Maricopa County a ton, other counties a lot (but not a ton), and other states some.

I want to gain five more Maricopers this year.  A Maricoper is a Maricopa County life bird.  If Yellow-rumped Warbler is split into two like anticipated, I could take some extra time off for searching ;)  Anyways, 390 would be exciting to hit this year.  My Downy Woodpecker search that I want to do may have to wait a few weeks due to snow and mud everywhere after recent storms of rain and snow.  Maybe this is the year I'll finally get that dumb Mexican Whip-poor-will in Maricopa County.

I want to see more Owls.  Owls outside of Arizona especially...

I want to hit over 100 species in La Paz County, Mohave County, and Greenlee County.  Then, I'll have 100 species in every Arizona County.

I want to gain get over 200 species in two other counties this year in Arizona.  I have 183 for Pinal for one of them, and the next highest is Coconino at 138 and Gila at 137.  I think Gila can be doable.  Then I'd have 8 Counties in Arizona with 200 species or more.

I wanna see a Jaeger.  It doesn't matter which kind, I want to see a Jaeger.  They are some of the coolest birds.  I wanna see a Jaeger.

I wanna pioneer bird and find my own epic hotspot, find a good bird at that hotspot, and get other birders to start birding that hotspot.

I don't want to do any sort of Big Year.

And last but not least:  There's been Rose-throated Becards reported the last two years in Arizona.  A pair of them are being seen NOW.  It's about time I should chase one of them....


  1. I always love reading about your goals, Tommy. Can't wait to see what you do with the year and where you Owl outside of Arizona! Hey, I'm a Pinal lister myself--maybe we'll have to up our lists there.

    The White-tailed Kites are really cool. I'd love to see one someday.

    1. Thanks Josh! I can't wait to see what I do with the Owl outside of Arizona too ;)

      Josh when you see a White-tailed Kite I think you can easily spend a day watching one, they are epic!

  2. Your goals are very ambitious but also attainable! I really think it's a great idea to work on your county lists in Arizona. You are going to become extremely well-rounded in the state. Be safe, have fun and find a ton of birds this year!