Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Approaching 500...

I am quickly approaching a major bird listing milestone - 500 ABA-area birds (the US and Canada - minus Hawaii). I'm excited about this milestone, but I'm a little concerned about #500. Not that every bird isn't special, but I want it to be something extra special. I have nemesis birds that annually occur in NJ that could be #500 such as Cackling Goose, Cape May Warbler or Roseate Tern. Do I want these to be #500? Maybe... or should I wait for some mega rarity to show up? Does anyone care besides me? Probably not.

This milestone also gives me the chance to reflect on birds that I haven't seen that could have changed what #500 was. What if I had counted that terrible look at a Harris's Sparrow in October? What if that darned "sure thing" Ferruginous Pygmy Owl showed up in Texas? What if I waited an extra 10 minutes at the feeder in Arizona where the White-eared Hummingbird showed up immediately after I left? Why didn't I go out and see a Cackling Goose when there were many reports this winter? Why haven't I put a huge effort into finding a Barn Owl? What if I went on more pelagic trips? I guess I could look at the "what didn't happens" and sulk or I could think back to all the wonderful experiences I've had birding. Regardless of what #500 turns out to be, it's been a great journey getting there. My trips to Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, and the Adirondacks in NY have yielded wonderful birds, beautiful nature, and fabulous comraderie. Here's to #500, #600 and beyond!

9 comments:

Jochen said...

When I hiked/birded through Scandinavia in June 1990 I knew I was going to get my No. 300 somewhere in the woods. When I finally did (Three-toed Woodpecker), I scaled the next small mountain with a view over the surrounding taiga/boreal forest and opened the small bottle of champagne I had been carrying with me for the last days in my (admittedly very heavy) backpack.
Plan for something like tis and any species will be a memorable No.500!
Cheers and happy biring

Patrick Belardo said...

Jochen,

This is a phenomenal idea. I hate champagne, but I'll find a suitable substitute.

Birdfreak said...

I would have to say a Cape May at Cape May would probably be one of the coolest #500s out there!

Patrick Belardo said...

That's not bad at all! They do occur there in the fall in some numbers. Hmm...

Keith Dowling said...

If I could go back and start birding fresh all over again, I'd never, ever, ever look at something stupidly common, like a mourning dove. I'd tune out all the calls; ignore every bird on a wire and in my backyard. So when you're at 499, you can wake up, open your window, and voila! #500.

mon@rch said...

WOW, Congrats on the 500 species! That is a wonderful record to break!

birdchaser said...

My 500th ABA bird was Bronzed Cowbird. At the time I was a bit nonplussed about it, but I've come to enjoy those birds and now that I live in PA, I miss them.

Wanting a really cool bird for #600, I flew to Michigan to give the Kirtland's Warbler that distinction.

I'm sure as I approach 700, I'll have to take whatever I can get!

Patrick Belardo said...

I wonder how much a flight to Michigan would cost me next weekend...

Corey said...

I'm sure you don't have Jungle Fowl on your list so you could've counted the one living in my parking lot...
If only those Red Crossills on Wakely had been White-winged...whatever #500 is I'm sure you'll be happy about getting it.