22 December 2008

Top Ten Lifers of 2008: Number 10

As a little countdown to 2009 I present you with my Top Ten Lifers of 2008. To compile this list I looked back over my blog entries for the year and consulted my trusty little Rite in the Rain notebook. After a little debating I think I've come up with a suitable list. To really put this list in perspective I must remind you that I only started my life list February of 2007. Prior to that, birds were cool to me but I didn't consider myself a birder. So at the beginning of 2008 my life list had less than 200 birds. What this means is my top ten list may have some common birds to the average birder but for me they were exceptional finds.

Coming in at Number 10 is the American Woodcock, Scolopax minor.

On the morning of February 9th I woke up in the Everglades Hostel at 5AM. I stumbled in the dark so I wouldn't wake my bunk mate, a nice English girl attending a conference in Miami. Once dressed I drove out to the Everglades National Park welcome center and waited in a dark parking lot for my local birding guide Robin Diaz to meet me. Robin was leading the Tropical Audubon's ENP walk that day and agreed to meet me early to help locate my lifer American Woodcock. Robin is an excellent birder and if you ever have the pleasure of birding with her you will be amazed by not only her skills but also her gracious hospitality.

I had ran into Robin the week prior at work and she had enticed me into this early meet-up. I wasn't to be disappointed. We drove to the scouted spot and right in the highway was my first Whipporwill seen in Florida. It's not often that I get to see a nightjar right out in the open but I knew this was a good sign for how the day would play out. After that little surprise we rolled down the window and waited. The American Woodcock is known for producing a sharp twittering sound with its wings when it's displaying. The fog was deep in the Everglades that morning so I didn't actually see the woodcock in the air as it flew upwards but the sound confirms the ID 100 percent. Now many people would not add a bird to their life list without actually seeing the bird but this one is an exception to my list. I left that magical morning feeling like I had seen the bird even though I only saw the dark trees silholletted against the morning sky and the heavy fog. Of course I would love another chance to actually see an American Woodcock but for now, it's on my lifer tally and it even makes the Top Ten Birds of 2008 list!

For the next 10 days a new Top Ten Lifer Bird of 2008 will be posted on this blog. I would love to hear what new birds you saw this year that really sparked your interest.


Mike said...

Sweet, Eva. I spotted my first snipe this year but still haven't claimed woodcock. Next year, I'm sure!

I'm interested to see which Rio Grande Valley birds make your top 10 list.

Eva said...

There are a few Rio Grande Valley birds on the list Mike. But they still don't take the number one spot.