|Andy and I birding Rocky Mountain National Park|
My plan is to keep you posted throughout the year with regular updates on how I'm fairing and by comparison, how Andy is doing. To start the tale, let's go back to January 1, 2015. I decided to start my cross-country move on the first day of the year. In hindsight, I wasn't really even thinking about the Big Year Competition because if I had, I would have birded at least one full day in Colorado to pick up winter specialties before moving. Nevertheless, off I went and I had the luck of seeing both a Rough-legged Hawk and Ferruginous Hawk on day one in Eastern Colorado. I also picked up Western Meadowlark, Snow Bunting, and a Snow Goose. Not a horrible day but my list stood at 18 by days end.
On day 2, I traveled over 14 hours from Nebraska to Michigan and as a result I only added two measly birds - Blue Jay and House Sparrow. Luckily, I had high hopes for my day birding around Detroit and my target was a lifer Snowy Owl. After waiting for the snowfall to stop and grabbing lunch my dear friend Heather and I headed to Lake St. Clair Metropark where FIVE Snowy Owls had been seen the day before. It was cold, windy, rainy, slushy, and frozen but we were undeterred. We spent the next two hours searching high and low for a Snowy but only finding things like Common Merganser and Ring-billed Gull. The other disappoint was it seemed my binoculars (which I hadn't used for the Big Year yet since I was birding from a moving car) seemed off. The alignment somehow was distorted and with tired eyes I was crippled from finding a Snowy Owl to add to the list. We drove to the DNR boat launch where I picked up from the car a few decent ducks and both Tundra and Mute Swans and then it was the end of a day. By this time Andy was up to 39 species and I was trailing by 10.
|Lake St. Clair, Detroit, Michigan|
|Lab of Ornithology - new work location|