Thursday, May 1, 2014

April Recap

When I started planning for the year on this Google Spreadsheet, I hoped I would come to to the end of April with 170 species.

Sooooo... I was a little bit off.

I ended up seeing 183 species in April alone, 73 of which were new for the year. Part of the reason is that I have already spent a decent amount of time in the southern part of the state where I had a host of great birds and learned why the annual Illinois Top 100 in eBird is typically topped by someone from that region. Being proactive in this way has greatly payed off, lessening some of the pressure for the upcoming weeks.

April was a month of fantastic birding. It began with a memorable adventure which included a significant milestone for me: my 300th life bird for Illinois, a Eurasian Wigeon!

Andrew and I took a fun trip down south where we nailed a ton of specialities, found an Eared Grebe, and a baby Fox.

Still can't get over that Fox.

I then crested the 200 mark both for the year and for Cook County with a couple nice birds.

Then there was that time I discovered a new scoping technique.

And all of a sudden the good shorebirds hit. First Piping Plovers downtown.

Then Willets showed up everywhere, including Will County.

On the last day of the month I had a final boost for the year list, including a surprise Cerulean Warbler. This is the second year in a row I've found one in DuPage County!

In the midst of all of this, Jen and I had a super cheap trip to Florida in June come available to us, and as I put a list together I realized I actually have a pretty good shot at seeing 500 birds in the ABA area this year. Crazy.

And now, it's the glorious month of May. Fittingly for 2014, it's in the forties and I'm finishing up this blog while wearing a fleece, watching it rain outside. The experts are saying Illinois may experience it's first ever year-round winter. That's not true, but it sure feels like it could be. May begins with finals week, closing a building of 600 underclassmen, and chasing down every last migrant. Plans for a Kane County Big Day and a week in Arizona have me pretty pumped about the month's prospects. I haven't added it up yet, so I have no idea how many birds I'll actually be seeing this month, but I'm thinking it could be pretty substantial.

Anyway, here's the breakdown by the numbers at the end of April. I'm at 215 for Illinois and 237 for the ABA. As a testament to how much I've been getting around, I'm over 50 year birds in 26 Illinois counties already, 5 of which are into the triple digits. My 4 County Patch (DuPage, Kane, Will, and Cook) is at 170 and now includes nice birds like Piping Plover, Little-blue Heron, and Cerulean Warbler. You can see more of my lists here.

Happy May and good birding!