Category Archives: lifers

Pole goes Hawaiian

The ABA voted to include Hawaiian birds in its official list, so we’ve added 13 birds to Pole’s life list, which she saw on two trips — one in April 2011 and another in April 2013. The official Hawaiian list wasn’t finalized until the 21st of this month, and these new birds almost bring her up to 500. They will be added to her life list only, not to her 2011 and 2013 yearly lists. (The Hawaiian Coot is the only one she saw in 2013 — the rest are 2011.) I wasn’t with her on either of those trips, so I get zero birds added to my list.

Here are the tardy additions:


two lifers and least, but not least, a weasel

Today we took a trip up to Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin — our first of the year, I’m surprised to say. The Wisconsin email list reported two rarities, and we saw them both: a BLACK-NECKED STILT and an AMERICAN AVOCET. We hadn’t seen these birds since our trip to Texas last year, and it was a strange sight. Lucky for us, the birds also attracted two very good birders: Tom and Carol Sykes. Tom is the administrator of the WISB list that brought us up here. It was a hot day, and the Sykeses were able to get us two lifers: a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER and a BAIRD’S SANDPIPER. They helped us navigate our binoculars through the dried-up mud using fish carcases as bearings. Best sighting of the day, though, might have been a LEAST WEASEL that dashed across the road in front of our car. Good day: two rarities, two lifers, and a weasel. But then a weasel day is always a good day.

bbq bird

Pole and I spent today — the Fourth of July — at a barbeque in the Chicago suburbs at the house of one of my sisters. Her backyard abuts a wetland wildlife refuge, so hopeful, I brought my optics. Though we did see some Green Herons with the scope, the big catch for me was a HOUSE WREN. It was nervously hopping about in a locust tree that overhung the deck. An easy lifer for a lazy day.

one more

We went to the Ryerson Conservation Area today, which is northwest of Chicago. We hadn’t been here in a couple of years, but this is where we spotted some of our first warblers when we were beginning birders. They’ve built a new visitors center since our last visit, and that’s where we saw the best bird of the day: a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK. It was a lifer for both of us. Not a single warbler was seen, though an Eastern Bluebird was a nice surprise. We then headed back to Chicago to check out the Magic Hedge, where there were plenty of warblers. Always dependable, the Hedge.

some count, some don’t

Not legal

Today was our last full day in New Mexico, so we decided to do some local birding in Albuquerque. We saw birds at the inn where we were staying, a place called Los Poblanos. It’s one of the nicest places we’ve been at, I think, and it comes with its own flock of noisy peacocks. There were two males and two females, and one of the males was all white. It was spooky to see his ghostlike form roosting in the trees at night. The other male was the noisy one, and he always squawked back at the beeping of the car’s lock. They were the most spectacular birds of the trip, but, unfortunately, not countable.

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