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 Post subject: The Fight for 500... (5/28/16 - FINISHED)
PostPosted: January 18th, 2013, 2:36 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:37 am
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Location: NE Ohio
This will be an ongoing thread that I will add to as I get more species, but looking at my life list I am currently sitting at 432 species for the ABA area. 500 is a nice lofty goal, and without any real trips (a September trip to Colorado for a wedding) to focus on birding/herping, hitting that number this year will take some work and dedication. I figure I can get another 15-20 species in Ohio before I exhaust all the species normally found in the state, Colorado I can knock 25 or so off and then it is time to get creative.

I will start though with January 1, 2013, so I already have 5 lifers for the year and include them in the list.

So can I do it?

In chronological order:
73. Red Crossbill (1/1/13, Ohio)
72. Thayer's Gull (1/6/13, Ohio)
71. Iceland Gull (1/6/13, Ohio)
70. Hoary Redpoll (1/10/13, Ohio)
69. Bohemian Waxwing (1/11/13, Ohio)
68. Evening Grosbeak (1/19/13, Ohio)
67. Harris's Sparrow (1/28/13, Ohio)
66. Barn Owl (2/16/13, Ohio)
65. Varied Thrush (2/17/13, Ohio)
64. Eurasian Wigeon (2/18/13, Ohio)
63. Greater White-fronted Goose (3/7/13, Ohio)
62. Black-headed Gull (3/23/13, Pennsylvania) - this was an ABA bird, but I have seen them previously in Germany
61. Little Gull (3/23/13, Pennsylvania)
60. Pacific Loon (4/5/13, Ohio)
59. American Golden-Plover (5/3/13, Ohio)
58. Connecticut Warbler (5/21/13, Ohio)
57. Alder Flycatcher (7/22/13, Ohio)
56. Western Wood-Pewee (9/11/13, Colorado)
55. Green-tailed Towhee (9/11/13, Colorado)
54. Sage Thrasher (9/11/13, Colorado)
53. Lewis's Woodpecker (9/12/13, Colorado)
52. American Three-toed Woodpecker (9/14/13, Colorado)
51. Brown-capped Rosy-Finch (9/14/13, Colorado)
50. McCown's Longspur (9/14/13, Colorado)
49. Baird's Sandpiper (9/14/13, Colorado)
48. Hudsonian Godwit (9/29/13, Ohio)
47. Red-throated Loon (11/18/2013, Ohio
46. Black-legged Kittiwake (11/24/2013)
From 2014 on...
45. Great Gray Owl (2/8/14, Minnesota)
44. Northern Hawk Owl (2/7/14, Minnesota)
43. Greater Prairie-chicken (2/9/15, Wisconsin)
42. Black-backed Woodpecker (2/8/14, Minnesota)
41. Boreal Chickadee (2/7/14, Minnesota)
40. Pine Grosbeak (2/7/14, Minnesota)
39. Fulvous Whistling-Duck (5/14, Florida)
38. Mississippi Kite (5/14, Florida)
37. Purple Swamphen (5/14, Florida)
36. Least Tern (5/14, Florida)
35. Roseate Tern (5/14, Florida)
34. White-crowned Pigeon (5/14, Florida)
33. Antillean Nighthawk (5/14, Florida)
32. Chuck-will's-widow (5/14, Florida)
31. Monk Parakeet (5/14, Florida)
30. Gray Kingbird (5/14, Florida)
29. Florida Scrub-Jay (5/14, Florida)
28. Cave Swallow (5/14, Florida)
27. Brown-headed Nuthatch (5/14, Florida)
26. Seaside Sparrow (5/14, Florida)
25. Swallow-tailed Kite (not a lifer, but an ABA bird - 5/14, Florida)
24. Henslow's Sparrow (5/24/14, Ohio)
23. Bell's Vireo (6/5/14, Ohio)
22. BLACK RAIL (6/9/14, Ohio)
21. Northern Wheatear (9/9/14, Ohio)
From 2015 on...
20. Smith's Longspur (3/24/15, Indiana)
19. Ruff (4/27/15, Ohio)
18. Sharp-tailed Grouse (9/20/15, Michigan)
17. Kelp Gull (12/9/15, Ohio)
16. Greater Pewee (12/15, Texas)
15. Northern Jacana (12/15, Texas)
14. Aplamado Falcon (12/15, Texas)
13. Red-crowned Parrot (12/15, Texas)
12. Common Pauraque (12/15, Texas - ABA bird only)
11. Tropical Kingbird (12/15, Texas - ABA bird only)
10. Bronzed Cowbird (12/15, Texas - ABA bird only)
From 2016 on…
9. Zone-tailed Hawk (1/16, Texas)
8. Black-throated Gray Warbler (1/16, Texas)
7. Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (1/16, Texas)
6. Green Parakeet (1/16, Texas)
5. Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet (1/16, Texas)
4. Brambling (1/16, Ohio - one the way home from Texas)
3. Great Cormorant (3/7/16, Ohio - ABA bird only)
2. Curlew Sandpiper (5/13/16, Ohio)
500! SWAINSON’S WARBLER (5/26/16, Kentucky - what a great 500 bird!)
501! King Rail (5/27/16, Ohio - and the next day another lifer just to solidify things!)


Last edited by Andy Avram on May 28th, 2016, 4:40 am, edited 40 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500...
PostPosted: January 18th, 2013, 3:53 pm 
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Those birds sound interesting, I'm basic on ornthology. Will you post a pic or two of each bird when you find them?


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500...
PostPosted: January 18th, 2013, 5:50 pm 
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These kinds of goals produce adventures, some trite, some unforgettable. :thumb: :D 8-)


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500...
PostPosted: January 18th, 2013, 6:23 pm 
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True dat munklett. :beer:


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500...
PostPosted: January 18th, 2013, 8:10 pm 
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Good luck. Keep us updated!

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500...
PostPosted: January 18th, 2013, 8:56 pm 
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
"Trite adventures"? That sounds like an oxymoron. Please provide an example, thanks1


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500...
PostPosted: January 19th, 2013, 7:01 am 

Joined: April 23rd, 2011, 6:49 pm
Posts: 258
If you haven't heard about eBird yet, this will help you get the rarities and locations for birds that only inhabit small pockets. It's too bad the HERP database isn't this useful or user friendly. One day maybe.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500...
PostPosted: January 19th, 2013, 7:17 am 
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Location: Hillsdale County, Michigan
You've said before that you don't chase rare birds unless you don't have to go out of your way. Do you plan to change that this year? Good luck!




Curtis


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500...
PostPosted: January 19th, 2013, 10:40 am 
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Curtis Hart wrote:
You've said before that you don't chase rare birds unless you don't have to go out of your way. Do you plan to change that this year?


I have found that it is often cheaper (more birds per buck) to skip the rarity chases (gas expense, meals, lodging) and just save the money for a trip to somewhere where you can score a large number of birds in a small area. Go to SE AZ instead of 10 trips in state. The birding is great, and oh yeah, the herping doesn't suck!

That said, I am going to spend between $300-$400 (gas, food, lodging for two) to go chase a Flammulated Owl on South Padre Island later today. Expensive little bird. It better be there!

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500...
PostPosted: January 19th, 2013, 12:58 pm 
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Location: NE Ohio
Latest bird was Evening Gorsbeak, missed the accidental wintering Harris's Sparrow in the same county. Per dery's request, I wil ltry and photograph what I can.
Image

Monklet, I hope so! It is mostly a way for me to get a little focused birding.

Reptiuvr, I do use eBird, and I do love how user friendly it is.

Curtis, so I may be being a little bit of a hypocrite. I try to keep any chases confined to my county and adjacent counties (essentially less than an hour drive). Today I went a little further, but I had a bone to pick with Evening Grosbeaks, and they were hanging in the same area for weeks (or months), and their was a bonus Harris's Sparrow to try for on the way. I guess I'll assess the "chasability" of each bird as the situation arises. But in the end finding already found birds isn't as exciting to finding your own lifers.

Chris, too funny. Let us know if you get it.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 1/19/13)
PostPosted: January 20th, 2013, 7:42 am 
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I do the same as andy, sticking to my county unless vacationing. But its not that bad. Hawks, vultures, and a duck species I keep forgeting the name are seen every day, then there's rubythroated hummingbirds I see sparringly. The crows, pigeons and doves I get too often.(crows seem seasonal though).


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 1/19/13)
PostPosted: January 20th, 2013, 12:38 pm 
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Location: Hillsdale County, Michigan
Andy, I don't care if you chase birds or not. I was just curious if you were changing your methods at all to try to hit 500 this year. I'm contemplating going for the Townsend's Solitaire in Lansing tomorrow. It should only be 5 gallons of gas, so not too bad.

I guess no one answered your original question, is it doable. Well, if you hit the high end in OH and CO, that is 73-45=28. That's a lot of birds to pick up randomly in OH in addition to the 20 you can probably get. I guess I don't know what you're missing, so that makes it hard to say where to go. I do think you will have to take at least one birding trip to hit 500. If you need sea birds, a 4 day weekend from NYC to Grand Manan NB, doing a whale watch every morning and driving farther up the coast in the afternoon may help a lot. You may also look for a cheap weekend flight to somewhere in CA. Try to get on a whale watch or pelagic trip there as well to boost your numbers. Then, as Chrish said, there's always SE AZ. I know you've already done the RGV, so somewhere else would probably be better. It is certainly doable, it'll just take at least one dedicated trip.


Good luck,



Curtis


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 1/19/13)
PostPosted: January 22nd, 2013, 9:20 am 
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Curtis, there are a total of 66 bird species that have been officially documented in Ohio that I have never seen anywhere in their range. 1 is extirpated (Greater Prairie-Chicken), and most of them are so far fetched I cannot rely on seeing them (Garganey, Northern Lapwing, etc...) in the state. So between Colorado (where there are still a bunch I haven't seen, but I won't be able to soley bird while there), the 16 birds I should be able to pick up in Ohio before working on accidentals (I figure just chance should net me 5 or so), maybe a trip next winter to Minnesota for owls, I will definitely have to work my butt off to cut the difference. Travel funds will also be severely limited as I am planning getting married and then we want to buy a house (and sell the 2 we already own). BUT... it's good to have goals.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 1/28/13)
PostPosted: February 17th, 2013, 1:39 pm 
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Location: NE Ohio
Over the weekend I went to an conference on owls. Pretty cool, but between field trips and awesome birding side trips with my co-workers we were not able to only find sweet birds, but I racked up 2 lifers!
Interesting waterfowl mixed amongst the Canada Geese and Mallards were Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, Northern Pintails and more. Of course, as in most of Ohio, Bald Eagles were seen regularly, but also the always fun to see Rough-legged Hawks, of which we saw 3 or 4. Our field trip was led by a gentleman named Greg Miller, who was portrayed by Jack Black in the movie “Big Year”. He was able to rustle out my Lifer Barn Owl for me and many others. The next day we skipped the field trips and chased birds en route to home. First stop was the Evening Grosbeaks that I saw earlier this year. We counted 43 total, then on to the Harris’s Sparrow I saw earlier this year. After easily seeing this bird, we went into the barn next to us to see a pair of Barn owls in a nesting box. The Amish are amazing birders, and super friendly folks! Then on to another Amish homestead to try yet again for the Varied Thrush I missed earlier this year (and I twice missed another Varied Thrush elsewhere in Ohio). 10 minutes of standing in the cold and lifer #2 was ticked off with the thrush. Now back at home. Great weekend of COLD birding!

I will try and get pictures up soon, but I need to get some shots from my co-workers who were with me.

Here are the Barn Owl pictures.

In this giant barn we entered the 2nd story to see this ladder arrangement. The two owls are in the new-looking wood box. There is a small peep hole to see them, which didn't allow for great pictures. The drop below the box went to the 1st story, about 30' below. You had to make a turn and get onto a new ladder to get to the box, with no platform to stand on. It was a little terrifying.
Image

Here is a co-worker and the Amish farmer who owns the barn and loves the barn owls. They have the state come in to band them and set up cameras in the boxes, which they then watch on a TV screen in the barn. Today there was none of that, just owls.
Image

And looking into the peep hole, I could see the two owls, but was only able to get an infocus picture of one owl's eye.
Image
All in all, it was an incredible experience!

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 2/17/13)
PostPosted: February 18th, 2013, 7:19 am 
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That's funny that barn owls are hard to come by in Ohio. Where I live, the way to find barn owls is to go herping. I see them when I roadcruise coastal areas all the time and I frequently walk in on them when checking out old buildings while herping.

Image

I never thought about the Amish being birders. My lifer Northern Wheatear came from an Amish farm in south central Texas. The Amish farmer saw the strange bird by his barn, notified the local Audubon society and then patiently allowed hundreds of birders to stake out his barn over the next several weeks. I'm not sure I would have been so gracious.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 2/17/13)
PostPosted: February 18th, 2013, 8:28 am 
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Chris, We are at the northern edge of their range in Ohio, and they only invaded the state in the early 1800's after the forests were cleared for agriculture. Since farming practices have changed the owls declined greatly in the state. Nowadays they are found sporadically in Ohio, with the largest concentrations in Ohio's extensive Amish communities, due to old-fashioned farming, and their love of birds, birding and putting up owl boxes in their barns. This guy also had a Harris's Sparrow at his yard, which he put out a guest book for those to sign that came to see the sparrow. They are very friendly towards birders. In fact where the Varied Thrush was staked out, people were typically watching from the young Amish couples living room!

And on a different note, I got the Eurasian Wigeon today.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 3/23/13)
PostPosted: March 23rd, 2013, 4:31 pm 
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After some great reports of gulls just over the border in Erie (Presque Isle) Pennsylvania, I decided to take a quick drive over after work today. I got to the spot about 5pm, within 20 minutes I had my ABA Black-headed Gull (which I have seen in Germany before) and a number of Little Gulls - a white whale bird. That brings my 2013 gull count to 10 species all on Lake Erie - best gull year ever!


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 4/5/13)
PostPosted: April 5th, 2013, 5:02 pm 
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There are only 5 species of loons (or divers for you Old World folks) in the world. All five can be found in North America. It has been a long shameful issue of mine that I only had 1 species of loon on my life list - the Common Loon (or Great Northern Diver for you Old World folks). Well I figured I would get Red-throated sooner than later since the migrate through Ohio in small numbers. Well today I ended up with a wild card Pacific that rarely comes to Ohio! I was pretty stoked. Also picked up another Eurasian Wigeon (this time without the possibility of hybridization like the last one) but missed by a few hours a Ruff. Now back to the quest for a Red-throated Loon, my next likely lifer...

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 7/22/13)
PostPosted: September 17th, 2013, 10:54 am 
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Well I am not going to make it to 500 this year. My trip to Colorado was plagued with a shortened itinerary, lack of ability to find ANY grouse species, and maybe, just a little bit of rain.

So, I still ended up with 116 birds for the trip, but only 8 were lifers. They are listed above in my main list.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 9/17/13)
PostPosted: September 17th, 2013, 8:51 pm 
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Even if you don't make 500 this year, that is still a pretty impressive tally so far. For comparison, it took me 5 and 1/2 years to go from 432 to 500 ABA birds.

Hopefully you can get another 10 this year then set the goal again for 2014.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 9/17/13)
PostPosted: September 20th, 2013, 6:29 am 

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Some awesome finds there, Andy. Would love to see those birds (Lewis's Woodpecker, the rosy-finch, etc). I was at 400 around the turn of the century...and haven't moved much since!


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 9/17/13)
PostPosted: September 20th, 2013, 10:33 am 
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Chris, I am hoping to get another 10 or more this year, but it won't get me to 500. Next year, depending on where I go should do it though (Alaska? Arizona?).

Jared, The Lewis's were high on my list. I got them in a town on a lawn tree. A trio of them chasing each other around. The Rosy-Finch was the world's poorest view and when I was planning on going back to look for more (and Ptarmigan) they closed the park and herded me out. Stupid Denver floods...


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 Post subject: Re: 2013: The Fight for 500... (updated: 2/8/14)
PostPosted: February 9th, 2014, 7:05 pm 
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So I decided to extend the challenge to 2014.

Took a trip to Sax-Zim Bog in Minnesota, with a stop in Wisconsin. Saw tons of owls. The lifer list is above, but the other owls we saw were:

Northern Hawk-Owl - 2
Snowy Owl - 5
Great Horned Owl - 1
Great Gray Owl - 1
Northern Saw-Whet Owl - 1


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 Post subject: Re: 2014: The Fight for 500... (updated: 1/14/15)
PostPosted: January 14th, 2016, 10:52 am 
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This fight has been longer and slower than I thought. Too much life happening and not enough traveling... But, I did get to hit the Lower Rio Grande Valley between Christmas and New Years the other day and added 10 life birds and 3 ABA birds. Had really sad misses of the Golden-crowned Warbler (everyone in the park saw it multiple times but us. It just wasn't where we were) and the Crimson-collared Grosbeak.

3 more...


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 Post subject: Re: 2014: The Fight for 500... (updated: 1/14/15)
PostPosted: February 1st, 2016, 4:07 am 
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Andy Avram wrote:
This fight has been longer and slower than I thought. Too much life happening and not enough traveling... But, I did get to hit the Lower Rio Grande Valley between Christmas and New Years the other day and added 10 life birds and 3 ABA birds. Had really sad misses of the Golden-crowned Warbler (everyone in the park saw it multiple times but us. It just wasn't where we were) and the Crimson-collared Grosbeak.

3 more...


I've made three separate trips down to Refugio in the last month or so to see that stupid bird. Either it or the Greater Pewee in the same park would be a US bird for me. Three trips, zero luck. This is why I don't chase birds.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014: The Fight for 500... (updated: 1/14/15)
PostPosted: February 7th, 2016, 5:41 am 
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chrish wrote:
Andy Avram wrote:
This fight has been longer and slower than I thought. Too much life happening and not enough traveling... But, I did get to hit the Lower Rio Grande Valley between Christmas and New Years the other day and added 10 life birds and 3 ABA birds. Had really sad misses of the Golden-crowned Warbler (everyone in the park saw it multiple times but us. It just wasn't where we were) and the Crimson-collared Grosbeak.

3 more...


I've made three separate trips down to Refugio in the last month or so to see that stupid bird. Either it or the Greater Pewee in the same park would be a US bird for me. Three trips, zero luck. This is why I don't chase birds.



We hit the park on the way down to Texas (sort of accommodating since it was only 1.4 mile out of the way!) and at that point the warbler hadn't been reported for a number of days. We did eventually did find the Greater Pewee (and saw another in the valley!) though. On the way back the warbler was being reported again so we stopped. Spent 5 or 6 hours in the park. We would see a group of people who said they saw it so we would head towards that area. Nothing. Then we would see people come towards us that saw it on another end of the park, so we would head that way. Nothing. Then we just randomly wandered. Everyone we bumped into saw the stupid bird except us. It was very frustrating, but we wanted to try and make it back to Ohio with enough daylight to get a Brambling that showed up 40 minutes from home and was hanging around. We got the Brambling and it is still being seen to this day. We should have tried longer for the warbler.

We also spent way too much time trying to find the Crimson-collared Grosbeak at Frontera but had no luck....
Each of my Texas trips have had heartbreaking misses now...


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 Post subject: Re: The Fight for 500... (5/28/16 - FINISHED)
PostPosted: May 28th, 2016, 4:44 am 
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I needed Swainson's Warbler to finish off the eastern warblers so I decided to head into Kentucky at the norther tip of their breeding range. The first evening I had nothing, but I got up early the next morning, hiked the route and within minutes had one calling and fly into a bush near me! ABA 500. Long overdue. I thought I could bang this out in a year, but life kept getting in the way. Then on the way home the next day I chased a report of a nemesis bird of mine and nailed a King Rail for 501! Looks like the journey to 600 has begun... This one I won't be documenting though.

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: The Fight for 500... (5/28/16 - FINISHED)
PostPosted: May 29th, 2016, 5:11 pm 
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Andy Avram wrote:
I needed Swainson's Warbler to finish off the eastern warblers so I decided to head into Kentucky at the norther tip of their breeding range. The first evening I had nothing, but I got up early the next morning, hiked the route and within minutes had one calling and fly into a bush near me! ABA 500. Long overdue. I thought I could bang this out in a year, but life kept getting in the way. Then on the way home the next day I chased a report of a nemesis bird of mine and nailed a King Rail for 501! Looks like the journey to 600 has begun... This one I won't be documenting though.

Andy


Congrats! I've had Swainson's Warbler on my lifelist for 20 years, and I've heard dozens over that time, but I still haven't ever seen one. Your bird may have been drunk or something, because the ones I've found usually call behind an impenetrable wall of bramble, cane, and brush at the edge of a thigh-deep swamp guarded by 8 trillion mosquitoes.


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 Post subject: Re: The Fight for 500... (5/28/16 - FINISHED)
PostPosted: May 30th, 2016, 3:20 pm 
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Congrats indeed.
600 is a lot further from 500 than 500 is from 400.


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 Post subject: Re: The Fight for 500... (5/28/16 - FINISHED)
PostPosted: June 4th, 2016, 10:28 am 
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cbernz wrote:
Congrats! I've had Swainson's Warbler on my lifelist for 20 years, and I've heard dozens over that time, but I still haven't ever seen one. Your bird may have been drunk or something, because the ones I've found usually call behind an impenetrable wall of bramble, cane, and brush at the edge of a thigh-deep swamp guarded by 8 trillion mosquitoes.


In parts of their northern range they nest in rhododendron and mountain laurel patches. Eventually it flew into view. Glad to finally have that one under my belt!

And Chris, you've been saying that and it is more than likely all too true! If I can bird SE Arizona and Alaska in the next few years I'll do some major damage on the next 100. I suspect getting to 590 or so will be much easier than getting that last 10 though!


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