Back in December when I had to quarantine for ten days I was working on an ongoing project to clean out thousands of bad old bird photos from my hard drives. This was forcing me to look at all the of the amazing places I've been and birds I've seen while also being forced to stay in my house. It was too much. By the end of my quarantine, ten days before the end of 2020, I was foaming at the mouth to bird hard. I came up with lots of big birding plans which settled into a big-ish Oregon January.
I started chasing birds I normally wouldn't bother with, like this Harris's Sparrow on Sauvie Island.
And this Mountain Plover down in Lane County:
And this Northern Mockingbird in Washington County:
And up in Garibaldi both Eared and Clark's Grebes:
I dipped on the Vermilion Flycatcher in Linn County but did see the Ross's Geese. Jacob and I dipped on the Washington County Rusty Blackbird. Later we visited Broughton Beach for Short-eared Owl and American Pipit.
In addition to these birds were the ones I already mentioned in previous posts like the Hooded Oriole in Nehalem, the Yellow-billed Loon at Hagg Lake, and the day trip east of the Cascades for Tricolored Blackbirds and all the standard fare found there. I finished January with 163 eBirds, 165 birds in real life (a flock of Dunlin seen from I-5 and a Mourning Dove I never eBirded).
But all these bird chases... were they fun?
Meh. I think I got more joy from this White-throated Sparrow hopping around underneath my car on my January raptor survey:
And these lady ducks that were adorably cuddled together:
Canvasback + Ring-necked Duck
I had more fun watching a couple river otters on a lake near the Mountain Plover spot than watching the Mountain Plover.
Watching a bunch of male Roosevelt elk work out their feelings at the Salmon River Estuary was way more entertaining than the next day's chase of the mockingbird.
By the last days of January I was over chasing. Over looking for other peoples' birds. It's just not fun for me usually. I'm back to 5MR birding and local birding and patch birding and chill birding. Back to what makes me the happiest which is birding my weird underbirded local spots and seeing what I can find.
Muskrat + weird little hands (Evergreen Highway Ponds)
American Kestrel + east winds + Mount Hood (East Vancouver)
February has already been so much more pleasant birding-wise as I've turned off notifications for the billion different Whatsapp groups and gone in search of my own birds. Birding is fun again.
But maybe not this fun:
While waiting for this video to upload the rain changed to snow. Yay! Good times!!