Birding 2015 – Up 4 Already

If you have been following this blog, you know I would be content to bird my local area. But by having a birding goal or plan it gives me the push to explore different areas and habitats. Something I, and everyone else, needs to do on occasion to expand their birding knowledge.

So with that being said I have been thinking for a few weeks about what my birding plans should be for 2015.  I was thinking about maybe a Marion versus Johnson County total or some variant. But I just wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted to do with the time I have.

With the price of gas down and not quite certain what my new job will bring, I ‘ve decided to work on my Indiana Life List.  I know this isn’t my usual “birding the local area,” but I’m not sure how often I will be around the local area.

This doesn’t entail “chasing” but birding the right areas at the right times to add birds to my state life list. This is birding a way a lot of birders go about it. Like visiting Lake Michigan in winter for gulls and waterfowl. Or going to Goose Pond in winter for hawks or owls. Those type of outings.

Checking my state life list I figure there are a possible 42 species I could see by doing “normal”, non-chasing, birding around the state.  And another 18 if I get lucky.  So hopefully I can get 75% of the possible species, 25% of the lucky ones, plus 5 I hadn’t figured on. Like a Snowy Owl. So I hope to add 40 species to my Indiana Life List.

And I will probably have the opportunity to bird several different areas in the U.S. which means working on my ABA list. Plus hopefully get back to the tropics this year.  But that hasn’t been worked out yet.

I Have Already Added 4 Species to My Indiana Life List This Year

OK, technically 3. I went ahead and added Whooping Crane since the ABA changed the rule on Whooping Crane countability.  I saw them in 2013 at Goose Pond.

Mike Clay asked I go along and participate in this year’s Muscatatuck CBC on January 1, a count he has been helping with for 10 years..  The birding was slow but we did see 2 Trumpeter Swans, though they weren’t in our count area.

TRUS Picture by Dave Carr from dBird
This photo was taken by third person in our group, Dave Carr. He took the photo in the afternoon after we had headed out to count on the roads. You can read his analysis here, which I totally agree.

On the way back we checked out the Snowy Owl that has been in the Jonesville area.  As with most Snowy Owls I encountered in Illinois it was using something as a wind break.

SNOW Jackson County IN
I bet over 80% of the Snowy Owls I have seen were up against something – railroad tracks, silos, fence rows. Very rarely out in the open.

And Saturday I birded Eagle Creek in the rain and saw the easiest bird on my Indiana List – Pine Siskin. I watched them at the Ornithology Center’s feeders. Seeing birds not in a natural habitat isn’t something I like, but I have never seen Pine Siskin anywhere but feeders in the Midwest.  So I will count them and move on.

PISI Eagle Creek 010314
I just wish I could have taken better pictures to show the pointed bills, stripped undersides, and yellow in the lower wing bar. But the rain was coming down pretty hard.

PISI Eagle Creek 010314A

So what are your birding plans for 2015?

5 Replies to “Birding 2015 – Up 4 Already”

    1. Do you want to list them so we can look back at the end of the year? I’ll post mine in a spreadsheet in the next couple of weeks.

  1. Just started reading your blog and enjoy it!

    Whenever I twitch for a state life bird that is an hour or more away, I try and plan a route that allows me to bird different areas. So if I’m running to the lakeshore, I’ll have other destinations to hit along the way to add as many new species as possible. This way I’m not just truly running for one bird. I’m sure you’re planning to do this anyway, but thought I’d mention.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I like your plan when going to watch birds that are far away from home. If you read more posts you’ll see I don’t chase/twitch but try to focus on birding locally. When I lived in Illinois our area had most of the habitats and thus the birds one would expect in the Midwest. So I never traveled far from home and had a pretty good state list.

      Not so lucky in this part of Indiana. Though I try. So this year, as I wrote in the post, I’m going to try to hit the prime spots at the prime times and see what happens. And I will try your plan when heading further away from home. In fact I think we might put your idea in effect today. On Mike’s suggestion we might try to add one more area. I’ll let you know how it goes.

      Thanks again and keep checking in.

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