I had planned to post this last Saturday but the arrival of the Long-tailed Duck made me shift blogging gears.
I don’t care how long I have been birding, but at the start of every month I still go through the exercise of seeing which birds I should expect in my local area – Johnson County, IN – for the next month. I find it helps me to think about birds that might be coming through my area that I am not expecting. After identifying the uncommon birds for the month I then go through my resources to make sure I know their key field marks, habitats, etc. I have also found that this exercise helps when I am out in the field and I see/hear a bird I haven’t seen for six months. Once I see it something in the back of my mind goes, “Oh yea, that bird should be coming through this month”. Since I go though this exercise anyway I thought I would share this to help refresh everyone minds.
I also use it to help plan my outings by looking for the expected uncommon birds that month. I break down the month into early and late and look for the birds that should be coming through during those times. With this routine I should see the birds that I would expect plus a few I hadn’t expected. Case in point, last Saturday I was just expecting to see the expected waterfowl, but I came across a Long-tailed Duck. The days before that I saw on IBird that there had been a constant flux of Long-tailed Ducks in the area over the last few days. So I was somewhat prepared to ID Long-tailed Duck.
For March one birding in Johnson County IN a normal number of hours and habitats should see 84 species of birds, more or less. This is par.
Birds that are uncommon in Johnson County this time of year and that you will probably have to work a little harder to see: Common Loon, Snow Goose, Ross’s Goose, Northern Pintail, Canvasback, White-winged Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Ring-billed Gull, Hermit Thrush, American Pipit, Rusty Blackbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, and Purple Finch.