Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
Still can't believe what I contribute to Divine Providence with the Kittiwake sighting from last week. It looks like this is the 4th inland record in Michigan, and just slightly the farthest inland at 53 miles. The other inland sightings are Coldwater Lake in Isabella County 50 Miles away from Saginaw Bay, and the 2 sightings at Holloway Reservoir In Genesee were 34 miles away from Saginaw Bay. I thought it was a review species, but it wasn't. However I may be able to partially check off that bucket list item of self-found review species. The 2016 sighting in Isabella the MBRC reviewed due to how far inland it was. It looks like it might only be the 4th February sightings for the state also. I will have to take some time and do up the review paperwork.
The year has been going great on its own, regardless of the BLKI. I blew away my January best start of 49 birds, with 62. One less than my previous best pace through the end of February. I sit at 69 birds now 1/2 through February. Still not tops in the county. I think the discussion of Big Year, and what the high number was has pushed some people to try for it. It really sucks having to try to cram it all in on the weekends, as Chaos rules during the week...and even then some on the weekends.
Finally was able to find a Rough-legged Hawk on the 23rd, and the Lapland Longspurs availed themselves on B DR N on the 24th. Northern Harrier and Wild Turkey rounded out the high for January. Along with the Kittiwake on the 6th, I had FOY Buffleheads and then Gadwall at McClure Park on the 7th (found by Dr. Dale Kennedy). Chris Peet found a female Long-tailed Duck on the Kalamazoo River off Jackson St. on the 12th. I was able to head out there on the 13th. Dipped on the LTDU, but found FOY Redhead. Very frustrating as Chaos intervened in the morning, so when I finally got out there traffic didn't allow much stop and search on Jackson St. A feeder on 19 Mile Road gave me a bunch of FOY Red-winged Blackbirds. I headed back out prior to more Chaos on the 14th, and Hercules and I did almost a mile hike on the snow covered trail to finally locate the LTDU. An early Ruby-crowned Kinglet at the Jackson St. pull-off was a nice add for the year also. The 14th ended up being so good I managed a new February Big Day high of 40 birds. I thought I would have to head out to try for more, but the feeders provided all I needed.
I keep dipping on the Red-shouldered Hawk at Duck Lake. Every time I go the parking lot is packed with ice fisherman, so I have got to try to get out there during the week somehow. This bird is probably my biggest worry about missing on for the year, of those located so far. Another frustrating dip has been trying to find a Hoary Redpoll. I'm sure I've found one, but no photos showing the rump or undertails of the candidates so far. Flocks continue to be hard to find, and they don't stay for very long. These two are the best candidates so far for Hoary, with the first one I'm 75% sure of.
Some other highlights were a large quantity of Trumpeter Swans at Lee Lake still, 77 was the high count on 1/23. 1-2 Oregon Junco are still showing up at my feeders, still no cismontanus though this winter. A small Redpoll flock on 23 Mile Road let me have some good looks at them. Took a while but the feeders have started to attract the accipiters. I don't think I have had as many as last year, but they are giving me some good looks. A Sharpie landed on the feeders and I was able to watch it try to find something to go after. A Coop landed on them also one day, then I watched it try to chase after something in my large juniper tree. Today I found a couple of nice big mixed flocks of Longspurs, Horned Larks and a handful of Snow Buntings mixed in. I saw one Snow Bunting that was really close to breeding plumage. Likely as close as I'll ever see one.
We are just under 90 birds so far, well ahead of any previous pace for the county. Really a great start all around Hopefully the momentum picks up. 2021 hasn't been much more fun than 2020, so who knows what will happen. A few things I need to get done this week are updating the Michigan Listers data. I forgot to do it last year, but I have my spreadsheet all set to pull all that information together. Something I don't think I had in a previous post was some photos were obtained of the Smew, once it showed up in Allegan. The bird had a steel band on it left leg, but also didn't look like it had its rear toe clipped. So we shall see what the MBRC ends up saying about it. Fingers crossed.
I will get something posted tomorrow with some catch-up stuff as this has been a great year so far. What could make this great start to the year even better? How about mis-identifying the rarest bird I have ever found!!! I was looking for waterfowl on the Kalamazoo River and drove past a pull-off spot and thought "Nah, I'll just drive down Jackson and see if anything worth stopping for". There were a ton of birds, so I turned back around and found the snow-filled pull off parking just East of Bedford Road. As I sat there trying to spy what was on the river, this gull came flying into view. I thought "Wow a Bonaparte's Gull in February, that is rare". I got some decent wing pics showing a decent "M" on the back and searched in the app to make sure it wasn't a Little Gull (it didn't look little). When I searched I only put in "Gull", so that was all that came up. The dark collar bothered me a little, but I thought maybe it was still holding onto it. Also the Sibley app shows the dark secondaries, but the adults don't have it, so again I figured maybe it was molt timing or something. I emailed the local birders also to let them know and reported it on eBird.
Once I got home and started looking at the pics, something just didn't seem right with it as a BOGU. I had some pics that had parts of the legs showing and they were not the Orange/Pink legs, but were very dark. As I flipped through my physical Sibley's book there it was. Juvenile/1st winter Black-legged Kittiwake with a dark collar, black legs and the "M" on the back. I posted to what bird, and e-mailed the group "What about Kittiwake?", and got confirmations. Completely blown away by this find. Bird would have never been on my radar!
This is by far the rarest bird I have ever found. In fact it may be the farthest inland one of these has been in Michigan. There is a report near Mt. Pleasant and east of Flint that are pretty close to "fingertips on computer screen" distance. It is a lifer, it is a County first, and it was number 64 for the year. Already ahead of my best pace through end of February.
I partially have Hercules to thank for this as I thought he deserved to get out of the Jeep and walk the river. Even though he had just had a great time playing in the snowbanks at the airport.
Chaos has not let up with the New Year, in fact it portends to be an extended period of Suck. A bright spot of the home-bound Chaos is being able to check the feeders out intermittently. On the 4th I checked and there was a distinctly Not-a-House-Finch bird on the feeders. Sure enough a male Common Redpoll had found my feeders!!! Yard Bird #150. It would eventually be joined by up to 4 on one day. No huge flock, but they have been relatively daily visitors since.
Also a nice surprise on the Junco front with an Oregon Junco showing up, joined by a second Oregon Junco in the yard no too far after. I still have not had a cismontanus, which is surprising. Another initially surprising bird was a Slate-colored Junco with striking wing-bars. After my previous experience I wasn't nearly as optimistic about this bird. I never did see tail feathers, but it was definitely not larger than the other Juncos.
On the 8th the feeders were visited by both a juvenile Cooper's hawk and and adult Sharp-shinned Hawk. The Sharpie being a FOY bird.
The fun really started on the 8th when Hercules and I were able to leave the Chaos behind and head out. He has done a great job as a birding dog, although a couple of upchuck accidents mean I think he may have some motion sickness. We headed out to I DR S and 10 Mile to see if the Redpolls were back. They were not. I swung by Lee Lake as a report of a Ruddy Duck, by Chris Peet, there was a good bird to have in January. I was met with an incredibly large flock of giant white birds. 72 Trumpeter Swans were hanging around here. I think the the fact the lake is not completely surrounded by houses gives them a feeling of safety, as I had 50 plus earlier. The Ruddy Duck also made an appearance, as well as a large flock of 84 Sandhill Cranes taking off and departing to the South. Both birds tagging as rare for this time of the year.
I did find the/a Redpoll flock but they were pushed way out into the farm field and showed no intention of returning to the road. Hopefully I can run across another to search for a Hoary.
On the 16th we headed out to Wilder Creek to try to find Green-winged Teal reported the day prior. FOY American Black Duck and Great Blue Heron were there, but not Teal. We headed to B DR N, East of 23 Mile Road to look for Longspur. Smaller flock of Snow Bunting were present, and there might have been some browner birds mixed in, but the looks were not good. Hopefully I've still got some time to find those. I've not had a Longspur since December of 2017. 3 stinking years!!!
We headed down 25 1/2 Mile Road to see if anything was in the river, or if maybe a Red-shouldered Hawk was hanging out there. As we turned to head south there was a large grey raptor up on a dead tree branch. I glassed it, and realized it was way bigger than a Coop, but it was just giving me its back. Eventually it turned its head enough to see the bold mustache and grey helmet. A Peregrine Falcon, more likely the same Peregrine that is seen occasionally in Albion. It was also seen the next day by Amy Lyyski.
After that nice find I headed to Barnes Park to look for the Cackling Geese. I already have this bird, but they are still good birds to observe. I think I managed some decent photos of them, along with the Domestic x Canada Goose Hybrid.
After hitting up Duck Lake to pick up Greater Scaup, and see the White-winged Scoter still hanging out there we drove back down some farmlands hoping for Longspurs or even Rough-legged Hawks. Across from the old 23 Mile Road Flooded Field there as an enormous flock of birds that lifted off. I did a quick turn around and finally found them. An enormous flock of Snow Buntings were doing their best imitation of locusts on the remaining corn. I estimated them at 300 as this flock was larger than the 210 I had counted on B DR N. When I counted from one of my photos there were 514 visible!! Staggering number of these birds there. Unfortunately no Longspurs mixed in anywhere.
The Scaup put me at 58 for the year so far. Well above my high of 49 for January to start the year. The county is at 72 species already. I believe 65 is our previous high at this point. It definitely is shaping up to be a really good year. I think I am going to have to try to keep this up as it is my one escape from Chaos. I didn't go out today, and regret not doing so.
Christmas Day brought on the final Yard bird for the year, a stinking House Sparrow. Luckily I've only had them show up a handful of times, and this one hasn't been regular since. This put me at 132 for the year. I decided to venture out on Christmas Day also. Duck Lake gave me views of the juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull and White-winged Scoter that have been there. The 27th gave me final bird of the year, Northern Shrike finally made itself visible. I dragged my puppy out with me and he has been a great birding companion for the most part. We shall see if he gets better at it.
Also on the 27th was the largest group of Geese and Mallards I think I've ever seen. Highest counts in the county with 1000 Canada Geese (at least), and 984 Mallards. Froze my butt off counting the Mallards, wasn't going to count the Geese even by 10's.
January 1st we went out wanting to try to find the Redpolls again. Not sure yet if I am going to try for another Big Year or not. I'd like to see a few more birds, so I might look at hitting Michigan Top 100. I figure that would take around 250 birds. A trip or two up north would help, but it would still come down to trips to see one or two birds. Also potential goal is 300 life birds in Michigan. Same issue as Top 100 though. We shall see.
Back to the Redpolls. They were not there. There was a Merlin not 100 yards away from where they were at previously. It was certainly not helping things.
Lee Lake had 54 Trumpeter Swans, and 1 Tundra Swan mixed in. I had dipped on Tundra in 2020. I drove around some of the South end of the County trying to find some Redpolls, with no luck. I did still end up with 28 species that day. My best Jan 1st in the county.
The 2nd we again went out. Duck Lake had very little open water, but enough to still have 1 White-winged Scoter there. I also had reports that Snow Goose was still at Barnes Park. I went there, and the Goose was not there. I checked Dr. Kennedy's checklist from earlier and I think she reported 600 geese, whereas I had only 40 or so. I decided to wait it out as there were flights coming in. It took about 30 minutes but eventually an immature Snow Goose showed up and gave me great looks. I also finally got a look at the Snow Bunting flock on B DR N that I had missed at least 3 other times. A great experience as this flock of at least 210 birds flew right over my head very close. These birds helped contribute to a new high for January Day for me of 40 birds. It also put me at 46 birds for the month. 2 days in and I am 3 short of my best January of 49.
January 3rd, rinse and repeat. A Cooper's hawk on F DR N was a FOY. We hit up Baker Sanctuary seeing if maybe the weeds there had some Redpolls. They didn't. It was very quiet except for migrating geese overhead. As we started to end the trip I heard another flock coming from behind the trees. Mixed in were some higher pitched calls, and sure enough a couple of Cackling Geese were mixed in. The Shrike gave me my best looks ever as it was perched on a bush right next to the road. I managed some video of it also. Finally a pair of Bald Eagles made it an even 50 so far for the year. Not a bad start if I decide to keep the focus here. Would be really nice to get the whole county to 220. Definitely need some shorebird habitat to pop up.
2020 was my least birdie year by far, but it had enough highlights for a Top 10. Most of which seem to come from the later part of the year. After Chaos had somewhat settled down. Still with all the microscopic menace, Chaos, and additional Chaos seeming to steal away my vacation time, I'm pretty happy with how the year turned out.
On the 22nd a text went out for the Kalamazoo Birding about a Smew sighted at Sherman Lake. I wasn't dressed for it, but I booked out there immediately. I was one of the first ones to the boat launch, but the bird was nowhere to be seen. Adam Byrne was in contact with Ross Green and Michael Bowen who were watching the bird still. Eventually another birder contacted a local home owner and we were able to head down there. I waited a little bit and found the Barrow's Goldeneye there, before heading down.
Sure enough I was able to get onto the female Smew mixed in with Hooded Mergansers and Canada geese. I got some ID'able pics of her. Now we just need to see what the MBRC says about the bird. Could be an escapee. She did fly away shortly after I left, and since then has not been re-sighted. Could be a once in a lifetime sighting. Well worth the trip and the freezing temps.
Christmas Eve I decided to head out for a little bit and see if I could find some winter flocks. I've not seen Snow Bunting or Lapland Longspurs yet this year. The yard I think is pretty tapped out. I thought about how hard it is for birds to even find the feeders I have. I had passed a flock of 30 European Starlings that were less than 1/4 a mile away. I know they hang out regularly in the area, but I rarely get them at my feeders. Redpolls or Grosbeaks could pass by very easily.
After a little bit of driving around, and missing out on ID'ing a flock of birds I came across a huge flock on 10 Mile Rd just south of I DR S. It was all Redpolls. I started scanning and snapping pics of any lighter colored bird. I posted on Whatbird.com, as I think I could have as many as 5 Hoary Redpolls. As of this typing I have confirmation on one that I knew was a no doubter. So I am at 241 for the county. Not bad adding 4 new ones in the past 6 weeks or so after going through quite the drought. I only had 3 new county birds last year.
The Hoary is the rarest bird I've found in the County, besides the Northern Goshawk. Going to take some more ones rare like these if I am going to try to get to 250 eventually. At this point I will probably have to settle for 1-2 a year if I am lucky. Have to be prepared for some years with zero new ones. I will still try to get out some more before the end of the year although the options are dwindling for any County lifers, could make my year number a little more respectable. Once the Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull and Glaucous Gull get added we will be at 217 for the year in the county. In line with our high of 218. We could still get a Greater White-fronted Goose, Ross's Goose, Short-eared Owl, Long-tailed Duck, Golden Eagle, or Snowy Owl.
Since I started birding the birds I have dipped on:
December has been pretty uneventful. I've been unable to get past my high for a day, and am one short for the month with possibilities running out. One "highlight" was this incredibly huge flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds I found in a random farm field. Imagine the other species of birds that have been victimized just by this group. How many Kirtland's Warblers aren't around now because of birds from this flock.
Weebly killed everything I wrote as the video was uploading. Summary was I dipped on finding a flock of Snow Buntings, and 2 big flocks of Common Redpolls. One of which has an accepted Hoary Redpoll mixed in with it. This was a county first found by Dr. Dale Kennedy. Hopefully I can stumble on some more flocks now that I have pulled the trigger on the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary.
Saturday the 19th was the Battle Creek CBC. Relatively uneventful for me, except for a surprising Ruby-crowned Kinglet in the middle of December was a little surprising. The big news was an e-mail of a Juvenile Great Black-backed Gull on Duck Lake by Dr. Kennedy. This is a long overdue bird for the county (or so I thought). I rushed home, let the dogs out and then booked out to Duck Lake.
There were thousands of gulls as close to the shore as I have ever seen them. Within 500 feet on the South end. I immediately started to search, but couldn't find a really good candidate for this bird. As I scanned I ran across a giant all white gull. A juvenile Glaucous Gull was mixed in with them flock. A really nice bird for around here. I kept scanning and eventually came upon a giant gull with very dark wings, and an all white head. An Adult Great Black-backed Gull was here!! One bird I thought we should have had around here by now. When I went to enter it into iNaturalist checklist I found out that someone had reported one to iNaturalist this past August, for a sighting from August of 2018 at Binder Park Zoo. Crazy.
The next day the juvenile was reported again, as well as a Lesser Black-backed Gull. It might turn out to be a decent Gull winter here. Really just need an Iceland Gull to cap things off now. I hope to try to get out a little bit more as Chaos should be in much reduced volume the next 2 weeks <fingers crossed>.
The extended holiday time, and continuation of excessive chaos that caused me to not take a break doing that week, caused me to get out and about a few more times in the past week. While watching the feeders while in the midst of Chaos on 11/19, I did happen to catch 7 Pine Siskins finally show up. 1 bird down, 2 more to go for why I put up an extra feeder post. That brought the yard total to 131 this year. After a couple of hours, off and on, I've not seen them since that day.
On the 24th I saw an American Wigeon, one of the few ducks to show up this season out in the backwater. That made 39 for the month, so a new high for the yard. I've still yet to hit 26 or higher in a day. One day left, so not looking good. I hit 25 one day, but it has been very sparse on birds.
On Thanksgiving I decided to head out and hit up Grever's Nature Preserve. It struck me immediately how many Red-breasted Nuthatches I could hear. I arrived near the end of one trail and the cacophony of birds was something to behold. At least a dozen birds in a very excited state. I lifted up my binoculars and managed to put them right on a small, raggeded, Sharp-shinned Hawk being mobbed. Mobbed that is until it moved a couple of times. The chatter stopped and the scattering started. There wasn't a lot there, but I had a minimum of 12 Red-breasted Nuthatches. Irruption season indeed. Wilder Creek at Division gave me FOY American Black Duck. A bird I thought was a gimme on the backwater, but zip so far. Fairview gave up nothing other than signs of a makeover in progress. Large rocks look like they are getting added to the sides of the main lagoon.
Friday I headed out again heading toward the north. Duck Lake gave mixed results. Lots of birds and gulls, but so far away hard to pick up anything unusual. I stopped by R DR N and 20.5 Mile on the way home and found a Trumpeter Swan family with 2 very grey juveniles. As I sat there, lifting up from the farm fields on the south were hundreds of Canada Geese previously invisible in the dark. Glassing them I saw 4 white birds mixed in with them. Sure enough black wing-tips and not much smaller than the CANG gave me FOY Snow Goose. I had dipped on the one at Eaton in Marshall when I drove by there.
Sunday I headed back out again. I was almost desperate enough over the past few days to try to go to Berrien for Black-legged Kittiwake. I didn't want to get shutout of lifers for this horrible year. I decided to just try local since I still have time off this next week to run and do that. I was driving down F DR N past FlexGate and this large flock of birds broke from the weeds across from the entrance. I almost dismissed them as Goldfinches, but that seemed like a very large flock for them. I turned back around and sure enough Lifer Common Redpolls!!! I had to drive only 2 miles to find them. I didn't get one of the other birds I put in the extra feeder for on them, yet, but it was nice to see a flock of 50 plus. I got some really good looks at some, but not good enough to check every one for Hoary. I still miss my good lens, but I cannot complain about this shot.
After this I headed to Baker Sanctuary. Again very quiet place there, but I did manage 18 species. Just seemed really concentrated and then long times of nothing. Ackley Lake had almost noting. I thought I had an out of season Blue-winged Teal, but my photos revealed it was a female scaup teasing me in the bad lighting. R DR N gave me hundreds of Sandhill Cranes and Ring-billed Gulls. Nothing interesting mixed in. The Trumpeter Swan family from a couple of days ago was joined by 13 others in the same field by 20.5 Mile and R DR N.
23 Mile and 0 DR N gave up a Cackling Goose doing a really good job trying to hide amongst the Canada Geese in the small cow pond. Duck Lake only had some brief views at the south end. There were still fishermen out on the lake with mild weather. 4 Surf Scoters made it as hard as possible to try to hide their ID. One odd bird seen earlier in the day that was decided on to be a Greater Scaup, with a nearby Canvasback give me a FOY trifecta on those 3. Again 2 of these birds I expected I might be able to get onto the yard list.
173 birds for the year isn't exactly setting things on fire when you consider I've average just under 200 per year. Maybe this year was a lost opportunity with COVID. Not sure how I could have managed as bad as Chaos was though. It definitely took some major cuts into my time out with the birds this year.
2020....does really more need to be said. The last few months have just been some of the worst ever. Chaos fought back with Nerve Agents this time and another shocking issue, all at the same time. So way too much has been going on that has thrown things so far out of balance now. I've still managed to bird almost 100% in the yard. So Every month since last update I've hit new highs for days and for the months. I can count on one hand the number of birding trips I've taken since end of July. So nothing super exciting to report on until today.
After a futile chase a little over a month ago for what was likely a dilute Sandhill Crane, there was a text message sent out to the Kalamazoo group...Whooping Crane on 20.5 Mile Road and N DR N. I booked out of the house as quick as I could. Sure enough as I pulled up there its head was peaking up over the ridge. After some time it worked itself first out, and then back in to view. Really good looks at about 200 yards or less.
A really great bird to get. I thought I was going to get skunked out on new County birds this year. I dipped on a Red-throated Loon again, and Evening Grosbeaks have shown up at private residence once in Albion. I put in a third feeder pole and a few more platform feeders to fill with BOSS, but no luck so far. Not even Pine Siskins yet. Have some hopes that this irruption finch year will hit me at some point. Grosbeaks and Redpoll would put me at 240. A nice round number.
One good thing that happened through this Chaos has been this "little" guy. Hercules arrived day after my birthday and has been a joy to watch grow up. I swear he is my Bassett Hound re-incarnated. Bis Sis tolerates his constant torment, and encourages it every once in a while.
I still don't have my good lens fixed yet with everything that has happened, just haven't had the time. I've burned through 10 vacation days that were dealing with the virulent attacks from Chaos, so good pics have been nearly non-existent. This juvenile Red-tailed Hawk had a squirrel trapped under the deck remnants and was trying to figure out how to get to it.
Since last update the microscopic menace has combined with Chaos on steroids to diminish my birding output. Since my last update the yard has only brought me a Great Crested Flycatcher and Yellow-billed Cuckoo to put the number at 126. Since May 30th I have had no additional Yard Birds for the year. The summer are typically the height of the doldrums, but this year seems especially so. I think the lack of additional birds in the yard, and the craziness of Chaos has piled on to extremely de-motivate my birding.
May I missed 100 birds for the month, ending at just 99. I did have some highlights with some decent shots at a female Orchard Oriole at the feeders. The Red-tailed Hawk made a few passes at the feeders. It eventually got better as I've seen it take at least 3 squirrels from near the feeders. I picked up a trail cam to try to catch some pics/videos. It didn't capture one successful attempt, so will have to play with it. On June 24th I thought I was going to have to rescue one of them from being tangled in vines. From my eBird checklist:
Details: First one caught something black under the feeder. Possibly a Grackle. Found a couple of feathers. Flew up into a dead, broken tree and struggled with whatever it was. It ended upside down mixed in with vines. After about 5 minutes of struggle it dropped to the ground, then spooked up into a tree by Turkey, empty taloned. Second one snagged something reddish. No feathers, so possibly tree squirrel or Cardinal.
I beat my June Big Day Yard on day 1 with 32 birds, above previous of 29. Several Wild Turkeys have been nearly daily visitors with one large male showing off a few times. I managed 51 birds in June, above my high of 39 previous. A huge Thank you to the new eBird setup. Much easier to look up summaries like this now.
I tried to push things by going out on June 20th to see if I could kickstart things. I managed 7 year birds for the County, but nothing too special. It still didn't help. July 6 I did the same, with 3 additional year birds for the County, but I still didn't feel normal. July 8th I caught the bug. I was at 68 birds after just stopping at a few spots in the morning. I didn't realize my July Big Day was only 71, so I headed out for the evening to try to chase down more. 6 FOY helped to contribute to a new Big Day for July of 81 birds. Felt really good to be on a chase like that. I think if I head back out some more I should be able to pass my high of 100 for July.
One of the birds on the Big Day of July 8th was a blue bird, with very reddish markings on its wings. I have some audio recordings, that may or may not be the same bird. There was definitely Indigo Buntings around there. This bird really stuck out up on a wire with sun behind me. I know INBU can be very mixed in color, but this looked just like Blue Grosbeak markings. It didn't look chunky enough though. I tried to find it the next day and just found INBU still. Just really frustrating as my camera lens had broken earlier in the day so I couldn't get a pic of this bird on the wire. I may not give up on it, as it is at the same spot as what I hope is active Osprey nest on F DR N.
I did manage to add Vesper Sparrow and Black-billed Cuckoo (decent looks) to the 5MR patch on 7/9. July 6-9 trips out and about did manage to add new birds too the current Patchs I have on eBird. So not only were these trips food for the soul, but adding to some lists also. I don't see how I am going to get to 150 for the Yard for the year, so I think my only real goal, outside of Days/Months, is to see if I can pick up 1 more Yard Bird to get overall to 150.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)