Journal archives for January 2021

January 01, 2021

The End of the Biggest Year

"Now that my friend, is a very big year" -Stu Preissler

On January 1st I decided to accompany my best friend on his first day of birding for his newly announced 2020 Cook County Big Year. I just wanted to see the birds as I saw them, and I never thought I'd end up where I did. He would always text me, "Promise you aren't doing a full on Big Year, ok." I promised that, but then the pandemic hit us all, and I was holed up in my house for about two months with nearly no new birds. I went into the pandemic at 107 species. As soon as we started getting to the end of the school year my work became a lot more flexible and we were able to safely go more places and chase nearly every birds. At the end of May I was at 234 species in Cook. That is fairly mediocre, but still somewhat above average. Over the summer I grinded for the breeders and found a super clutch rarity while looking for another rarity that disappeared. By the start of fall migration, I was already at 257 species! That is a solid county year list for anyone. From the start of fall migration I added enough birds to tie the record Isoo broke, and beat it by two! I'm siting at 283 species as of 7:00 p.m. on December 31. Someone would have to go out and find us a Boreal Owl or something for anyone to add another bird this year hahaha. Anyways, the pandemic for many people ruined their year in a way, but I decided that I was going to make it full of everything I wanted to do as long as it was safe. I saw 1,640 species of living things, 303 species of birds in the state of IL, and broke the old Cook County Big Year record, among other amazing things. Some people are saying that 2021 is literally saying "2020, won" but it sure didn't win over me!

My best birds of the year for Cook County:
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Ross's Goose
Harlequin Duck
Northern Bobwhite
Ring-necked Pheasant
Wild Turkey
Red-necked Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
King Rail
Purple Gallinule
American Avocet
American Golden-Plover
Red Knot
Buff-breasted Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Phalarope
Sabine's Gull
Little Gull
Black Tern
Neotropic Cormorant
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
White-faced Ibis
Northern Goshawk
Eurasian Tree-Sparrow
Evening Grosbeak
White-winged Crossbill
Cassin's Sparrow
Harris's Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Worm-eating Warbler
Connecticut Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Townsend's Warbler

Ba-boom. That is truly a big year.

Posted on January 01, 2021 01:18 AM by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 2 comments | Leave a comment

January 03, 2021

A Day for the Books!

Yesterday a Brant showed up at Waukegan Beach in Lake County, IL. I went to go for it as it is a really good bird. Later in the day it was seen flying south along the lakefront by @vnevirkov. Someone predicted that it's next stop would be Montrose, and they were 100% right. I just wish I had my new camera today, it would've been amazing. The Brant would walk up to you within 12 feet and just sit there. My digibins don't do the bird justice. We also saw a Tundra Swan off the end of the pier which was a new bird for my hotspot list. I'm sitting at 240 for Montrose with the Brant! Later in the day I saw that @henrygriffin and @ieobrien refound a Northern Bobwhite at Wolf lake, which we went and got. I think it could be the bird that summers at Egger's Grove just overwintering. Driving down to the end of the road at Wolf Lake we found Mute and Trumpeter Swans which gave us all 3 possible swans to find in the L48 in one day! I played a mob-tape and a Carolina Wren burst out in its descending call.

Not an insane day, but still a really fun one!

Posted on January 03, 2021 10:56 PM by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 31, 2021

Mr. Lasley’s Passing

Greg Lasley passed away this evening from double lung transplant. This is a very sad day and I’ll say that I am heartbroken. A mentor to thousands here on iNat and in the birding, odonata and naturalist communities, his legacy will forever live on. 2021 is throwing challenge after challenge at us.
I missed meeting Greg by one day a while back. There is no way that I could go back and make it different, although I wish with every fiber in my being that I could. Greg was an inspiration to me, and I don't know if I would be where I am now. In short conversation with him here on iNat, I could tell that he was one of the most caring and knowledgeable people ever. His knowledge and kindness pushed me in 2020 to try to become a better naturalist and birder. I greatly miss him. Rest In Peace @greglasley

Posted on January 31, 2021 04:16 AM by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 2 comments | Leave a comment

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