I figure one month into the year is as good a time as any to measure my progress for this year’s challenge. After taking several rides to put some more bulk on my list, I ended January at 45 green species, which is one less than double my January in 2015 with three new birds that were not ticked at all last year, the best being the pair of Red-shouldered hawks that Jaime and I saw screaming around the neighborhood on Saturday afternoon. 45 was also exactly as many as what I had in the first month of what I thought was going to be a full-blown state big year in 2013. Not bad.
I spent a lot of time looking for water fowl, which seem to be more plentiful this year than last. I think this has to do with the lack of a polar vortex to freeze over all of the good habitat.
Species diversity and numbers were good, but photo opportunities were less than ideal, at least for the capabilities of my point-and-shoot.
Most surprising was this apparently very early Double-crested Cormorant at the wastewater treatment ponds.
I use a cool program called Gmap Pedometer to track my routes. This shows my cumulative birding distance biking and hiking in the month of January, 77.6 miles (with a lot of overlap). The scribble in the southwest is Fox Island, just above that is Eagle Marsh, the loop in the middle is Foster Park, and the easternmost point is the wastewater ponds. The northern jog is my in-laws’ house plus Johnny Appleseed Park (where the man himself is buried). The aforementioned lack of bitterly cold weather has allowed me to cycle more often and further afield compared to early last year, but I think what has mostly changed is both my fitness level as well as what I psychologically consider to be a long ride. I plan to do at least one substantial (30+ miles one-way) ride this spring, so I will be interested to see how this map changes.