Winter is my favorite birding season. A common misconception is that nothing is really around in winter, but that couldn’t be more wrong! You can find a large variety of species around if you know where to look. Dave and I had a great winter bird-wise.
A New Challenge
I was inspired to try the eBird 365 checklist challenge for 2019. The grand prize for three lucky eBirders is a pair of Zeiss binocular, so I figured I would go for it. Even if I don’t get the binoculars, I’m still contributing valuable data to scientists, so it’s a win-win. So far I’ve submitted 86 checklists (as of writing this there’s been 84 days in 2019), so I’m two lists ahead. Off to a good start!
Year List 2019
This is my second year keeping a year list. We recorded 81 species from January 1- March 20 2018. This year we beat that record with 85 species. We did have some interesting life list rarities this season, so I’m thinking those rarities put us ahead of last year.
Life List Additions
- January 6: Razorbills! Seen at Sandy Hook, NJ. New Jersey had a large influx of Razorbills off the coast this year, with numbers in the thousands over a few weeks.
- January 27: Canvasbacks at Mansquan Reservior IBA.
- February 3: Pacific Loon at Manasquan Inlet. This is an NJ rarity.
- February 10: Pine Siskins at Cloverdale Farm County Park.
- February 17: Red-breasted Nuthatch at Cloverdale Farm County Park during the Great Backyard Bird Count.
- March 1: Northern Saw-whet Owl and Winter Wren at Palmyra Cove. I think the Saw-whet was my favorite 2019 life list bird so far. It was so cute!
- March 13th: American Woodcock displays at Rancocas Nature Center.
- March 17: Red-necked Grebe in a pond near the mall in Toms River.
Great Backyard Bird Count
For this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count, we counted 52 different species (over 1,500 individuals) at 6 birding locations. We beat our 2018 count by 19 species.
2019 Great American Arctic Birding Challenge
Team BirdNation is participating again in the Great American Arctic Birding Challenge run by Alaska Audubon. In 2018 our team found 62 species on the checklist between March 1- June 1. This year, the Challenge occurs between March 15-June 1. The Challenge is open to anyone, so get a team together and start birding!
Spring has already been off to a good start. Spring migrants, such as Ospreys, Tree Swallows, and American Oystercatchers have returned to New Jersey. Dave and I have very exciting news coming in the next month or so. I can’t tell you yet, but you’ll know soon enough! (And no…everyone automatically assumes kids, but that’s not the case at the moment lol). In the meantime, happy spring birding!
What was your favorite winter birding moment? Tell us about it in the comments!