Day 100 Reflections

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My count is at 507!! Wow.

I never thought in my wildest dreams when I started this endeavor, that I would have this number of birds in 100 days!!! That is more species than I had in my lifetime in the U.S. in the 20 years prior to this. Let that sink in.

I have now exceeded my life list!!

Yes, this was a challenging week. To say that I’m not emotionally affected by devoting essentially 80 hours this week pursuing 4 targets and failing, would be disingenuous.

To put it in real-life perspective, I lost my mother less than 3 weeks ago. It’s just birding!

I came home to Naples after a pretty darn good trip to Texas. Friday night I did some birding on Sanibel Island with David McQuade and Tammy Powell McQuade. I had a chance to meet and bird with their friends, Don and Lillian Stokes. Such incredibly nice and generous people, all of them!

I usually carry Lillian’s Warbler guide with me during migration. Plus, I bought my camera because it’s the one she recommended and used!! So nice to finally meet her.

As often happens, I’m home one day when something good shows up in Miami and I have to repack my bag.

I should just move there!! I’m doing an ABA Big Year traveling all over the country, yet in the first 100 days, I’ve been to Miami 5 times!

I started at Bill Baggs at the Cuban Pewee stakeout. Didn’t look good when I arrived and most of the locals had given up. I spent some time birding with Larry Manfredi and Mark McShane from Georgia. We found some decent birds and I added a few.

I ended up staying at the park til 8 with Mark. By the end of the weekend, Mark and I had been at 2 stakeouts together with no luck and he still had a 10 hour drive home and work on Monday!

I only had to drive to Lauderdale where Miriam was putting me up for the night again and helping me find my targets.

I enlisted a few of my other Miami birding pals at the Loggerhead Kingbird stakeout to take a joyride to Key West and see what might show up. As we were leaving, a rare to Miami Pine Siskin was relocated and we swerved back around and got it in our bins. A nice FL tick! Not a bird I was expecting in these parts.

A few hours later, Miriam Y. Avello, Nicole Koeltzow, Nico Salino and me were birding Indigenous Park in Key West. It was nice to see some migratory Warblers hanging around. Migration has been like a slowly dripping faucet so far. Here, we had Hooded Warblers on the sidewalk!

We did not see nor hear the Cuban Vireo, a bird I saw in 5 minutes last year when it showed up. Another Code 5 miss.

As we wrapped up our adventure at Hogfish Bar and Grill and got ready for the late-night drive back home, Nico thanked me for bringing him along.

Nico Salino is a 16 year old birder in Miami, who together with Shane Runyon, found the Cuban Pewee! I’ve had the pleasure of birding with Nico several times. He’s an amazing birder and young man.

I’m traveling all over the country and having this tremendous opportunity and Nico is just happy to go to Key West and bird outside of Miami.

Perspective. Hope I never lose it.

I added Black-whiskered Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Common Nighthawk, Chuck-will’s-Widow, Western Kingbird, Northern Gannet, Worm-eating Warbler, Swainson’s Warbler and Yellow-billed Cuckoo.



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