It is a time for year-end lists, and I have already compiled one list of my favorite bird encounters of the period from 2000-2009. This is a topic that may interest only me, since it is my life list under discussion. But, as a follow-up to the previous post, here are the eleven species I added to my life list in 2009.
316. Iceland Gull at Donaldson Park (05 Jan 2009). This is probably my favorite of the new life birds, not because of its rarity, but because I found it myself on my local patch. I am hoping I might see one there again this winter.
317. White-winged Crossbill at Hughes Hollow (MD) (25 Jan 2009). I saw these with my friend Bob while we were doing a winter raptor survey in Montgomery County. If you have been to Hughes Hollow, you are probably familiar with the grove of spruces where we saw them.
318. Glaucous Gull at Jones Beach Coast Guard Station (NY) (14 Mar 2009). This is the first of two life birds I saw with Patrick, Corey, and Carrie on our blogger birding tour of western Long Island. Two life birds in one day? Maybe I ought to bird more with other bloggers...
319. Ross's Goose at Cammanns Pond (NY) (14 Mar 2009). This is the second of my two life birds from that day. It is such a cute bird, especially in contrast to a pond full of Canada Geese.
320. Green-tailed Towhee at Collingswood, NJ (22 Mar 2009). This seems like the most unusual of the species on this list. The bird showed up in someone's backyard, and then it stayed for months.
321. Whimbrel at Brigantine, Forsythe NWR (15 May 2009). It seems strange that it took me five years of visiting salt marshes to see this species.
322. White Ibis at Great Swamp NWR (20 May 2009). The good news is that I have a photo of this bird, unlike the other life birds on this list. The bad news is that it looks like this.
323. Black Rail at Cape May Meadows (27 Jun 2009). I spent an hour standing and waiting for this bird before it finally vocalized, and then I stood and listened to it vocalize for another hour. It never emerged from the bushes, even though it was quite close, but otherwise it was a satisfying experience. The photo at the top of the image was taken (on a different day) near where I heard the rail.
324. Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow at Cape May, NJ (28 Jun 2009). If you are in Cape May between May and October, it is worth finding some time to take a trip aboard The Osprey, a pontoon boat that offers birding tours of Cape May Harbor and nearby inlets. I saw this sparrow from the boat on one of the harbor's islands.
325. Roseate Spoonbill at Brigantine, Forsythe NWR (26 Aug 2009). While Iceland Gull is my favorite, this one was easily the most spectacular sight. It took three tries to see it, but this bird was well worth it.
326. Marbled Godwit at Stone Harbor Point (04 Oct 2009). As with the Whimbrel, it took me longer to see this species than it should have, given the number of times I have visited salt marshes and other coastal habitat.
Both "any crossbill" and "any godwit" appeared on my desired life bird post from last December, so that list may need revising.
I am hoping to see more in 2010! So what new birds did you see this year?