Monday, January 02, 2006

Most Wanted Birds - in DC

The following are birds that I would like to add to my Washington, D.C., list within the next year. Some of these I have seen before, but not in the district. All of the following appear on the species list (pdf) for the District of Columbia.

1. Cerulean Warbler

This is the bird I would most like to see but have not seen yet. My best chance for seeing it is probably on the ridge at Rock Creek Park in May or September.

2. Cape May Warbler

As with the cerulean warbler, my best chance for seeing this bird is at Rock Creek Park. If only I had the time and energy to patrol the ridge on a daily basis!

3. American Pipit

I have seen this species once before, outside of D.C. This is reported fairly frequently though, so with more birding in the right places, the chances of a sighting ought to be good.

4. Louisiana Waterthrush

This would also not be a life bird, but my first for D.C. Waterthrushes, like other skulking little brown birds, can be hard to spot.

5. Great Horned Owl

Again, not a lifer but my first for D.C. Great horned owls have been hard to find in the district in recent years. My favorite birding spot, the National Arboretum, is probably the best place to look, but closes at 5pm so that dusk and night searches are out of the question.

6. Horned Lark

Horned larks are reported here occasionally, with about the same frequency as American pipits.

7. Pine Siskin

Pine siskins are close relatives of American goldfinches and are frequently seen with flocks of goldfinches. If siskins were to show up anywhere here, the National Arboretum seems like a good bet.

8. Eastern Meadowlark

These beautiful birds are a welcome sighting on any occasion. I wish I could see them closer to home instead of only on field trips out of the district.

9. Northern Shoveler

Shovelers are relatively common but rare in the district. These colorful birds are probably my favorite of the Anas ducks, but one of several common waterfowl species that I still have not seen in D.C. The main problem is the lack of good wintering habitat. While there is enough deep water to attract diving ducks, dabbling ducks aside from mallards find little reason to stop here.

10. Connecticut Warbler

My best chance to see this elusive warbler is probably right here in DC, on the ridge or in the woods of Rock Creek Park. Unlike the cerulean and Cape May warblers, which hide in the treetops, the Connecticut warbler scurries along in the ground in the underbrush, where its plumage blends in with the foliage.

This year, I added six species to my list for D.C., so if I find half of the above in 2006 it will count as a good year.

Related posts: Life Birds from 2005, Most Wanted Birds