Saturday, February 10, 2024

No Repeat February Breaks The Monotony

Last month I was able to spice up January birding by trying to see as many species in my county as possible within the month. 

This month I decided on a different approach to keep things fresh. I'm doing a no repeat February. Meaning that I will go to a different location every time I go out birding. Many of us get into a routine of only going to places that consistently have a great variety of bird species. Meanwhile, there are tons of nature preserves, wildlife management areas and land trusts that people rarely visit. They might try it once but if nothing out of the ordinary pops up they might not go back to that location again.One such place I visited this month was the Bamforth Wildlife Preserve. A name like that kind of builds up expectations. People might expect to see wild animals roaming everywhere. I did see a few deer and I'd bet there is a bobcat or fox hiding around that might come out at dusk. I noticed that the field is being managed to have certain types of beneficial native grasses. 

I was committed to giving this place my time and patience and was rewarded with a nice view of a hermit Thrush warming itself in the sun. Someone thought to build a couple of brush piles out in the field that attracted what Ebird says is a high number of Field Sparrows for one location (5).I see Red-bellied Woodpeckers everywhere I go but it's always nice when you see them hard at work.Visiting different areas that aren't the usual hotspots doesn't guarantee you'll see anything new or exciting but how will you ever know what species of birds are at those forgotten nature preserves if no one ever gives them a try?

There's a place nearby called Miller road. It's just a country road with a little bit of marshy woods and a stream running through it. Birders stop by the area occasionally but it's certainly not a top location. That is, until recently when someone had a rare sighting of a Northern Shrike! Now there are dozens of people going there to see it every week!

At one point I was watching the shrike perched in a tree with bluebirds and goldfinches. They are both right at the top of the menu for a shrike! Maybe they didn't know what a shrike is capable of? These birds have the nickname butcherbird because they have been known to impale victims on a branch to create their own version of a shish kebab.

Anyway, trying to focus on seeing as many different species as possible is one way of going about things but after a while you've seen just about everything there is to see. By focusing on appreciating places you are visiting then the birds you see are just icing on the cake. Using this approach is a good way of breaking the monotony and bringing you that much closer to spring.

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