Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Scoter Trifecta Leads to 400 Birds in Texas for 2012

I chased. I saw. I reached 400. That's been the story of the year for my birding pursuits this year. On Saturday, without realizing it, I reached 400 birds for the year when I added 3 scoter species and Hooded Merganser at Mitchell Lake.

I thought it was ironic that after all the chasing of rare birds I've done this year, I ended up reaching 400 at home. I had a trip planned, which didn't happen, and I'm glad that was the case because I would have missed this great opportunity to see 400 with my grandmother who got me into birding in the first place.

On Saturday, we joined the crowd of birders who came to see the triple rarity spectacle at the world birding center site. The scoters remained way out from the shoreline in a raft of Lesser Scaups, so I didn't get any good photos.

My goal for the year has been to see/hear 400 birds in Texas in one year. I have been keeping records on eBird, but I got behind. I didn't find out I had reached my goal until I updated my records yesterday.

I'm very happy to be at 400 and I hope to see more this year to try to stay in the Top 10 birders on eBird. That would be just icing on the cake. For now, I'm basking in the moment and glad to have reached my goal, especially since I had the same goal last year and fell short.

It's just another thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. God has given me a lot. I'm reminded that I'm blessed beyond measure. It's easy to take life for granted, including our natural abilities to see, hear and think up strategies to achieve what we set out to do. I give God glory for all these things because he's given me all that I enjoy, especially family and friends.

I give a special thanks to my beautiful wife, Ali, and my family and friends for celebrating and supporting me along the way. (And being patient with me when I did some crazy birding.) Thanks for cheering me on!


  1. Congrats! What a fun accomplishment. What's your birding challenge for 2013? Birding in an exotic location like the tropics? Cheers to you and yours!

  2. Thanks, Abbey! It's been a blast reaching 400. I actually do plan to do some tropical birding during Grace Point's mission trip to Peru in May. There will be some amazing birds, especially hummingbirds. Last year, when I went to Haiti, I got to see some endemic species.

    For 2013, I plan to learn more about being a resource and guide for other birders. As far as numbers, my long-term goal is to reach 700 lifers for North America (I'm at 434 lifers right now). This will take a while since it requires quite a bit of travel. I'm thinking I can reach this before I turn 50 and that's just assuming I won't be able to travel a lot every year. I might be able to do it before I turn 40, but that might be pushing it. Maybe I'll set some benchmarks along the way just for fun.