14-JAN: Painted Bunting | our back yard in DeBary, Volusia Co. FL
I had hoped to share frequent updates and photos from the Bird-A-Day challenge this year, but several days of gloomy weather, a new camera I’m not sure of, and a generally unlucky start to the birding year have all conspired against me.
That said, I’ve survived the first two weeks plus of the challenge, even if I don’t have fine photos or exciting stories to show for it.
After a fun night ringing in the new year at Epcot, Arthur and I got a late start on January 1st. We hit a couple of birding spots on our way to our second annual New Year’s Day dip into the Atlantic Ocean. I ended up with just 39 birds at the end of the day; for my first B-A-D I picked a species I didn’t use at all last year: American White Pelican.
The week rounded out with birds found in our back yard (Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and American Robin), one at my volunteer gig (Wood Duck), at Gemini Springs (Wilson’s Snipe and Blue-headed Vireo), and around town (Wild Turkey). The robin and Wood Duck were a bit painful to cross off, but they were the besties for their days.
Week two started off with a bird at my local patch (Ruby-crowned Kinglet). Last year I got 41 out of 144 birds at Gemini Springs, a pace I expect to continue into this year.
09-JAN: Purple Sandpiper | Lighthouse Point Park, Ponce Inlet, Volusia Co. FL
Arthur volunteers in Ponce Inlet each week, and I tag along when I’m able. While he heads to his good work, I take off to watch birds at spots along the coast. The car’s going there anyway, ya know?
In this way I was able to use Purple Sandpiper on the 9th and Red-breasted Merganser a week later. Three of the remaining birds of week two were found in our back yard (Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch, and Painted Bunting). Three weeks ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of using American Goldfinch as my B-A-D so soon, but about ten days ago our goldfinches scattered and we only see one or two a day, if any.
13-JAN: American Kestrel | Brickyard Slough, Volusia Co. FL
An American Kestrel at Brickyard Slough, a Hooded Merganser at Magic Kingdom, an Orange-crowned Warbler at Gemini Springs, and a Little Blue Heron round out the first 17 days of the challenge.
11-JAN: Hooded Mergansers | Magic Kingdom, Orange Co. FL | photo by Arthur de Wolf