2020 The Year in Birds

eBird tells me I saw a reasonable 346 species last year. There are probably a few here and there I didn’t report. 165 of those were in Kings County. That’s not awful given that I didn’t take any international trips or birding tours last year. Thanks to a Shearwater pelagic out of Monterey, I added 4 life birds to my list:

  • Black-footed Albatross Shearwater Journeys_09/15/2019_Leg 5/6 US-CA 15 Sep 2019
  • Sabine’s Gull Shearwater Journeys_09/15/2019_Leg 3/6 US-CA 15 Sep 2019
  • Red Phalarope Shearwater Journeys_09/15/2019_Leg 1/6 US-CA 15 Sep 2019
  • Ashy Storm-Petrel Monterey Bay pelagic–inshore Monterey Harbor to Pt. Pinos (MTY Co.)
  • Black-throated Magpie-Jay Kit Carson Park US-CA 23 Aug 2019

That’s actually five species, but the Black-throated Magpie-Jay isn’t officially countable in the U.S. since it likely either is or descends from escaped pets and does not have an established population. Still a gorgeous bird though.

I didn’t add any birds to my New York state list last year.
There were a few opportunities but nothing that seemed worth the effort of chasing, given that they were all birds I routinely see out west.

Besides the pelagic birds and the Magpie Jay, I added Ruff and Yellow-crowned Night Heron to my
California list bringing that state to 324. Both of those were in Orange County where I now have an even 250 species. I missed a couple of others there though including Swainson’s Hawk and Laughing Gull.

I made one trip to Louisiana for Christmas Count where I managed to add
4 species to that state’s list:

  • Common Ground Dove Bayou Sauvage NWR–Ridge Trail US-LA 27 Dec 2019
  • Clapper Rail Bayou Sauvage NWR–Ridge Trail US-LA 27 Dec 2019
  • Brown-crested Flycatcher Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery (Jean Lafitte NHP@Pres) US-LA 27 Dec 2019
  • Western Sandpiper Northwest Area, NOCBC

The Brown-crested Flycatcher took six trips and I only saw it for half a second, but it is an ABA area bird for me.

For Kings County I added Canvasback and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher bringing the total in my home county to 279. 300 used to seem impossible here, but there are now at least eight people who have crossed that mark and a couple of others who are very close so who knows? Maybe in another few years I can hit it. There are still several regular species that show up every year I’ve yet to find in Brooklyn including Cliff Swallow, Black Vulture, Red Knot, Golden Eagle, and lately Brown Pelican. I’ve seen most of the rarities and mega-rarities here in the last 15 years with the notable exception of several that showed up during the two years I lived in California.

In New York County, I added 16 species, bringing that to 189:

  • Saltmarsh Sparrow Union Square 25 Oct 2019
  • Lark Sparrow Central Park–North Meadow 23 Oct 2019
  • Dickcissel Central Park–North End 02 Oct 2019
  • Virginia Rail Abingdon Square Park 01 Oct 2019
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper Inwood Hill Park–Spuyten Duyvil Creek 07 Aug 2019
  • Least Sandpiper Governors Island 17 Jul 2019
  • Killdeer Governors Island 11 Jul 2019
  • Prothonotary Warbler Central Park–The Ramble 31 May 2019
  • Worm-eating Warbler Central Park 08 May 2019
  • Solitary Sandpiper Central Park 03 May 2019
  • Blue-winged Warbler Central Park 03 May 2019
  • Belted Kingfisher Central Park–The Ramble 24 Apr 2019
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Central Park–The Ramble 24 Apr 2019
  • Field Sparrow Central Park–The Ramble 24 Apr 2019
  • Canvasback Swindler Cove Park and Sherman Creek 14 Feb 2019
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl Central Park–North End 02 Jan 2019US-NY

Honestly, I’ve probably seen some of the more common ones like Killdeer, Belted Kingfisher, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in Central Park before I started keeping relatively detailed records.

The biggest uptick was in Clark County, Nevada. I traveled to Las Vegas twice, and although I whiffed repeatedly on Crissal Thrasher, I did score a respectable 102 total species for Nevada.

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