January 1, 2015: Ever since I started blogging I have been doing a Big January. I was first challenged to do this by fellow blogger and eBirder, Larry of the Brownstone Birding Blog. He is the one who got me started on eBird all those years ago, and I have never looked back. Now every January I feel the pull to see how many species of birds I can see in one month in my own home state, wherever I happen to be! I have done Big Januarys in Arizona, Massachusetts and now, this would be my first time doing one in Maine. However, I have a huge handicap this time around. It has only been 11 days since I had major abdominal surgery and I cannot drive myself around, or go out walking and risk slipping and falling. I cannot bend over or lift anything over 8 to 10 pounds! While I want to wander far and wide and tramp through field and forest, I must restrain myself. So, I start off counting birds in my own yard on the morning of January 1st. By the end of the day I count 16 species in my yard!
In the afternoon, Gus drives me through the boat launch and I count birds there. Then, as we head north on Mere Point Road a Cooper’s Hawk flies right across the road in front of us! Gus pulls over and I snap a few photos of the bird. I decide to do a bird count on Rossmore and Mere Point Roads, which is an eBird Hotspot. We drive north and then turn west on Rossmore Road. While I did not see or hear many birds on Mere Point Road, it isn’t long before I spot my heart’s desire on Rossmore Road. There across a field perched in a tree is a Barred Owl!
It seems everyone but me had been seeing barred owls around here! I did not have one on my Maine Life List yet and I so wanted one! What a way to start the New Year! This was so exciting for me! Gus pulled the car off to the side of the road and I slowly rolled the window down to snap a few photos. At one point the owl flew down into the field and landed in the long grass.
Since January 1st I have seen a Barred Owl many more times, including twice in my own yard! This species is now on my Maine Life List, My Cumberland County List, my Mere Point Yard List, and my 2015 Year List! Score!
I counted birds all the rest of the way across Rossmore Road. Then Gus drove me down to Wharton Point. While there were not a lot of species there, it sure was a pretty sunset!
It was very cold and windy at Wharton Point, so we soon left, but as we drove up the road towards home I spotted three Wild Turkeys in someone’s front yard on Maquoit Road! Species number 23 for my 2015 Big January Count!
Day 1 of Big January ended with 23 species counted and 5 checklists submitted!
Previous Big January Totals:
- Arizona 2008 / 89 species
- Arizona 2009 / 107 species
- Arizona 2010 / 113 species
- Massachusetts 2011 / 55 species
- Massachusetts 2012 / 68 species
- Arizona 2013 / 145 species
- Arizona 2014 / 137 species
- Maine 2015 / 52 species as of 1-30-15
I feel like I could have beaten my Massachusetts totals and even come close to some of my Arizona totals if I could have gotten out to bird more. All of the species I have seen so far were seen within 30 miles or less of my home! I have one day left to bird, but with yet another storm blowing in, I do not think I will be going out birding! So, the birds will have to come to me!
More bird photos and stories to come. I finally offloaded and processed another photo card with my most recent bird photos. Now I just need to organize them and write! See you again soon!
P.S. I have reposted the Red Squirrel story with a couple of updated photos.