I finally sat down and tried to recall all of the birds I saw on our Lake Michigan trip. I am not a born lister. I do not like to take time away from "the moment" to record what I am seeing. When I finish one place I like to move on to the next place rather than sit and record. Even though I sat and watched Logan swim for two hours the second night of our trip AND I had my notebook and a pen, I still couldn't bring myself to write down the birds. I have no doubt that I remembered everything "good". I remembered the lifers and the birds that I love no matter how many I see (cranes, eagles, loons, swans...) What I'm guessing I'm leaving out by not listing in the moment are some of the obvious birds- such as pigeons and starlings- that I saw hundreds of, but barely register in my mind. Oh well, I saw at least 47 different species on my trip. I'm pretty happy with that considering all of my inland birding was cancelled due to deer hunting.
My November list is now sitting at 70 species, which is my highest monthly total for the year. I don't know if I'll list monthly sightings in 2013 or not, but I hope I do because I think it will be really interesting to have the recorded data of when I saw my first robin of the year in multiple years. Oh, who am I fooling? I may get lazy about it sometimes, but I'll keep listing. I started birding "for real" in 2011. In 2012, birding became my favorite hobby and I took my birding skills to a new level. In 2013, I hope to take my skills to an even higher level. I want to be able to identify the little brown blurs that eluded me this year. I want to work on birding by ear. I hope my feet will be better and I'll spend much more time in the woods, rather than just mostly birding from my car. I want to develop the patience to break out my scope and scan the little black dots out on the lake for something different.
My original goal for this year was to see 200 species of birds. It's late November and my list is at 177. Unless I go to Florida or Texas before the end of the year, there is no way I'm going to meet my goal. I think I'll revise my goal to 180. There were so many birds I never recorded this year because I wasn't 100% positive of their identification. That's what I hope to improve in 2013. I plan to be more confident in my abilities and to take the time RIGHT THEN to make a positive identification. When I think of some of the common birds I supposedly never saw this year (red-eyed vireo and dickcissel???) I want to kick myself. Oh well, I won't make that mistake next year :)