This was supposed to have been an “easy” year.
In January, Jacob and I decided that we were going to just focus on County birding. Maybe chase new state birds, and hopefully pick up a few lifers. My Lifelist was at 491, so I was excited about the possibility of getting to 500.
My “big” plans for the year included leading a tour in Florida for Birding Ecotours – having birding Florida before, I wasn’t expecting too much new from that trip – I hoped to attend the Biggest Week in American Birding for a couple of days, and maybe have the chance to chase at least one cool bird out of state. Nice and easy.
For the first month of the year, things went according to plan. 73 of my first 74 birds of the year were in Montgomery County. The exception was a Snowy Owl at the Indianapolis airport. Number 80 was my first new Ohio bird and lifer for the year – Varied Thrush.
A couple of cool birds – Red Crossbill and Common Redpoll – caught my attention while working in Hammond, IN. Things were going smoothly. And then BOOM!
Jacob and I were off to the San Diego Bird Festival in February to represent Birding Ecotours. (18 Lifers!) And then the Florida tour in April went way better than expected (14 Lifers!) An unexpected Yellow Rail at Biggest Week was a wonderful surprise. Two different chases to Michigan netted a long-desired Fork-tailed Flycatcher and an incredible Spotted Redshank! Sandwiched in between those chases, another work trip to Florida led to me and Jeff Timmons meeting up while pursuing the visiting House Crow there. My Lifelist was at 528 and my ABA year list was at 380. I was very pleased with the year!
And then everything blew up again! Off to Peru!! An unbelievable opportunity to join a familiarization tour with PromPerú Oficial to explore the norther birding route. I added another 225 Lifers – including the amazing Emerald-bellied Puffleg at the top of this post! I had cracked the 750 mark on my LIfelist (753) and had seen 617 birds in 2018!! But the year wasn’t over yet!
A last-minute request for a custom Texas tour found me in the Rio Grande Valley in the middle of December. I added 33 more year birds and 1 new Lifer! Back in Ohio, a couple of new Greene County birds were also new year birds.
Bringing my personal totals to:
World Lifelist: 753
ABA Lifelist: 530
World Year List: 652
ABA Year List: 423 (New personal best!)
I also added 9 new Ohio birds this year, bringing my Ohio list to 345 species.