Biggish Year

On this page I will post updates on my biggish year progress.

What’s a biggish year?

Well, I’m not sure there’s a proper agreed-upon definition. I use the term to describe a year in which I am placing a special focus on seeing as many birds as possible, but not so much as to be excessive. It won’t be the only thing I focus on this year. I will not be flying back and forth across North America, and I will not be visiting Hawaii, Attu, or Florida.

What I will be doing is birding everyday, and submitting at least one complete eBird checklist everyday. I will be going on one, and perhaps even two pelagic trips this year, something I have never done before. I will be visiting many geographic regions I have not been to as a birder, and this will open me up to the possibility of many new lifers. I will not be ‘twitching’, unless the bird in question is an hour or less away. My main goal is still to see the country. Seeing the birds comes after that.

I have set a goal for myself. It is 350 species. This is not an impossible number, but it is a challenge considering I will not be leaving Canada. Honestly, I don’t think I will reach my goal. I think somewhere around 300 is more likely, but I wanted to set a very difficult goal to keep me motivated and keep me moving.

So there it is. Following is my biggish week updates in reverse chronological order…

Update for week 7 of 52 :: February 12-18

For the first time this year I have been skunked. Remain at 98 species on the year. It was a low-effort week on the birding front what with the portrait and landscape shooting. I expect things will pick up when I hit the road again Tuesday.

Update for week 6 of 52 :: February 5 – 11

Unsurprisingly the move from BC to AB helped clinch a few more species, and I managed to add 10 on the week. Up to 98 of a 350 goal, including White-breasted Nuthatch and Blue Jay.

White-breasted Nuthatch, Whitemud Park
Blue Jay, Hermitage Park

Update for week 5 of 52 :: January 29 – February 4

Another low-effort week mostly spent with short walks around home. I did manage to pick up a nice juvenile Northern Shrike on a trip down to the river channel for a total of 87 species n the year.

Northern Shrike in Penticton BC

Update for week 4 of 52 :: January 22 – 28

Another very slow, low-effort week. 5 of the 7 days my birding sojourn was comprised solely of walking 20 minutes or so from home to the end of the road. That said, I did manage to add a single species to my year list. It was a Mourning Dove perched on a tree overlooking Penticton Creek, about 3 minutes from my home. In a bit of a mental and physical lull just now caused by both current events, and my last minute rush to finish preparations. Hoping to amp up the energy a bit when I hit the road for Edmonton in just over a week.

Update for week 3 of 53 :: January 15 – 21

Week three was a slow week spent mostly in Penticton. Added two birds, but only saw one. Turns out I misidentified a bird I saw in Vancouver last week. I counted it as Sharp-shinned and it turned out to be a Coopers. Most recent bird was the Clark’s Nutcracker I saw up Longjoe Road on Anarchist Mountain above Osoyoos. So week 3 ends with a grand total of 85 species. I got a really poor picture of the nutcracker, so here’s a picture of Artemis, the nutcracker who came by our deck every day for peanuts when I lived at Manning Park…

Artemis the peanut-loving Clark’s Nutcracker
The Cooper’s Hawk I thought was a Sharp-shinned.

Update for week 2 of 52 :: January 8 – January 14

I went for a 5 day getaway down to Greater Vancouver in search of more temperate climate and additional species I would not encounter in the interior, and I was not disappointed. I added an additional 37 species for a total of 83 so far on the year. Highlight was a lifer Virginia Rail spotted at Burnaby Lake in Burnaby BC. Most recent was the Black Turnstones I spotted at White Rock pier.

Lifer Virginia Rail skulking in a culvert at Burnaby Lake.
Black Turnstones at White Rock Pier

Update for week 1 of 52 :: January 1 – January 7

Despite unseasonable cold and lots of snow it was not a bad week for birding in Penticton. I managed to finish the week with 46 species, the most recent of which was this American Kestrel: