For most folks I know, the weekend we just enjoyed is the last normal one of the calendar year. From now until early January, your life may be frantic and festive, so I hope you relaxed this weekend!
Despite getting out and about, I found the world around me to be abnormally bereft of birds. At least Blue Jays came by to brighten my day. Corey is abnormally pleased to say that Cave Swallow at Jones Beach State Park was his Best Bird of the Weekend, though a big bunch of Red Crossbills is a close second.
How about you? What was your best bird of the weekend? Tell us in the comments section about the rarest, loveliest, or most fascinating bird you observed. If you’ve blogged about your weekend experience, you should include a link in your comment.
I took a trip down to Hong Kong this weekend, and caught a bunch of lifers on a small nearby island called Chueng Chau — the most exciting for me was a dark morph Pacific Reef Heron, seen foraging in the distance on a rocky coast!
An Oriental Turtle Dove near Wabern / Germany. It doesn’t get much rarer than this in Germany.
Jabiru at El Viejo wetlands in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
Tundra Swans. The eastern populations breeds in Arctic and winters along the Atlantic coast in and around around Chesapeake Bay. Their migrations take them through the lower Great Lakes and here at the western end of Lake Ontario we see them briefly in early March and then again in November, they may linger for quite a while here before the winter pushes them on.
It’s always a treat to see them, especially in March. In the past 2 or 3 days they’ve returned and they’ve brought their youngsters with them. Very classy birds, I’ll stop what I’m doing anytime if there’s Tundra Swans around. See my report on them at http://www.mybirdoftheday.ca
Pink-footed Goose in Bucks County, PA. If accepted, this will be the 6th record for the state. Photos and video can be seen here: http://www.thermalbirding.com/2012/11/pink-footed-goose-at-peace-valley-park-on-18-november-2012/
Japanese Robin! Although technically I didn’t see it on the weekend, I went looking for it in Busan (South Korea) on the weekend, but ended up finding it on a lunch-break stroll embarrassingly close to where I live on Geoje Island today. That’s how it goes I guess! http://snowyowllost.blogspot.kr/2012/11/japanese-robin-erithacus-akahige-akahige.html
I was at the Central Valley Birding Symposium in Stockton. Good birds included Golden Eagle, Merlin, White-throated Sparrow and Varied Thrush but the best bird of the weekend was the roosting Long-eared Owl found at the Stockton Rural Cemetery by Jon Dunn. If you haven’t been to this festival you should plan to in the future.
I went down to the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and got rained on pretty heavily. Identified 17 species, 7 of which were lifers (although I am still at the beginning of my list, so I get lots of lifers). Saw lots of shorebirds, Acorn Woodpeckers, Western Grebes, and my favorite, a Long Billed Curlew on the Beach.
I blogged about it here: http://shortsandsweaterbirds.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/rainy-day-at-the-elkhorn-slough-national-estuarine-research-reserve/
About 150 Red-breasted Mergansers close to the shore here on the Olympic Peninsula. I’d never seen more than 20 together before, so I watched them for a long time! I was interested to see Peter Thoem writing about Tundra Swans as his best birds, as I just saw my first ones a couple of weeks ago at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Southwestern Washington state. They are beautiful, too!