This Week in Big Year History:
A year ago this week, I was back in Ontario birding, after a short trip to Florida. I had 210 species on my list, the most recent of which was a male Harlequin Duck. That week I also saw my first Northern Saw-whet and Eastern Screech-owls.
Back to the present. This will be my second trip to Florida this year and I'll be there until the end of March. I was supposed to fly into Tampa today and thanks to bad weather brewing up north, flights were delayed and I missed my connecting flight out of New Jersey. Sometimes travel plans go awry and you miss opportunities. In this case, a weather delay created a great opportunity to take an earlier flight into Fort Lauderdale. You see, as it turned out, NARBA had been reporting a Code 5 Zenaida Dove down in Long Key State Park in the Florida Keys, and I thought that I could to try for the bird. I figured I could there with a couple of hours of daylight to search. So, I'm not complaining. Not only would the Zenaida Dove be a great bird for the year list, it would also be my first ABA Lifer of the year.
So, in a few hours I will be heading down Highway 1 from Homestead to Long Key State Park in Florida. I've driven it dozens of times since becoming a birder and often see a dozen or more Belted Kingfishers on the wires as I drive. I'm always happy to be birding, but a personal goal to bird every day this year in over 20 cities scattered all around North America, from Key West to Seattle and Montreal to San Francisco, with stops in the Midwest and Colorado, this is going to make all the travel a bit more fun this year. I'm also doing this with 4 years of knowledge I did not posses back in 2012. I had never birded before. Now I am finding myself going back to the blogs I wrote back then and have a chance to learn from my mistakes.
So, as I get ready to board yet another flight to Florida, here are a few photos from my earlier trip.