Sunday, May 20, 2018

17-20 May 2018: Third time's the charm?

I did not end up doing my Big Day last Thursday - my poor cat, Merlin, got a secondary infection, so I was at the vet that morning instead of birding. Merlin is doing well now, and hopefully he's genuinely on the road to recovery. Meanwhile, he's getting a little bit spoiled, with extra snuggles, treats, and walks on his harness in the back yard while I keep a close eye on him.

A Merlin is always appropriate for a birding blog... right?
Assuming Merlin continues to do well, I've rescheduled my Green Big Day for Tuesday. I've completely changed my route and schedule for the day, because we're pretty well out of spring migration now - I noticed a real lack of migrants on Saturday when I had an hour to bird before a conference here in town. So, I'll be biking more miles to reach a greater variety of breeding habitats, and spending less time at each spot because I won't be scouring every tree for migrants that occur in low numbers. I'll also be relying heavily on my ears, as the trees are well leafed out and I'll hear many more birds than I will see. It'll be a fun challenge - but definitely a challenge - to try to crack 100 species.

Palm Warblers are super-abundant here during songbird migration - they become almost as annoying to pick through as Yellow-rumped Warblers. I saw zero Palm Warblers this weekend, which is a good indication that migration is just about over.

Meanwhile, I haven't been birding a whole lot in the past few days, but added Willow (#197) and Alder (#198) flycatchers along the way. They both arrived much later this year than last year. The Alder Flycatcher was heard-only, repeatedly giving its "rrreeeaaa" call, which was new to me - it was definitely nice to be able to browse through flycatcher calls on my smartphone right then and there to clinch the ID. There are a few new species that I can reasonably expect to find on Tuesday, so I should be at 200 very soon! 

Less birding means less biking, and my legs have definitely appreciated the break. I biked 10-40 miles almost every day for the first half of May, and while most days were only 15-25 miles, I really notice how exhausted I get when I don't take time to rest. It helps when I make a point to add more protein to my vegetarian-approaching-vegan diet, but recovery time is still necessary. Lack of sleep was not helping either! I feel pretty well recovered now, which is definitely good because I'm planning to bike 60 miles and walk 6-8 more for my Green Big Day!

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