We spent three full days in the Miami area looking for new birds for our list and nothing showed up on the rare bird alerts. Then, the day after we left, a Western Spindalis popped up! Why do the birding gods hate us so?
We left our dog with our son in Gainesville early in the year and we were on our way to pick her up, and then head north to visit Renee’s brother’s family in Virginia, when we saw the report of the spindalis on NARBA. Were it not for our nearly depleted budget we could have turned around and driven the 225 miles back down to Miami, but we decided to just grit our teeth, mutter unkind words under our breath, and soldier on to the north.
There is nothing of note on our way, but we are still hopeful that something, ANYthing, will show up where we happen to be, sooner or later. There is an unconfirmed report of a Ruff in Maryland, and if that pans out, we will have something to chase after our visit to VA.
Farther north, we are seeing fairly frequent, but widely scattered, reports of redpolls, Lapland Longspurs, Snow Buntings (which we missed at Merritt Island NWR), Bohemian Waxwings, and even a Northern Shrike or two. A Northern Lapwing continues in Massachusetts, but we doubt it will wait for us to get that far, and a Pink-footed Goose is still “Down East” in Maine, but we probably won’t drive that far this time around. We’ll have two weeks in New Jersey,New York, and New Hampshire to look for those cold-weather specialties. Let us know if you have any of them near you.
We are still thinking that we can reach 650 ABA-countable birds for our year list. We just need a little luck and some more offerings of cat fur, or something, to the birding gods!
November 30th UPDATE: The Ruff is now confirmed so we drove all day to get to Salisbury, MD tonight. We’ll try for the Ruff in the morning on Saturday before heading back over to VA for our family visit.