Mostly my head is filled with visions of birding. My goal is to see 240 species of Washington birds by this time next year. After reading Pheobe Snetsinger’s book, “Birding on Borrowed Time” and Kenn Kaufman’s, “Kingbird Highway” I am excited about my own ideas for record keeping and documenting my birding year. I purchased a composition book today and have already cracked open the spine to ponder what my first few entries might be. Backyard birds, no doubt, but still some of my favorites, black-capped chick-a-dees, dark-eyed juncos, red-breasted nuthatches and Stellar jays.
In planning my goal I gave myself leeway on shorebirds because I know I trouble over definitively identifying them but I pushed the limit on ducks, owls and songbirds. In order to make my goal of 240 I will have to find a number of eastern Washington species, many of which will be life birds for me. I’ll need to carefully consider seasons and the potential for passing migrants in a way I’ve never measured before. I already feel a sense of immediate urgency to visit the geese at Skagit Flats even though I know they will be there for many more weeks before migrating back to northern nesting grounds. I’ve sketchily made plans, fantasy plans at this point, to see the Sandhill cranes in Othello and tufted puffins off the coast come spring. So, the North Creek Birder is branching out, north, south, east and west of my comfortable little wetland to view the world through a pair of slightly out-of-focus binoculars. The goal, 240 birds and day one is fast approaching. Welcome big year.