I set a goal for myself back in January. The challenge: to see or hear 300 species of birds in Maryland in 2008, was achieved this weekend in Somerset County on the Eastern Shore. It was cold. I was happy.
#303: RING-NECKED PHEASANT
My wife Emery and son Declan are absolutely THRILLED that I'll be home so much more often. And I am delighted to have learned, seen, experienced and enjoyed so many adventures over the past year. I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that I am exhausted.
GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE IN BETHESDA, MD
I would be even more remiss if I didn't THANK the entire Maryland birding community for their help. I couldn't even begin to try to name them all. However a few individuals do deserve my sincere thanks are my Mom and Dad, George Jett, Bill Hubick, Matt Hafner, Jim Stasz, Chris Murray, Marshall Iliff, Andy Sprenger, Jim Brighton, Bob Ringler, Ron Gutberlet, Dave Brenneman, Norm Saunders, Sue Ricciardi, J.B. Churchill, David Yeany, Les Roslund, Kevin Graff, Fred Shaffer, Phil Davis, Fred & Jane Fallon, Mikey Lutmerding, Gene Scarpula, Ross Geredien, Joe Hanfman, Winger West, Sean McCandless, Stan Arnold, Sue Hamilton, Mark Hoffman, The Bird Couple (Warren & Lisa Strobel), anyone who used eBird or MDOSPREY this past year to report a rare bird AND of course... my lovely wife Emery and incredible son Declan. For the record, bird #302 was a ROSS'S GOOSE in Hurlock, MD.
#300: LARK SPARROW
My Volvo wagon will most definitely enjoy the rest. And I will really enjoy getting back into the many things I let slide in 2008. Things like playing, writing, performing and recording music, painting the mural in my bathroom, playing with Declan, loving my wife, walking the dogs, and working on the yard. Oh, don't worry... I will still go birding in 2009. And I will always continue to try to learn about, list and search for both common and rare birds. I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating that photography will also be a focus of mine in the coming years.
#301: BREWER'S BLACKBIRD
As for the remainder of this fine year, I am looking forward to a pelagic (sea birding) trip set for this weekend. And I would like to round up the family and make one more trip to Western Maryland before the arrival of 2009. Who knows what the total # of birds seen in 2008 will be, but for now I am savoring the accomplishment and enjoying my rest.
Finally (and most important), I wish you all the Happiest of Holidays.