Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Nishiki: A Year in Review

2010, a new year of birding, a new year of blogging.

A year ago today I jumped into the blogosphere feet first and posted the first tale of my birding adventures in southern Ontario and beyond. 112 posts later, Tales of the Nishiki begins its second year. No longer in its infancy, Nishiki will now toddle along, striving to entertain with the latest additions to the life list. But before we go any further into the new decade, let's review events from 2009.

In January, unsuccessful attempts were made to tick not one but two unusual visitors to the Niagara Region. The first had Jean and I standing in the warm comfort of the kitchen of a gracious host. The second, in a less hospitable environment.

After ticking a lifer Eastern Screech Owl in January, the hooting theme continued in February. A Short-eared Owl was added to the life list and in a matter of 24 hours, a trio of Great Horned Owls became a lifer Long-eared and 2 Short-eared.

The following week, the weekend was spent participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count.

In March, we carpooled with some new birding friends when we attended our first OFO trip of the year. I never grew tired of viewing the Tundra Swans flying overhead.

The addition of a 5th owl species (all in a neat, tidy row) to our provincial list occurred in early April.

In May, I told of our trip to Algonquin Provincial Park which occurred the last weekend of April. The OFO trip on the Saturday produced 3 lifers and on Sunday, a revisit to the park delivered a fourth lifer on the Spruce Bog Boardwalk.

Rather than attend the SCCC Tuesday training ride, I chose to chase down a reported vagrant. Much easier than chasing a breakaway.

June was an exciting month. A week's vacation in beautiful British Columbia.

Image courtesy of Jill Hampson

In all, 14 posts were stretched over 6 months, culminating with an epilogue in early November. A few days before our trip, Jean and I ticked lifer #261 at a bridge on 15 Mile Creek. The month ended with a swift count.

For three weeks in July, I was glued to the television screen viewing the Tour de France with commentary by twitcher Phil Liggett.

In August, my wife and I vacationed with her brother's family on the shores of Lake Huron. Relaxation with some birding (how could we not) in the areas surrounding Inverhuron was well enjoyed. I can't wait to do it again.

In search of a Brown Thrasher for the year list (we never did find one in 2009), we ticked a lifer Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.

In September, nighthawks abound during the Labour Day weekend. At the end of the month, I managed to finish the 2009 Squeezer after what seemed to be the longest flat change ever. To see a large number of riders from the next wave pass me by while I stood on Decew Road was quite disheartening. It's still a blast though.

Image courtesy of Frank Hampson Sr.

The first weekend in October, Jean and I attended our third Ontario Field Ornithologists Annual Convention. No lifers that weekend but on the following one, we were thankful for the addition of two species to our life list.

November was an exciting month for lifers in Ontario. While at the St. Catharines Spit, we ticked lifer #287. To tick the second lifer, we drove to a residential neighbourhood north of Toronto. We had some great views of the south-western visitor. I fear he may have finally succumbed to the below freezing temperatures.

We attended the last OFO trip for 2009 at the end of the month and shared lifers with our carpooling friend from Long Point.

December began with a new winter list. I'm still hoping to beat last year's total of 71 species. But what would the month be without a Christmas Bird Count or two.

What tales will be told in 2010? Well for January, I will try and see as many species as I can within the region of Niagara. I don't expect to attain the 104 one birder did last year (he must be retired) but I will do my best to surpass the 49 observed last year. I best stop wasting time at the PC and get out and do some birding.


  1. Congrats on your anniversary!

    It's a real accomplishment, most blogs don't make it this far

  2. Ditto on Nate's congratulations, I'm looking forward to your tales from another year of Ontario (and beyond) birding!

  3. Thanks Nate & Mike,

    I'm honoured that the two of you stop by from time to time.


  4. looking forward to the tales of tails and wings this year. Congrats on your many e bird lists. Hope this year proves even more fruitful. Enjoyung your and Jean's birding adventures

  5. Thanks Anne.

    Jean and I may attend the OFO trip to the Fisherville area. I need to keep my Top 100 eBirder rank from dropping down the table. I am going to try and observe 200+ species this year. If I count the Barnacle Goose, I was only 2 shy of 200 last year.

    Ohhh, I smell a future post.

    Hope to see you on the Long Point area trip.