My Favorite Bird Encounters of 2019

The year started with a bang with great looks at my lifer king eider on Jan 2! Then, we had our best ever year guiding the Sax-Zim Birding Festival. We had all of the usual suspect owls in the bog (2/16): great gray, northern hawk and snowy! I have never guided when we had all 3 in a day! We also had the boreal chickadee and pine grosbeaks at Admiral Rd. feeder. We had evening grosbeaks at Sisu feeders. We also had a bonus: white-winged crossbills in the road on McDavitt! Our favorite species of the festival, though, book-ended our year; we had the best looks we’ve ever had at adult northern goshawks. Paul and I were treated to views of this spectacular hawk perched during the Sax-Zim Birding Festival (2/16) and then again in flight on the Christmas Bird Count (12/14).

Our big birding trip of the year was to CO! We had our lifer pygmy nuthatches and western bluebirds (4/5) before heading westward for the quarry of our trip: Gunnison sage-grouse. That Sunday (4/7) we saw a lone male displaying from the lek viewing area! We proceeded on to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, where we saw our lifer Woodhouse’s scrub-jay.We ended the evening in Crested Butte, where we saw our lifer brown-capped rosy-finches and black rosy-finches. On the way back the next day, we stopped in a neighborhood where we saw pinyon jays.

After my field season this summer, I made a trip to the Twin Cities to see my lifer neotropic cormorant (8/2). Then, Paul and I decided to do a mini-summer birding trip to see the yellow-billed loon (8/17) that was hanging out in IA!

My dad and I went to see a rufous hummingbird today (12/23) coming to a feeder not far from where I’m from. It wasn’t a lifer for me, but it was the best look at a male I’ve ever had! My lifer was an orange buzz that was gone in a blink, and we also saw them displaying in Seattle. I had never seen one coming to a feeder or perched, though. Even though it was molting, it still had some gorget feathers and beautiful coloration.

The year isn’t over, so there’s still time to amend this post!

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