[Tweeters] Re: Mason County birding

Jason Hernandez jason.hernandez74 at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 15 21:36:11 PST 2015

I am copying this both to the group and to the original sender.
Good job, Tim, on showing what is possible in just one single county -- especially since it is not your home county. I did something similar this year, albeit not with birds: this was the year of my "Oregon Wildflower Expedition," in which I made two loops through Oregon, one in spring, one in summer. In total, I got 106 species on the spring loop, and 76 on the summer loop, but with repeats, the cumulative total will be somewhat less than 182. It was definitely a wildflower Big Year for me -- and that was just the Cascades and Willamette Valley; I didn't manage to get to the coast or the plateau.
And as you know, some of the treasures are found in places that no one has ever heard of. Theler is a rather famous birding destination, as Mason County destinations go, but there were birds you found this year which would never have been seen there.
Question: given that you live in Renton, how did you choose Mason County?
Jason Hernandez
jason.hernandez74 at yahoo.com

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2015 16:43:59 -0800
From: Tim Brennan <tsbrennan at hotmail.com>
Subject: [Tweeters] Mason County birding
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
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Hey Tweets!

I enjoyed a lovely walk with Terry Sisson this morning at Theler.  I'd never seen the tide in this high!  The boardwalks were essentially a passage over Hood Canal, and the water held plenty of Buffleheads, Green-winged Teals, Northern Pintails and Mallards.  Terry and I found a wide range of sparrows but not the Swamp Sparrow we had hoped for, possibly in part due to a Cooper's Hawk watching over the area where the Swampie had been seen like a... Well, like a hawk.

With winds at 14 mph, my trip out on Hood Canal was cancelled, so after a quick stop at Belfair State Park, I decided to call it a year.  180 species, who knows how many miles by car/foot, forty miles by boat, five or so by kayak and one by golf cart.

The question has come up, "what county will it be next year?"  I'm pretty set on spending some time in Chelan County, but there shall be no blog next year, and no run at any records (in Chelan, it sits at 240 or so, which ain't happening for me!), and I may let myself bird other places a bit more!

Thanks to all who fed me, gave me places to stay, followed the blog, asked for information, gave me information, and especially to those who went looking for birds with me this year.

This was a nice test case for anyone with family planning a big year.  Planning it out and with nearly no chasing, I was able to hit the goal I had set out for, and still have a year where my family knew when I'd be gone and when I'd be back.  Chasing was able to get Cara Borre a few more birds, and I think it's definitely the important strategy for anyone who has the freedom to do it.

One positive for ME was nearly covering my Mason County map with little lines.  It was as much about places as birds.  Trying to plan things out ensured that I would get to more places than just Theler (although Theler gave me an awful lot of birds).  I also liked getting to intrude on people's lives a little and get to know the businesses. 

I'm inclined to gather up the observations and information I've gotten over the last year and do a run through of the species in the county and how to find them, although I don't know if that would fit best in the blog format or what.  Open to suggestions. 

Incidentally, I grabbed a Kitsap County lifer on the way home (Golden-crowned Sparrow), and a couple of King County year birds (Surf Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser).  Looking forward to a new year!

Tim Brennan
Back home in Renton

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