Best Birding ‘Big Day’


Birders often try to have a Big Year, where they try to see how many different species of birds they can observe in one year.  Some may try for one month.  Ann and I are always trying to see how many we might see in one day.  Our previous record was 44.  Today, Sunday February 9, we saw a new record of 48.  We were gone from the house for about four hours and a half.  However we only added one more to our on-going list of our Big Year.  It now stands at 94 after adding a Brown Creeper today.

It was great fun, as I also got some nice photos, which some days I fail to do.  We saw a Verdin again, and I finally got it in my viewfinder, as well as a nice shot of a Western Bluebird.  Heck, why don’t I just show you a few highlights.

Verdin - at feeder at San Angelo State Park.

Verdin – at feeder at San Angelo State Park.

We decided to make a stop at San Angelo State Park.  There we saw the above pictured Verdin.  This is the first time I have ever seen one at a feeder, as usually they are timid and keep pretty much to themselves.

Western Bluebird - showing off it's beautiful plumage.

Western Bluebird – showing off it’s beautiful plumage.

The Western Bluebird was scratching in the grass, and I guess I disturbed it and I caught her (it is a female), beautiful plumage as she tried to fly.

Great Egret - triumphant with his catch.

Great Egret – triumphant with his catch.

When this Great Egret caught this fish, I thought he was going to come out of his shoes, so to speak.  You can see that his feet left the water.  I love these beautiful birds.

Killdeer -  he was doing a bit of feeding, too.

Killdeer – he was doing a bit of feeding, too.

Red-tailed Hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk.

High above it all, atop a dead tree, was this Red-tailed Hawk.

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

As for the Brown Creeper, I was unable to get a clear shot of it today, so I will show you the above shot that I got of it a couple of years ago.

Click an any image to see an enlargement.  Also if you are interested in seeing a complete list of what we saw today, here it is:

  1. Northern Mockingbird
  2. House Sparrow
  3. White-winged Dove
  4. Blue Jay
  5. Gadwall
  6. Bufflehead
  7. Northern Shoveler
  8. Northern Cardinal
  9. Western Meadowlark
  10. Great-tailed Grackle
  11. Great Blue Heron
  12. American Coot
  13. Ring-billed Duck
  14. Great Egret
  15. Osprey
  16. Double-crested Cormorant
  17. Mallard
  18. Green-winged Teal
  19. Cinnamon Teal
  20. Killdeer
  21. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  22. Brown Creeper
  23. American Pelican
  24. Belted Kingfisher
  25. Red-tailed Hawk
  26. Northern Harrier
  27. Golden-fronted Woodpecker
  28. Greater Yellowlegs
  29. European Starling
  30. Black Vulture
  31. Northern Flicker
  32. Wilson’s Snipe
  33. Mute Swan
  34. House Finch
  35. Black-crested Titmouse
  36. Verdin
  37. Pyrrhuloxia
  38. Curve-billed Thrasher
  39. Canyon Towhee
  40. White-crowned Sparrow
  41. Chipping Sparrow
  42. Red-winged Blackbird
  43. Ringed-neck Duck
  44. American Wigeon
  45. Pied-billed Grebe
  46. Western Bluebird
  47. Eastern Bluebird
  48. Ladder-backed Woodpecker
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26 thoughts on “Best Birding ‘Big Day’

  1. WOW you guys had some day…and year so far! I still can’t get over the variety you have down there. It’s always nice to see photos of birds that don’t frequent up north here. Super photos Bob!

  2. Well done, Bob! What a great day, and a fantastic total. I love your egret shot – perfectly captured! I’ve never even heard of a Verdin, but it is so beautiful. Hope the good spell of weather continues!

  3. I enjoy your blog, and I am impressed with your pics. I have a son (age 9) who really wants to learn to identify birds, but I am not able to help him much. I found your blog while on the internet trying to learn how to help him. Do you have recommendations or books to recommend on how to help someone learn to identify birds?

    • Thank you very much for commenting. A good book for learning birding is “Sibley’s Birding Basics”. A very good guide is “Stokes Guide to birds of North America”. These are available from Amazon. Perhaps they also have guides to birds of the South American continent. You might check them out.

      • Thanks! I will check them out. We have mitred or scarlet fronted parakeets (I can’t really tell the difference) in flocks in front of our house, and sometimes the Andean Swifts fly so fast you can not help but marvel. Of course my son wants to see an Andean Condor. Maybe someday. Thanks again for the recommendations!

  4. I haven’t tried a Big Day yet. Hmmm… when to fit one in!! You have several birds on your list from today that I’d love to see – the Pyrrhuloxia, the Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, the Cinnamon Teal. What a great day for you!! :-)

  5. Your commenter is right — YOURS is the standard. Great day indeed, Bob! Great to be alive in the awesome state of Texas, isn’t it?

    Our day at SB-NWR yesterday was our best yet for a Big Year field trip. I’ll bet we saw 30+ species for the day though we’ve not been counting anything except new ones. After all, we are neck-and-neck with some birding friends for our own Big Year: 94 so far. Just updated the pageroo!

    Wish I’d had time to post this weekend. Just too many school projects; at least we got our nature hike.

  6. I boggles my imagination – 48 different birds today and 94 for the year. Well done! I don’t think I have seen 96 different birds my entire life. Great Blog too – your blog is the standard!

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