2021 Big Year

The Stare

2020 sucked. Pandemics, horrible wildfires, the political scene, the Kardashians. And my workload was so heavy that I rarely had time to do much, let alone go birding. I was lucky enough to get out a dozen times all year – including 3 times in December to finish the year with 205 species.

I turned 50, and my plan was to spend my 50th year doing a Big Year … or at least a Big(ish) Year based on the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to do a lot of explicitly birding trips. But then COVID happened and I’m adjusting again. I’m still doing it, but we’ll see what I can achieve without flying to many places. But I’m going for it.

Trip List

  1. Day 1 at Home – January 1st (33 species)
  2. Cape May, NJ – January 2nd (85 species, 1 lifer)
  3. Manasquan Inlet, NJ – January 9th (20 species)
  4. Barnegat Light, NJ – January 16th (35 species)
  5. Kelly Drive + John Heinz NWR – January 31st (34 species, 1 lifer)
  6. Forsythe NWR – February 6th (47 species)
  7. Featherbed Lane WMA – February 12th (21 species)
  8. Featherbed Lane WMA, Red Bank Battlefield – February 15th (61 species)
  9. Forsythe NWR – March 11th (42 species)

Year List

This page will be for my full tally, against my goal of hitting 400 species for the year. Life birds will be in bold; NJ lifers will be in italics. Rarities will be noted with an * and an ABA Code in parentheses (if applicable)

11/1Canada Goose
21/1Blue Jay
31/1House Finch
41/1House Sparrow
51/1Mourning Dove
61/1European Starling
71/1Downy Woodpecker
81/1Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)
91/1American Robin
101/1Carolina Wren
111/1White-breasted Nuthatch
121/1Tufted Titmouse
131/1White-throated Sparrow
141/1Carolina Chickadee
151/1Ring-billed Gull
16a1/1Domestic Mallard
171/1Song Sparrow
181/1American Crow
191/1Northern Cardinal
201/1Northern Mockingbird
211/1Double-crested Cormorant
221/1Red-bellied Woodpecker
231/1Great Blue Heron
241/1Great Black-backed Gull
251/1Herring Gull
261/1Red-breasted Nuthatch
281/1Belted Kingfisher
291/1Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
301/1Pine Siskin
311/1Red-winged Blackbird
321/1Common Grackle
331/2Eastern Towhee
341/2Hermit Thrush
351/2Brown Thrasher
361/2Black Scoter
371/2Red-breasted Merganser
391/2Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
401/2Great Egret
411/2Mute Swan
431/2Northern Shoveler
441/2American Black Duck
451/2Northern Pintail
461/2Green-winged Teal
471/2Blue-winged Teal
481/2Ring-necked Duck
491/2Greater Yellowlegs
501/2Hooded Merganser
511/2American Coot
531/2American Wigeon
541/2Red-throated Loon
551/2Nothern Gannet
561/2Purple Finch
571/2Fox Sparrow
581/2Red Crossbill*
591/2Turkey Vulture
601/2Evening Grosbeak*
611/2Snow Goose
621/2Rusty Blackbird
631/2Ruby-throated Hummingbird
641/2Cooper’s Hawk
651/2Brown-headed Cowbird
661/2American Goldfinch
671/2Red-tailed Hawk
681/2Tundra Swan
691/2Pied-billed Grebe
701/2Lesser Scaup
711/2Ruby-crowned Kinglet
731/2Red-shouldered Hawk
741/2Black Vulture
751/2Hairy Woodpecker
761/2Eastern Phoebe
771/2Gray Catbird
781/2Eastern Bluebird
791/2Field Sparrow
801/2Palm Warbler
811/2Long-tailed Duck
821/2Common Eider
831/2Purple Sandpiper
851/2Common Loon
861/2Wild Turkey
871/7Winter Wren
881/9Boat-tailed Grackle
891/9King Eider*
901/9Black-bellied Plover
911/10Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
921/13Great Horned Owl
931/16Harlequin Duck
941/16White-winged Scoter
951/16Ruddy Turnstone
981/16Great Cormorant
991/16Peregrine Falcon
1001/18Common Merganser
1011/24Fish Crow
1021/31Tundra Bean Goose* (4)
1031/31Brown Creeper
1041/31Bald Eagle
1052/6Wood Duck
1062/6Clapper Rail
1072/6American White Pelican*
1082/6Northern Harrier
1092/6Short-billed Dowitcher
1102/6Long-billed Dowitcher
1112/12Rough-legged Hawk*
1122/12Short-eared Owl
1132/12Savannah Sparrow
1142/12White-crowned Sparrow
1152/12Eastern Meadowlark
1162/12Horned Lark
1172/15Common Raven
1182/15American Kestrel
1202/15Sandhill Crane
1222/15Swamp Sparrow
1232/15Horned Grebe
1242/15Common Goldeneye
1252/23Black-capped Chickadee
1263/11Sharp-shinned Hawk
1273/11Eurasian Green-winged Teal* (3)
1283/11Cedar Waxwing

Best Pictures of the Year

Female King Eider
Male Harlequin Duck looking back
Great Black-backed Gull
Tundra Bean Goose along Kelly Drive, Philadelphia
Bald Eagle
Unexpected Lifer

This page will be for my full tally, against my goal of hitting 400 species for the year. Life birds will be in bold; NJ lifers will be in italics. Rarities will be noted with an * and an ABA Code in parentheses (if applicable)