Project 366 – Post No. 276 – New Year’s jackrabbit

What is Project 366? Read more here.

2019 is coming to an end tonight and so is my Alberta Big Year. It seems appropriate to reflect back on the year that has past and some of the accomplishments and memorable moments. But first, let me introduce the New Year’s jackrabbit. This not so little fella was a complete surprise. It was hiding under a juniper bush right outside my front door. I already knew that someone liked to hang out under the bush as there are always fresh tracks in the snow. This is the first time, however, I caught the culprit. What ensued was a bit of a stare-down contest. The jackrabbit was just sitting there starting at me and did not seem to want to budge. Eventually it leisurely hopped away, crossing the street without even checking for any cars.

As my 2019 AB Big Year is coming to an end my final tally is 117 species, starting with a Downy Woodpecker on January 13 at Beaverhill Bird Observatory and ending with a Black-backed Woodpecker on December 15 in the Whitemud Ravine. I was hoping to reach a higher number but technical difficulties with our vehicle effectively eliminated all out-of town excursions about half way through the year (the number of checklist submissions drops in June due to this). Because of this, most of my birding excursions over the last 6 months have been to locations within the city limits, with the most common location being the Whitemud Ravine.

Last lifer of the year, a Black-backed Woodpecker in the Whitemud Ravine on December 15.

Globally I saw a total of 145 species in three different countries (Canada, Chile and Argentina). The first bird of the year was a Yellow-billed Pintail (Anas georgica) in the Ancapuli Humedal (wetland) in Araucania, Chile. The highlight of my birding year was definitely my trip to Chile and Argentina where I scored 53 lifers.

I am looking forward to the new year and the birding and nature adventures it will bring. With this being post 176 there are 90 posts left of Project 366. I feel like I am on a roll and the post have become a daily ritual. As Project 366 wraps up, however, I will likely take my birding and nature walks in different directions.

The unforgettable rainy moment when we spotted a male and female Torrent Duck (Merganetta armata) doing their thing in the raging rapids in Río Allipén , Araucania, Chile.

May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog (www.thebirdsarecalling.com). Copyright Mario Pineda.