Birds, birds, birds, I’m NOT sick of birds,
I want birds all day through,
In the lakes, in the slough,
That’s all I ever can do…!*
(*apologies to My Fair Lady’s “Words, words, words”)
Actually I am a bit tired of chasing, and of big years generally. It gets harder and harder as the year goes along. And late summer, when birds generally stop singing and disappear somewhere, even before they leave, is particularly difficult.
But wait, migration is starting, early this year apparently here in South Dakota. Or at least birds that don’t breed here are wandering through already. Yesterday at the weekly survey that a few of us do at Canyon Lake in Rapid City, we had a Black-headed Grosbeak, a couple of Western Tanagers, a few Bullock’s Orioles. These are bird rarely seen at Canyon Lake. They are birds that breed in the Black Hills but are less often seen in summer in Rapid City, which is mostly flat and not in the hills.
Soon, I hope, we will have a real migration on our hands – warblers in the trees, more shorebirds (lately a bit sparse where I birded , even east of the Missouri River after a burst of them a couple of weeks ago), and then sparrows, and finally ducks, some of which overwinter in Rapid City. Migration, when and where birds are noticeably passing through an area (unlike most of spring migration this year in South Dakota), is wonderful, especially at hot spots. In South Dakota, one such hot spot for warblers is all the way across the state from me in the Sioux Falls area, and I’m sure I’ll be there trying to find the warblers that I missed earlier this year. It was not a very hot spot when I visited there in spring. Of course, I won’t be able to find birds for my South Dakota big year at some of the more renowned U.S. hot spots where birds sometimes tend bunch up prior to heading southward across the Gulf, such as Sabine Woods and High Island in Texas, places I spent much time at when I lived down south.
I love migration any year, not just big years. Nope, I’m not really sick of birding. It’s just not possible. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll find a new bird (or more) for my big year soon.