I finished the year reaching one of my goals, that being bird # 300 for my New York State Life list. And since it was a rarely seen bird in NY, the Black Guillemot has extra-special meaning.
In New Jersey I had 279 birds seen this year, including 12 NJ State birds which brings my life time total to 351 birds in the state.
My early summer trip to California was fantastic, capped off by the spectacular pelagic trip to the Channel Islands. I recorded 13 ABA-area life birds on this trip.
Along with my other tri-state life birds in 2009, I now stand at 596 birds seen in the ABA area.
My goal for 2010 is to reach the milestone of 600 !
Best "local" birds of 2009 must be highlighted by actually seeing a Black Rail, twice, in sunlight !
Never would have expected that to happen, especially here in NJ...
Second best would have to be the Le Conte's Sparrow (in pouring rain).
Third place has to go to Ivory Gull.
Fourth place goes to life-bird of Sage Thrasher.
Fifth best (!) would be state-record of Cinnamon Teal.
Sixth place would have to be Swallow-Tailed Kite, first time seen since 1998 !
Seventh goes to Kentucky Warbler at Doodletown.
Eighth goes to The Towhees of Green-Tailed & Spotted, seen in a single calendar year
Ninth is for my first White-Winged Crossbills seen in New Jersey.
Tenth must go to the Meadowlands show this winter of Snowy Owls & Rough-Legged Hawks, so close to home...