When I think about the fact that I had to visit one hundred different locations this year, it’s hard to believe I did it. It just seems like I did a few here and there. That said, I know there were times that it was all I was doing, and it’s a good thing I have such a supportive family, otherwise I could never have had so much fun!
I learned many things on this journey. For example, I find it odd that North Carolina has 7 counties that start with the letter “W”, and 6 that start with the letters “Ca”. Of course, most of the other things I learned were a little more interesting. If someone asked me about any bird in the state, I could now probably give them a good idea on when and where to find it. My identification skills, while still not expert, and solidly in the moderate category. I have begun to understand more about the other flora and fauna of the state, of which I have seen lots.
There are some things I wonder about, as my mind starting grouping things together automatically, as the human mind tends to do. Is it just my imagination, or do birds that look or sound similar tend to migrate around the the same time, or share similar habitats? In the past I thought migration was just a jumble of birds all heading in a direction around the same time. Now I can see that certain species always leave early or late, and there is an order in which the species will come and go.
Inevitably, I think, was it worth it? I missed out on chasing some rare species due to the schedule I had to keep, and didn’t practice photography as much as I would have liked. But yes, it was definitely worth it. Of course for me, visiting places and being in nature was always as much a draw as seeing the birds.
And I did get to play around with my photography some
I have in the back of my head, the thought that maybe someday I will do this for South Carolina. The initial drive for completing North Carolina – the ebird county profile – still sits mostly empty for South Carolina. North Carolina now looks great though!
People ask me, what were the best counties? So I went through and picked my best 5 and worst 5. This is based purely on my enjoyment of the visit – I know that a different spot or a different date in the county might be much better or worse, so please don’t get offended!
Best 5 visits (in no particular order):
- New Hanover
Worst 5 visits (in no particular order):
Now that I am done, I am looking forward to spending time at some of my nearby birding spots again, like Colonel Francis Beatty Park, Cane Creek Park, and Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge. I used to visit them regularly, and now I feel like they’ve been neglected for a year.
I did do a good bit of birding not recorded by this blog, since it wasn’t always an official county visit. Next year, I will record the more interesting of these, along with any rare bird chases I do.
Because I like math, I will tell you that I now have 2,172 county ticks in North Carolina, and that I got 37 life birds this year. I will be sorry to see 2017 go. It was a great year for me, the best in a very long time.
I saw a solar eclipse this year! And also, this rock:
Anyway, that is all for me. Thanks to anyone who actually made it this far. I will be encapsulating this part of the blog and starting a new chapter next year, which will probably be based more on individual interesting trips. Have a great holiday season!