Looks like my pre-written posts have run their course. I do have most of the rest of my Panama trip written up in drafts, but the photos for them are not yet edited or compiled. I have been spending most of my free time lately doing family stuff and preparing for my next adventure! Anyway, here's my brief end-of-year summary to carry this blog into 2016, where it'll be quiet for at least the next few months... The title refers to my lack of posts this year but also to my abundance of overall activity as I logged over 45 000km by car and another 14 000km or so by plane this year!
January - I rang in the new year with friends in Guelph, birded for a day to kick of the year list around Niagara/Hamilton, worked for a week at Long Point, then headed home for two weeks of unpacking, repacking, trip planning and time with family before heading to Colombia. I'll eventually have some photos of that trip up on the blog and on Facebook, but that'll have to wait. By the end of the month my year list was at 440, mostly in the final 8 days!
February - With various friends (Josh, Steve, Dan, Dan, Adam, Jeremy, Avery) at various times, and at times alone, I wandered my way around Colombia, covering a good chunk of the country. This is an amazing country full of varied landscapes, colourful birds, friendly people and great fruit drinks. I'd highly recommend a visit. My year list also got a big boost, hitting 997 by the end of the month.
March - For most of the month I was still in Colombia, cleaning up a few new areas, seeing some new birds, and the lowlight: getting in a motorbike accident (hit by another motorbike). That took some recovery and almost ended my new bird potential in the country, but I managed to squeak in a few more with my limited mobility. I then had a busy week at home, unpacking, repacking and getting in all my medical visits before heading back to Long Point to start another season of work. Year list - 1199
April - Bouncing around Southern Ontario, Adam and I were once again on tower duty for Motus, meaning a lot of ground covered and not a lot of birds seen! It was nice to get most of the usual early migrants and visit some new areas of Ontario though. Year list - 1248
May - Starting the month at Long Point (and various other regions of southern Ontario), I once again managed to leave just as migration was picking up steam, and headed to the East Coast via Ottawa and Montreal. The rest of the month was spent in a mad dash around Nova Scotia and New Brunswick attempting to get all of our towers operational before migration was over. Year list - 1305
June - Starting off with a cleanup of missed towers, I had a bit of downtime mid-month before heading up to Cape Breton for a week of combined Bicknell's Thrush and Motus work. Getting to see this amazing place was definitely the highlight of the month for me, despite the lack of thrushes. Year list - 1315
July - Motus month - I was going pretty much non-stop this month with tower work, Bicknell's Thrush stuff in Cape Breton and northern New Brunswick, and helping on various projects utilizing our network. I also managed to make it through another year and turned 24. Year list - 1328
August - A few days of Motus work followed by three weeks of banding birds on Bon Portage Island before getting called off to do a few more days of Motus work took up the entire month! My year list also hit 1337 at the end of the month which was my total world list as of the end of 2014 - kinda cool!
September - I was lucky enough to kick off the month with a week-long visit to Sable Island to do some work radio-tagging Ipswich Sparrows, had a few days off in Wolfville, a couple days on Bon Portage and then spent the last two weeks of the month out on Seal Island. This was my third fall out on the south shore islands and I'll be going back for at least one more next year! Year list - 1345
October - A week on Seal was followed by three weeks and change on Bon Portage Island, finishing up the season of bird banding and radio-tagging. We also did a bit of a pilot for another project but I'll leave that for another post. Year list - 1355
November - Another month of bouncing around the Maritimes, doing a bit of data work in Wolfville and our usual rounds of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to get all the towers ready for winter. Shorter days at this time of year definitely put a damper on doing anything besides work, but I still managed some good birds to bump me to 1360 for the year.
December - A few final days in New Brunswick to finish up tower work and two flights later, and I was back in the Sault. I basically just crashed at this point; after finishing up some data work for Motus I spent a few days in bed with an unknown illness. The rest of this month has been spent doing various family-oriented activities (including a trip to Sudbury for Christmas), completing the Sault Ste Marie Christmas Bird Count (first time I've participated in a few years!), and getting ready for my next big adventure. Tomorrow I leave to spend a little over two months birding the Southern Cone, working my way around Chile and Argentina by various modes of transport. I will be joined for most of it by Josh Vandermeulen and Adam Timpf, my partners-in-crime from various past trips (California 2011 (Josh), Panama 2014 (Josh), Motus does Canada 2014 (Adam), Colombia 2015 (Josh and Adam)), before spending the last few weeks on my own - assuming I don't join any birding parties along the way! Unless some crazy rarity lands on my feeder before it gets dark today, my 2015 year list is ending at 1364.
In 2016 I hope to see most/all of the specialties of the Southern Cone, continue my eBird streak of a checklist a day (still going since Jan. 1, 2012), and get caught up on all my photos and blog posts from various past trips. This last one especially will be quite the endeavour and I'm not sure I'll have the time but we'll see!
Happy New Year everyone!
#ABArare – White Wagtail – Arizona
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