Date: 5/4/18 1:30 pm
From: Daniel Mason <millipede1977...>
Subject: There's no place like home...
Birding...  a fun and rewarding and sometimes frustrating hobby. It
probably doesn't help that I actually struggle with anxiety...
Every year I have to tell myself over and over and over again, I don't
need to try and see every species I can around here. It's okay if I miss
some...  right? Somehow, that urge is still there not matter what. Even
when I change my goals to simply finding a few new life birds that year.
I still feel I'm missing out... and sometimes, I am. I have to find
contentment in that somewhere.

That bullock's oriole... the day I finally had time to make that drive
was the day it left. Missed a long-tailed duck earlier this year(2 years
in a row we missed it). I certainly didn't find an anhinga like Joe
Neal...  The bay-breasted warbler found at lake fayetteville, such a big
place I don't even want to try and chase that as I'd feel disappointed
when I didn't.

Great weather has come through making me wish I could zip over there,
then there... hatchery, eagle watch, city lake, chesney, etc... 
Certainly I'm missing something exciting...  blackpoll found at
chesney... a bird I've heard 2 different years but never quite saw. The
list goes on and on...

I've been filling my mornings, lately, with simply birding the yard. I
can get up over 40 species and some days, I'm still not satisfied. But
then, we still manage to get our surprises and simply exciting to see
birds regardless of their abundance.

We managed to get some baltimore orioles at the feeder finally. And
we've got an orchard oriole in the neighborhood. Every year we have a
pair of summer tanagers that stick around. We've even had a couple
red-headed woodpeckers at the feeder this year.  I need to get all my
lists on Ebird someday... I'm bad at that.
We've had wood thrushes and swainson's thrushes in the yard almost every
day lately. We've gotten good looks at a blue-headed vireo. Still hoping
to have a bell's and philidalphea grace the yard. The white-eyed is
sticking around as well as some red-eyed. It's an active yard. The list
goes on. Haven't seen it yet but we've heard a magnolia a couple
mornings now. We've had some redstarts in the yard today that are always
a joy to watch.

This morning my daughter and I were birding out there a bit when we
finally got some amazing views of a chestnut-sided warbler. Beautiful
creature. Thought that would be the highlight of the day...  Had a
blackpoll, visible, the other day and today as well. Had a bobolink or
three fly over the past few days heading who knows where... as well as
many dickcissels migrating past. Wonderfully birdy day today.

Then, I was about done. My daughter had already gone inside to get some
schoolwork done. I was calling my wife to see where she was when
suddenly... I was saying "I have to go... "  Got off the phone, whistled
REAL loud a few times and my daughter came running out to see what was
going on. A few seconds later she was viewing what had me excited. Our
first ever, and an amazing yard bird, golden-winged warbler. I thought
we'd never, ever see one and would only have a chance if we went
somewhere they were commonly found. Every time someone said "first of
season" for one of those I'd get mildly cranky. (HA)
This bird hung around for a while. It would disappear for a bit then
come back. Was out there a couple hours I bet. The bird activity was
great. Lots of little birds including some we'll never know. I
especially get mad at the flyovers that make calls I'm simply not
familiar with. But it was an exciting morning for us. New yard/life
bird. Can't beat that... and right here at home.
I don't always appreciate where I live. The driveway is STEEP gravel
that is rough on our vehicles... and somehow, the hills I guess, the
sound of hwy 412 echoes right up to us. I hate hearing it but this
little 5 acres is sometimes heaven. The wasps, ticks, and chiggers I
could certainly do without. :(

some day, I'll get going on some other things I want done in the yard. I
keep telling my daughter that if we had a water feature with running
water, we could probably do all our birding from the window. But my lack
of motivation benefits us(and the birds) sometimes. The wild jungle of a
yard that doesn't get mowed and is a bit out of control in some areas is
paradise for some of these birds.

Part of me wonders what the next exciting bird will be and, somehow,
still have that itch to see all I can. But at this point, that
golden-winged might be the highlight of the year.  or was is the
vermilion flycatcher at city lake? or our first godwit at the hatchery?
I'm going to miss a lot of birds this year but these birds more than
make up for that. :)

Daniel Mason

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