Date: 7/31/20 5:12 pm From: Mark McShane <mcshanebirder...> Subject: [GABO-L] Congratulations to Wes Hatch and James White!!!
Amazingly, it's only been about two months since we last held this ceremony for Jim Hanna!
Super Congratulations go to Wes Hatch and James White who both worked very hard these past years (since catching the Georgia county birding bug) and just finished getting to at least 50 species experienced in Every Georgia County this past Sunday (Wes) and Monday (James)!!
This is a very significant Georgia birding and county birding accomplishment and milestone (especially since Georgia has 159 counties, second only to Texas) and indicates a very unique and high level of birding dedication, as well as other special traits, in Wes and James!
Well Done Guys!
Reprint from two months ago:
One certainly learns a lot about birding in Georgia, and in each Georgia county, and of Georgia itself, by even getting at least one birding checklist completed in each and every Georgia county (that's how it started for me), or by then going on to meeting a same minimum number of bird species experienced for each Georgia county! It's a lot of fun, excitement, and satisfying work, to research and plan how you're going to travel and try to see the most bird species you can in any given county, or set of given counties, in a day, a weekend, a week, or for any given time period, and then to execute that plan possibly contending with the weather, the birding times of day, the managing of the scheduling and your time, navigating and traveling the roads and trails, accessing chosen sites, habitats, and the current conditions. Your success accomplishing your county birding goals for a given trip is mostly up to how good your plan is for the day, and how you executed it, or adapted it on the fly (sometimes, for example, a new rare bird chase can interrupt your plan). It can be very challenging and rewarding on a personal level, and to accomplish and to share with others. Possibly quite different from a set trip to say a single known birding destination where you know what to expect. The more county birding you do the better you get at it, and thus hopefully the more data to gather, and the more feats and exploits to enjoy and remember. Georgia having 159 counties ensures that there will be enough county birding available to last a lifetime here in our state!
County birders locate great birding spots in counties that are under-birded and often are able to get new hotspots added to eBird in counties with very few or no known hotspots, thus putting that county more on the birding map so to speak, and there are a lot of relatively under-birded counties and areas in Georgia. There is a lot of birding good to be had having county birders out constantly exploring and documenting their many, and sometimes surprising, finds around the state in such great, comprehensive, and publicly available detail as they capture in their many eBird checklists. Every county birder I know uses eBird!
I guess I'm going to keep trying to resist the temptation to try for at least 50 (or beyond) in every Georgia county but the bug may bite again, thankfully 30 (achieved in 2017) is still somehow a very safe and satisfying, if small, number to be content with right now with many documented checklists and great Georgia birding memories. Well, if you've ever been bitten by the county birding bug, it's just that you keep birding around, and you keep birding around, and the numbers keep piling up, and then you realize maybe that, hey, I've got a lot of counties under 50, but that are over 40, and so you reason it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to try to push on to see a new higher minimum number of birds in every Georgia county, and 50 is such a nice round number, and it wouldn't be too hard to get there, and so it goes... to maybe, shall we say, what can be somewhat habit-forming county birding.
Don't laugh and snicker! You could be next! County birding all 159 Georgia counties can start (even without your knowledge) very innocently enough and appear quite innocuous at first, but can prove to be either a fast as a whirlwind descent, or a slow and seductive process (or anywhere in between) on down the slippery slope into Full-Blown County Birding. By the time you know it, it's too late, you've already changed: You're a Georgia County Birder
County birding can be very contagious as well, that's what happened to me, I caught it from others, even if it does seem to be in remission currently, does it ever really go away? Many county birders may not be very public about their, er, condition, so keep a very close eye on your birding friends or you could easily catch it too when you least expect it. A typical sure sign, for example, is if, say, you are birding with some folks and the second you cross any county line they start declaring cardinals, thrashers, and mockingbirds, and frantically asking each other if they have those for the county! Whaaat?!! They may be county birders, although single county birders on their own can sometimes be a little harder to detect. Now, all eBirders turn on your eBird Profiles so that logged in eBirders everywhere can see how you're doing in any given county, and maybe collaborate with you, or offer county birding advice, or...
There I go again, well, I've done my best to try to explain this phenomenon a bit for the benefit of the uninitiated, but I don't think I'll say more, after all, Hi, my name is Mark, and I'm a county birder.
Good Birding All, keep your wits about you, and be very safe out there!
Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, Georgia