Effectively, 2023 has ended, so it’s time to look again on the previous yr’s birding. The pleasures of birding are many and diverse, so this type of publish all the time entails a listing. On this case, I had not but written about a few of these sightings, so there’ll really be a bit of recent data on this publish. I will even return to a number of birds which have already appeared right here. However right here goes, a listing of my favourite sightings for 2023:
You stole my coronary heart, you rascal you: We made a serious journey to Europe, North Africa, and Turkey in late October, November and early December, combining work with some down time. The work a part of this journey included ten days spent in a suburban neighborhood of Marrakesh, Morocco. I used to be not capable of get out and do a lot critical birding, however happily, in Morocco the birds come to you.
I’ve seen few species with the phrase “Home” of their English names (Home Sparrow, Wren, and Finch), in addition to a few “Barn” birds (Barn Swallows and Owls). However Morocco’s instance is by far the “housiest” of all of them. The Home Bunting is outwardly thought-about, relying on the supply, someplace on the spectrum from good luck to divine. Centuries of such consideration have produced a chicken that not solely happens round homes or nests on their partitions; it really goes into homes, with nice confidence. Our hosts’ residence had a everlasting hole to the outside, so these would fly in at the least as soon as a day to take a look at the residing/eating room flooring for crumbs. Our hosts weren’t amused. However I used to be.
Sadly, I used to be nonetheless within the strategy of getting acquainted with a brand new digicam, and didn’t handle any first rate indoor photographs. So that you’ll have to just accept this photograph of a Home Bunting on a neighbor’s balcony ledge.
Home Buntings: cute, tons of angle, and a really nice music as effectively.
I had waited so lengthy to satisfy you: In Might and June, I made a pair of labor journeys to Mexico’s tropical state of Tabasco. Fortuitously, I additionally had a contact there who’s an avid birder, and who most kindly put his life on maintain for a few days to take me birding. This was Mexico’s completely hottest time of the yr, however a full 30 lifers made it value it. And some have been birds I had beforehand solely dreamed of seeing:
The Northern Potoo: This “pájaro estaca” (“stick chicken”) has been on my want checklist ever since I first noticed footage of it.
The Crimson-capped Manakin: Seeing a nesting feminine wasn’t fairly pretty much as good as seeing a male do its well-known and hilarious courtship “moondance”, the star of many nature movies. Nevertheless it was shut.
The Gartered Trogon: In Michoacán, our two trogon species are each purple, white and inexperienced (just like the Mexican flag). So I had all the time wished to see a yellow-breasted one. Which I did, in Tabasco.
Now we have a number of lovely tanagers in Michoacán. However I had all the time wished to see the extravagant tropical tanagers, corresponding to this Golden-hooded Tanager.
I might have longed to see you, had I identified higher: As we are saying right here in Mexico, the Lengthy-billed Gnatwren definitely “da honor a su nombre” — does honor its identify.
And if I had identified about it earlier than my buddy discovered it for me, the spectacular Black-collared Hawk would positively have additionally been on my bucket checklist. That is a kind of uncommon hawks that largely feeds on snails.
Why didn’t you try this the primary time? In 2022, whereas in Turkey for our first time, I noticed my first Dipper, a White-throated Dipper. Nevertheless it was an unusually dry and scorching October 1st, and the cute chicken was solely capable of dip its head in its shallow stream. Fortuitously, in late November of 2023, I used to be in a position to return to the identical website. This time the climate was bitterly chilly, and moist sufficient for localized flooding. So I used to be lastly capable of see a Dipper do what has given them their fame: submerging themselves fully in frigid, speeding streams. (It will take video to actually present the expertise, so that you’ll should take my phrase for it.)
What the heck are you doing right here? Though they have been largely new to me, all of the species talked about above have been seen precisely the place they need to be. However the feminine Hooded Merganser that turned up in a pond just a few hundred meters/yards from the church I pastor had someway traveled a rustic away from its pure vary, making it my most extraordinary sighting for the yr.
In the long run, a number of journey resulted in 44 lifers for the yr. 4 have been from the tropical coast of Guerrero state, 30 from tropical Tabasco, 1 from Spain, 4 from Morocco, 3 from Turkey, and solely 2 from right here in Michoacán state — a Buff-collared Nightjar, and that vagrant Merganser.