It’s springtime: The weather is improving, the birds are moving and I’m on the chase. I tallied nearly 80 miles over 11 runs and added 25 more species for the year. Here are some highlights:
- My second run of the month was an 11-miler to Fletcher’s Cove on the upper reaches of the Potomac River in hopes of seeing the rare Great Cormorant reported the previous day. No dice, but I did find six new species: BLACK VULTURE, RED-TAILED HAWK, HAIRY WOODPECKER, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET and EASTERN TOWHEE.
- A flyover MERLIN over the pond at Constitution Gardens – carrying prey – was an unexpected addition for the year.
- A run around the Tidal Basin and around the Theodore Roosevelt Island loop allowed fly-by SPOTTED SANDPIPER, GREEN HERON, and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON. A lone RUDDY DUCK was one of the last of winter and an OVENBIRD was one of the first of spring. Alas, a text alert upon my return informed me of a flock of BONAPARTE’S GULLS off the north end of the island, just feet away from the wooded trail. Drats.
- A work-day run to a residential neighborhood where Mississippi Kite nested last year yielded no raptors, but a singing BLUE-HEADED VIREO was a nice addition, as well as the GREATER YELLOWLEGS in a marshy area on my return.
- A 13-miler around Hain’s Point and the Tidal Basin afforded me a year-high of 36 species, including four new: EASTERN KINGBIRD, HOUSE WREN, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER and YELLOW WARBLER.
I’ve seen more unidentified warbler butts than I care to admit, plus yet another flyover accipiter – my third for the year – that eluded identification.
While I am confident this effort isn’t a detriment to my base fitness, I am stopping to stretch a little more frequently than normal. I am sure “pishing” helps loosen hamstrings as much as listening to the soft chip calls of migrating warblers overhead.
No peer-reviewed research to substantiate this claim but nonetheless I’ll keep researching this theory—especially in spring.
2018 “RUNNING LIST” – By the Numbers
Number of runs: 43
Total Mileage: 294.57
Total Species: 95
Avg Mileage: 6.85
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Blue Heron
Northern Rough-winged Swallow