Don’t tell my wife, but February 15th was arguably more significant than 24 hours prior—it marked the first run of the month. Taking off Weeks 5 and 6 certainly doesn’t count for a “strong start” to this 12-month effort, but a slight foot issue that had threatened to flare in January lingered a few days into February and, not wanting to risk an already expensive ski trip, I sidelined my running shoes for a couple weeks.
Still, in the last half of the month, I squeaked 37 miles out of seven runs and added six new species: Gadwall, American Wigeon, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Black-backed Gull, House Finch and Orange-crowned Warbler. On two separate runs — one around the Mall and the other down the Potomac from Arlington — I saw or heard 23 and 22 species respectively, both high counts for the year.
After two months, my list is still surprisingly devoid of raptors, save a couple sightings of Bald Eagle (and my friends know how thrilled I am about that). Only to make this gap worse, I had my second unidentified flyover accipiter for the year in February, most likely a Cooper’s Hawk.
Regrettably, one raptor my list likely won’t include this year is Snowy Owl. I made several morning attempts to catch the owl fly over 13th St to its daytime roost in an interior (and inaccessible) courtyard of the USDA building. Rare in Washington D.C., this bird will likely start its northern migration soon.
An early morning attempt to nab a Lark Sparrow that is wintering in the National Arboretum was met with a small issue: It was closed.
I’m still struck at how much this effort is influencing the timing and routes of my runs. When choosing between running on Wednesday or Thursday this week, I chose the former despite being much more complicated logistically. Why? It was the last day of February, a month where I needed the extra mileage. Plus, I added two new species for the year: Pied-billed Grebe and Orange-crowned Warbler.
What are we expecting in March? A half marathon will get my mileage up, and the start of migration should add a few new songbirds and, hopefully, some damn raptors.
2018 “RUNNING LIST” – By the Numbers
Number of runs: 20
Total Mileage: 124.07
Total Species: 54
Avg Mileage: 6.20
Great Black-backed Gull