There were only a few days left in 2017 before I decided to start a “running list of birds” in 2018. The first month is in the books and, by in large, I kept true to my vision: I ran like normal – three days a week averaging about 15-20 miles – and listed some birds.
I was surprised at how much this effort influenced my running routes, but honestly this new approach was refreshing. Previously, I selected landmarks at importantly times in history; The Mall on Trump’s inauguration day, the Cuban Embassy the day after we restored relations, Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on MLK day, and the Vietnam War Memorial on Veteran’s Day, to name a few. My running routine — Washington Memorial on one run, running stairs at a local high school stadium for the second, and a long run on the third — means that I can only realistically use one run a week to target the dispersed green areas where new species are more likely. Or, perhaps, the expansive parking lot of RFK stadium where gulls — including one Herring Gull (#42) — like to congregate.
My compulsion to run three days a week is already consuming, but this year’s effort has added even more urgency. When a foot issue caused me to skip a run under an abundance of caution, I immediately regretted the species I had potentially missed.
I ended January with 48 species and only two outdoor run where I didn’t add something new. I am pleased with this tally considering how many runs were in sub-freezing and/or foggy conditions. The most exciting was the russet scapulars and gray collar of a Swamp Sparrow on Theodore Roosevelt Island, a wooded island across the Potomac River from the Lincoln Center.
What’s next? Hopefully a fully healed foot, and a view of one of the two Snowy Owls drifting like ghosts among the federal buildings surrounding the National Mall in waning light.
Number of runs: 13
Total Mileage: 86.77
Total Species: 48
Avg Mileage: 6.67