January 3rd, 2008, 10:31 PM
At some point during your life as a birder you will experience an overdose of frustration. If you live in Florida then you probably experience it a lot.! A Broad-billed Hummingbird was banded by our friend Fred Bassett two days ago in Blountstown, which is about 40 miles west of our house. Amazingly I had another day off today (Xmas must truly be over) so I decided to twitch said hummer. I followed the directions to the letter and arrived at a house that had 2 hummer feeders around the side of the building. I was a bit surprised that nobody else was there given that it was the 2nd state record but this IS Florida I thought. After a short while no action had occurred at either feeder. A friendly elderly gent came out of the house and we chatted for a bit. There had been no sign of the bird for two days and he thought it had probably took off. I waited forlornly staring at the two feeders in desperation but gave up and went birding to Lake Seminole. The 2 Ross's Geese were still present in Sneads, viewable from the end of Dairy Rd in a small pond. They had been joined by a Blue Snow Goose, which was a county tick as was a Wilson's Snipe. Look out Dotty Robbins your 4th place is in jeopardy. Oh how I love to county list!From there I came home to do some work etc. My cell phone tells me I have a message from Bob Wallace. The hummer was been seen again later in the day. Fecking typical! Then I find out that it was in a completely different yard, owned by the same old guy who I'd talked too! He could've said! A few years back I would've, as we say in England, kicked off but I'm kind of getting used to this ....e, especially living in Florida. One of the things I really miss from home is the reliable information services. It pains me to say, but I really miss Dick Fill Me Pockets Pager System, .... I even miss Birdline. I miss Fish and Chips as well and me Mum and Dad....this is bollocks! Now I know how Tom McKinney feels about twitching! Tom would go feckin' mental living here, infact most British twitcherers would.Anyway looking on the bright side I added 15 new ticks to my Calhoun County List and 2 more to my Jackson County list. I could've probably added a lot more if I actually gave a .... about county listing. I am almost in a position to overtake Don Chalfant and move up a position. It's not quite the heady heights I'd dreamed about when I joined the list, but there is a long way to go. I reckon at this pace I'll streak into the top ten on March 5th 2024, by then some of the top county listers will be dead (of old age...sorry guys but we all die eventually) so I might actually be a few places higher. It's all rather serious. Birders are now posting about which counties they are going to target next, like we are fecking interested. To keep up with the Joneses here is my strategic County Listing Plan for 2008.January - As of Jan 3rd I have bagged 2210 County Ticks and am in 20th position, just 56 county ticks behind Don Chalfant and 8319 behind leader David Simpson. I will be co-leading a few walks at the Space Coast Festival this month so I could potentially add a few new birds for my Brevard and Osceola County lists. Oooooh the excitement. February - I will spend my birding time down at the coast, if I get the chance I might try and add Feral Pigeon, House Sparrow and European Starling to my Wakulla County list. I should get a feckin' award for managing to avoid those species thus far.March - the baby is due so county ticking will, unfortunately, be put on hold this month unless I add a new Leon county bird from our backyard, which is unlikely.April - Warbler potential could boost my Jackson County list above the 150 mark but bollocks to that Dauphin Island in Alabama is much better. Maybe I'll start county ticking in Alabama.May - Too feckin' hot to go chasing after common ....!June - see aboveJuly - see above although if a Hurricane comes through might be worth birding Lake Seminole as long as life isn't in jeopardy.August - more hurricane potentialSeptember - I should overtake Don Chalfant this month unless he actually starts adding to his list, which will force me into taking drastic counter measure tactics. October - Bask in glory at being in 19th position for the whole month, I might even get a t-shirt made to commerate the event.November - Phasing a bit this month due to let down from previous month's euphoria.December - time to put up the feet and relax after a hard years county listing. Take time to relflect on such highlights as adding Blue Jay to my Liberty County list and Northern Cardinal to my Suwannee list.I hope my plan is strategic enough! My actual plan though is to lull them all into a false sense of security and go on a crazy listing fest in 2009. They won't be expecting it unless of course they are reading this. If you are then be prepared for some gauntlet throwing suckers. .... I said suck.