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Thursday, January 30, 2014
12 Days of Planning
I have had little time to plan and strategize my 12 Day Big Year so far. Much of what I do will be dictated by my schedule. February, I have the 9th (my intended day) and the 17-23. I could get back to the panhandle during the latter period, but I would rather spend that time around the homestead, given how little time I will have there in the coming months. The winter stuff in the panhandle will be getting squirrelly by then anyway, so a southwest strategy may be best. The idea is to knock out kingbirds, Burrowing owl, shorebirds, some parrots, and other rarities an maybe the pineland trio of Bachman's sparrow, Brown-headed nuthatch, and Red-cockaced woodpecker. Knocking out a suite like the pineland birds allows me to avoid spending valuable time in these habitats at a later time. In March, I'm not sure. Tricky month, that March. I might tie in the Big Bend area in conjunction with the Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. April is a bit of a conundrum. I have three days free, 1, 6, and 27. It seems likely that I will head to the panhandle for the 27th and try for migrants and local breeders. Another option would be to use the 11th when we make our way out to the tortugas in the deeper waters to try for Audubon's shearwater and Bridled tern. However, I intend to use Michael's July pelagic trip sponsored by the Marine Science Center to get the same species and hopefully many more. Perhaps a bunch of us will be on that trip. May presents some challenges as well. Do I do my Miami/Keys run then or save it for June 1st. May 4th is the likely date, good timing, perhaps for White-rumped sandpiper and Connecticut warbler. Later in the month I will be concentrating on BBA II activities, so it seems best to do the 4th, but where? If I do Miami at that time then what's on for June? June is better for the Miami specialties, so it is likely that I may be back in the panhandle again for May or maybe somewhere else? We shall see. August may be the cane fields of Palm Beach, but then again, I may have all that stuff by then or have at least a shot in the panhandle where other stuff may arrive. Panhandle again? September, I don't know. Probably panhandle or west coast to maximize chances of getting western strays, but I will be in the keys for the Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival at the end of the month. The last few days of September are probably best. After that, it will come down to what holes are left in the list. Likely the panhandle will be needed. This is where Elliott and Andy have an advantage over me. They are living there and can scout and plan much better. I will give it a good shot and maybe perfect my strategy next year. I will still be at the mercy of my schedule in the first 6-8 months, but the fall will be a chance to catch up. No mater what happens, it will be a lot of fun, if only for 12 days.