That weekend feast of waterfowl allowed counties like Rock and Murray to jump in with 45 and 42 species in just and hour or so of birding each with no prior birds to bolster the numbers since it was my first visit of the year.Dakota County officially took the top overall spot with 64 species and Goodhue leapt up to 3rd with 55. I'm now no longer 100% sure that Washington will take the top spot at years end. With the amount of work I have to do out of county it is possible places like Dakota with more natural migrant density will end up reigning supreme.
In the species battle to 87 we have now American Crow tied with Rock Pigeon at 48 counties and Black-capped Chickadee at 46. I'm hopeful that I can get more than one species to a full 87 by years end, but I'm curious which one will win the race to 87. Should be a fun mini game.I continue to be amazed at Pine Siskin as it moved up with 33 counties now. As a heavily irruptive winter visitor it is awesome to see even with February being heavily impacted on effort by weather that I could record this bird in so many counties already. Horned Lark has also quickly run up to 35 county ticks and is a good litmus as the first real migrant in the state for how well I'm covering the southern half of the state so far.
With MOU Spring Primer duties (I'll be the emcee of the event being held at Carpenter Nature Center) coming up on Saturday I'll need to grind extra hard this week and Sunday to attempt to get fully back on or even ahead of projected pace. This last weekend moved the needle from a top of being 14 days off modified pace to just 3.8 days behind. Though this is always tough as every morning I wake up a new day is added to the count so 3.8 was last night and now it is 4.8. This gain though has been a huge mental boost to know with the effort and good weather I can erase such a deficit due to weather.This week will continue to be waterfowl focused and I'll be looking to see how far I can stretch out from metro on a weekday after work and still be successful. Knowing I can put up 40+ ticks on a county in an hour helps to get a vibe on what is possible, especially if I know a quality spot in advance for migrants.
Today I sit at 1450 species ticks out of the desired 10,000. This has already been an amazing adventure and extreme challenge and I'm still strong and excited to continue. Life is good.