December marked the last of a very exciting year for birders, young and old(er!). With many of the late fall migrants finally settling into their wintering lands, the winter birding season has truly begun!
Cedric Duhalde, the Birder from the Bay, was able to observe the famed Little Bunting in California after what must have felt like an eternity of classes!
Having birded northern California rather thoroughly, it’s exciting when I get some lifers up here, because they’ve become so much harder to come by. So when my buddy Logan Kahle texted me that a Little Bunting had been sighted in McKinleyville, 25 minutes away from Humboldt State University, I knew what my next lifer would be. The only problem was that I had class until 3 o’clock that day, so I had to impatiently wait until then to chase the mega-rarity.
David Bell from Birding In… captured a shot of what is the second sighting in the area and only the seventh sighting in Michigan of a Pacific Loon!
Guess what we saw? Yep, a friggin’ Pacific Loon!!! Within the first 10 minutes of the day too.
Lucas Bobay from Birding with Bobay describes an amazing birding trip to round out 2013. Day One included six new North Carolina Birds and three lifers, while Day 2 brought views of the 9th state record of Say’s Phoebe, among other things.
The year is quickly drawing to a close, and I figured some year-end birding was in order to round out 2013. And where would any self-respecting Carolina birder go for good birds? The Outer Banks. I made the trip with my dad and my grandpa. Little did I know, this would be my most epic two days of birding to date.
Landon Neumann, writing on the Indiana Young Birders blog, found a statewide rare Spotted Towhee in Indiana during the first Cass County Christmas Bird Count!
Aidan Place, on PA Birding caught some clicks of the first Marbled Godwit from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania!
On a much more unfortunate note, the sudden passing of a member of the young birder community occurred on Tuesday, December 17, 2013. Cameron Bespolka was a beloved and driven member of the Next Generation Birders group, among many other young birder groups. On the Official Next Generation Birders Blog, he is described “[as] A true birder through and through.” His enthusiasm for birding was honored as the Next Generation Birders and Patchwork Challenge unveiled the Cameron Bespolka Prize awarded to young birders (under 25) who win the Patchwork Challenge, which is based in the United Kingdom. In the Patchwork Challenge, a birder chooses a “patch” to observe birds in, while keeping track of the totals. Condolences to Cameron’s family on behalf of all the ABA Young Birders. Cameron truly embodied the true spirit of a birder: dedication, love, and enthusiasm.