Monday, September 24, 2012


On September 23th, I hit a milestone in my birding career when I saw a Red Phalarope at the tip of Point Pelee. This species took my year list for Ontario to 300, my personal goal I set out to do in February of this year.

I hate to sound pretentious but this, of course, means that I will now be a complete superstar, a celebrity birder joining the ranks of the ornithological A-list, and yes, let's be honest here...become world renowned. I have no doubt that I will be signing a contract later this week for a new hit reality series on birding and polishing an Emmy by next year.

**crickets chirping**....

In all seriousness though, It's been an exciting year and hitting 300 was a great accomplishment for me, something I thought I'd be struggling to do in December. So to hit my target in September and still have a few months to add additional species feels pretty good and makes all the traveling and expenses worthwhile.

I couldn't have asked for a better experience for my 300th bird. Steve Pike, Marianne Reid, Blake Mann, Michael Agueci, myself, and a group of other birders all arrived at the tip to see a group of Sanderlings running along the beach at the end of the tip trail. Steve called out that there was a phalarope with them and while eyes were getting on the bird, he called it Red. The consensus was quick. My heart was pounding and after observing the bird long enough to identify it to species myself, I turned to the group and said, "Guys, I just hit 300."

In the time it took for my eyelids to complete half of a blink, Steve had glomped* me 10 feet into the ground, making me wish I hit 300 more often. Marianne and I then screamed incoherencies at each other and embraced, surprisingly not scaring the phalarope away. Though I didn't see their faces, I imagine the rest of the birders at the Tip looked on with expressions of horror and incredulity.

* v, to glomp
- A glomp is often preadatory and lies somewhere in the grey area between a caring embrace, and a flying leap to tackle someone (sic) - Urban Dictionary

We didn't have to worry about being loud since this had to have been the tamest Red Phalarope on the planet. It was on the sand, which was already surprising (my last Red Phalarope was a distant bird on the lake disappearing behind waves), but as we watched it, the darn thing walked within about 15 feet of us! Later, when Steve was photographing the bird while sitting in the sand, it was within not much more than a meter of his camera. I can't wait to see those shots.

Every new bird from now to the end of the year will be icing on the cake. I would like to try for 305 if I had to set a realistic goal but some optimistic folks think I should push for 310. The birder in me says, "Come on! Go for it! Go for 310, YOLO!" but my bank account says, "Get a job, you idiot." Time will tell.


Ian said...

Congrats on reaching your goal Jeremy! Sorry I don't have any bird appropriate pun here.

Caroline Brooks said...

Love it - great blog Jeremy! Congrats.

dwaynejava said...

Congrats Jeremy! I thought of going to ppnp this Sunday but slept in ... I missed the ontbirds posting to my spam folder :-(

Jeremy Hatt said...

Thanks, Ian and Caroline! Much appreciated.

Dwayne, it's too bad you weren't able to make it! A great morning down there and we had a record late White M Hairstreak in the Sparrow Field after the phalarope as well. Hopefully we'll cross paths at Pelee soon.

Blake A. Mann said...

Congratulations Jeremy. It was nice to be there with you and see an uncommon bird up so close!