When going for a Big Year in birding, like I am this year, one should probably chase around trying to see the rarities that other birders in the area are seeing. This is made easy these days with wonderful websites like ebird.com, the Oregon Birders Online website and many more.

And since, I am this year going for a Big Year as a way to challenge myself to bird more, I have been chasing rarities, vagrants and lost birds.

One morning I was in Astoria with an hour before I had an appointment to get my oil changed. I glanced at my phone, it’s a smartie phone, and up pops an email about an exotic bird that had just been spotted. And yes, I am on THAT email list and I do get insider info! Lucky me!

I headed straight out to Wireless Road, the hot spot all birders in the area should know about! Here I met up with Steve Warner, who is the great birder who first spotted the bird. He is waving me over and pointing at some tires in the back of a derelict vehicle. And yep, there it was, the common ground dove. A Big Year AND Life List bird! This picture was taken several days later, when I saw it again!

But it is not always that easy. On the same road, a white-throated sparrow and tropical kingbird had been seen. While not as rare as the dove, I still need them on my list. I have been up and down the road, at all hours of the day, albeit there is not a lot of hours of daylight right now, and they evade me.

By the way, I have my personal best year going with 232 species identified, among those 14 species that I had not previously seen in my life and therefore go on my Life List.

Breaking news! Just before going to print, I have now seen the sparrow severals times. Still searching for the kingbird.

I hope you will join a group of people for our own birding adventures in the Cannon Beach area. We meet the first Sunday of the month at the Lagoon Trail parking lot on Second Street at 9 a.m. As a group, we decide where the best birding is and bird until about 11. Bring binoculars and wear appropriate clothing. Everyone is welcome! Upcoming dates are Dec. 6 and Jan. 3.

Susan has spent her life enjoying the great outdoors from the lakes and woods of northern Minnesota, Mount Adams in Washington and now the Oregon beach environs. After spending many pleasurable hours driving her avid birder parents around, she has taken up birding as a passion, to the mixed emotions of her husband Scott. The Boacs reside on the Neawanna Creek in Seaside where their backyard is a birder’s paradise..


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