For some reason I had it in my mind that I wanted to do a big day in Brewster County.

Somehow, I convinced three other suckers to participate in a Brewster County big day for the Great Texas Birding Classic.

Remarkably, I convinced them that hiking the Colima Death March (Pinnacles Trail) in the dark was a good idea.

And for some incredibly silly reason, we decided to take a car that only one sleep deprived person knew how to drive.

May 3rd, 2014 was an awesome day.

We departed base camp (Heidi Trudell's house in Marathon) at 10:00 PM on May 2nd. Steve Collins and Ross Rickett joined Ryan Shaw in Big Spring and birded their way down that evening.

The Pre-twitch Process

Twitching rare birds is silly.

Twitching rare birds is idiotic.

Twitching rare birds is fun.

Twitching rare birds is AWESOME!

That is my thought process every time a rare bird report comes across the wire.

When the Slaty-backed Gull was found in Laredo in early February I desperately wanted to see it. The fact that it is only the 7th record for Texas is a major selling point, but I had another reason I wanted to see it.

My friend Ashley Tubbs has been asking me all Summer to come visit her while she is working on her Masters project at Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area (GEWMA). Since I never turn down an opportunity to bird somewhere new, I finally took her up on her offer on July 2nd. Because I was a third of the way down there already, I thought it would also be fun to bird the Houston area.... and visit my brother for the 4th.

Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area

I arrived at GEWMA around 0830.

I wrote the following poem in response to this ( guest post on the ABA blog:

The preconceived notion

of the lack of devotion

of a female birder is off.

She's probably better

than Collins or Retter

and doesn't need you to scoff.

There's just no excuse

for this form of abuse;

it ends right here, today.

From Alaska to Texas,

there will be no more sexist

remarks in the ABA.

Common Nighthawk has, so far, been an excellent representative for the ABA (American Birding Association) as the 2013 Bird of the Year. However, it is already time to start looking at candidates for 2014. There is already a clear favourite, albeit a bit unorthodox. So unorthodox that no one alive today has it on their life list.

What species could it be?

I'll give you a BIG hint: 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of its extinction.

That's right, the Passenger Pigeon.

When the Flame-colored Tanager was reported by Mark Flippo up at Boot Springs (Big Bend National Park) in early May, I was immediately trying to find time to go down to see it. It's not like I haven't seen one before, I spent some quality time with the one that frequented Madera Kubo in 2010. I just really wanted this species for my Texas list. I had chased one that was reported from The Davis Mountain Preserve in 2011 and failed to find it, so there was some history.

You see this little guy? Cute little critter. Bane of my existence.

Winter Wren is an occasional winterer on the south plains. I have never had a problem finding them, but like the Winter Wren I am partial to ducking into dead and decaying trees while walking through the forest.

Buffalo Springs Lake is a great place to look for Winter Wren. The Llano Estacado Audubon Society Trail has everything a stub-tail could ever want.

This winter I have made an effort to find a Snowy Owl in Texas. I wouldn’t say that I have put great effort into this endeavor, but I have invested enough to qualify as effort.

There has been much speculation on where a Snowy Owl would show up if they made it to Texas during this historic invasion. Some have considered the Panhandle, others the northern Rolling Plains. I tended to side with the Rolling Plains crowd.