Today I celebrated a special milestone, 1000 days of consecutive birding. In 2019 I started my participation in eBird’s Checklist-a-Day-Challenge. I elaborated by increasing my effort, not only submitting any checklist, but by actually going birding every day. I developed my personal definition of meaningful birding – at least 30 minutes of proper birding, fully absorbed in birding, with binoculars around my neck. On August 15th 2019, while I was in the UK for a family visit, I had a one-day glitch that disrupted a 234-days long streak, and started counting again. Since August 16th 2019 I have birded properly every day, and today was my 1000th day. This streak has taken me through the entire COVID-19 pandemic… Now, birding and eBird is solidly a part of my being – I just have to go birding every day, and I hope I always will.
I celebrated this birding milestone by an early morning visit with my dog Bamba to my very local patch, Nahal Ekron. My alarm rang at 05:30, I started birding at 05:49. I walked 0.84 km one way, and then walked back the same route.
The track takes me along the Ekron stream, that runs here in a ditch and has reeds growing on the shoulders. There are some scattered trees on the shoulders, and adjacent gardens of houses flanking the stream are attractive to birds too. The annual vegetation has mostly dried up by now. The walk one way and then back took me 54 minutes, which is longer than my average, because today I carried my camera and spent few minutes on photography. I normally don’t carry my camera when I visit my local patch. Today I decided to carry it, to celebrate the milestone and also because yesterday I had a close camera-less encounter with a Little Bittern, and had to make do with a ropey phone photo taken through my bins.
It was an OK morning session (eBird checklist here), a solid 40 species, without any crazy highlights but a few things that made me happy:
· There were many babies out today, including my first-of-year Red-rumped Swallow, Goldfinch and Linnet. Linnets breed in nearby vineyards and orchards; a family party flew over the stream.
· A large mulberry tree and adjacent huge Blue Jacaranda were full of warblers, higher-than-average numbers of Blackcap and some Garden Warblers too. There were two Barred Warblers (not Two-barred Warblers) flying in and out of the tree. They were too quick, or I was too slow, so this is the only reasonable photo I managed of one of them, likely a young female. The number of warblers seemed higher than normal, representing the massive migration experienced in different parts of the country.
· Swifts! I love swifts. My love of swifts perhaps isn’t so strongly expressed as Hanna’s, but they certainly make me very happy with their utter awesomeness.
· This soundtrack:
Then in the afternoon I submitted another checklist. It was my grandmother's memorial anniversary - she passed away 27 years ago. My family gathered in the main cemetery of Jerusalem, including my brother. This cemetery is not very well vegetated so there weren't many birds. Yet, the Linnets there made me happy, and sad - perhaps one of the last pairs breeding in Jerusalem; they used to be much more widespread. Alpine Swifts, Short-toed eagle, a Willow Warbler hoouiting, it was OK I guess. eBird checklist here. Does anyone else record birds during memorial services?