Right down to the wire!

I’ve been birding almost everyday for the last week and a half hoping to find one more bird. I was ‘stuck’ at 259 Essex County year birds – just 1 shy of my revised goal for the year.  Originally I was targeting 250, but as soon as I hit that, I thought why not go for 260!  I was turning up new winter birds but couldn’t find that last year bird.  That all changed this morning.

After a lazy start this morning – been feeling a little birded out – I made my way to Leamington marina for a quick check then off to Point Pelee.  The winds were strong so I thought this might be the day — it had to be since it was the last day of the year.  I haven’t been bringing my camera along thinking that might change my luck but today I said to myself – bring it!!

I started out walking down the “42” trail to East Beach and then from there down to the tip.  I could see Alan Wormington & Richard Carr standing down at the tip.  I thought I saw one of them wave me down.  Was it a “hurry up and get down here” or just a “Hi” sort of wave?  I wasn’t taking any chances so I picked up the pace.  As soon as I got there, Richard asked “You still stuck at 259? … we’ve got something for you… A Purple Sandpiper!”  YES!  I got a quick ID look (just in case) and then made my way down for a better look and some pics.

I sent a few quick text messages off to those who I thought might want to come down for a look.  Jeremy Hatt, Dwayne Murphy and Jeremy Bensette all ended up getting great looks at the bird…  my Essex County year bird #260.

After doing a long lake watch, Alan picked out an Iceland Gull.  Another bird I needed.  I got on the bird quickly and had great looks.  Bird #261.  Both of these were life birds as well – what a great day.  A huge thanks to Alan and Richard!

Windy day at the Tip – Iceland Gull in there somewhere

I came home to this amazing card from my loving wife.  She knew about the Purple Sandpiper but she didn’t know I got the Iceland too, so she just crossed out 260 and wrote 261.  Works for me!  I love this card.  She really supported me throughout this year so I thank her so much – especially for her patience and understanding!

What a year.  I plan on doing a full year in review post so look for that soon. 

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