Warren reached another major birding milestone today, seeing his 500th bird species in North America. The place was North Beach marsh and the bird was a gorgeous migrating Buff-Breasted Sandpiper.
500 is an important step up the ladder in North American birding - it gets quite a bit harder after this! It took Warren less than two years to go from 400 life birds in the "ABA Birding Area" to 500. But it will be a long, slow slog up to 600! We were helped this year by some excellent, excellent birding - our April trip to Arizona, a long weekend in late May at Magee Marsh in Ohio, and a pelagic trip off the mid-Atlantic coast last month.
Princess Lisa is just 7 birds behind Warren, so we will have another celebration soon.
W almost had a double celebration today. Just before we saw the Buff-Breasted Sandpiper, we had a Red Knot, an endangered species that does a long-distance migration between North American and (for some birds) the southern tip of South America. Warren thought that was Maryland bird 299, and thus Mr. Buff-Breast would be Maryland bird #300 as well as ABA Bird #500. But it was Knot to be. (L and W had seen a Red Knot in Ocean City in 2008).
Still, W is enjoying the champagne as he writes this. (Bird listing is fun, but the birds don't care).