As the month of January comes to a close, so closes my first ever January 100 species challenge. Which after all was quite a challenge and a little bit stressful, if you can imagine birdwatching being stressful. Southwest Ohio isn’t noted for it’s massive amounts of bird species in the month of January, so a challenge to find 100 within a given amount of time, while working full time, and on top of all my other obligations proved to be a daunting task. And indeed I able to accomplish in sighting 100 birds and a few more for good measure.

So as I take a moment to share my reflections I keep asking myself how would I have done this any differently? Other than having more free time and a unlimited fuel card for beginners, then my species list would have risen significantly, and with a few more life birds thrown in to boot. To be able to add lots of birds to your January 100 I feel you have to be close to Lake Erie. They get species up there we may never see in the southern part of the state. So finding the time to venture north, and to be able to maintain relative calm on the home front is a challenge all unto itself.

As I think back on some of my most memorable sightings for January I keep reliving my journey to view the Harris Sparrow at Pinkerington Ponds Metro Park south of Columbus. My utter frustration as I dipped on my first trip, to complete satisfaction on my second attempt. 2 Snow Buntings playing hide-n-seek as I tried to get a photograph. The massive flock of Horned larks and Lapland Longspurs at the Oxbow was a sight that will prove difficult to repeat itself. And then there was the Ross’s Goose sleeping amongst a flock of Canadian Geese, and waiting for it to stir so I could get a good diagnostic view of the bird rarely seen in these parts. And finally seeing both species of Crossbills at Spring Grove Cemetery in the same day was a special treat.

So would I do this again next year? Probably, but maybe with a little more forethought, because it’s not as easy as one would think. So try it yourself and let me know what you think.


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