Hi Folks,

Long time no write.  I guess some of you are wondering what ever happened to
me.  I have been out doing Big Days, working my full-time job, and a few
other things that have Dee-stracted me from the important business of
reporting on my Big Day adventures.  I have in fact run eight Big Days since
my last reported August attempt.  In early September, still smarting from
our tie in August, I set out to take the September record.  Scott Bordereaux
was enlisted for this effort.  We decided to make a Big day run on what was
the last day of scouting.  The scouting route started at Fort DeSoto, moved
east to Brevard County and ended in Palm Beach County.  We did well after
enduring a Tropical Storm making landfall in the early hours at Fort D.  At
the end of the day we tallied 131 species, one more than the September
record.  Only later would we realize that we had actually written a species
down twice and had actually tied the record.  The next day we ran a Big Day
from Holey Land to Fort D to Brevard and beat the record again with 132.
Later we would modify the total to 134 through omissions and double
listings.  Weeks later it occurred to me that I should check the August
attempt and guess what.  We had omitted Least tern from the August list.  We
had actually beaten the record after all.  Ironically, we tied the September
record in an attempt to get the bad taste of a tie out of my mouth.

A late September fallout offered the opportunity to improve our own record
and take a shot at October.  I arranged for the week off and we (Scott and
I) set out again.  This time we would spice things up a bit.  Beating the
records was becoming a matter of routine, so we decided to do three Big Days
in a row.  From 30 Sep to 02 Oct we ran three consecutive Big Days totaling
140, 154, and 158.  The route ran from Sarasota to Tallahassee on the first
and last days and Tallahassee to Sarasota on the middle day.  This run
deserves a story in itself and I will try to get one out there someday.
With October firmly in hand, I decided to relax a little bit before
attempting November.  The first of three attempts at November was on
Saturday 09 Nov.  The route was from Lucky Hammock to Pasco County.
Everything was going swimmingly until a cold front moved in as I hit Fort D
around noon.  The woods birding flattened out and although I frantically
changed routes and got plenty of species, I fell five short of the record by
dark.  The route was good, but the weather was not.  Two days later I
enlisted The Punk and we headed out to test another winter route.  This time
we would head from Everglades NP to Fort D to Brevard County.  We did fairly
well.  A lack of scouting at the end of the route and too much time spent in
the early stages hurt us, but we at least tied the record with 147.  Or was
it 148?  We omitted Lesser Yellowlegs from the list and I'm pretty sure we
got one along the way.  We defintely missed Carolina wren that day.
Amazing.  Some species that are normally troublesome were plentiful that
day.  We had Chuck-will’s-widow and Barn owl in two places and even got
Black-bellied whistling duck around 2300 at Lake Poinsett.  We went to
midnight and were not able to find Yellow-crowned night-heron at Sebastian
Inlet.  Specific stories for all of these attempts await further time slots
in the future.  Right now, I am starting up my bird guiding business,
planning an assault on the December record, and tending to other obligations
that have sat for too long.

My latest Big Day attempt was one of the most memorable and least species
rich.  That deserves a seperate story, forthcoming in the near future.  Now
I only have time to send this out and hope that there are still some folks
who want to read this stuff.

David Simpson
[log in to unmask]
Fellsmere, FL

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