For almost a year now I have, for the first time in my birding "career," become interested in county listing. Like with state listing, the game is primarily about longevity, with a lesser role played by money and time, the two primary limiting resources. But in the end, it's primarily a matter of being around for as many chasable rarities as possible, with a smaller amount of self-finding involved. At the county level, finding one's own birds becomes more important because birds which are not state birds are more likely to remain county needs, and finding them by one's self is less of a "needle in the haystack" game.
Anyway, because I am planted in Kent Co for the foreseeable future, and because the of the paucity of local interested birders (hey, maybe I can actually "win" at one of these listing contests!), I decided to start building my list here. At the time I started I had only around 170 species for Kent Co., and was still missing stuff like Northern Pintail and Redhead (ouch). But with one year's effort I have buffeted up to 225 and eliminated the majority of the common species. Here are my newest county additions starting with the most recent:
25 of these were found without chasing. For these I searched out available habitat and hit it hard during the right time of year, and got a little lucky (LBDO!). Most of the remainder from this list were found by chasing someone else's bird. Speaking to that, we do have a budding county listing crowd building in this county. I know of at least nine birders who are part of the phone tree now.
Anyway, I have several species in the bullseye for finding in Kent Co. over the next couple months. One of them, Northern Goshawk, not known to be a breeder here, (but possibly nesting somewhere in the deeper woods of Cannonsburg or Rogue River SGAs), could also be scored as a migrant at some place with excellent visibility. One such place, Fisk Knob, was brought to my attention via eBird. It was described as having Kent Co.'s highest elevation, at 1,075 feet, with good visibility of the horizon. I finally made it to this location today while traveling through, and was amazed by the view. Here is the property (a Kent Co. park) from the parking area:
This video give a good idea of the quality of the vantage atop the "knob":
This location is 3/4 mile south of the Newaygo Co. line, but fortunately the greatest visibility (over 20 miles!) was to the south, where every bird you see is in Kent. So, to the birds. Despite heavy winds and well subfreezing temperatures, the place was VERY birdy. Before I had even exited the car I had this bird in sight:Birds were plentiful throughout the watch, and included 3 MI year birds, 2 of which are here:The final year bird was a lone Killdeer, winging north through the icy wind, silent as could be. I have a feeling I am going to be seeing some neat species up on this hill in the next 2 months!