Also, for the first time in my relatively short birding experience, I decided to keep a year list inasmuch as this will be my last full year in the United States. In 2010, Cynthia and I will retire in the Philippines.
New Year's Eve and we are travelling to Benicia in Northern California to visit some friends. I told my wife that I hoped that we would see a Yellow-billed Magpie which I thought would be a fitting final bird for my yearlist. A few miles after we entered Hwy 580, Cynthia excitedly pointed to a long-tailed bird perched on a roadside tree. Then two more flew across the highway and I knew without a doubt that I got my final species for the year bringing my total to 341; 306 in the United States and 35 from the Philippines. Of these, 61 were lifers, 43 American and 18 Philippines. Not a bad tally considering we confined our birding to California in 2009, except for a two-week visit to the Philippines and a 4 day trip to Florida.
Of those lifers, most memorable was the California Condor we saw at Big Sur.
The others were surprisingly easy: Common Goldeneye and Black Scoter at Playa del Rey,
White-winged Scoter at Bolsa Chica,
King Eider at Cabrillo Beach
and Williamson's Sapsucker at Sylmar
and Bobolink at Bonelli.
Cynthia and I are hoping that 2010 will be another great birding year for us, especially since we will do most part of it in our native country.