Here I am on June 30th at 280 species. I’ve crossed the Continental Divide 46 times, driven over 30,000 miles and walked over 280 kilometers. Birded in everything from freezing fog and whiteouts to blistering heat. And there is big competition out there in Montana, with another birder now over 300. Summer is here with a vengeance and fire season is getting underway. I’ve had big dips, like the first state record for Cassin’s Sparrow that I put off seeing for too long and when I got to the location there were 60 mile per hour winds with gusts to 70+. Or Indigo Bunting that was seen by several in the Southeastern corner of the state yet was conspicuously absent when I arrived despite searching for several hours. I’ve also had golden moments that will stand out in my memories of birding forever, like capturing a Whooping Crane at Freezout Lake on video through my spotting scope. Or the feeling each time I’ve seen 13 life birds right here in a state that I’ve been birding in for 11 years.
I’ve savored every moment and every adventure so far and can’t express my gratitude enough to my partner in crime for the support and encouragement she’s given me. So much more ground to cover and so many more species to see.