Over the past two years, I have gotten serious about county listing. For several years, a renegade named Mark Brogie has compiled birder’s county lists for Nebraska. A county list is simply the number of bird species an individual has seen and identified in a county. I participated passively for many years. I had a few favored counties where I was serious, but not all 93. About 2 years ago I got hooked. With nice weather over the weekend, I had a hankering to get out and go birding. Like other weekends, I headed to some counties where I had some work to do, this time it was Merrick and Nance counties. Below, I share a few photographic highlights from the foray.
Overall, I tallied 53 species for the day and added 21 county birds. A good day for early February in locations far away from a large water body with open water. County birding is challenging, because it forces you to search for habitat and species in all 93 counties. There is a 125-species minimum before a county list can be reported and make an appearance on Brogie’s annual compilation. Reaching 125 is more difficult in some counties than others, since several counties lack specific habitat features and many counties have very limited public land. For example, Common Loons are not too difficult to find during migration on large water bodies, but try finding a Common Loon in Banner County! Figuring out where to find certain species in a particular county makes it interesting and once you’re out there, there are always surprises. The surprises are always the best part.