I thought I would spend some time posting about my life list. Yawn, you are probably saying, we don't really care. But my life list has always been more than a list or scorecard. Many of my life's major events, travels, and tribulations have been recorded and entered with a particular bird in the journal form of my life list (for the record I have three versions: a homemade, taxonomically ordered list, the journal version, and a copy of The Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World).
I've thought for awhile that an illustrated life list would be pretty cool. And usually in February I get a little list crazy and plan an improbable trip to some exotic and warm location in the world - but instead go further north and drive up to the North Shore or Sax-Zim Bog in the hopes of adding a boreal forest inhabiting bird to my list (last year I saw a Boreal Owl!). But for a variety of reasons I haven't had a chance to make any trips this year; and it's been so cold this year that I've barely been out to search for potential new life listers more locally . . . such as Long-eared Owls.
I've never seen one. It's one of the top birds one my nemesis list. Perhaps this post should be titled An Illustrated List of Birds I Really Want On My Life List. They are a difficult bird to find in Minnesota; they are very nocturnal, secretive, well camouflaged, and seemingly sporadic in their choice of locations - which might the hardest part of finding one. It's probably the bird I've spent the most time looking for, but haven't found, if such a thing could be quantized; maybe a better way to put it is that it's the bird I've spent the most time wishing and hoping to find, while out and about in the woods and fields.