When I started birding many years ago, on Amager, south of Copenhagen, Denmark, it included frequent visits to Sydvestpynten. It's a migration spot lying a bit off the main Scandinavian Autumn Flyway, which mainly heads toward Falsterbo on the Swedish side of the strait Øresund, some 30-40 kilometers to the southeast. There, on the Danish side we would normally only get a fraction of the birds they see on the other side.
During the spring migration the situation was the same, just that the main migration toward the Scandinavian Peninsula would now shift westward, and shoot up through Central Europe, Germany, and continue over mainland Denmark, Jylland, and the islands, Fyn and Sjælland, west of Amager and Copenhagen.
That's the normal picture, and only when the wind conditions were absolutely right, it would cause a wow-effect.
Many hard-core birders back then would cynically call it an avian wasteland, not worth a visit. Bigger numbers and greater species could be seen elsewhere.
But this was my home ground. I lived close by, and being very independent, as in extremely much so, I preferred to go birding just myself on my bike instead of planning longer trips with other humans.
And this was how I learned to be patient. Or you might say humble in my approach toward the birds. Of all the hours I and the others who regularly came there spend during those years, hundreds of them were spend looking at absolutely nothing!
Many were the days when I would drive the 10 kilometers on my bike fully equipped to reach the spit, unpack and spend several hours observing only local birds moving around. In winter it was a tough ride back on the bike. Cold, tired and demoralized. And then you might ask why on earth I and all the others did it week after week, year after year, if the results were poor and the suffering great? But the answer is simple: It is because the thrilling sensation of finally finding that extraordinary bird, totally unexpected, is the coolest sensation one can imagine.
You almost go spastic for a second or two when something unusual shows up in the view of the binoculars. The brain is not able to cope with the unexpected, and starts firing away making heart and muscles go off in mysterious ways.
When I go to Baja California Sur tomorrow, I hope that sensation will hit me again - a time or two!
I've long wanted to visit this ocean-fringed desert state. I love the semi-deserts of Mexico and Baja California Sur might be the most precious of them all from what I've seen on photos.
The many endemics is of course a motif in itself to go, and more so the seabirds, which in general are still worryingly absent from my Mexico list. Hopefully I'll get all the endemics, and if a handful of seabirds, shearwaters, storm-petrels and Craveri's Murrelet, show up, I'll be satisfied.
But what would make the trip really fun, successful and memorable would be if 1-2-3 or 4 rarities showed up!
Ahhh well, I hear you think. Aren't we all dreaming our pants wet now and then, just to find our way home long and empty-handed..!?
Yes, you might say so, but still, Baja California, north and south, does have the potential to justify the dream a little more here than in rest of Mexico.
Off-course Asian migrants in good numbers show up in Europe on a regular autumn basis. This also happens in North America though not many of them reach Mexico. But some do, and I intend to find them!
I had hoped to visit in October, but life and other practicalities hindered this.
It would probably have increased the chances a good deal to visit during that month, admitting that late November might be a little late for this exercise realizing that most of the migration is over, and the birds that actually did reach Baja earlier, probably have died or moved on to somewhere else. But some vagrants are pretty tough and find a good spot they linger on to through the winter. It is possible.
Vagrants that have showed up earlier are species like Wood Sandpiper, Ruff, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow-browed Warbler and Little Bunting. A few Sharp-tailed Sandpipers have been seen lately on the US west coast. They seem to have disappeared, and most logically probably have moved south...A White Wagtail is also a potential visitor, or a Northern Wheatear.
Knowing most of these species from Denmark the lifer potential is practically zero, but it would be fun to add them to my Mexico list, and perhaps knowing the voices and behaviors well will give me that tiny benefit that makes the difference.