The past few weeks have been a roller coaster. I've been stressed, sick, exhausted, elated, depressed, jovial, and somehow managed to get some sleep from time to time. The past three years have been leading to this pivotal time in my life, and its hard to believe I'm here.
On 2 May 2016, I successfully defended my Masters thesis at the University of Kansas, and am now a Master of Arts. I cannot thank my family and friends enough for their support, and I am extremely excited to be where I am now. My wife, who also just got her Masters, is equally excited for our future. We will be moving to Chicago soon, and I will be starting my PhD at the University of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History in early July.
This is, however, a birding blog foremostly, so I must also relate my other big news from the past several weeks. This past Monday, despite having a bad cold, I traveled to visit my sister for her graduation from Arizona State University (she also got a Masters degree!). While I dreamed of what birds I could find in the Saguaro-studded desert, I ended up missing half of the graduation festivities as my illness got the best of me. I was, however, able to take enough painkillers and get enough rest to make it to her evening ceremony. Given the parking situation, we had to walk a little ways to get to the facility. Despite my stuffed-up ears, I was able to ear a few of the very close birds such as Great-tailed Grackles and House Sparrows.
Just as we were walking across the parking lot, I heard a call that was new, yet somehow familiar. I immediately realized it was a type of parrot, and remembered that my wife had mentioned seeing one as I was laying sick in bed earlier that day. I quickly scanned the sky with my family, and we were quickly rewarded by not one, but two Rosy-faced Lovebirds flying overhead. I did not fully realize it until later, but this was my 600th ABA species. It was not a life bird, though, as I had seen them twice before: once in Augrabies, South Africa, and once in Marienthal, Namibia.