Just like that you get a loggerhead shrike? Holy catz!!
Like everyone else, as my life list gets longer, the unexpected lifers in my area become less frequent -- although I'm still looking for my lifer ovenbird, for heavens sake!
Sam, my Sora came 11 years into birding and only 50 miles from home this fall, at Loblolly Marsh. What a delight to finally get one! Now for those rails and bitterns . . . .
Nothing will ever top a birding trip I took 7-8 years ago, the first time I had gone to Crane Creek SP in Ohio with a group filled with 'birding gods' -- members of the local Audubon chapter who really truly DO know their stuff! It was mid-May, and I ended up caravanning with two older gentlemen who between them probably have 80 years birding experience. I got 29 lifers that day, and decent looks at all of them. Amazing experience -- and one I'll probably never be able to duplicate, short of winning the lottery and heading to Kenya or Australia . . .
Oh, and there's those Snow Bunting and Long-Eared Owls I need in the next county . . . it's a holiday but it's just too darned cold (said the weather-wimp)! It's something like 16F and windy today!
Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.