The good thing about being a half-assed birder is that it's easy to spot "life birds" - birds you've seen for the first time in your life - adding them to your life list. Now I don't have an actual "list" - but I keep track in my head. I don't know how many different birds I've seen, but if you ask me if I've seen this bird or that, I can give you a quick "Yes" or "No".
A few days ago, I spotted a "lifer". Actually, my neighbors spotted it and I identified it. They pointed to our large cottonwood and remarked, "Hey look, two baby woodpeckers are climbing up your tree."
"Those aren't baby woodpeckers - too early for new ones," I replied authoritatively, though I don't really know that for sure. "They look like nuthatches." The problem was that they were kind of small, the wrong color (brown, rather than bluish grey and white like a nuthatch), and creeping up the tree - most nuthatches I see tend to creep down and around (and sometimes up). Just then I noticed a white-breasted nuthatch further up the tree. Comparing the two in close proximity, I quickly made the ID - Brown Creeper.
Life bird - and "yard bird" of course. My yard list is pretty extensive. Employing the liberal rule that you can claim any bird spotted from your yard, I've got "the regulars" along with ruby-throated hummingbird - spotted at a flower; turkeys - at the bird feeder two years ago; several hawks - fly-overs; and a bald eagle - fly-over but very near - it almost landed in the field behind our house. To that list I now add Brown Creeper.