2013 and beyond

It's pretty simple: the most birds seen or heard from one's yard during 2013 will be the "winner". Want in? O.k....then do it despite that.

2013 promises to be a lot less mean but still a carbon-free birding competition, even if slightly less exciting than a MEGA x EPIC hybrid.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

Well I spent the past two and a half days up at my folks for the holidays. I kept an eye on the feeders to some extent, but obviously was spending time with family for most of the time. The coolest thing for me was having a lone Wild Turkey come under the feeders every couple of hours.
And then, I filled up the peanut feeders in the midst of the snow on the 26th, and had five woodpecker species on them within a half hour of them being filled. This also marks the third consecutive winter that both a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a Northern Flicker have wintered in my parents yard and been regular guests at the feeders! I think there is a very solid case that these birds are the same individuals (since I've never had either species ever winter or come to the feeders for the ten years I lived there prior to the last three...) which also is pretty amazing that species like these have that kind of wintering site fidelity...
Anyway, I hope you all had a great holiday and here's to a great 2010 (will the competition reset?)!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Surprise guest

I know this is going to give Curtis all kinds of identification trouble (heck, I won't be too surprised is all of you have trouble), so I am going to make him/you suffer (mwaaahaaahaaa). After last night's full 12 inches of snow I was very surprised to see this at my feeder with the new frenzy:

without a doubt my latest ever for Michigan (!) by at least a month. Wonder where this bird has been over the last month or two? Also had the fall's first yard American Tree Sparrow today. Bring on the BRSP for a Spizella trifecta.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Waterbird counter gets me LALO

So during a visit by Tom Prestby, after a successful rendezvous for the ANMU in Saint Joseph, MI yesterday, I walked him around the golf course for a little bit this morning. Very few birds were around (5 shovelers and a pair of cacklers were the only things of interest). As we were about to head in Tom picked out the whistle of a Lapland Longspur and paused. Shortly after we both heard the rattle and repeated whistles. So I hustled back into the "yard" area so the bird would be legit much to Tom's ammusement.
Not too many more yardbird possibilities left this year unless smaller wetlands around freeze up and the larger pond here pulls some ducks in...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

No new birds BUT...

Not just one but two Coyotes were seen today! This one initially bolted into cover when it saw me, not five minutes later it was leisurely giving me a 50 foot buffer as it made its way back towards its den (I found it about 1/2 mile away last month on the far brushy side of the biggest pond on the course system). I've never witnessed coyotes this fearless before...Here's a bad digi-bin of the fourship of shovelers I saw the other day:Basically just hoping for a few more ducks before freeze-over and maybe a flyover LALO or SNBU at this point... I checked out a bunch of patches near me today and managed 15 waterfowl species (GWFG, CANV, COGO, and a flock of 141 RNDU were the highlights).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Proposed new "yard"

Well here's my proposed new "yard". I'm not sure how to exactly measure an acre from an aerial view, but after looking at Caleb and Curtis' places from similar heights on google earth this is pretty close. I bent the line because there's a pond there and it's tough for me to stand in it. I choose this area because it's about the closest area to my place that actually affords a view of the ponds and has some cattails and a few trees in it (and stays off the active fairways for the most part...). I'll go back through my list from this place and figure out what I've seen from there assuming you guys are okay with this.

No swans overhead today, but there was a female Hooded Merganser on the water and four shovelers were also present (my second observation here).Let me know guys.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And again

Wow- the birds are really hitting. Just looked up in my backyard to see a flock of 17 Tundra Swans (116/116) headed south, SILENTLY. No wonder my mic hasn't yet paid off with this species. This also brings us cumulatively to 150, inching slowly toward Sean's old WI record.

And these ones would have counted even if we defined the contest as those birds either within or directly above one's yard- they were straight above the house at about maybe 500-1000 feet.

Sean- let's see some number from the new jaunt in Illinois- start by proposing a boundary to us, then letting us know what you've identified from within that boundary.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Life Yard Bird (115/115)!!

Well folks, my yard bird networking has paid off. My neighbor just called to inform me that some turkeys were walking behind his house in a recently mowed cornfield, and sure enough- a quick look across his yard through my living room window confirmed it. My only question is "what took so long?" I'd never have believed it would take over a year and a half to get this species (even by sound!) given my habitat.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Late House Wren - 10/30

I braved the rain on Friday and went out in hope that the rain had grounded some waterfowl or something. The fairways had all flooded and there were geese and mallards everywhere. Not many passerines to be had, but a lone House Wren surprised me (from my eBird entries I have never had a HOWR past the last week of Sept in WI, MI, IL, IN, or even NJ!). Also had a female Rusty Blackbird land among the robins in the top of some cottonwoods and then flyover a little bit later. A handful of YRWAs and one Palm Warbler were also noted. Also had a single DCCO flyover (they'd all but disappeared over the past ten days here).
Currently in a hotel in Ft Lauderdale listening to BTGRs sqwack outside. Now I have to not pay attention to birds the rest of this trip...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Slobber and Dorkstra alive?

Yo Dave and Curtis, quit slobbering and dorking around and let us know what you think about Sean's yard rules, eh? You'd think there were no birds in any of our yards the way you guys are(n't) responding lately. Oh wait...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sean's yard listing rules


Please read my comments under Sean's 2nd oldest post below this one. I'd like to get clarity on Sean's rules for counting yard birds before he gets too far on here...

Here is Sean's earlier post showing the location and habitat of his yard:


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dodging golfers while digiscoping...

So I brought the scope out since I was kicking myself yesterday as normally secretive stuff like Swamp Sparrows were just lining up for me left and right and all I had on me were my bins...
Of course, the numbers of sparrows were much lower today and as I set up and waited for the birds to drop back along the edge of the goldenrod, a young Sharpie zipped over my head and freaked the flock out until further notice...
I did see a few different things today, including three Northern Shovelers in the far back part of the large pond surrounded by dead trees. As I was waiting for some sparrows to come back out along a different stretch of cattails, I heard a club hitting a golf ball and I looked up to see the follow through of an obviously disgruntled man and then heard the ball hit the fairway about 40 feet from me...awesome! No "Fore" or anything like that, I guess I was crazy to think that with the fairway half flooded and nothing but mud and goose crap all over the place, that there wouldn't be golfers...WRONG! Anyways, I moved on and used a little more caution trying to anticipate where this guy was gonna be as he looped back and glared at me even though I was in the midst of Cottonwoods well out of his way... Yeah you can't please some people.
While in that area I did pish in a Savannah Sparrow which teed up long enough for a few shots before dropping down to feed with CHSPs and juncos.

I picked up a couple of Wood Ducks flying over and they circled a few times giving me a chance to digi-bin the female before they circled up and cleared out.

There were 22 Cacklers with less Canada's today and I got one decent digiscoped shot but they were being rather skittish today.

Other new birds from yesterday include a couple of Hermit Thrushes, GC Kinglet, a flyover Pine Siskin (heard first) among many AMGOs. A different Orange-crowned Warbler was present today (much duller than yesterdays). My third Winter Wren in 8 days was also noted today (different spot). I'm a bit surprised with how many of these are around considering the habitat...
And here are a few photos just for the heck of it:For Caleb's benefit:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A new start

Well I tore myself away from unpacking ridiculous amounts of boxes and took advantage of the nice dry weather to spend some time walking around the golf course that is adjacent to my apartment complex (since my actual yard consists of a balcony...).
Below is my eBird checklist from two hours walking around:

Cackling Goose (Richardson's) 20 (5 in below photo)
Canada Goose 700
American Black Duck 1 (good look and the bird was surprisingly pure)
Mallard 45
Pied-billed Grebe 1

Great Blue Heron 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Killdeer 1
Ring-billed Gull 2
Rock Pigeon 2
Mourning Dove 28
Great Horned Owl 1 (Flushed out of a large weeping willow and flew across the ponds, probably the biggest surprise of the outing)
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
American Crow 2
Horned Lark 1
Black-capped Chickadee 7
Brown Creeper 3

Winter Wren 1 (my second here in a week, a bird I missed completely at W468...)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 11
Eastern Bluebird 5 (all migrants flying over way up high, call notes giving them away)
American Robin 55
European Starling 40
American Pipit 1 (another flyover given away by the flight call)
Cedar Waxwing 18
Orange-crowned Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 9
Chipping Sparrow 1
Clay-colored Sparrow 1
Field Sparrow 2 (all three spizella was surprising, esp with FISP outnumbering the other two and so few CHSP)
Fox Sparrow (Red) 10
Song Sparrow 14
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 12
White-throated Sparrow 120
White-crowned Sparrow 15 (really thought I might snag a HASP with the numbers of Zonotrichia around..just scads of white-throats...)
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 25
Northern Cardinal 4
Red-winged Blackbird 10
Common Grackle 6
Purple Finch 5 (2 flyovers and 1 male and two females feeding on buds in the brushy trees with HOFIs and AMGOs)
House Finch 7
American Goldfinch 5
House Sparrow 10

What you guys want to do about restricting the size I'm able to count as my "yard" is up to you. The wooded habitat is very minimal. There's some goldenrod/brushy stuff that the sparrows and OCWAs are primarily in. Everything else is cattail marsh or large ponds with large snags around them (I've had BCNH on two other visits when we were moving in).
As of right now I'm trying to get as much as I can before these ponds freeze and the birds disappear with the water...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

End of an era

This weekend I attended Sean's wedding in Waterford, WI near his childhood home, the one we have all come to resent. This meant spending some quality time at this house, which was of course difficult given my longstanding bitterness over getting walloped in this contest while working my tail off to try to keep it close!

Well, in the interest of ending Sean's reign on a nice note, I got him a year yard bird during one of our brief yardwalks- a speedy Wilson's Snipe which was high above the yard! I believe it was 170 for him for the year.

Now, the good news for the rest of us. 170 is officially a number of the PAST, as Sean no longer resides at this residence! He has moved to his new apartment in Illinois, meaning that his sidebar will soon reset itself to zero ad he will start from scratch in sub-par habitat (golf course, few trees, decent wetland, no prairie, no woods).

So, let's all wish Sean a happy marriage, and now let's show him what it felt like to be us over the past year! You are going down, my friend. Waaaaay down. (imagine my evil laugh as I say that)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Incredibly, I just looked out to see a Vermivora coming in to the bath, thinking that it almost had to be an Orange-crowned. Instead, it was a typical Tennessee Warbler, by far the latest I've had in my yard, and likely in Michigan. To my additional surprise, the bar graphs in the back of Chartier and Ziarno (ABA Birding Guide to Michigan) puts the window for this species into late October for both the nLP and the sLP. I am no less excited, though, to have this species at least 2 weeks since I've had it previously.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

more late fall migrants...

On a short walk in the yard today I had a nice variety of late fall migrants:
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (2)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (2+)
Blue-headed Vireo (1 or 2)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (2)
Orange-crowned Warbler (1)
Eastern Phoebe (1)
Fox Sparrow (1)
Dark-eyed Junco (1+)
A large flock of Robins are all throughout the lot and a flock of Chipping Sparrows has taken over the front yard.
Not bad for city yardbirding on a fall afternoon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

late fall arrivals

Well folks, since no one else is saying anything I guess I will - even if it's nothing spectacular. Some new arrivals to the yard as of the last few days would include:

White-throated Sparrows
Eastern Phoebe
Yellow-rumped Warblers
Golden-crowned Kinglets

I had one Nashville Warbler on the 10th.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Orange-crowned Warbler

As hoped for, I had my year yard OCWA this morning (131/149). Its also a year county bird (235). Although a much more quiet day than yesterday, there were still some good birds around. OVEN, NAWA, MAWA, HETH, BRTH, YTVI & 2 YBSA to name a few. Unfortunately, House Sparrow showed up at my feeders today and even though I appreciate him as a first of season bird for the yard he will be bringing many unwelcome friends and family soon enough.

I'm getting impatient for Palm Warbler!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

From Dearth to Deluge

After a week without much happening, the flood gates opened today. Although there wasn't a tremendous diversity of species (32) in an hour of birding the property this morning, there were good numbers. 100+ each of WTSP, WCSP & GCKI, 15 RCKI, 8 BRCR, 12 RBNU made for a boisterous yard. Additional goodies were 6 YRWA, 2 EAPH and individuals of WIWR, YTVI, MAWA, COYE, BTNW & NAWA. Intermittent light showers and accompanying cool down drafts probably forced a lot of these to earth. Searched all over for OCWA, but none today. Its around though as mom had it just outside the bay window yesterday. I'm hoping for that and another warbler selection tomorrow.

I also finally had a single FRGU from Douglas Public Beach this morning - a full week after Slogger's birds in Ohio. That's 234 for the county this year.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

SNGO in striking range

On a rare (in recent weeks) run today I came across a Snow Goose mixed in with the local migratory Canadas, just under a mile from my house! Being as hard as they are to get for my yardlist, any uncommon waterfowl like this spurs me to consider how I might add them to the yard list. Most evenings the geese overfly my house (or nearly so) either on their way to or from that pond, sometimes offering breif glimpses. So, tonight I will be on high alert.

Other than that my yard feels much like early winter! Scarcely a Yellowrump in the yard, no sparrows, and one probable NAWA yesterday is about all I can muster above the normal background birds. And the migration 3 nights ago, though the conditions looked good, was abysmal, with only a single WCSP being detected, and not a single other seep or thrush call!

slowly but surely

Slowly but surely I add warblers this fall (although looks like the diversity will very soon wane):
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Baypoll - struck me as Bay-breasted as it had very bold wing bars, but my looks were 1/2 sec. at a time and it didn't stick around.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yard year bird - HETH

Yeah I know, it took me a little longer than I should have to nab that bird for the year in the yard, but oh well. Also had a nice goose movement on the morning of Sept 30 that included ~215 CANG, 12 CACG, and 1 SNGO. The CACG, SNGO were in one flock with about ten CANGs. Nice to have a goose flock where the goodies outnumber the blahs...
I also watched a young Coop give chase to a flicker without apparent success in the morning. I came back to fill the feeders after walking around to find this under the feeder (warning the below photo is not for the faint of heart):
Yes that is a MODO heart sitting next to the wings... One less juvie being stupid in the backyard.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Connecticut Warbler, Cliff Swallow

Yesterday was an interesting day here to say the least. The first bird of consequence for the day and the only warbler, was a young Connecticut. It came out of the underbrush and landed in the open on the lower branch of a fir right in front of me. It wasn't there long, but it was long enough. It dove back into the underbrush and after an hour's search to re-find it I gave up. Another late bird was Cliff Swallow in a group of 5 that were obviously headed south. Being the time of year, they were closely scrutinized for tell-tale features of Cave Swallow without luck. Finally got my fall Turkey Vulture, as well.

Near miss

I got an unbelievable phone call today from a couple which live about 3 miles from my house. They claimed to have photographed a strange hummingbird at their feeder on Saturday (2 days ago) which was twice the size of a Ruby-throated, all green with blue near the middle of the throat/breast. Sure enough, the three photos they sent me clearly showed a Green Violet-ear (GREV)! The bad news is, it hasn't been seen now since Saturday late morning, and none of the neighbors with hummingbird feeders have seen it either, so it's likely long gone. But I left my cell # with at least 6 nearby homeowners with active feeders in hopes it will return and someone will call me. You know, one of these times, it would be GREAT if the rarity would just come to my feeders!

Amazing fact:
Some of you will remember that this is not the first GREV to have been present near my house which I have missed. In fact, just 11 months ago I was informed of another individual which spent 10 days at a feeder about 20 minutes from my house. Of course, in that instance, I found out about it the day after it was last seen. So, I am now 0 for 2 on GREVs near my house.

If the bird miraculously returns, I will let everyone know about it immediately. One last thing. If you think my trashtalk is bad, imagine what I would have sounded like if this bird HAD occurred at my feeders...

Very few birds at the bath today- the only warbler being 2 NAWAs.

Friday, September 25, 2009

First White-crowned & a couple welcome warblers

A quick movement of birds through the yard this morn a few minutes before work provided long awaited Northern Parula (FOY) and Tennessee Warbler. I must have missed some other goodies 'cause there was a lot of avian activity. This evening I had my first White-crowned Sparrow of the season at the water hole.

Nocturnal fun

Dave and I have been on the phone A LOT lately, and his computer genius (he wrote a script which automates the extraction of flight calls from 8+ hour long recordings in minutes!) has contributed greatly to my fun.

Although I cannot match his numbers from last night (WOW dude), I have actually recorded hundreds of warbler and sparrow seeps and thrush calls of my own. Here are some examples for you losers which have continued to hold out on building your mic (need I apply any more pressure??).

Savannah Sparrow (a would-be life yardbird!) Sep 23/24
putative Northern Parula/Pine Warbler Sep 21/22
Presumed Blackpoll Warbler (but possibly Connecticut, of all species)
Wood Thrush Sep 23/24
Grasshopper Sparrow (yes, my 2nd indeed!), Sep 21/22
White-throated Sparrow, Sep 23/24
Gray-cheeked Thrush, Sep 23/24

2 life yardbirds & more

A quick attempt to pull down a few unIDed warblers from the canopy using Screech-Owl whistles this morning brought in this yard rarity. At first I thought it was a life yardbird, but it is actually a second sighting:

I was then surprised by an ACTUAL life yardbird (2 individuals!) skulking around in the brushpile (113/113). Curtis, I know you're going to need all kinds of help IDing this one, so give me a call and I can walk you through it... (hint: concentrate on tail length to give you subspecies)

I then was very pleasantly surprised when this bird (114/114) joined the fray at the bath slightly before noon. Finally someone is starting to chip some more of Sean's 3 pointers down to two!
Plus this beauty:

And then, in updating the spreadsheet it was striking to discover that my year list
and my yard list are IDENTICAL! So, no species that I saw in 2008 has not been seen in 2009. Strange...

Finally, I had this UNWELCOME addition to the fall yard list. Argh.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

15 warbler species, 6 woodpecker species = incredible morning

As I stepped out the door at 930am the first bird I saw was a Cape May Warbler in the spruce by the driveway. I knew it was going to be good especially from the number of warbler seets coming from the woods. Interestingly enough, nearly all of the warblers I saw during almost 2 and half hours were in one flock (numbering ~40 birds). Aside from that flock warbs were rather scarce. Sometimes you just have to get lucky and stumble on the concentration... Anyway here's the breakdown of the warb tally for the morning:
Tennessee Warbler 14
Orange-crowned Warbler 1 (FOS)
Northern Parula 1
Magnolia Warbler 5
Cape May Warbler 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1 (FOY)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 1 (juvenile plumage still) + 2
Black-throated Green Warbler 2
Palm Warbler 2 + 2 (FOS)
Bay-breasted Warbler 3
Blackpoll Warbler 10
Black-and-white Warbler 2
American Redstart 6 (2 adult male)
Ovenbird 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
warbler sp. 15

I also had six woodpecker species which I'm pretty certain is a first for my yard. The most unexpected was a young flyover Red-headed that was among the large numbers of flickers and jays that were moving over all morning. There was also a young YBSA in the woods being chased around by a Hairy Woodpecker.

Other migrants came in the form of SWTH, GCTH, a lingering WOTH, LEFL, RCKI, SCTA, LISP, and WTSP.
All told I observed 60 species in the yard this morning, the best of the fall thus far.
Edit: My birdbath attracted 2 YRWA, 2 PAWA, 2 BLPW, 1 FISP, and a RBGR this afternoon which is basically my first action at it all fall...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You must see it to believe it

It is becoming difficult to express how crazy the bird bath "deluge" is becoming in my yard. Today, as it grew to the usual 7 birds, I got the camera ready and started snapping away, only to realize that suddenly there were at least 12 birds in the bath SIMULTANEOUSLY! Just watch the video:

The actual total was at least 15 individuals, with 14 visible in this still frame:

In my entire birding life I have never witnessed so many warblers shoulder to shoulder- if anyone has, please let me know when and where it happened, as well as what species were involved, and whether it was in a water feature like mine.

Also, today witnessed a resurgence in the species diversity of warblers, with the following being tallied:

Cape May- 1
Bay-breasted: 1
Black-throated Green- 2
Ovenbird- 1
Redstart- 1
Nashville- 5 simultaneously
Tennessee- 12 simultaneously
Magnolia- 1

Other interesting species:
Ruby-crowned Kinglet- 1 FOS
Horned Lark- daily

and a couple bonus photos:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blackburnian Warbler

Well there are a few warblers yet to be found. A Blackburnian was in the old faithful walnut tree next to the garage this morning. This is not only a first for fall, but a year yard bird as well (123). Individuals of WIWA, OVEN, MAWA and 2 NAWA were here also. Otherwise it is a much more quiet day than yesterday - not a hawk around.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Broad-winged Hawk movement = new yard bird!

A good flight of hawks today added Broad-winged hawk to the yard list (122/147). A total of 39 Broad-wings, 2 Red-shouldered & 2 Sharp-shined were seen from the property this morning. Many of these birds were in two fairly low kettles. Unfortunately, Swainson's Hawk wasn't with them.

Other yard birds of note were 2 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 1 Red-headed Woodpecker, 3 Dark-eyed Junco, 6 Red-breasted Nuthatch, 15 White-throated Sparrow, 3 Blue-headed Vireo, 2 Magnolia Warbler & 1 Ovenbird.

Nocturnal fun

Sitting here at midnight, just had 2 Sandhill Cranes bugling above the house! Never have had them at night before. Also, Canada Geese. Will be going through lots of recordings of seeps from last night as soon as I get time. There were many tens audible in the 30 minutes or so I was outside, so there are bound to be scads of them on the recording. More soon...

Was gone in Ohio (met Kenn Kaufmann finally) all day so have no idea what was in the drink...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

At the water this evening

Activity seems to pick-up at 7pm at the water hole. Numerous (5+) SWTH and several GCTH visited until almost 8pm this evening. A group of 9 WTSP joined the festivities, but never went to the water itself. This afternoon an influx of a dozen RBGR made the feeding stations raucous. Here are some photos - luckily the water feature is close enough for flash. This is the first time I have posted pictures, so bare with me.
Stand-off series:

Pine Warbler

Birding before work this morning provided a few new fall birds. A PIWA was in the top of a dead tree over the house, a BLPW was on the field edge behind the house and a distant KILL was heard. Several Maggies are still hanging around. Thrush numbers are building with a minimum today of 10 SWTH and a single GCTH (mom sighting only). VEER & HETH have also been present this week. Yesterday, LISP & WTSP visited the water feature. Again, however, both of these sparrows were mom sightings.

On a sour note, my neighbor (cousin) brush-hogged about half of his wild acre and a half lot yesterday. A tremendous amount of underbrush is now gone as is a heap of poke weed with ripening berries. As this borders my property it will be interesting what effect it will have on the birds I get.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Warblers just won't stop

Every time I think the warblers have called it quits, they come back and surprise me. All morning all I had was 2 Tennessees, 1 Yellow rump, and 1 Cape May. But at about 2:45PM the deluge resumed. Witness:

I again had 8+ Tennesees visible at once, inc. 7 shoulder to shoulder in the bath! 2 of the Cape Mays looked very dull (here is 1 of 2 such birds:)
The tally for the day is so far:
Cape May- 4+
Yellow-rumped- 1
Tennessee- 10+
Nashville- 2+
Ovenbird- 1

The Brown Creeper was back again yesterday, and that's been about it the past few days. But as far as warblers go, this will be a fall to remember for a long time!


I honestly thought I was going to miss NRWS in my yard for the first year ever the later it got. I got pretty lucky this morning when a single chattering CHSW made me look up and there were 3 NRWS zippin over way up... Also heard and then saw my first American Pipit of the year while I was out. New for fall were PISI and RCKI. I also checked a ~500 individual blackbird flock just up the road that was 95% cogr. Defintely getting to be that time of year. I'm actually hoping that I'm able to go a little bit longer without yrwa, pawa, brcr, and wtsp...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fall bird #100 - BLBW

A fair number of birds going over this morning... Only 5 warb species represented by 10 individuals but they did include my first Blackburnian of the fall. I picked up a flyover HOLA earlier in the morning which tacked onto the new for fall SSHA and ROPI yesterday took me to 100 for the fall competition. Watched some big flocks of spizella come in mixed with bluebirds which was cool. And man have the swallows cleared out - had a lone BARS today that was my first swallow of any kind in over a week... EAPH is now the only flycatcher I've gotten in a week as well...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

YRWA= 3 pts (money)

I find it hilarious that the Yellowrump in my bath just earned me 3 pts! Anyone got House Sparrow yet?

A lot of warblers cleared out 3 days ago but I still have 6+ NAWA and 6+ TEWA, and about 2 Cape Mays daily (inc. individuals not present a few days ago, indicating some turnover). Add a Brown Creeper yesterday and it is starting to feel like the beginning of the end!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Peregrine Falcon - and a couple more warbs

As I jumped in the car this morning running behind schedule I got the frustrating taste of what was going over as I heard chip notes everywhere and I watched a warb drop in over my house. Of course when I got off work at 5 it was hot and buggy but I figured those birds had to go somewhere... I found one group of ~12 warbs accompanying BCCH and in it I finally picked up CSWA for the fall as well as my first adult male AMRE. While I was watching them I looked up at a falcon-like bird expecting either coni or amke and was surprised to see a Peregrine Falcon wing its way SE right over the yard! Only my 2nd or 3rd for the yard and my first southbound raptor of the fall... Also managed a NOWA by the tiny remains of the puddle in the stream.
BTW - Rick - you've got to update the sidebar warb tally as well as the spreadsheet! I had been doing it for you, but then you went on a sighting spree and I'm not even sure where you're at now. All you have to do is click the little wrench icon below and to the right of the warb war column.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bathing beauty

I thought the NOWA was decent yesterday, but at dusk tonight a skulker took a dip in the water. Yes Oporornis. Although I would have preferred COWA for the yard this year I will settle for another MOWA. This one was a young lady with the beginnings of a barely discernible breast band. Other birds of note at the bath this evening were WIWA, OVEN, AMRE & SWTH. This morning a BHVI came in to my pishing as I chimmed in with the jays and titmouse mobbing a SSHA.

Nocturnal flight calls- heating up

I am officially now up and running, recording & analyzing the nocturnal flight calls over my house!

The purpose of this post is to get you guys to all do this so we can add another subcontest to the blog for all species recorded by one's mic (translation: b/c it is the coolest thing ever but you will not recognize this fact until it is up and running at your house, and I am your friend). Plus, this will REALLY help you out Sean as you move to urban Illinois and have few passerines by day, and Curtis it should greatly increase your list as well, since much of what migrates over will never stop in your yards. Here is my final setup:
Last night I began looking through calls for the first time and I am just now starting to assign them to species or categories. All of these calls were recorded during the first half of the night on 11/12 Sep 2009, I exported about 20-25 that were legible from that period. These are the ones I feel most confident about, but there are many more mystery calls. (In each case the y axis goes from 0-10 kHz, but I didn't take the time to create axes. The x axis varies but typically the full screen shows about 0.3-0.6 seconds):

Tennessee Warbler (possibly but less likely Nashville):
Oblong-winged Katydid
Cape May Warbler:
American Redstart (possibly but less likely Ovenbird)
American Redstart (possibly but less likely Ovenbird)
Grasshopper Sparrow? Dave, need some help on this one:
Bay-breasted Warbler?:
Magnolia Warbler:
Chestnut-sided Warbler: