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.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nothing new to report!??

Well, after a flurry of new sightings last week, this blog really slid off! Unfortunately my careful checking of the feeders (esp with the 3-4 inches of snow SE WI got last night) has failed to produce a fox sparrow yet... Also have yet to nab a red-shoulder which are overdue... Only ok sightings of the weekend were a couple tree sparrows that the snow brought into the feeders this morning and a Sharpie that checked out the bird activity this aft. I did see some cool stuff in my area (county surf scoter was very nice) but just not from the confines of my yard...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Brown-headed Cowbird (41)

While out this a.m. I heard/saw a male BHCO (41) singing from the top of a tree. I also enjoyed listening to a SOSP sing (in fact I'm listening to him now through my kitchen window - open even though a bit cool outside) watching the FOSP dig in the leaf litter and a BRCR climb the trunk of one of my oaks. I heard another EAPH and another KILL too. I thought I heard one "seeet" of a WTSP, but was not able to locate it to verify.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Yard Bird and New Tallying Spreadsheet

OK. I am tired of hearing of Sean's ridiculous yardbirds. Somebody shut him up! On top of that, Curtis called with 2 new yard lifers, and 5 new year birds! So I went outside to try to save face, and was treated to a life yardbird- Northern Harrier (would have been 79/46- hold that thought).

Secondly, as I went to sync Curtis and my all-time yard lists on the excel spreadsheet- I found several tallying errors on my all-time yard list which had been tallied on paper only. I had double-counted Crow and Cooper's Hawk, but had failed to include (!!) Red-tailed Hawk, Mallard, Mourning Dove, Great Horned Owl, and Brown-headed Cowbird! So I lost 2 but gained 5, for a net gain of 3, taking me to 82 all time. The NOHA is actually 82/46, not 79/46. Now I am only 2 behind him all-time. Of course, now I am ready for all the belly-aching and foul-crying to begin- so BRING IT ON.

Finally, note that I have posted the spreadsheet of our tallies at google docs. You three and I have full editing rights, but the public can only view this document. Look at the top of the scoreboard for the hyperlink to the table for viewing. Pretty neat tool!

PWIP; KEEW; see, see, see; TUVU, HERG

Ok, enough smack talk about my needing to get out...you said "bring it on" so here it is. In less than 30 minutes here's what I saw (imagine if I could spend an hour!):
E. Phoebe (36, 82) - 2 flitting from branch to branch, pwiping all the way.
N. Flicker (37) - one heard calling
GC Kinglet (38) - one heard calling
Turkey Vulture (39, 83) - one flyover - FINALLY!
Herring Gull (40, 84) - 2 flyovers (1 imm, 1 adult)
Possible Red-shouldered Hawk HIGH distant flyby...which, because I'm discreet, I'm not counting.

No new yard birds, one new song

Fox Sparrow (#35)

Call me a copy cat...again, but these photos should pacify you, Caleb. It showed up this a.m. under my feeder with the Juncos.
This is #35 for the yard for the year (and I already had this one last fall for my all-time list, unlike my all-time yard list competitor who didn't get it till a few days ago - and thought it was a HOWR).

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OK, enough Mr. Nice Guy

Alright, after seeing quite a few posts talking schmack about me (are you guys just feelin your oats or what?), I decided to go outside and take advantage of the 20+mph SW wind and low cloud ceiling this morning. It was actually quite cold and not much was flying, but quality not quantity is what really matters. The best bird was a Common Loon (#71) that was followed shortly thereafter by a pair of Northern Shovelers (#72). Neither are new for the yard, but they are both quite good birds here (less than 3 sightings ever of either species).
Other notables during the hour watch were 2 Great Blue Herons, 7 Wood Ducks, a female type Northern Harrier, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Flicker, 4 Pine Siskins, and 4 more White-winged Crossbills (86, year to date). 38 species total in that time, on par with some of your guys totals for the year... Luckily for Curtis most of us are going to be gone from our yards for a significant part of the spring. Better take advantage of that man!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New stuff

First, I want you all to notice in the new frontpage photo how Slager likes to wear his "life vest" around for style purposes, wherever he goes. (Kind of like McFly on Back to the Future). Shows you what kind of social prowess the man emanates.

Secondly, I finally synced our 3 lists, and Sean somehow (madeup birds?) is still winning, but only by 12. That will become more manageable as migration proceeds.

Finally, I deleted the "raw totals" because honestly winning in that category really just doesn't count for jack s. Not even I would feel good about that "victory". I think this 3 on 1 contest is much better. Now boys, LET'S BRING ON SOME BIRDS!

Monday, March 23, 2009

45/77 & warbler list

Again was very pleased to wake up not only to a year bird, but also a life yard bird (45/77):

Curtis, FYI- this is not a Winter Wren- it is a House Wren.

On a serious note (yes that is possible), an interesting subcontext to this whole contest has been that Curtis and I are battling in the yard life list contest as well. He moved into his house prior to spring migration last year, while I moved into mine in early July, so he has had a lead of 5-10 birds throughout the last 6 months or so. However, as he knows, the tide is likely to turn once the spring migrants hit (like....now!). That lead has now whittled down to 4 birds with the addition of FOSP. Once the Parulidae hit it will likely be no looking back (does this sound overconfident?) as I am still missing Pine, Palm, Bay-breasted, Orange-crowned, Parula, Mourning, Blue-winged, Golden-winged, YELLOW!, Chestnut-sided, Blackburnian, both waterthrush, Connecticut, YELLOWTHROAT, Canada, Hooded, and Bachman's.

Speaking of this, here is my yard warbler list (current house only). Laugh now Curtis, laugh until mid May, my friend.
1) Tennessee
2) Black-throated Green
3) Blackpoll
4) Black-throated Blue
5) Wilson's
6) Black-and-white
7) Nashville
8) Magnolia
9) Yellow-rumped
10) American Redstart
11) Cape May

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Yard meets MERL!

I've not been by the computer long enough lately to report what's going on here so here's an update.
Yesterday as I was exiting my driveway for a bike ride with my son Caleb, out of the corner of my eye I see the blur of a speeding falcon at 3/4 tree top level. It quickly disappeared behind the trees, but I got just enough of a glance to make it out as a MERLIN...and his charactieristic straight-shooting flight added to the excitement! That's yardbird 81 and year bird 34.
Yes, 81 and 34, because I'm confidently adding PUFI (80/33) to my list from hearing it the other day - while it was a quiet and subdued song, I've eliminated all other possibilities. Ok, so bring on the "ridicule", but you KNOW that I don't take my ID's lightly! As Caleb knows I've had to let some slip away from me due to "giz only" id's - not 100% certain ones (1 second looks at both a very distant Harrier and a flyover flock of redpols - not vocalizing).
And Caleb, go ahead, just call me the copy cat...but I actually had PUFI before you. And just try to copy the MERL!
I'm stuck at 74 for WWCR - maybe one last wandering flock (of at least 9!) headed north will land in my evergreens just long enough for me to bag 'em.
Oh, and, yes, Phoebe is not on my yard life list yet - and did not get added today as you thought might happen. I'm hopeful it will be added soon - maybe even with photographic evidence to back it up.

#43 (&44), this time for real

I was pleased today to wake up to the song of #43 in my backyard (listen to the video). UPDATE: just had 44 as well: Turkey Vulture (6:10PM).
Part of the reason I think this bird is here (it's not been at the feeder yet at all), is the fact that I finally got the ice out of my water feature, cleaned out the pump, and started it up again (what a good feeling). Actually, the phoebe made a repeat performance, this time coming in to the water feature before quickly leaving. Haven't been able to score a photo of it just yet. Here's what the water feature looks like. Note the upper smaller pool (with water streaming into it) and the huge lower pool, which has some aquatic natives whic are yet to surface. Also, in the video you can get a feel for the habitat of my yard. I have tons of tall oaks and black cherries, severely obstructing my view of the horizon (Whoa- just had another Mute Swan go over right as I am typing...). The conifer visible in the photo was home to 100+ redpolls and siskins throughout the winter, though the redpolls are long gone now. 

And yes, I did get a photo of the songster too:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tree Swallows and a Kingfisher

Burned one more of the fields today and enjoyed the opportunity to stand outside and see what the south winds would kick over. Tree Swallows were observed repeatedly (3-4 birds) (#69), nice to hear their chattering again. The better bird was a flyover Belted Kingfisher (#70). This is not an easy bird here and probably only the second time I've gotten that bird in the yard. So I was surprised to hear the rattle of one going over. Other birds of note include 2 more WWCR (81 individuals total), continuing Pine Siskins, 130+ migrating cranes, phoebe, and a few vultures.

The season's first yard insectivore

Just a quick update- the beautiful weather today brought the first insectivore of the season today, Eastern Phoebe, #42. If I remember correctly, this is a yard lifer for Curtis, no? There's always tomorrow! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

WWCR champion?

Took me long enough, but just when I thought I wasn't going to get more WWCR's in the yard I heard and then saw a flock of 8 'kip' their way from the Norway Spruces and head SE (odd direction) as I was topping off the feeders about 40 minutes ago. This brings me to a total of 79 in the yard this year. I'm inclined to think this will be my last sighting of the spring for these very welcome species. But then again I didn't expect the european goldfinch that I watched land in the top of a spruce tree with a pine siskin in between checking shorebird ponds yesterday afternoon, so who knows! Also, the above is a stock photo not from the yard, but it was within 2-3 miles of here so why the hell not?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Back to back yard birds

I am hoping this won't be the end of this, but after walking out this morning to my mailbox and looking up to have 2 Mute Swans (#40 for the year, #75 all time), I came back in, looked out the window, and had a Great Blue Heron fly by as well (#41/#76). Wow, been a long time since I had two life yard birds in the same day, in fact, it was 11 Nov 2008. That day I added Herring Gull and Cooper's Hawk. More on warbler war when I have time to do the digging- don't forget that I lived in Montana for four years... (unfortunately never in good warbler habitat, though...)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

1...2...3...4...I declare a Warbler War!

Hey all,
I know it's a little bit early yet, but what do you think about a "Warbler War"? By this I mean points (apart from our yardbird competition) would be awarded for the first sighting of any species of warbler (1pt each)...and bonus points are awarded for species that are not seen by any of the other participants (1 additional per species). Then the yard with the most warbler species recorded on or before, say June 6th would get a points bonus (3pts).
Things may be evened out a bit for Dave, who while being significantly further south, has a disadvantage habitat-wise. Comments and suggestions are welcome on how to set this thing up.
By the way, post in the comments what your all-time yard warbler list is.
Here's my list:

1 American Redstart
2 Black-and-white Warbler
3 Blackburnian Warbler
4 Blackpol Warbler
5 Black-throated Blue Warbler
6 Black-throated Green Warbler
7 Canada Warbler
8 Cape May Warbler
9 Chestnut-sided Warbler
10 Magnolia Warbler
11 Mourning Warbler
12 Nashville Warbler
13 Ovenbird
14 Palm Warbler
15 Tennessee Warbler
16 Wilson's Warbler
17 Yellow Warbler
18 Yellow-rumped Warbler
19 Common Yellowthroat

A falcon and Phoebes

This morning had an American Kestrel (#67) (the title line is for phonetic alteration purposes only) soar over with a couple of moving Herring Gulls. Also had a pair of Eastern Phoebe's (#68) "chiting" in the backyard this evening. Nice to have some insectivorous birds back. Hopefully they don't have too many cold snaps to deal with...

38 and 39

While syncing my list with Curtis's I noticed that I somehow omitted Canada Goose from my year list (consider it charity work to make Curtis feel better...), but I have now added it since Curtis seems to copy my sightings (I get Song Sparrow, he magically reports it the next day, etc.) anyway.

Also had a small group of Herring Gulls going over this morning- #39. Here's to lots more spring migrants.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TVs way out

Since turkey vultures have been rather numerous around my area the last three days, I wasn't surprised to spot a couple distant TUVUs (#66) drifting north on the heavy south winds this evening. Nice weather but very little else on the wind...

One at a time...

This morning produced one more to add to the year total. As I wandered my back lot I flushed a Song Sparrow (32) at two different points. Wasn't singing, but nice to see. I also had a couple Titmice (they came back after a one day appearance last week) and a Brown Creeper (maybe 2) that has been showing up almost daily.
By the way, welcome, Dave, to the "bird bash"...you are one more who's made it to the "WWCR Yardbird Club" (you may have even been first) - making our percentage of participants who are in the club up to 75% (we have one wannabe who holds the number down unfortunately). You can see previous posts about our sightings - I'm probably topped off at about 74 birds, Sean's at 71.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wilson's Snipe #65

Took advantage of this fine evening and was out in the backyard playing with the siblings with binoculars on hand for any potential year birds (of course). Had two flocks of Common Mergs go over (11 and 4) and then a nice flock of dabblers included 20 pintail along with 18 mallards (probably the first time mallards have been outnumbered in a mixed flock going over here). 2 more Great Blue Herons cruised over and a few more Rusty Blackbirds also trickled over. The best bird(s) were a pair of Wilson's Snipe (#65) that buzzed overhead after I had complained to several people about how I had missed them up to this point this spring. Well, they are pretty much the only other shorebird that had good odds of being seen in the yard this year. Long odds on a yellowlegs and that's about it... Also, here's a picture of my front cottonwood the other day that had 17 Rusties mixed in with ~82 or so RWBL.Also, welcome aboard Dave!

Sandhill Cranes (31)

I had 3 flyover Sandhills just a couple minutes ago (31). They were headed E/SE, circling.

A new LIFE yard bird (UPDATE- better pics)

They say the it's all about the little things in life. Couldn't be more true for me today. Finally added SONG SPARROW to the yard list- 74 all time and 37 for the year. (note that my year list had ascended to exactly half my all time list). Here are the only pics I could manage before it lifted off...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Peeent! #64

Was rather busy this weekend so didn't get out much, I did hear a Song Sparrow (#63) singing from the marshy patch of the yard this morning and it was less than an hour before it had found the back feeders. Nice to have them back in the yard, although they've been locally present all winter within a few miles. The other nice addition was a peenting American Woodcock (#64) less than 20 minutes ago right outside my back door. I ventured back into the woods in the twilight and spotted him preening, probing the mud, and actually opening his beak to peent within a hundred feet of my back door! I may be mistaken, but I think this is the first year I've picked up AMWO before snipe for the year... Turkey vultures and kingfishers are both in the area and the first is definite within a week, and this is the only time of year I have a chance at a flyover BEKI in search of water. I'll see what I can do for formating some sort of side bar tally later tonight.

36 and rising fast

Wow- finally a day with a warm tinge to the air, and a gorgeous sunny sky! Nothing like that to raise the spirits...and the year list. Scored Cedar Waxwing on the 12th, then quickly followed that up with Sandhill Crane (local breeders?), Brown-headed Cowbird, and Horned Lark (displaying at the airport- clearly audible from the house).

Regarding the tallying rules for this competition- one devout follower of our tomfoolery suggested that Sean compete with the sum of my and Curtis's totals. Now, why didn't I think of that! At face value I like the idea, and I suspect with some tweaking as we go along that it might work well. Better yet, perhaps we could just tally, as Curtis suggested, these four different tally styles and see how it shakes out:

1) total year yard birds, each man for himself
2) Sean vs. Caleb/Curtis (overlapping species for Curtis and I count cumulatively, so if I get AMRO and he does to, we receive 2 ticks)
3) Sean vs. Caleb/Curtis (non-overlapping species)
4) Sean's total X 45% vs. Caleb vs. Curtis

Is there a way to get such a tracking device on the blog homepage? Would be neat...


Saturday, March 14, 2009

2 more...

Today yielded 2 more year birds, one of which was a new yard bird!
Canada Goose (29) - only lone, low flying goose - headed east, not north.
Killdeer (30; Yard bird 79) - it flew high over and was only heard.

Friday, March 13, 2009

CORE photo op

After not seeing any redpolls actually stick around my yard since early January, I was glad to have one join the three siskins and 8 or so goldfinches that are frequenting my feeders on a near-daily basis. I took some shots through the windows of it skulking around the dwarf alberta spruce and then I stepped out the front door and snuck around the corner to get some shots not altered by double-pane glass... About the only other thing on the move today were cranes which were going over in pretty good numbers (~150 in less than an hour outside).


Today was the day...I FINALLY got PISI on my yard list! It wasn't at my feeder but was heard calling while flying over. I don't think I've ever been so glad to get a PISI before...it's been a long time waiting for it.
I also added COGR and RWBB to the year total.
Yard Total: 78
Year Total: 28

Thursday, March 12, 2009

EABL in front yard

Nothing new to report for the yard today (gasp!). I did photograph a bluebird in the front yard after getting back from my local waterfowl loop (blog entry on my normal blog along with some digi-bined shots of NOPI and REDH). I think we should try to only post photos on here that are taken in or near the yard (within a few miles?) just for added interest/and making less than perfect photos more interesting than they would normally be...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Back in the Real World

For those of us who can't just step outside and have half of all North American waterfowl and icterid species flyby at the drop of a hat, welcome to the real world. Today I wasn't around the house enough to get any new yard birds (nevermind the 30-50mph wind gusts and cloudy skies), so I thought we could continue the thought of correcting Sean's totals.

The idea of dividing by two and subtracting an additional 10% for the habitat variation advantage (translation: 45% of Sean's total year yard list) seems like a good starting point. It should keep Sean out there looking more than he is now. 

Don't know if you all noticed but the goose invasion Sean experienced recently has spilled over into w. lower Michigan, with one report of 14 Ross's Geese in one flock and at least 2-3 other reports, plus lots of Greater White-fronted Geese and Snow Geese as well. It'd be very nice to score any of those as yard birds! More soon...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A new yard bird!?!

Yes, I can hardly believe it - a new addition to my yard list! A seven-ship of scaup going right over the house in the fog turned out to be 5 Lessers and 2 Greaters (#56)! GRSC is yardbird number 213 and while not totally unheard of, I expected to get redhead or goldeneye before I picked up the less common inland scaup here. I was calling Caleb, in my excitement, when I noticed a lone swan flying almost below the ridge coming right at me at treetop level. I sort of expected it to be another new yardbird, mute swan, since it was low and alone, but it turned out to be a smashing looking Tundra Swan (#57) giving the closest flyby I've ever had of that species! I think I've only recorded TUSW once or twice before in early November from my yard so a spring sighting is quite noteworthy even for here! Caleb was definitely right, the south wind here has brought in lots of migrants , chiefly ribbon upon ribbon of blackbird flocks. Not only did I hit triple digits of Rusties here in the yard (record photo thro bins of a pair just down the road yesterday) but I also picked out at least ten Brewer's Blackbirds (#58) by their distinctively short and dry call note (thank you KW tours). A small flock of four Great Blue Herons (#59) wandered over as did a pair of Wood Ducks (#60). Walking back into the hayfield to check and see if the valley to the west's ponds had opened up yielded a flyover Eastern Meadowlark (#61) and the half open ponds had both Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser (#62) on them (both breed there and are regular throughout the summer as almost nightly flyovers). While not exactly news anymore, had over 30 Killdeer go over and half expected a snipe or early yellowlegs to zip over under the low cloud cover, but no only the lapwing of north america.... Should have woodcocks peenting here any night now. 38 species in just 1.5 hours... Edit: at the end of every post from here on out I will put my total, post-fairness algorithm: ~28.

Slowly chipping away (or just losing ground?)

Something funny seems to be happening. Every time I post to the blog with my new totals, I then immediately score one to several new species ad then wonder why I didn't wait to post the update. Yesterday was no exception. After posting the Killdeer, I had Northern Flicker, Red-winged Blackbird, and then this morning, Mallard, flying over the yard. This brings me to 32 for the year.

There is a clear increase in migration activity here over the past 3 days, and I suspect the next wave is nearly upon us. What a fun time of year, even if I am getting my butt whipped!

Monday, March 9, 2009

#29 & more on this "handicap" idea

Well, for what it's worth (not very much!) I just had a Killdeer fly over the yard, year bird #29! It's sunny and cool, and I wouldn't doubt it if a few more species end up on the list over the next few days. Birds I've seen nearby but not from the yard in the past few days include Herring Gull, Northern Harrier, and Mute Swan- all of which should be possible soon.

As far as Greater White-fronted Geese- give it a rest already, Sean! You've at least doubleed my all-time state total for Michigan (somewhere around 30-40 individuals in 4-5 separate sightings), FROM YOUR YARD! Curtis, the only chance we stand is the fact that he may not be able to bird in that yard from June to December, but even then we may well have trouble.

Maybe we can introduce Curtis's handicap idea- how about we correct each year bird total by acreage (simple division) of yard, and variety of habitat types (general categories like open water, wetland, meadow, mowed lawn, forest, or something like that), but NOT observer effort, then see who "averages" out on top? Sean has the most acreage and the most varied habitats, and this might even the field a bit, but he also spends the most hours looking, thus will be rewarded for that.

My yard has some open lawn and mostly black oak/black cherry upland forest, but no wetland or water of any sort (except my water bath!). It is 0.55 acres in extent, and my view of the horizon is near zilch, another reason I cannot get the waterfowl skeins like Sean can. Flybys have to come almost straight over the house for me to see them. Anyway, it may be hard to relinquish the lead, Sean, but let's see if you're up to this new challenge or not. If you're having trouble accepting it, maybe we could also include a correction factor for # of months of the year we were present on the property too?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Don't leave me in the dust...

Just checking in with my meager additions to the yard list this year.

3/6 - Robin (23)
3/7 - Tufted Titmouse (where have they been!) (24)
3/7 - Ring-billed Gull (25)

Sean, is there a "mercy rule"?...you're making me sick! Or maybe a living in the "city limit" handicap?!
No CAGO, COGR or RWBB yet. But it was nice to hear the Titmouse finally here! And the Juncos are tuning up too. My chances for PISI and CORE are waning....
BUT - I will dare to say that at least one of my 25 is NOT on either of your lists yet....CARW.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Burning fields = Bald Eagle

My dad and I burned two of our small brom grass fields this morning and I was a little disappointed with how little was flying over compared to yesterday. A few flocks of geese trickled over and I managed 4 more Greater White-fronted Geese (trash bird right!?) among less than 500 Canadas. The best bird of the am was a young (2nd year I think) Bald Eagle (#55) that came cruising right over the field and circled along the ridge at least 8 times giving my dad and sister great looks! Lots more cranes and killdeer and 2 more White-winged Crossbills (71 total) rounded out the morning. We'll see if there's any sort of dusk flight of waterfowl again today.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Speckle-bellies like crazy!

I already talked to Caleb about a truly spectacular movement of geese that winged their way northwest over SE Wisconsin today. In my first three hours of goose watching on the ridge with the scope and such set up I tallied an amazing 54 Greater White-fronted Geese (#43) among about 5k or so of Canada's. When I came back from work in the evening and the majority of the goose flight had died down, I tallied an additional 39 GWFG for a grand total of 93 GWFG flying over my yard in only 3.75 hours of watching... The phenomonen wasn't unique to my yard, others reported that almost every large flock of Canadas had accompanying GWFG with them today in SC WI. While the white-fronts stole the show, I also noted 7 Cackling Geese and one each of a blue and white phase Snow Geese (#44).
Other ducks on the move included 9 Common Mergansers (#45), 29 Northern Pintail (#46), 1 Gadwall (#47), and 5 Lesser Scaup (#48). At least three Killdeer (#49) flew over, finally managed Cedar Waxwing (#50) for the year as well. 17 Rusty Blackbirds (#51) were scattered throughout the at least 600 RWBL and COGR flocks that were going over. A sharp looking male Northern Harrier (#52) cruised along the ridge while I was on the phone with Caleb and in the evening I had a real nice look at a dark morph Rough-leg the wheeled before drifting northwest. Calling Northern Flicker (#53) in the adjacent woods and finally the stupid Rock Pigeons (#54) decided to fly over the yard. Oh yeah, PISI continue and 3 different small flocks totaling 11 WWCR (69 for the year Curtis...) were noted in the morning hours going over. 43 species all told for the day. What a way to jump start spring! And yeah, this really isn't going to be a competition guys - sorry...


On the way in to town today I had 2 Ring-billed Gulls coursing over the house- only #25 for the year. After looking at Sean's newest birds and the fact that he's had Red-winged Blackbirds for weeks now, it confirms for me how different the phenology of migration is across the lake. We're at the same latitude, and yet I still do not have Red-winged Blackbird for the year! Man I cannot wait for some new birds...

[UPDATE]- After getting the call from Sean that all kinds of waterfowl and some raptors were moving over his house, I walked outside and was treated to 3 more year birds (and one yard bird!):

Common Grackle 
Bald Eagle (YARD BIRD #73)
American Robin

Bring it on!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I got back from work today to a near constant stream of geese flying north. I got my scope out and scanned every flock that I could and was rewarded by 5 Cackling Geese (#42) among probably 1200 Canada Geese for the 45 minutes of watching... RWBL, AMRO, EABL, and SACR are all close to ubiquitous in my area. FOS Killdeer nearby but not in the yard yet, I give it a few days.