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.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

No sign of slowing

Much to my amazement I just had a flock of 4 Great Egrets go straight over the house- now that is a bird I did NOT expect for my yardlist (at this latitude). Also, finally nailed down Wood Duck. Sean is on the airplane coming home from CA today, so I have to pass him before the evening if I want any hope of ever leading this competition! I will be trying, no doubt...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where are you Dave?

I see we haven't heard from Slacker/Slobber/Squeeker/whatever his name is in a while. Perhaps it has to do with his getting plastered in this competition? 

Dave- wherever you are, send us an update! And if we need to tweak the rules a bit to get your current digs included in your yard list, let's do it. If you're in coastal WI you are sure to add some more species to help us cut down Fitzgerbil.

Monday, April 27, 2009

when's it ever gonna stop?

Well, even Sean is now in trouble in the actual yard list competition! Another quick walk around the yard yielded Black-throated Green Warbler and Baltimore Oriole. When it rains it pours, I guess. 5 to go before I have tied Sean. Of course, upon his immediate return he is sure to regain the lead, but I will savor it while I own it anyway.

Here is today's Hummingbird. Is it just me or is this the earliest spring migration EVER?

Hold on to your hats

A quick 5 minute walk at 7AM yielded 2 more life yardbirds: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Yellow Warbler (65/91). Yellow-rumpeds are finally singing in the yard (I am likely a week behind others,  given my location), and it feels like the gates are finally opening up. Betcha Curtis wishes he was working at home today.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

They just keep on comin...

Despite today's continued rain, I was happy to finally nail down a Ruby-crowned Kinglet in the backyard, singing its heart out. Then, after returning from the Wastewater (where I was treated to 11 Avocets in startling alternate plumage, plus 1 Willet), I watched an Osprey sail DIRECTLY over the house at close range. What was that Curtis about you having the lead?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tie, yes, lead NO!

Ok Caleb, I let you tie me...but now I take the lead BACK!
Gray Catbird (54)- seen
Brown Thrasher (55)- heard
House Wren (56)- seen (AKA Long-tailed Winter Wren)
SWAMP SPARROW (57, 89) - loosely hanging with WT Sparrows, but under thicker cover.

A possible Tennessee Warbler was heard 1-2 x's this a.m. as I woke up. I quickly got outside to hear it better, but it never sang again. DARN WIND (20mph, gusting to 30mph).

Friday, April 24, 2009

Goliath falls

(if only for a week)

Well, folks, we have now determined scientifically that it takes about 3 weeks of Sean's absence at his yard for us to catch up to him, cumulatively. Not saying too much for us, but I am going to enjoy it anyway whie it lasts. We are officially in the lead today, with Curtis's addition of Blue-headed Vireo this morning, and my Warbling Vireo. White-throated Sparrows FINALLY made it to my yard today.

Also, I just received my new digiscoping camera, the nikon coolpix p5100, and these are the first results. It is an EXCELLENT camera for digiscoping- kind of like a mini DSLR, but technically just an advanced point and shoot. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tie ball game Curtis

After a several day lull, I have struck gold again, with a Broad-winged Hawk flyby outside the office window (88/59). This TIES Curtis and I all-time at 88, and brings our cumulative total to just one shy of Sean. I had thought it would tie us with Sean, but somehow the previous total was actually one above the actual number.

I suspect the beautiful weather predicted for the next few days will bring even more newbies. Let's have em!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Curtis almost behind (by) BARS

I say almost because BARS (Barn Swallow) ties up the long-running all-time yardbird competition Curtis and I are having. This also puts our cumulative total up to only one species behind Sean for the year (TAKE THAT)- yes we are lame. So, let the leads continue to fall. It's all part of the fun (for me at least).

[UPDATE: I was saddened to find that I actually already had Barn Swallow for the all-time yard list, so it just added a year tick. So, Curtis is still hanging on by a species. BUMMER. Note to self: occasional sleep would be a good idea to help allay short-term memory loss!]

Saturday, April 18, 2009


What a day! Also added Hermit Thrush and Yellow-rumped Warbler by the end of the day. Not sure where my Sapsucker, Towhee, and Ruby-crowns are, but one can imagine it's only a matter of days now.  Watch your lead Curtis, and watch your lead Sean...

48 - 51

Caleb - your yard is not the only one where "spring is ON"!
White-thoated Sparrow (48) - singing and at feeder
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (49) - heard singing, seen later
E. Towhee (50) - heard/seen
Yellow-rumped Warbler (51) - heard "chip" and saw 2 (see photos) - so much for your "riparian" advantage Caleb!
Lots of YB Sapsuckers this a.m. (3-4 at once) and HETH's too (3+, see photo).

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Oh yeah baby!

SPRING IS ON! Brown Thrasher and Northern Rough-winged Swallow!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Back to back life yardbirds

Well, with the warm temperatures and tons of new singing behavior I was able to score both a singing Vesper Sparrow in the field to the north of the house, then within seconds a slightly more distant Field Sparrow singing away. Surprisingly, both were life yard birds.

This brings our cumulative total within 6 birds of Sean, and my yard list to 85, just 3 behind Curtis. We have until May 1 to get a lead on Sean, and it's going to have to be a good one or he'll pass us within days. My biggest targets over the next weeks are: Turkey, Rough-legged Hawk (getting late, hoping for a migrant), Wood Duck, Common Loon, Osprey, American Kestrel, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Rock Pigeon (just need one to fly .5 miles east of the airport for me!), Kingfisher, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Rough-winged, Barn, Bank, and Cliff Swallows, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Gnatcatcher, Hermit Thrush, Catbird, Brown Thrasher, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-throated, White-crowned, and Swamp Sparrows, and Meadowlark. C'mon lady luck I am sure you can help me out with at least a few of these!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

FISP n' Chips

Welcome back, Caleb, and thanks for bringing the warmest weather of the season too! The birds have been unproductive...I've been out a decent amount, but it's been slow. However, today was different! I was out in the back this evening and heard what I didn't ever expect to hear in my yard...the ping pong ball bouncing song of a Field Sparrow (46/87)! I was able to locate the bird briefly and get a horrible picture, but it's a picture. I also managed to catch the last bit of one of its songs on a video clip (listen past the Cardinal and Robin - and NO, that's not a Chipping Sparrow!!). Caleb - I got Chippie several days ago, but I couldn't resist my clever title (in "honor" of your sighting)! Aren't I nice...see I turned decent again since you've been gone so long!
I did get an additional new yard bird today as well - and an exciting one at that! A flyover drake Mallard (47/88)...ooooooh! Yes, I now have that monkey off my back. In fact an hour later I saw a 2nd one fly by too.
I added a shot I took of all the Juncos under my feeder...I counted 30 at one point, up from about 10 at the most up till today. I kind of expected to find some White-throats today, but no. I also had several GC Kinglets today...but no Rubies - should be soon!

I'm baaack (& #50)

Well after a very nice 9 day stint in Texas I am back and at it with #50 today- Chipping Sparrow. There would have been a photo accompanying this post except that my camera broke on day 2 of the Texas trip and I still havne't replaced it! I am actively checking into new options on that front.

On another note, I see that Curtis and Dave have FAILED to pass Sean and I while we were gone!! I was expecting to be way behing by now, but apparently migration is progressing slowly up here, or somebody needs to spend more time in the yard. Still waiting on Hermit Thrush, Sapsucker (life yard bird), Turkey, and several others, but the water feature is attracting lots of stuff so hopefully it will happen soon!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hermit Thrush (45)

On Sunday I added Hermit Thrush for the year. I also was able to diginoc both the thrush and Golden-crowned Kinglet. Kinglets are NOT easy subjects for diginoc photos, but I managed one decent one anyway. And I got a better, closer photo of the Phoebe that's been hanging in the neighborhood too.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Royal Feeder Visitor

This a.m. I was honored with the presence of a male Purple Finch at my feeder. While not a year/yard bird, this one is a first feeder bird (just like the Pine Siskin who visited again today). The siskin and Purple Finch fed at the same time today - NICE!

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Friday, April 10, 2009


It's about time! But finally, this morning I saw a Pine Siskin at my feeder! I had added it to the yard/year list already with flyover birds, but this was a "feeder" bird I had been waiting for ALL WINTER! Everyone else but me had siskins at their feeders...until today.
I know it's maybe not a big deal to the rest of you...since you've had them around all winter, but can't you be happy for me?!
I also was visited by a Chipping Sparrow (#44) out of the front window during supper tonight. It's been a rough week with no year birds to add lately (are the held up down south?). I hope the pace picks up soon.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Three more yardbirds before a month off...

After seeing ridiculous amounts of birds flying over this morning on the way into work I decided to delay packing for a half hour and hike back into the field and see if I could turn up a few more yardbirds as there are a whole bunch of species that are reasonably easy now that will be very difficult if not impossible once I get back (May 1) - bonaparte's gull, dc corm, rs hawk, winter wren, hermit thrush, vesper sparrow, etc).
Heard and then saw a distant Red-shouldered Hawk (#74) once I reached the top of the ridge. Then walking the wooded edge back down the field I turned up a single Ruby-crowned Kinglet (#75) among 5-6 golden-crowns. Oh and yeah finally heard a singing Fox Sparrow (#73) this morning as I hopped in the car at 630am...
So the bar has been raised slightly, I would hope that three of you can pass 75 by May 1... But then again, who knows.

Tree Swallow!

Just had my first ever Tree Swallow over the yard on an otherwise slow day (49/83). Spent a little time watching the sky mid-day as well (during lunch) but nothing was flying. So there you have it Curtis- you have 2 weeks to overtake my 49. Let's see what you can do while I am gone!

Doldrums no more?

I quickly added two more birds, not only for the year...but for the YARD!
Wandering in the back I saw a distant large bird flying high above - no, not BAEA, but I'll still take a Great Blue Heron (42, 85).
A little later I heard the distictive "eeeeww" squeezy toy call of a YBSA (43, 86). When I stopped and waited for it to show itself I was pleasantly suprised to see not only one, but a pair in the high branches above me - SWEET!
So, may my week in the doldrums be OVER.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Finally another year bird

Here it is, gentlemen, #48 for the year, thanks to the water feature. And yes, I am the last to get it for 2009.