I spent about a half hour outside grilling in the cold drizzle with the Boone outside his place this afternoon (while our wives and kiddo stayed inside where it was warm). The first flock of ducks that went over was dominated by Mallard but had a couple slimmer and smaller ducks in the midst. They thankfully banked shortly thereafter and showed off the extensive white on the secondary covs - a pair of American Wigeon!
We continued our cold vigil and were rewarded by a flock of 6 Common Mergs that buzzed the place. As we were just finishing up the burgers another flock of dabs came from the north - this one containing three species! The long strung out shape of multiple NOPIs (5 total) jumped out immediately among the blockier Mallards, but there were two slightly smaller dabblers in there that became apparent as additional American Wigeon!
Two life yardbirds for the Boonedox on a seemingly rubbish day weather-wise!
To put these two species in perspective, I had previously recorded AMWI once at my folks place in WI (none last year) and I was the only one who had NOPI of any of us last year (3 sightings in the first half of March totaling 55 birds - in WI of course). So the wastelands just became only the second site ever to record either of these species... And multiple flocks containing AMWI - ridic. Watch out Warner, Boone's coming!
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.