You guys aren't going to believe this! First off, I racked up 5 new species for the yard this morning--4 of which were new yard lifers. Things started off this morning with a fine look at a flyover Horned Lark (#36/#45). After taking care of a few things in the garage, I headed back out to the 'slab' and scanned the horizons (the only one that I can't see well is the eastern but I can get some decent views over the neighbor's roof). Here comes the incredible bit, quite possibly the best yard bird ever here at The Wastelands...
...I was meandering over to our front door from the slab for a bit of north horizon scanning. My wife poked her head out our front door (which faces to the east) to tell me something, I responded (can't remember what she said at the moment but I'm assuming all of you with wives can understand that), and then turned to the east. I noticed a medium sized songbird type flying right at me that was initially at about 100 meters. I got on it, noticed its undulating flight, and FREAKED as I witnessed a gorgeous Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (#37/#46) bank once and then bust over our roof!!!!! I have no idea where he was going our what he was doing in the neighborhood but this may be the best species yet for the yard. I couldn't believe it! The tallest trees in the neighborhood are 3-year old saplings of various deciduous varieties. There are random pines (unsure of the species) but nothing over 9 feet. The bird was flying low through the neighborhood so one can only assume that it was not simply clearing the area from point A to point B. Either way, I looked in the right place at the right time...it all happened in about 5 seconds. It makes me wonder what other interesting things I've missed. King Rail walking down the main street? Bored Smith's Longspur trying its luck in all the perfectly manicured lawnage? Geeze...who knows?
No less than 2 minutes after scratching my head over the wayward sappy, I looked up to see a Broad-winged Hawk (#38) glide over at a fairly low altitude. While watching the BDub snag a thermal, a small songbird flew through my field of view, chipped once, and landed in one of those gimpy ornamental saplings...BINGO!--Chipping Sparrow (#39/#47). I only had a few more minutes to spare before having to leave home but a small group of swallows winged over, one of which was a Northern Rough-winged Swallow (#40/#48).
Definitely one of the most memorable mornings in The Wastelands and I certainly have hope for some warby action once some of the major waves starting hitting this corner of NE Illinois.
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.