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, July 29, 2010

Fall Warbler War is on- want to know why?

I have no idea why this bird is present at my latitude at this time of year (this is at least 2-3 weeks earlier than I've ever had it down here in late summer) but this Bay-breasted Warbler just visited my bath:
which begs the question: why is the warbler war not on, loozas? So I am taking the initiative and declaring it ON! Here are my suggested rule changes from previous runs:

1) no real-time point removal by the 2nd person to get a species. Those who get the bird first get 2 points which cannot be removed (in yellow on the spreadsheet). Those who get is second get 1 point (green on spreadsheet). At the end of the season, anybody with a species that no one else recorded in their region gets an extra bonus point at that time.
2) date range=Jul 15-Nov 10.
3) Hussey gets to count all Old-world warblers (Phylloscopus, Sylvia, Acrocephalus, Locustella, etc.), even though they're not the same as Parulids.

Anybody got a problem with that? If so you can talk to my friend Tommy (last name Gun).

Tennessee, Tennessee aint no place I'd rather be....

If you know what the title pertains to I'm impressed, if not it's just my way of boasting that trickle down is still in play (#141) and hopefully this change for pole position is the last for the "season".

Big Rig - keep you sunny side down and your rubber side U.P.!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Suck on this (Dendroica) pinus, Fitzy

Don't know whether this is a local post-breeding dispersal, or an actual migrant, but I was just shocked to see that the little brown streaked bird coming down to the water feature was not a juvenile House Finch, but instead a Dendroica with a yellowish head and breast. My first thought went to female/juv Blackpoll, but of course given the time of year and other field marks I immediately realized it was an adult male Pine Warbler, a long-awaited life yard bird (136/119). Unfortunately it bolted prior to my photographing it, and I was unable to track it down outside despite hearing it (also surprisingly) sing 3 times before I lost it. If it returns I will try to get a photo and post it.

And in case you didn't notice, Fitz-bew, you are now back behind me by one bird for the life competition...

Welcome back CARW!

This a.m. I woke to my 21mo old screaming, but it did not drown out the cheery downslurred trills a Carolina Wren in my backyard! I've not had that bird here in well over a year and was glad to have it back. I hope it sticks, although I fear it's a wandering bird.
Then, to my delight, I looked at the google doc list for this year and realized my totals were off by a few. I scanned all that were ticked on my list and all were legit so my total on the blog page jumped few. Then, the CARW made me surpass Skye....WOOOHOOO! I have a feeling if I'm to stay there I'm going to have to keep on my toes as Skye has some holes to fill yet as fall migration starts.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Trickle down theory

Do y'all figure the envy Skye and I had to endure this spring will work in reverse for the rest of you this fall? I sure hope so.

An Ovenbird this morning sealed the deal that fall migration is here; other migrants recorded today included white pelican, brown thrasher, parula, yelow-rumped, and a quick glimpse of the upperbreast of a potential new yardbird; Cape May Warbler.

Was so jubilant to see the Ovenbird (#140) that I wrote a short poem.

Whos woods are these I do not know
his house looks like he might be poor
Will he see me stopping here
to catch a meal or hide with fear
the water feature looks so nice
the drip is something to entice
perhaps I'll stay and fatten up
and watch the yard fill up with birds

Oh, and do enjoy the photo quiz....it has nothing to do with an Ovenbird but I did take it in the yard today.

Radar from last night... HEADS UP

A jolting note from the Nocturnal Flight Calls (NFC) listserv today, confirming fall migration underway. This may be our best chance for nocturnal flyby LOWA... Time to warm up the mics, boyz.

[nfc-l] flight last night‏
From: bounce-6132058-10568270@list.cornell.edu on behalf of David La Puma (woodcreeper@gmail.com)
Sent: Mon 7/26/10 9:17 AM
To: nfc-l@cornell.edu
Some birds were on the move last night- as shown by this NEXRAD image from 1:00am EST last night (this morning): http://tinyurl.com/2b84qxv

most of the signal across the Midwest appears to have been anomolous propagation (check the velocity on the individual radars- most show zero or very low radial velocity associated with the high reflectivity), but the light movement over the Mid-Atlantic appears to have been birds. A light morning flight over my house this AM turned up several Yellow Warblers and American Redstarts. By 7:00am a friend had 40 birds of several species down at Higbee's Beach in Cape May, with at least a few LA Waterthrush in the mix (but I have yet to hear a full report).

I turned my mic on last night and recorded from 10pm on, without much being picked up... so I assume birds were 1) really high up or 2) quiet as they were going over. The insect chorus is a force to be reckoned with!

Good birding/listening/radar-watching


David A. La Puma
Postdoctoral Associate
New Jersey Audubon Society
600 Route 47 North
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
Office: 609.861.1608 x33
Fax: 609.861.1651



Sunday, July 25, 2010

BCNH - 128

Had a lone BCNH this afternoon while spending 30 minutes watching the wetland. Managed 26 species during that time. Also of note were the 11 Caspian Terns loafing in a fluddle in a soybean field .7 miles to the NW. AND an African Collared-Dove buzzed me about .5 mile north of my place... Still waiting on EUCD for DuPage Cty, figures I'd get the (locally) rarer and uncountable dove first... Curtis, I wasn't kidding about that fall warb tally, lets see it. Our northern compadres are already seeing those drab beauts trickling through!

Fall Ho!

Fall Ho!

A ratty-looking Parula foraging in the yard yesterday was a welcomed yardbird and the kick-off of FALL MIGRATION.

With all the water in the Portage Marsh I'm ready to build an Ark. A scour of the lagoon and outer sandbar produced only a spotty, sanderling, and g. yellowlegs.

of interest were single long-tailed duck, gadwall, and greater scaup. Not shabby for July. Common Terns still on eggs. Is that normal?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fall Warbler Wars have begun

Consider the family of Nashville Warblers foraging in my yard this evening to be my opening volley across your'alls bow. The Haas Tract has always done well for fall warblers (possible in the spring too, but how would I know?!? I'm out birding interesting places then sitting around pretending my suburban lot is a realistic substitute for an actual birding hotspot!).

Prepare for a wicked fall gentlemen- I feel a very good autumnal migration coming to Lake Superior........


Monday, July 19, 2010

Marsh Master - Denied

I was getting a little worried I was going to strike out on Marsh Wren for the season so I enlisted the help of a field assistant (he requested his identity be protected) to help execute the Marsh Wren Plan (pure Putznuts). Basically, my assistant waded out into the Portage Marsh and played a taped call of the Marsh Wren (iBird Pro) while I stood on my lair a half mile away hoping to catch the little bugger doing a territorial flight display in the scope. The plan was not as far fetched as it sounds but a dead phone battery and technical difficulties with an illiterate iPhone user (good help is hard to find) tried my patience to the point I called off "the hunt"only to find out as soon as I left the platform to retrieve my field assistant that the Marsh Wrens started doing their thing.

Not happy with the swamps performance this summer, not at all. El Sucko.

Hydroprogne on this Putnam!

So after a long hiatus since I've last seen much of anything in my yard, I opted to take Boone's advice and loop around the pond that is part of my "yard" from the far side, and try to get a vantage point away from the golf course (which is packed with inept suburbanites who have grand aspirations of being the next Nicklaus, but none of the game). I found a parking lot on the far side after work that looks over the pond and the first bird I had winging its way toward me was a Caspian Tern! This has been on my radar the last couple months as I've seen them at three different locations less than 2 miles from my place, but I still am pretty psyched to pick this one up for my non-lakefront County yard. Also of lesser note was a male Belted Kingfisher who was hunting the pond (didn't nest here), and 36 DCCO hauled out on the logs that were checked carefully for a smaller southern relative without luck. Still a few YWARs and a WIFL around, I wonder how much longer they'll hang on.
Oh I almost forgot to mention that the Caspian Tern ties me with Putnam's Kent Cty Black Oak haven all time! Yeah that's right. Let the whining begin! Also, this was my first year yardbird since I picked up CONI on May 25... Talk about summer doldrums. I'm hoping the water levels decline on the ponds and the pull a few tringa or calidris down.
Bird on fellas, go find some MEGA fluddles!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Red Crossbill

Yo-yo-yo ladies and gentlemen and Slager.......

Had a Red Crossbill make a brief touchdown in my tallest aspen tree yesterday morning making it my 93rd yard bird for the year. Not the most common of birds at my place, in fact its been a few years since I have had one here.

Other then that, things are pretty slow though all the goldfinch activity in my yard brought in my first Siskin in a few months to the Haascienda. I have a Catbird nesting in my lilacs, and both Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Great Crested Flys have been around lately. I had a family of Broad-winged Hawks come rolling through the other day, but I am growing concerned that I may miss Black-billed Cuckoo for my yard this year, which would be the first time that has happened to me since I moved here in '04.

......still no RT Hummer, but once migration gets going they'll be here


PUMA dispersal

Sorry the blog has become so slow lately, gents! What can I say: there is basically nothing new to report, and all of my cutdowns have been used. I am definitely looking forward to late August and early September when things will pick back up and I can again try to regain some of the ticks I lost this spring.

In any event, Sean and his wife Karen were at our house this past weekend, and Sean wanted to get his Kent Co. Dickcissel (at least 6 of which are present about 1 mile from my house at the Sparta airport, only the 2nd location I've had them for Kent). So Saturday morning we made a run for it and got him his bird. Also found on that count was a single PUMA (my 3rd or 4th for Kent ever), beelining up high. Perhaps less surprising, then, was the additional PUMA I just had overflying my yard (detected first on the microphone, which is a live feed in my office). It is not a year bird (my yard lifer coming this May), but it is only my 2nd sighting for the yard, and since they don't breed anywhere locally, clearly they are already on the move...

Friday, July 9, 2010


So, I was chatting with Putnam yesterday and we briefly discussed The Blog. I mentioned in passing that I was gunnin' for Cedar Waxwing. Low and behold, I pull in to my house on the way home from work and bingo...a CEDW (#56/yard lifer #59) lands in one of the stunted ash trees lining the street. Now why couldn't this have happened with some warbs on the few mornings I was actually home this past spring?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

el Bosque de Pinos

Howdy all,

been quite a while, I've been in the eastern UP, two-timing it with another yard for the last 6 weeks. Birding in the Hacienda-East has been pretty great- lots of breeding warblers (12 spp, including Blackburian, Magnolia, Pine, Mourning, etc) and other goodies like Wilson's Snipe, American Bittern, Blue-headed Vireo, Lincoln's Sparrow, Red & White-winged Crossbills, Evening Grosbeak, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and my Winter Wren alarm clock.
 The TNC Cabin

I (so far) have had 55 species of birds around the immediate property, I suppose I could of added some birds (and still might) if I hiked west from the cabin into the sedge marshes. It is an amazing preserve just full of all kinds of wildlife. These guys took out my birdfeeders one evening!

It was pretty awesome having 12 species of warblers singing from the cabin yard, and spending one's evening having a beer while watching Blue-headed Vireos raise a family was a good time.
Two pairs of these guys in the yard- one right by the cabin, the other by the gate
Another daily sight at the cabin-which was named Smitty's
Four-spotted Skimmer
Atlantis Fritillary

Thursday, July 1, 2010


So, its been pretty status quo in the yard of late. Right now, my day off I hear the soothing sounds of COYE, MODO, BARS, TRES, CHSP, WBNU, EAWP, EAME, RBGR, SCTA, GRCA, RWBL, CEDW,CACH, HOWR, EABL (who just fledged nest #2 of five fledgies), and WITU squawkin' etc. Had 56 Sp. in the yard today including YBCU. Oh, I guess that ones new for the year #131. Now I need good old BBCU to make an appearance. That'd be nice.