2013 and beyond
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.
Friday, December 16, 2011
I ended up with three birds I didn't expect (including 2 life yardbirds!)... All bolded below:
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 830
Gadwall (Anas strepera) 1 male associating with small group of MALL in shallow pond (#171 for the yard)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 18
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) 4 (2 males and 2 females)
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 1 Immature bird with bum wing. I'm astonished to see this bird alive and preening on a log this morning. This pond froze up 6 days ago and almost certainly didn't open back up until the temps came back up on Wednesday and rain thawed things on Thursday. I checked the snags and logs last Saturday to see if it was still alive sitting above the iced over pond and was unable to see it. How did it survive at least 4 days of ice!?
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) 1
Red-tailed Hawk (Eastern) (Buteo jamaicensis borealis) 1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 6
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) 1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 4
Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) 1 Singing bird in shrubby crabapple along the margin of golf course. Lots of tall grass/brush and cattails with numerous sparrows and rodents around, possibly could winter in this area? (#170 for the yard) (photo taken on 12/17 as the bird obligingly hung around to be counted on the FermiLab CBC!)
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 1
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 6
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 17
American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) 3
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) (Junco hyemalis hyemalis/carolinensis) 12
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 4
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) 17
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 3
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 8
I didn't bring a camera out this morning (as I expected to be pulling teeth birdwise), but I'll try to relocate the NSHR tomorrow or Sunday morning and get some photos.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Here's hoping they make the jaunt into the spruce in my yard instead. Mic is listening as we speak.
Update: within 20 minutes of making this post I started to hear PISI through my mic (73/73) so I went outside and as I scanned the spruce in the front yard I flushed 8 WWCR (74/74) off the top of that tree!! Ridiculous. No pictures as they departed heading NE, but if they come back I will try again. Can't believe we are having another WWCR invasion year.
Bread- now you really better watch out: 1 to go and you are tied for 2nd to last. All it would take is one RLHA or AMKE...
Monday, November 21, 2011
Fast forward two weeks and again, I had to crawl out of bed at an early hour so that I could get on the road for an early start to my work day...and it hit me. Didn't I hear a GHOW a couple weeks ago? At this point, I was convinced that it was one of those vivid dreams but as the day went along, I started recalling more details about this memory. When I got home, I asked Em if she remembered my waking up to a calling GHOW. She confirmed and thus yard bird #83 was born.
I'll refrain from the use of "epic" here so I'll settle for "Neato!"
Gentlemen- allow me to educate- Tufted Titmouse in Ohio is not epic. However a Grasshopper Sparrow on Lake Superior, on November 20th, in the snow, in a suburban yard in the center of a decently sized city, providing not only the UP, but the entire State of Michigan with a new record late date by a matter of 3 weeks (with the former record being both mine and surpassing any other records by several more weeks!),
Well...... now this is epic. Matter of fact, if it weren't for that damn Prairie Falcon, I would take the blue ribbon of rarities in the yard for the year.
So there ya have it boya's- enjoy, weep, hang up the binoculars, cause it aint gonna get better then this for the rest of the year.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Also awoke this morning to 2 Purple Finches "pikking" from the treetop above the feeder. This brings me to 69 life yardbirds, which makes me officially ahead of the Boonedoggle's Slab in IL. Yeah, yeah, it's an inactive site, but I need something to keep me going. ANJO you are next boy! Might want to protect yourself and do a little yardbirding??
Monday, November 7, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Today a single Snow Bunting (155) flew over while I was scoping the Kalamazoo River drainage from the roof top. This bird was expected. Now, where are you Tundra Swan?!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
On the other hand, another great bird got away. I had my rooftop mic running as I was getting ready to get out and bird when through it came the chatter of one and possibly two White-winged Crossbill as they made their way over the house. As fast as I could get outside I could not relocate them. This was exasperating because, and correct me if I'm wrong, according to the rules of the game, this is not a countable observation due to the intervention of the mic. Hopefully, these WWCR are the start of more to come, although RECR is of greater importance to me for the yard and county.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I awoke this morning from an incredibly vivid dream, the kind that you really have to convince yourself that "no, that didn't happen, it was just a dream..."
My dream was i had a Townsend's Warbler hopping around the ground in my yard with the sparrows- oh the horror! Im sweating.....
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Also had 2 of these Red-eyed Sparrows show up today, joining the longstanding flock of WCSP at the feeder. This was an unexpected yardbird tooOn a serious note (that was a Kent tick for me), I also finally knocked off my first Accipiter in the yard, a SSHA which took a few swipes at the feederbirds. 61 and counting. Watch it Boonedoggle.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Unidentified Locustella sp. (identified solely by rectrix tip spacing):
WCSP (nice flock at feeder currently)
RCKI (new today)
Gone' be interesting whether RIBR can hold on with Kat on his tail... Also, where are our esteemed colleagues Jonesin, RAZL, Warned, and Bread?!?!? Are you guys still alive?
Sunday, October 2, 2011
October 1, 2011
Woke early, checked the radar, nice flight. Clear, Orion high in sky, the odd seep note. Went back to sleep. Woke at dawn, high wispy clouds; perfect for migration. Gale force winds of the day before now calm, perfect again. I brewed coffee, gruffed at the empty feeder, then settled down in the chair to finish reading the BIG YEAR.
The tinge of guilt that has been pestering me all year was as strong as the coffee. I really should be out working the last vestige of migration. I kept turning pages. I should fill the feeders, scope for ducks, walk outside and listen. Instead I read about Sandy Komito, Al Levantin, and Greg Miller making good on their obsession birding across American. I couldn't musser the enthusiasm to travel across my yard. The story isn't that compelling, though I marvel at the author's ability to keep a three way “competition”, that began and ended on Attu (Komito spent more time there than the other two), "fresh".
I finished the book by 10 am. Feeling motivated, I made another cup of coffee. I fantasized about hiring guides to bird my yard and call me about missing birds while I loaf on the couch that we don't have. I felt a tang of motivation; IF I gave it my all I might be able to catch Big Rig Komito by the years end. My list of missed yardbirds for the year is impressive and some are still within the range of possibility.
A trumpet of cranes heard inside the house broke my reverie. 50 were flying over in a V.... I called for Chris and she came to look too, responding “what’s that other bird circling”….still amped from the Big Year I frantically scrambled inside to find my bins and cried “where, where”, sure-nuf a sky high Red-tail inched me closer to my own Sandy Komito: Big Rig Brigham. That was #137 for for the year….I kept scanning overhead; another tail, then a couple sharpies, broad-wing, another sharpy. With Golden Eagle nagging I went inside to pack for my trip downstate (Tigers baby!). Never thought my dreams of a yard-guide would be fulfilled so quickly.
Around 2 pm, I decided it was time to fill the feeders and check passerines on the way to the platform. I stepped into the backyard and was meet with movement at my usually lifeless water feature; Blue-headed Vireo…. #138 for the year and a life yardbird, #177.
I knew I had to make it a Hat-Trick so I could pound on here about my exploits. I walked 200 feet through alder and buckthorn to the platform. At the end of the trail I caught movement through dense cover --- a medium sized bird darted away. It looked awfully like a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher which meant it had to be a cuckoo – and this time of year undoubtably a Yellow-billed Cuckoo; a Code 3 Fall Vagrant in the UP and a Code 5 UP yardbird. A Cuckoo lost in a sea of alder, buckthorn, and willow. I climbed the platform and spent time contemplating how to salvage the title to this blog post. Was cuckoo sp. appropriate for a silhouette? Would I honestly answer this rhetorical question? I scanned the vegetation for sign of the cuckoo -- after 10 minutes of contemplation there it was, 50 meters away perched motionless on the branch of a white ash, just the way it was suppose to be. I retreated for my guide (Chris) and digiscope. #139 for the year and #178 for the yard. o.k. where's the snowcock??
Friday, September 30, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
On a side note: my awesome 21c microphone from Oldbird.org bit it on the first rainstorm, with 1 inch of water inside the watertight compartment! Called Oldbird and this is the first in 30+ which have come back. Fortunately for me their customer service is tops and it is being replaced as we speak. Looking forward to being able to listen to the sky from inside ASAP. Hussey- 2 more sp. and you are destroyed on the life yardlist competition, and Booner, get busy cause 71 ain't gonna last in 12th place for long, m'boy...
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I just had a Solitary Sandpiper go over the Haas Tract, calling away in the fog. This is only the 2nd or 3rd time I've had this bird from the house, and its been a few years. A flyover Greater Yellowlegs from a few weeks ago is my only other shorebird for the year here. Still annoyed at JD for scoring a Spottie on his forested hilltop a couple miles south of me....
Well I have never had such a dead yard in the many falls I have lived here, its completely ridiculous. I have NO idea where the birds are, my yard can be such a good spot to watch fall warblers in, this year, they have been near completely absent- its terrible.
On the good side, I am up to 91, my sights on Curtis and Boots in my rear-view mirror...
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
YTVI (still singing)
CMWA (nice spanking adult male)
ROPI (nice after trying and missing for 2 years at the last place!)
HOSP (yes this took 3 days to add)
RHWO (wow- this species took 1.5 years to get at my last house, not 1.5 days!)
REVI/WAVI/PHVI (mew call heard only)
GCTH - NFCs
SWTH - NFCs
WOTH- 1 NFC (probably Veeries were in the mix too- but I need to look at sonograms to be sure)
BDOW (singing at night)
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
This house is on 1 acre of wooded habitat, not far from a quite large lake with adjoining smaller lake well-suited to Ixobrychus exilis and other gems. Witness:
This house will undoubtedly outdo my last in waterbirds if for the proximity of such a large waterfowl and waterbird magnet. Across the street lurks an overgrown old field (a bit late for BRTH and FISP this year, perhaps, though I'll try):
The view of the horizon above the old field is rather impressive too, totalling almost 180 degrees of the sky hemisphere, which should help for flyover raptors and waterfowl. Another added benefit is the presence of low thickets of vegetation in the back yard (something totally lacking at my last residence, which is why I never recorded COYE, SWSP, LISP, MOWA, etc.):Anyway, since finishing moving in less than 24 hours ago, I have mounted the brand spanking new Bill Evans 21c microphone on the roof (currently recording and listening to a live feed featuring 20+ SWTH, 1 GCTH, and 10+ warblers since starting typing this message), plus set up the feeding station and watering hole, and lured in the local BCCH flock to check for any lingering early/mid September warblers I am about to miss (only MAWA obliged):So, to sum up, GAME ON, beeches.
Here is today's and yesterday's eBird checklists for this newly minted patch:
Monday, September 12, 2011
Other migrants were AMRE and REVI. I'm finding that the silver maples (which nominate the neighborhood) just do not pull in many migrants. From my vantage point, I have yet to see an oak species in any of the neighbor's yards.
Other highlights yesterday were southbound BWHA and a few mid-day groups of CONIs.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
I've only spent about 7 days total this May at my home and getting new birds, I'm sure a ton of spring warblers just passed right through as I was off birding the coastlines. The only other thing of note was about a week ago, I got my long-awaited and somewhat over-due yard lifer Blackburian Warbler. Oh the joy. Passed Caleb on the yard lifer list too, his brief stay a bird ahead of me was just too unbearable to stand for, and hell, I enjoy picking low-hanging fruit.
I'm off to my cabin in the Big Two-hearted River country this evening, so a temporary yard list shall be duly provided when I am back in front of the computer again. There, Blackburian is a daily yard bird.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
It was a nice reminder that even though migration is winding down, there are still birds to be had! I'm due for Acadian Flycatcher and Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic,tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic,tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic,tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic,tic, tic, tic,
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Gray-Cheeked Thrush (88)
Bay-breasted Warbler (89)
Wilson's Warbler (90)
Canada Warbler (91)
Yellow Warbler (92)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (93/120)
The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher came in to the bird bath and did a few swooping passes over the water, dipping in each time - SWEET! I managed a photo of the Gray-Cheeked at the bird bath (see below). Canada Warbler was singing this a.m. and showed at the bird bath later too. Yellow Warbler is surprisingly hard to get in my yard. My guess is that it's because it has plenty of good habitat nearby that it does not need to stick in the yard.
Friday, May 20, 2011
I knew this moment was coming. Just smoked by JD, with more of you lunatics to soon come screamin by.
Spring migration has been appallingly slow in the yard (big surprise). Plenty of warblers transiting above without even a call note. Not even a thrush, though hoping for some night migrants tonight with the recent weather system moving out.
Time to reset priorities and hone in on that mega ...
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Itsbeen a week of birding for me, so I've lumped in some of this weeks sightings into this post. Its typical lazy birding style for me. Tuesday, before I went up to Lake Erie for a few days, I had a Black Vulture steal this perch from a TUVU in my yard.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Here's the line-up of year birds:
Indigo Bunting (78) - male at the feeder
Red-eyed Vireo (79)
American Redstart (80)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (81)
Magnolia Warlber (82)
and last but not least....Oh, heck, just LOOK BELOW would ya!
Hooded Warbler (83/119)!!! Can you say "Cha-CHING!!
Sunday, May 8, 2011
5/5 - Blue-winged Warbler (70) - at the bath
5/6 - Palm Warbler (71), Cape May Warbler (72), Winter Wren (73), Orange-crowned Warbler (74) and Northern Waterthrush (75/117) bopping around a measly brush pile 50 yards from the only water around (my bath). That's warbler species #27 lifetime for the yard.
5/7 - Tennessee Warbler (in the bath) (76) and Eastern Bluebird (77/118) - LONG awaited - singing to the N of the house and then flying east. Weird time to pick that one up...should be active at the nest (which there are none of nearby).
RAZL - I'm going to keep you at arm's length as long as I can!
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
Photographed are a couple of the highlights from the last two days. The RHWO came repeatedly for seeds this afternoon until dusk. The LISP actually showed up on Sat, but really got visible when I revamped the water feature which it can't seem to get enough of.
BGGN arrived on Sat as did WCSP & COYE. As anticipated, with the forecast south winds, yesterday delivered well with NAWA, WIWR, GCFL, LEFL, BANS, OVEN & CSWA. Besides woody at right today brought
a PIWO, OSPR & CARW. Hope this continues, 'cause I don't like going through withdrawals!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
All told I had a 45 species day with 18 new year birds!!!
Here's the additions:
Blackburnian Warbler (52)
Turkey Vulture (long time coming)
Bald Eagle (59/116) - finally scored this with a high soaring imm. bird
Pine Warbler (2nd yard record)
Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Scarlet Tanager (69)
Here's some pictures to drool over: