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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

steady now

It's time like this that make me wish I'd moved into this place just 2 weeks earlier- so my current additions would add to my lead rather than inch me closer to not being in last place (!). But that is my reality, and there are many species left to add. Just had this puppy fly over (72/72):Also, last Wednesday I was birding with RAZL under 1 mile from my house when we had these unexpected beauts:
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

Yarding in My Dreams

So, one sleep deprived night, the deep hooting of a pair of Great Horned Owls woke me out of a dead sleep. I shot up in bed to confirm, then my wife asked me what was wrong. Everything after that is a blur...

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!"

Nov. 20th Grasshopper Sparrow!!!!

Well, well, well....... Now you fellas are known to just toss around the word epic so often that the word begans to loose it's meaning. In the words of Inigo Montoya- You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIP6EwqMEoE&feature=related

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

late date

Had a couple of tardy yardbirds this past week. At my place in Hancock I snagged a Blackpoll Warbler -- the previous late date for the Keweenaw was September 30!

A Field Sparrow at the feeder in Esky today was only the third for the yard (first in fall) and late for the UP.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I passed someone! (sort of)

So last night, as CUDY alluded, I heard 2 flocks of TUSW go over my house. The first sounded like it was alighting on Whitefish Lake, the second clearly flew over heading south. Thanks for the tip!

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??

CUDY is Back...TUSWeet!

I know it's been a LONG time since I've posted (or even been paying attention to) this blog, but I'm back. I won't go into detail about my long hiatus, but it's legit.
So, I've added a couple of life yard birds in the mean time (one of which came tonight and was the impetus to post) and a couple year birds too.

The 2 year birds are:
9/22: Northern Parula (98) - at the bird bath
9/22: Blackpoll Warbler (99) - ditto above -
*That makes for 25 warbler species for 2011 - which is only one shy of my life yard warbler list (I missed CERW this year - DANG IT!) and makes for the highest total of warbler species for 2011 on this blog....am I right RIBR?

Here are the 2 life yard birds:
9/11: Eastern Screech Owl (97/121) - after many failed attempts to call this bird it just happened to start singing from across the street one random September night...upon which CAPU was over and got to share in the joy. Go figure.

11/9: Tundra Swan (100/122)- after talking to CAPU about my biggest county nemesis earlier this evening (and one I never seriously considered chasing cross-county for), 2 flocks (heard only) just happened to fly over my house late tonight in the strong, gusty west winds. So I called CAPU back with the news, at which point he turns on his mic and later emails me the news that he's now added it as a life yard bird to his new pad. You're welcome Putz.

Ok, now I think I'm up-to-date.

Monday, November 7, 2011

3 more yard lifers

Given how many easy yard lifers I still need (most waterfowl, RLHA, any falcon, AMPI, PUFI, etc.) it is not surprising I keep on knocking em down. But it is kind of fun getting the common ones anyway. Today had a NOHA drop out of the sky, investigate the field across the road and move on. Followed by Herring Gulls (not sure why it took so long with them present daily on the lake .5 miles from the house), and my first American Tree Sparrow. Northern Shrike is next, gents. The habitat across the street is good enough that it might even hold one for the winter... 67 and inching up on Booner and Jonesin.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Another Lifer

The north winds let up a bit on Friday morning, but not before they delivered 6 Canvasback into my field of view. I love the joy and exhilaration of a new bird no matter how inconsequential it's standing. In this case it's a new yardbird, 154/189. During that half hour between dawn and work I was also able to scope 4 COLO and 10 scaup sp. Like yesterday, these were also with the vantage west as they headed south above the treeline along Lake MI. Can't imagine what I've missed being at work during the majority of these fabulous flights.....

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

A Ducky Day

North winds for a change prompted a distant "lake watch" this morning before work. I actually can't see Lake Michigan from the yard as it is a mile away and hidden by trees, but the land to it slopes gradually downhill and waterfowl picked up by a consistent strong wind can sail high above the treeline and even fly a short ways inland. Today I was not disappointed. In the short time (45 mins) I had to scope from the west boundary of the yard I picked up 3 year yardbirds one of which was a yard lifer. Among the hundreds of waterfowl moving south I picked out one ABDU (151/188) in a flock of MALL, 35 GRSC (152) and a dozen RBME (153). Yup, as lackluster as ABDU is as a lifer it's more than welcome!

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.