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, May 31, 2012

Taking names

Scored a Franklin's/Laughing Gull from the Chase Place on May 29th ....was hoping for a little wing-flap from the gulls but I got nothing.  Not sure the useful field marks for separating those two at 3/4 mile.

Shorebirds have been pretty good with PESA, BBPL, and WRSA the highlights (also a pair of WIPH) -- I'm behind on my totals but will get that straight in early June.  Looking forward to fall migration - there, I said it.  Worst spring ever.

This was definitely the highlight of migration from the Swamp Lair this week (showing precisely the number of lifers Harry got from the deck) ;

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Back on May 13 I scored an EAWP in the backyard, a year and life yardbird. This was my last new year tick until today's WIFL singing across the street. Boy, did it come and go early this year. I am still missing tons of easy stuff, including most egregriously, I believe, OVEN (!). Also CSWA, WIWA, MOWA, CAWA, ALFL, YBFL, GWWA, etc. The nice part is that I can really target each of these misses during Aug- Sep and hopefully clean up.

How's everybody else doing?

Better Late Than Never

Note to self: Take vacation in MI in May to really enjoy birding. You would think I would have learned such a fundamental by now, but no. Instead, I burn the candle at both ends at home while working overtime at my job selling the outdoor gear that I should be enjoying! Talk about time mismanagement! The third week of May 2013 is for the birds!

Anyways, sorry guys for not posting lately. Unfortunately, this is one of the things that got displaced during the last month.

Some, if not all, of you know about the best yardbird I have had in awhile. Way back on May 8th this little beauty came for a visit tagging along with the season's influx of White-crowned Sparrows.

Only a one hour wonder, but at least it was present AFTER I got home from work. This is the third time this species has turned up at the feeders here. Now, why couldn't one of those times have been a bird I still need?

Here are some other feathered friends from the yard this spring....

The end.

Monday, May 21, 2012

#70 for the year

Rule of thumb for The Cheddarlands: don't bother even glancing up into the silver maples.  Focus ALL attention on the two locust trees in the front.  9 times of 10, a singing warbler will be in either of these two trees.  Twas the case this afternoon while making a quick mail/birding run [yeah yeah...I know-pathetic].

I stopped dead in my tracks with a BLPW belting it out right above me.  In locust tree uno.  #70 for the year.  Took a while to actually find the bugger.  Blackpolls are like the CONWs of the canopy...what a cool warb though...man, what a cool bird!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chased on a whim

Silly pun I know but I scored a sweet lifer at the swamp lair and I got to chase it to boot.  Had 2 whimbrels on the Portage Point sand spit from the Chase Place and made a successful run to the lair to check it off for the yard.  It took a total of 10 minutes and it's #184 for the yard.

New birds at Chase Place today included calling SBDO (photo above), CONI, and COHA.

Monday, May 14, 2012

OR OR ORiole Hat-trick

With the addition of both a 1st summer and female Orchard Oriole at my neighbors hummingbird feeder yesterday I think I can safely say I've seen it all in that department.

Other firsts for yesterday include Black-bellied Plover, baby bluebirds, and Chris putting my iPhone through the wash with about a week of migration notes and a whole lotta photos.  My iLife feels over.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Chase Place -- In these parts this fella is unexpected in the yard.

Swamp Lair - Began the day with gobble gobble on the doorstep - #183

Friday, May 11, 2012

A native clucker

For many nights now I have been taping for any of a half-dozen species I still need for the yard for the year which are likely to vocalize at night. Top of the list is perhaps EWPW (others being LEBI, COGA, SEWR, MAWR, YERA). No, CUDY this is not Eastern Wood-Pewee, it's Eastern Whip-poor-will. Strangely (considering my habitat quality up here) I have had no responses. Tonight around 11:20PM I played 2 loud bouts of song with my setup (moon was below horizon but wind calm and sky clear, so worth trying anyway) then shut off the player. Within seconds I heard at least 10 low-pitched calls best described as 'clucks' coming from the nearest tree about 30 feet away. Fast forwarded my Stokes eastern to the final 7 seconds of that track, the part with the clucking call, and BAM: exact match in tone, quality, cadence and note duration. Life yardbird, and one I was not positive I would nail down this year. Hope he sets up and sings (or was it a she?)

Also tonight, nocturnally, have been 3 separate BBCU, several SWTH, 1 GCTH, and a singing SCTA (!). All of these were recorded. Let me know if you want to hear any of them.

Just because I can....

had a good movement of migrants today; INBU, OCWA, BTGN, BOBO, LEYE, YEWA, NAWA ...

and this sweet little puppy came for a visit;

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Just the way I like em:

nocturnally! (Turn your speakers as loud as you can before playing this track)

Direct link: http://soundcloud.com/user9140545/bbcu-nocturnal-migrant-may-10

Just now (11:18PM) had my yard lifer BBCU (also a life yearbird) and SWTH (ditto) fly over the house. BBCU was low and came through clearly. Good thing I listen with my window cracked so I can count these things- they don't often give you a second chane. Also had CONI at dusk over Whitefish Lake (life yardbird and yearbird). It's no WHIM, but I'll take it.

"It's quality, not quantity, that's important"

I've decided to rip one out of the Haas playbook and start hygrading my yardbirds.  Figure if I can't beat them, I can at least get their attention....

Black-shawled Sparrow

Hey RIBR- we could use a little ribbing regarding your rabble-rowser of a sparrow from the other day. Where is the post?!!?!??


...were yard lifers this AM.  BLBW is waaaay overdue.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Had a couple of nice slugs of Bonie's last night off Lake Michigan and wouldn't you know they both had Little Gulls; the first group of 34 had 2 including a 1st Summer bird and the second set of 184 had one.  The birds were fairly distant but the lighting was phenominal -- late afternoon sun against gray storm clouds.  It really made the birds pop.  I would probably had let the youngster go had it not gone into flight display with the adult.  I had suspected it a LIGU based on size and the bold pattern across the wing coverts but when it displayed with the adult it made me a believer.

Monday, May 7, 2012

OCWA, SCTA = new yard lifers

BAWW just a few minutes ago is year bird #64 for The Cheddarlands

OCWA was yard lifer #91
SCTA was yard lifer #92

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The kind of morning you live for

So far this morning I've added 16 yard yearbirds, 8 of which were lifers. Last night's radar was again, like the previous night, off the chart, and I stood outside at daybreak hearing nothing at first. Very quickly, however, it was apparent than dozens and dozens of warblers were reorienting on the landscape, some high, others low. 

This guy came in silently and then left  quickly, like a lot of species in the early morning twilight after a flight:
 Yard lifer GRHE:
 Within minutes, a handful of these began to sing including this guy

 Surely my earliest record this far north:
 Ooh baby!

2 final notes of signifiance:
1) I got my yard lifer CATE very early on my first scan of Whitefish Lake- 2 birds which circled west and high, just like my yard life BOGU had a few days earlier. I think they were leaving the lake.

2) There is a MASSIVE movement of Blue Jays the past several days- dozens and dozens flying all day long. It is easy to overlook the common residents and their movements when eyes are glued to the neotrops, but it has been really enjoyable watching these guys lately.

Forgotten, yes. Dead, no.

Who deleted my totals?  Yes, I noticed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

18 in 24

The past 24 hours has been huge fun! 18 new year yardbirds pushed through with the advent of southerly winds. CATE, NRWS, RHWO, SPSA & GRYE all went over yesterday. Today was the big influx with 13 new species. This morning before work in an hour and a half: LEFL, NOWA, BAWW, COYE, AMRE, YTVI, MAWA, GRCA, SWTH, BHVI & BWWA. Then tonight after work prior to dusk a WOTH & INBU. Makes one wonder what was missed in between....Anyways that makes the total 113 so far this year. Looking for some more goodies tomorrow morn!

decided to bombard the blog with posts today...

...simply because I can.

Birder-phone effect strikes yet again.  High-flying PEFA while on the phone with SEFI, which yielded a mob of interesting stuff.  Including these fellas...

Eat your heart out SIPU...


EWCS = #54 for the year

am I seriously in 3rd place?

Breakfast FOTEfied with Some Sweetness this AM


Flyover FOTE and BCNH are sic yard ticks for The Cheddarlands!

INBU was yard lifer #89.

Had 5 RBGRs in one tree at my neighbor's.  It was a solid morning.

SOSA was year bird #53

The "Birder on the Phone" Effect

...and it happens once again.  Yesterday (01 May), I was chatting with SIPU and I spied 5 SACRs out my office window coming in on a flight patch right over The Cheddarlands.  This was actually a yard lifer.  I put in huge amounts of effort last year to get this species but never had any luck.  Thanks SIPU!

I stepped outside just to have a quick gander at the sky and ended up with a BGGN year tick.