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.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What's the best yardbird?

The one that Caleb won't drone on and on about his chances of getting in HIS yard.  For me that was a Stilt Sandpiper that graced the mudflat out in front of the house.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Warming up...


Getting warmer

First sighting in my yard since Mid-May, and this species did not breed anywhere close to my yard, so this must represent some kind of post-breeding dispersal. He didn't actually enter the bath, but you can see him looking down at the water.

Perfect example of how a good water feature is a necessity for serious yardbirding! I would have never observed this bird in my yard if it didn't come to the water...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

And the first water feature visitor is.....

a stupid juvenile, of course! In this case, a CHSP (it's parent nearby was not willing to enter).Anyone who's tried this stuff already recognizes just how specific the requirements are in order to get birds to feel comfortable enough to leave the safety of the foliage and enter the water. It seems to me that birds really want to be able to see a significant distance from the water, presumably to guarantee they'll see an approaching predator with time to spare.

In this case, I had built up a bit of a 'wall' surrounding the top, shallow, puddle, so I removed it and flattened out the entire setup. But I still have a propane tank just 4-5 feet from the puddle and I suspect strongly it's preventing the majority of candidate adult birds (so far, BCCH, EAPH, CHSP) which are watching down from above the pool but refusing to enter it.

Anyway, good thing I am starting so early. Gotta be ready once the OSFLs, YBFLs, ALFLs, and GWWAs start to arrive around Aug 20...

(BTW, where the hell are all you guys?!?!? Let's see some posts, even if you have no new birds)

Monday, July 9, 2012

water feature part deux

Those of you who have been members of the blog (or at least checking it) since its inception in 2009 will remember the success I had with a water feature during fall migration in attracting large #s of warblers and other migrants. See this video for evidence:


I have never before seen so many warblers shoulder to shoulder, and almost all of these birds were foraging high in the canopy throughout the day except during the brief early afternoon 'deluges' during which they bathed. They would begin dropping from the canopy in one downpour, bathe for a handful of minutes, then leave for the remainder of the day.

For 2012 I have so far opted not to create a water feature primarily out of laziness (and not wanting to spend $50+ to get the needed vinyl liner from Lowe's- my old one has holes). But now realizing that I need OVEN, GWWA, WIWA, CAWA, YBFL, and several other difficult-to-find passerines as they return in late August, I decided it was a must to get one ready by patching up the old one with duct tape. So, here it is:  

 This yard lacks a good brushpile, but fortunately the bath is surrounded by weeds and vines 2-3 feet high. These are connected in turn to the canopy of the forest to my NW by subcanopy of apple and sumac directly above the bath, so like in fall 2009, canopy migrants will have an unimpeded pathway to the water not requiring them to leave cover.

 Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I placed the bath so that I can monitor it all day long as I work. Given the unpredictability of visits by rare migrants during the daylight hours (typically anywhere from 11AM to 4PM, peaking around 1-2PM), this will help to ensure I don't miss the single GWWA which visits from now until Sept 5.
Here's to 185 for 2012! Does anyone else have water features?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fall migration has begun

Shorebirds have been picking up the last week with both yellowlegs, LESA, KILL, WRSA (still northbound), and today dowitchers (2). Also, BOGU, COYE, MAWR, and VIRA have all showed recently. Onward! Warbler Wars can't be far behind.