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.

Friday, September 28, 2012


These are not species I see many individuals of this time of year. Neither is a year tick, but the latter is only my 2nd. The former bred here but has been absent for months:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Laughably Overdue Lifer #192

Considering that I live a mile from Lake MI and less than that from the Kalamazoo River and it's backwaters where it breeds - this bird is long overdue. I tried not to get excited about it, but it is 192 for the yard so I did at least celebrate the irony of it with a brief laugh. I heard the powerful whine of this large bird's wings long before it came into view. Any guesses? No more clues as I'll easily give it away.

Yard Rarity

A Tufted Titmouse miraculously appeared at The Cheddarlands just 15 minutes ago.  It's amazing what you can find if you just go out every now and then and look.  It's just a titmouse kinda neighborhood.

TUTI = year #91 (if I can hit 100 for the year, I'll die a happy man); #103 life

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Last night's catch

Let's get right to the important stuff first. I had a possible Le Conte's Sparrow around midnight which is here:

Still working out the ID, but the very long duration was obvious but may not be quite the norm (it apparently averages 0.2 seconds, mine was around .15-.18 depending on how you interpret the end of the note. More soon...

Here is a sampling of the mega flight which occurred:

Zeep, possibly BLBW

COYE (lots last night):


CSWA I presume:
 No clue! (there aren't supposed to be any upslurred buzzy warblers, and it's too high for thrushes)


mystery zeep

Sparrow sp.

 WTSP (one of many)


zeep, possibly BLBW

Fun stuff, more soon once I decide if I am getting any ticks out of talll this!


Heading to bed after a couple hours on the roof. It was really hopping- the Grand rapids radar is weird tonight. There was no reflectivity as the sun went down, then this horizontal push of birds showed up, apparently behind a cold front at upper levels?? Anyway, I just listened to well over a hundred seeps, thrushes, and sparrow calls including some very interesting ones which I cannot WAIT to investigate on the sonograms tomorrow (have to wait for recording to finish before trying, otherwise I have to pause the recording). One of which was a *very* long downslurred note suggesting LCSP (possibly FISP?), the other sure as heck sounded like the long cascading downslurred note of HESP (like a LCSP with a slight BOWA jingle quality to it). 

More in the AM. Get out there!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


So the google doc shows our totals as:

Kat 112
RIBR 142
CAPU 178
Skyler 45
JD 11

ANJO and WWJD- surely these are way wrong, right? Let's get this puppy updated!

Friday, September 21, 2012

getting closer to #100 for the year

GCKI in my "conifer grove" - #89 for the year


Dateline Escanaba: Hudsonian Godwit - Chase Place

Need I say more?  This LIFE yardbird extends my godwit streak to 4 migration seasons.  I'm a happy boy, wallowing in my warbler-less swamp.

Septembre 19th

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What would we do without NFCs?


And here is me calling out what I correctly suspected it to be:

and here is 178/178 (sonogram isn't obvious by sight, but you can hear it)

For you doubters, here is another, better HETH:

And a GCTH, included just for how well the sonogram turned out:

Please keep calling me guys

Since most of my yearbirds occur when someone calls which spurs me to go outside. This time's benefactor was JOKA, who called while looking at a Hudwit, 2 dowitchers, and who knows what else rares at Chase Place, donated this monster salvage to me (176/177):

Expecting that last night's listening session will net me SAVS and HETH, but time will tell.

SEFI Getting a Thrashing


Just for the record, BRTH (#102 life) is an uber good bird around here.  There's basically no scrubby type habitat anywhere in the neighborhood.  This bird was hopping between my "conifer grove" and the neighbor's crab apple tree.

Interesting Comparison - God's Country Wins

Edit by SEFI:
AABO's old yard: 

AABO's new yard:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

At The Waterhole Yesterday

Only the Black-throated Blue was new for the year (141).

Miscellany (please send some warblers my way, IL and WI guys)

A few odds and ends considering all of the migrant action appears to have been west of Lake MI today. First this is what is happening currently:

Spent 30 minutes outside and had dozens of Swainies and a couple Gray-cheekeds, plus a probable HETH, and a couple of sparrows.

Today featured what has now become the only background warbler in the yard other than a single TEWA:

and morning flight featured no warblers but this EABL:

and one I ID'ed only after working the photo- a SCTA. Pretty cool...

and I thought my BWHA # was epic...


A kilo of BWHA

Dudes...I was on the phone with the RAZL this evening and this prompted me to step outside and try my luck while on the phone.  I'm sure glad I did!  I looked up and had a huge kettle of BWHA directly above me, I started counting and quickly had to ratchet my count up from 5 to 10 as I couldn't keep up with the volume of birds.  I then looked east and west and had multiple other large kettles following different flight lines with just rivers of BWHA way up streaming overhead.  The birds kept streaming over for another 25 minutes before slowing to a trickle around 6PM.  Here's my checklists from this afternoon at my place.  The first represents 30 minutes spent outside when I got home since I figured it was a good day to watch for raptors...http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S11620949

The second represents my count conducted only 30 minutes after I'd come inside from the first watch...http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S11621797

From 6 to 1030...  Here are a few photos I got of some of the lower birds.

I like this one because you can see one of the higher flight line birds in the same frame.

A portion of one of the last kettles of the day.

5 of the 6 GREGs that went over, a salvage yardbird for 2012 (#84).
The SSHAs were also another yardbird (#83).

The BWHA total represents the largest total for the species I've ever seen in the midwest (by a huge margin...250 my previous single site high count in eBird).  It is only slightly behind my life high count of 1200 from Bentsen State Park in the LRGV of Texas.


...found this in my kid's sand box this morning:

My guess is Setophaga greater secondary covert.  MAWA maybe???  I only say this because I pulled hundreds of these off unsuspecting little maggies a few years back.  Whhhaaaaahahahahahahahahaha!!

And for your reading enjoyment:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nuttin in particular

A new visitor to the bath:
 Haven't had any Myrtles or Palms yet (thankfully), but this is definitely a sign of the beginning of the end:
 Also nailed a warbler I can finally be positive of its ID, a TEWA in good lighting and focused well:

Other than that it has been slow pickings the past few days. I can feel BLBW and WIWA slipping through the cracks which are both a travesty to miss when putting in a 180+ year...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Swainson's Hawk

Yep, a rufous adult over the swamp lair yesterday with about 200 Broad-wings.  Surprising too it happened at 6:30pm - a little late in the day for raptors but I ain't complaining.

Now I need me one of those Kytes.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Morning flight

Well as we all know, most of the day's newly arrived warblers refuse to sit still (or come into lure) during the first hour or two of sunrise upon their arrival at a stopover. Many of these birds leave the yard before any ID is possible, so I made a concerted effort to photograph as many of the flybys this morning as possible, in hopes of BLBW primarily. Here are my results, and I am banking on Mr. Galick confirming my putative IDs, or offering an ID on the ones I have no clue on. Here we go (new obsession brewing, BTW):

Not sure what to do with this one, but wondering about a dull CMWA?:

Wondering about NOPA here:
Sticking my neck out and saying BBWA (large bill, orangey breast, longish tail), but very low confidence:

Guessing CMWA on this one (next 2 pics same bird): 

Obvious CMWA male on this one (2 pics same bird) (the white upperwing patch rules out all but MAWA/CMWA/BLBW/AUWA/GWWA):

 No clue:, but short tail and white undertail covs has me wondering TEWA:
 No clue: