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, March 21, 2013

Pretty Boys

A couple of pretty boys have been coming to the feeding stations lately with their harem. They strut their stuff while their 22 lady friends ignore them.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sandhill Dreams

Yesterday, after a long, fun day of birding in Ottawa Co., I came home and got some things done around the house. I then went to the south field, laid down in the grass and fell asleep out of the cold wind in the sun. I was awakened by trumpeting Sandhills flying over. A group of six, then two and then a single bird. The single I believe was thinking about landing in the field as it circled down to about 100 ft, but must have seen me and sailed off. Pretty cool.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Well, my first total surprise bird (other than RECR) has appeared at the house! Upon walking outside in the drizzle at dusk I was shocked to immediately hear the high pitched wing-twittering of a WOODCOCK directly overhead. Main reason this is shocking is not the date, but the location and habitat- nearly 2 miles from anything resembling habitat for this species.

I had figured it might take me years of waiting to score this species here. Also my mic is currently broken and not functioning, so I had no chance of hearing it short of walking outside the house. Pretty cool.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Owl Ranch

Howdy all,

I'm in! Got a new yard, got a new year, got some great habitat- now if only the birds would find my feeders.....

I'm at a modest 22 birds for the year, nothing too crazy. A Hoary Redpoll dropped in for a couple of days, and I've had both species of Crossbills flyover. A small flock of Bohemian Waxwings were around a few weeks ago. I'm in a much more wooded place with lots of oaks, so Red-bellied Woodpecker is a near daily bird for me as opposed to being a rare treat. I'm right on the northwest edge of town with the Dead River just a few blocks over so another near daily bird for me is Common Raven (my old place would only see a few of these a year). Truthfully my feeders have been slow. I'm concerned that the much more wooded habitat of my new place may not be as attractive to migrants as my old yard was, but I am looking forward to having more breeders in the yard. I am certainly thinking there should be a Pine Warbler nesting in the yard, and daresay I am dreaming of a summer resident Blackburian Warbler. But I don't think I'm getting a Grasshopper Sparrow at this new place! I will just have to settle for that Band-tailed Pigeon that will eventually come into the feeder one day......

So the yard is .75 acres, and is surrounded by a small woodlot on two sides comprised of birch, maple, and white pine. The yard itself has several apple trees with a couple of wide areas of lawn (read my soon to be prairie garden...). I have a lot of white pines, 4 of which are huge and likely at least 150 years old. There will be a water feature sometime later this spring.

But for now enjoy a few pictures!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Bohemians linger on

My mic has now blessed me with 3 separate BOWA flybys since I moved in, and today I was surprised to again be greeted by this noise:


This time, as you can hear, there were CEDW mixed in as well (life yardbird), and better yet: the calls seemed not to be flyovers- they seemed to be sitting still. Grabbed the camera and ran out to the back yard, and located the flock in the neighbors tree several hundred feet away, and got this shot of the 2nd half of the flock leaving:

Can't be much longer before these guys leave and head north. Our fruiting trees are virtually devoid of berries, and have been for weeks. Apparently (though I don't know where) they are still finding food somewhere.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Always A Peak Experience

Managed some nice tics just before sunset this evening from the rooftop. There is always something special that happens when I get up there. It's usually waterfowl and tonight was no exception. 17 Tundra Swan cruised 20 feet overhead calling back and forth. They were heading from the river bayous to the big lake. This species was a big miss for the yard last year. Three Com. Goldeneye and four Com. Merg topped that off. They were heading in the same direction although further north seen through the scope.

Consumers Energy comes tomorrow to dictate more rape and pillage of my property. Last year they took out a huge swath of forest habitat. Wish me luck.

Which yard lifer is it?

Gonna need some help on this one, boys. After scoring another flyover BOWA by microphone today (https://soundcloud.com/user9140545/bowa-kentwood-4-march-2013)

I subsequently had another finch flyover which I immediately thought was most likely CORE. I then waffled (on SETI's advice) about WWCR, but now am confused. Please listen and advise:


Here is the sonogram of the loudest of these calls. Note the peak at 7 kHZ and the pattern of the call, and compare with sonograms for both CORE and WWCR here:


Thoughts? (either way it's a life yard bird)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Crossbill wishes coming true

And not just my 1 of 2 most-desired county wishes (the other being EVGR), but also a yard tick:


Unfortunately no pics or recordings to show for it. Hoping it comes back to the feeder so I can imitate SWKA.


True enough - this time I am NIMBY (not in my backyard), but obviously not by choice.

This LEOW perched in my neighbors cedar hedge compliments of Glenn VandeWater and his chickadees.  A fabulous UP winter bird, and a MEGA yardie, albeit bit of a waste.

Year of the Crossbill