Monday, October 12, 2009

Big Sit Results

Despite the cold, wet weather, 12 of us participated in the Birding on Broadmeade Big Sit yesterday. I was surprised and happy that so many folks showed up throughout the day. We had at least 1 person recording birds in our 17 foot diameter circle most of the time from 6:10 AM until 5:20 PM. The birds were less active in the intermittent rain, heavy mist, and light north wind than they would have been in good weather, so they were harder to see and hear. It was also hard to keep the lenses of our binoculars and spotting scopes clear of the rain. But despite these difficult and uncomfortable conditions we recorded 45 species of birds from our circle! I was originally hoping we would get at least 50 species, but in yesterday's weather 45 was a great total. Here are some highlights. (Thanks Gracen Duffield, for taking the above picture and posting it so quickly!)
  • When Moria Darnell and I arrived at the end of Saddlebrook Trail at about 6:30 AM, we heard a Great Horned Owl hoot once as soon as we got out of our cars. I ran out to the circle because you have to hear or see a bird from inside the circle to be able to count it. I was pleasantly surprised to find Henry Kight already there, sitting in the dark! He heard the owl too, and we never heard it again. Thanks to Henry we could count the owl!
  • Shortly after dawn we heard some distant sounds that soon became the honking of geese. We were thrilled to watch about 50 Greater White-fronted Geese fly right over our heads in V formation. This was a new bird for my neighborhood list, now at 196 species!
  • We had 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks fly over us during the day, and we watched one dive at something behind the trees.
  • It has been too long since I've watched a day start from 1 hour before dawn until mid-morning in one spot. Watching the sky gradually brighten and hearing and seeing the birds become active was quite a treat.
  • The One that Got Away: While leaving the circle to verify that I was hearing a Black-crested Titmouse, I saw a Black-throated Green Warbler. Unfortunately, I was never able to see that warbler from back inside the circle, so it was not included in the count!
Thanks so much to all who came out on this wet and miserable day: Moria Darnell, Henry Kight, Sukumar Veena, Steven McDonald, Roy Reinarz, Barry Noret, Susan Andres, Ken Williams, Gracen Duffield, Julia Heskett, Laura Lefler.

Here are some great photos taken by Henry Kight:

And here is our species list!
  1. Greater White-fronted Goose
  2. Double-crested Cormorant
  3. Great Blue Heron
  4. Great Egret
  5. Snowy Egret
  6. Cattle Egret
  7. Black Vulture
  8. Turkey Vulture
  9. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  10. Cooper's Hawk
  11. Red-tailed Hawk
  12. Killdeer
  13. Spotted Sandpiper
  14. White-winged Dove
  15. Mourning Dove
  16. Great Horned Owl
  17. Chimney Swift
  18. Belted Kingfisher
  19. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  20. Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  21. Downy Woodpecker
  22. Eastern Phoebe
  23. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  24. White-eyed Vireo
  25. Blue Jay
  26. American Crow
  27. Cave Swallow
  28. Barn Swallow
  29. Carolina Chickadee
  30. Black-crested Titmouse
  31. Carolina Wren
  32. House Wren
  33. American Robin
  34. Northern Mockingbird
  35. European Starling
  36. Orange-crowned Warbler
  37. Nashville Warbler
  38. Lark Sparrow
  39. Northern Cardinal
  40. Indigo Bunting
  41. Red-winged Blackbird
  42. Common Grackle
  43. Great-tailed Grackle
  44. House Finch
  45. Lesser Goldfinch
Check out how we compared against the other Big Sit circles around the world!


Jason Kessler said...

Excellent job. Congratulations.

Laurie said...

Terrific list! Congratulations on your first Big Sit on Broadmeade!

Susan Andres said...

Great job Mikael! Getting 11 people out there was fantastic. The joy comes from finding the first of every species sited, especially the migrants. I had a great time only being there for less than an hour.

Mikael Behrens said...

Thanks to everyone, especially Susan for adding 2 species to our Big Sit list even though we had all taken a lunch break from the rain when you arrived!

Anonymous said...

This was great fun! We have to do it again next year. Thanks for organizing this Mikael. You did a fantastic job!

Barry said...

This was my first real participation in anything organized around bird watching. It was fantastic! More than anything it was amazing to witness the speed to which the veterans could identify birds by sound and flight. Thanks for the open invite and I do plan on returning next year. What a hospitable bunch you all are! -Barry

Mikael Behrens said...

Thanks Moria and Barry! Austin has a great birding community, which I think I have taken for granted too long. I'm glad I can finally do something to promote it.