At the eBird Young Birders' Portal, a nice write up of the recent ABA Mid-Atlantic Young Birder Conference by a couple participants:
On September 22nd, over 140 participants gathered at the Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin, Delaware for the American Birding Association’s Mid-Atlantic Young Birders Conference. After a morning of birding, the conference featured a variety of talks and workshops given by both youth and adult presenters. Two of the youth presenters were Mike Hudson and Marie McGee. Mike Hudson is a sixteen-year-old birder from Maryland. Marie McGee, the conference’s keynote speaker, is sixteen years old and from Michigan. Read on to hear more about these students’ experiences at the conference!
Anthony Collerton just set the record for number of birds seen in New York in a calender year. He writes about the record breaking bird at A Welsh Birder Abroad:
Nearly an hour later a small black-and-white bird zipped through my scope, close to shore, but moving fast. Alcid … small … tiny …. fat body …. big head …. long wings ….. whirring flight …. underwings …. underwings ….. dark! DOVEKIE (NYS 2012 #353!). Now to get Derek on it – a witness was very important at that moment but my directions unfortunately were worse than useless. Turns out that "in front of the building in Connecticut" isn't all that helpful in finding a fast moving, starling-sized, bird in 50-square miles of water. Luckily Derek was smart enough to look at my scope angle and move ahead of the bird to the red buoy and the jetty so that, when the bird got close, he picked it up easily. Whoops and high fives when he got on the bird and got good looks, confirming the ID.
Dave Irons of Birdfellow recounts a Common Cuckoo chase in California:
I had gone to bed thinking that today would be relaxed in pace and that we would sleep in and then start making our way north for Humboldt County and then home. As the sun rose, I woke up to the realization that I had no idea when I might next be within two hours of a Common Cuckoo. I would be a fool to pass up this opportunity. I could envision reading about the continuing presence of this bird for weeks and kicking myself for not going to see it when I was nearby. We quickly packed, grabbed some breakfast, bid our gracious host Betsy and her wonderful dog "Pepper" goodbye, and we were on our way.
At Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds, Seagull Steve offers tips, in his irreverent way, to make you a better birder:
As everyone knows, some birds are easier to tell apart than others. Jays are simple. Drake ducks are a cinch. Spring warblers are no problem, and neither are male hummingbirds. Owls? If you are lucky enough to see them, its usually no sweat to know what you are looking at. But many up-and-coming birders cower at other birds. Like the professional drinker who loves all booze except for that ONE kind of liquor (most people say its tequila), many developing birdwatchers can't bear the thought of dealing with a certain group of birds, be it gulls, sparrows, shorebirds, flycatchers, shearwaters….you get the picture. They are all so similar that budding birders often don't even know where to start.
Sarah Toner, writing at The Eyrie, goes owling in the Huachucas with predictably awesome results:
Spotted Owls, of course, are a famous endangered species, but most people know about the Northern Spotted Owl, the subspecies in the Pacific Northwest. The Mexican subspecies, which reaches from Arizona south through the Sierra Madre mountains, was one of the special Arizona birds that we had hoped to find during camp, so we were excited to have a family group in the area that would increase our chances.