Blog Birding #111
by Nate Swick
Planning a CBC with a kid this year? Robert Mortenson at Birding is Fun offers some pointers:
Be flexible with the time frame. A CBC for Kids doesn't have to be from dawn to dusk. Kids, especially young children may not be prepared for long exposure to cold conditions nor have the physical/mental/emotional ability to spend more than a hour or two in the field looking for birds. Older kids, especially teens probably can outlast the most seasoned birders in the field. Adjust to the needs and abilities of the group. You may want to decide which age groups you want to focus on, or have two different report back to headquarters times.
Some beautiful photos of Red Crossbills in Connecticut from alex at The Nemesis Bird:
We walked out a boardwalk into the marsh and when we got to the observation area we stopped to scan the marsh. Josh spotted an American Bittern flush up out of the reeds and land again, offering a brief but satisfying look. After getting some tips on where the crossbills were, we went to that portion of the park. We first saw two White-winged Crossbills in a Japanese Black Pine then found a large collection at another parking lot - at least 40 White-wings and 12 Red Crossbills!
Chris Petrak, at the excellent Tails of Birding, considers the irony that something as fantastic as the Wood Duck is so accessible:
The casual, but alert bird watcher may see Wood Ducks in Vermont every year. The attentive birder will see them. When December is mild and the water is ice free, they are seen on the Christmas Bird Count, glimpsed on the back edge of a pond or gliding around the islands in the Retreat Meadows. In the depths of winter they disappear, but when the ice begins to go out, they will be one of the first waterfowl to return - if the birder searches for them.
Newly minted Ontario Big Year champ Josh Vandermeulen has some really nice photos of Purple Sandpipers at his Ontario Birds and Herps blog:
Purple Sandpipers are perhaps the hardiest of Ontario's shorebirds. They normally winter on the east coast of North America, however unlike most shorebird species, their wintering range includes Atlantic Canada! Here they spend the coldest months of the year crawling over the algae and ice covered rocks, battered by waves, and searching for whatever invertebrate morsels they can find.
Newly minted New York Big Year champion Anthony Colleton shares the story of finally catching up with his bogey bird, Brown Pelican, at his Welsh Birder Abroad site:
Now I sea-watch *a lot* - often two or three days a week - and all Summer I was out on a fishing boat or a whale-watching boat at least once or twice a week. That's a lot of time looking at the water around the Island so, as one-by-one the other birders on Long Island all got their pelican (and I didn't), the word of my Nemesis Bird started to spread. By the Fall most New York birders knew that I was missing this species and it had become a bit of a running joke in the New York birding community.