Before I continue this report, let me say that I will do my best to mention locations, but please note that this was a fast paced competition and I was more focused on finding birds rather on taking notes. Also, there will be instances where I will deliberately omit the location names only because I am already thinking of next year’s competition.
The morning of the competition came and everyone was up on time and getting their gear together. We quickly loaded up and were on our way to our first stop. We got to our first location which was Flax Pond and immediately could make out a few species on the pond, but we could not count them as it was too early to start the count. As soon as 5:00 a.m. arrived, we piled out and began our species count, Mute Swan, Mallard, Black Duck, Hooded Merganser and the coveted (4 pt.) American Coot we all nailed within minutes. One species we looked for and did not find was the Wood Duck. It was a good start!
From there we tried for Owls, with Nate and Corey leading the way. They both gave it a good effort, but it was quiet as far as Owls responding. Chris had warned us that during his scouting expeditions, he had found the Owls to be very quiet. Even so, we were disappointed that we did not get the response we wanted. Finally, at one location we got a Screech Owl to respond and that helped ease the sting a bit. From there, it was on to another location named Nahant. Along the way we stopped at several spots birding the coastline picking up Common and Red-throated Loon, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Surf and Black Scoters and Red-breasted Merganser to name a few. In addition, we picked up Brandt, a species that was missed by last year’s team.
As we birded along the coast, we kept working the thickets for land birds, but there was little to no activity. Moving inland, we made a couple of stops, the first one was dead and I mean dead. The habitat looked right for Sparrows, but all we pulled out of that area was a Downy Woodpecker. We quickly moved on to our next stop and immediately while parking we picked up Robins and heard Carolina Wren. Working that area, we picked up a number of species including American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadee, White-throated Sparrow, Mourning Dove, House Sparrow, House Finch to name a few.
We continued on and while checking the updates from other teams, we learned that we had missed two 5 point birds at locations we had visited or were near to during our travels. We took the news in stride ruing the miss, but acknowledging that stuff like that was probable on competition day. Throughout all this time we as a team kept checking in with Chris on how we were doing time and species wise compared to last year. It looked good, or so we thought. To be continued...
Tags: Superbowl of Birding, Birding, Red-necked Grebe