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Big Years ending, more starting up!

Drew Weber|

The Big Year

The start of a new year is a great time to look at all of the Big Years that were completed in 2015, and the new efforts that are just starting. There were some very notable big year efforts in 2015, and some equally World Big Year With 6,042 species, Noah Strycker not only passed the old record…he thoroughly crushed it and …


Borneo Big Day

Steve Brenner|

Oriental Pratincole (photo by Steve Brenner)

Hank Aaron, Edmund Hillary, Billy Mitchell: record holders and champions of their respective fields. While a big day of birding isn’t exactly the same as reaching the summit of Everest or holding the highest score in Q*bert, the task of racking up as many species as possible in 24 hours can be daunting in its own right. Make the birding location …


Almost a nemesis

Drew Weber|

Florida Scrub-Jay

One of my targets for my recent trip to the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival was the Florida’s only endemic bird– the Florida Scrub-Jay, a social member of the corvid family. There are 2 other species of scrub-jay, Western Scrub-Jay which I’ve seen in Arizona, and Island Scrub-Jay, which is found on the Channel Islands off the coast of Los …


Long Island Chase – Common Ground-Dove 11/16

Nathan Goldberg|

Common Ground-Dove  (Photo by Nathan Goldberg)

I recently took a hiatus from blogging (mostly unintentionally), but would like to change that in upcoming months. In these past few months, I have been getting accustomed to the college life, as I am now an undergrad at Cornell University (in Ithaca, NY). Birding out here is amazing, and the community around Cornell is quite special.  There are many …


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Video! Couch’s Kingbird – Allegany County, Maryland

Andy McGann|

Andy McGann - Couch's Kingbird

With CBC season on the horizon, this reminds me of an old saying by one of my favorite compilers. “Any yellow birds?? Anything yellow on a Christmas Bird Count is a good bird!” This is a very improbable bird. What we have here is Maryland’s first record of Couch’s Kingbird (Tyrannus couchii). While November is historically a fantastic month for finding …


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One day wonder: Fork-tailed Flycatcher in Illinois!

Nathan Goldberg|

Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Photo by Mark Bowman)

On Monday, May 12, an email went out to the Illinois birding community that the Bowman brothers (Chris and Mark) had found a Fork-tailed Flycatcher at Gunnar Anderson Forest Preserve in Geneva, Illinois (Kane County). The last Fork-tailed Flycatcher seen in Illinois that many people saw was a one day wonder found by Josh Engel at Paul Douglas Forest Preserve (Cook County) …


The Southern California Coast 3/31 to 4/2

Nathan Goldberg|

Male California Gnatcatcher (Photo by Nathan Goldberg)

Leaving La Quinta on March 31st, we began the short second leg of our trip with a 3 hour drive to the town of La Jolla (just north of San Diego). Our hotel was on the coast, so I couldn’t wait to get a few new species for my year list. Walking only five minutes, I soon saw lots of …


Winter Waterfowl in Illinois

Nathan Goldberg|

Adult male White-winged Scoter (Photo by Nathan Goldberg)

Last Saturday (the 15th), Michael Retter and Matt Hale drove up from West Lafayette to stay at my house for the weekend (specifically for the Gull Frolic, more on that coming soon). They had to head out on Sunday, but before they left, we birded a bit looking for Scoters on the lakefront. This winter has been quite unlike others …


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5 to 500

Tim Schreckengost|

Yellow-throated Warbler. Photo by Alex Lamoreaux.

Every avid lister knows the life list benchmarks. When you start birding you are learning the fundamentals, but in the back of your mind you’re thinking about hitting 100, 200, and 300 life birds. I’ve been birding, listing, and eBirding for about five years now and have tallied almost 500 life birds. Hell, I observed 439 species in 2013 (a …


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Nemesis Birding 101

Luke Musher|

Snowcap copy

It’s 7am in mid May 2011 on the boardwalk at Magee Marsh, OH when I hear it—chippy chuppy chippy chuppy chip—only a few meters away.  My heart starts pounding and I’m peering into dense leafy understory searching out a small yellow and olive bird walking on the ground, feeding spasmodically but hen-like in the dirt and leaves.  Where is it? …