Sunday, November 20, 2016

Photo Journal 2016: October

October brought changes in the scenery, namely in the colors of the leaves, especially during October's final week. One of these weeks also happened to be The Big Sit, one of my favorite birding events. Click here to read more about this fun, global birding event, where sitters stay in one spot from dawn til dusk, counting the bird species they see. On our sit, we saw over 60 species, which isn't half bad for not moving all day. I also had a life bird toward the end of the day, which was a magical moment for all in attendance (read more about that below).

Enjoy these images of the progress of my photo journal. It can also be viewed week by week and in greater detail on my Little Bird Nerd Facebook page.

October, Spot 1

Spot 1: October 2016, Weeks 40-43

October, Spot 2

Spot 2: October 2016, Weeks 40-43

October, Spot 3

Spot 3: October 2016, Weeks 40-43

Life Birds:

This month, I spotted three new species I'd never seen before, including:

Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), found by Tom Hince near New Baltimore. I had a feeling I would never ID this bird unless it was found first by someone with lots of experience and a scope. Thankfully I have friends with both! This bird was characteristically chasing gulls in a very Jaeger-ish manner. As we observed the bird through the scopes, the park happened to be teeming with people who had come to see a very giant flagpole being erected. When one of them asked us what the heck we were looking at (because we were clearly looking in the opposite direction of said oversized flagpole), Tom said, "The flagpole will be here tomorrow; the bird won't!" I don't know if they found it funny, but I definitely chuckled.
Parasitic Jaeger

White-winged Scoter (Melanitta fusca): The second of my three scoter sightings, this bird was "moseying" around the beach at Metro, in a quite gentle way. I was able to get some good shots of it in the sun; those white wing patches showing clearly.
White-winged Scoter

Nelson's Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni): By far my favorite sighting of the month, this elusive little sparrow was the highlight of our Big Sit circle. As Paul stepped outside the circle for a moment, the rest of us were busy laughing and being silly as the day begin to decline. Out of nowhere, Paul screams, "NELSON'S SPARROW!" which he had to repeat a few times before it sank in that he was not joking. And then began the mad dash of us birders scrambling for our cameras and binos, running into the reeds where this master of disguise was hiding. As a group, we narrowed down its position and most of us were able to snap some great shots of a sparrow some of us had never seen. The beautiful golden hues, gray and brown crown stripes, and expert skulking skills of this bird made the sighting a breathtaking treat. It was like we had a collective high, and our spirits had lifted right up out of our bodies as we basked in the glow of a group sighting like this. The energy of such a thing is real, is palpable, is unforgettable.
Nelson's Sparrow at The Big Sit 2016
Big Sit Buster! Nelson's Sparrow

Last year's January through October total species count: 207
This year's January through October total species count: 239

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