Big Year (birders wake up)


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Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 21, 2012 - 12:54am PT
I just love checking out what others see and when they seem them, that is compared to what I see up here. And who wouldn't like the photos(Tony!) The following was 103. I don't know about the rest of you, but I do get some help from local bird experts. Take the Semipalmated Sandpiper not this one!. I first saw it as a tiny little blob that a friend and expert had previously scoped out, and she said "Semi..., black legs, stubby bill ..." Luckily, I got a better view later, but I have to admit that I was ready to count it the first time.

Anyway there are a ton of unedited photos again at

and here are two I picked out:

added in edit:
e.g.; I'll be lucky if I seen any of the following from dee ee's list

53. Black Skimmer-UNB
55. Common Moorhen-UNB
59. Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk)-UNB
62. Brown Pelican-SJM
OK: I better find a Northern Harrier somewhere in Seattle within bicycling distance. What's UNB? SJM=San Jose Marsh?
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Jul 27, 2012 - 07:44pm PT
Dr. F, Rufous Sided Towhee= Spotted Towhee?

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 27, 2012 - 10:50pm PT
I still think "Rufous Sided Towhee" and "Marsh Hawk" to myself, but Tony has beaten out of me saying those phrases in public.

Trad climber
Pt. Richmond, CA
Jul 28, 2012 - 03:21am PT
Dr. F is just being old-school on the Towhees. What Darwin says it not quite accurate. I may have asked him how he, as a born and bred Berkeley kid, would report seeing a Marsh Hawk eating an Oldsquaw.

A few days ago I saw #131, Hooded Oriole. I struggled with these, since they were pretty newly fledged and were making some unusual calls that don't match my birdsong app. Fortunately, there was mention of this in the Nat Geo guide.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 29, 2012 - 12:48am PT
today at low tide on the Hayward shoreline


Trad climber
Pt. Richmond, CA
Sep 1, 2012 - 01:24am PT
While checking around for migrants passing through, I found my first new species in quite a while. A Red-necked Phalarope was foraging just offshore near our place.
Credit: Tony

No other new ones, but there were a bunch of juvenile Robins and Bluebirds about.

Credit: Tony

Credit: Tony
Timid TopRope

Social climber
'used to be Paradise, CA
Sep 1, 2012 - 02:47am PT
Wow Ed! I missed your photo when you posted late July. I'm assuming you got there with no vehicle assist? I don't have the resolution to ID but can tell by size and shape that that's quite a variety!

I was extra lazy during spring migration and missed many close-to-home good birds that I only saw while in gasoline transport; one, a wild turkey, 2 blocks from my home; unheard of in this 'burb in Chico until this year.

I had post breeding Lazulis and blue grosbeaks by the dozens last week close to home but spotted them getting out of my f*#king car!

My only consolation prize lately hasbeen post breading black headed grosbeaks at our feeders mixed with the usual suspects, plus a red breasted nuthatch (rare in the Sac Valley, especially non-winter but plenty of white breasted year-round) and occasionally a w. screetch goo googleing out our window the last few nights.

If it's not too late I can get a lesser nighthawk if I can get my fat ass over to the river before they fly the coop. Already have to write off nearby YB Chats and Phainopeplas that I was too lazy to peddle for.

Anyway, I'm a bit less lazy these days so there's hope for this list

Basically I am guilty of being lazy and not stepping up to the motor-less challenge but my year has been gggggggreat! with east coast, west coast mendo and humboldt and mostly Valley to High Sierra.

I know where Tony's coming from; my local crowd would scoff at using outdated names and terminology and it changes faster than the botanist crowd I also hang with. In my circle, outdated names like rufous sided towhee and old squaw will leave any of your reports suspect. Many only use the 4 letter abbreviations which can be confusing and misunderstood.

Me I just want to get 'em right.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Sep 1, 2012 - 01:09pm PT
Here is my update to the "Tustin" list.
HB= Huntington Beach, SDC-San Diego Creek, BC=Bolsa Chica, BC= 60 miles round trip on my road bike.

75. Heermanís Gull-HB
76. Long Billed Curlew-BC
77. Whimbrel-BC
78. Rough Winged Swallow-SJWS
79. Caspian Tern-SJWS
80. Gadwall-SJWS
81. White Throated Swift-SJWS
82. Starling-SDC
83. Short Billed Dowitcher-SJWS
84. Clarkís Grebe-SJWS
85. Savannah Sparrow-SJWS
86. Semipalmated Plover-SJWS
87. Cassinís Kingbird-T

Correction: I had been referring to the San Joaquin Marsh but have recently realized that it is actually correctly the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. The San Joaquin Marsh is across Campus St. from the SJWS.

Trad climber
Pt. Richmond, CA
Sep 11, 2012 - 11:06pm PT
I was hoping to add Great-horned Owl to my list and I was pretty sure there was a pair around last season. I figured I would have make a pre-dawn or nighttime hike to see them. It turned out to be much easier than that. A few nights ago I heard a pair of them dueting and ran to the door in time to see two perching and flying among the trees on the ridge behind our place. I grabbed the camera and snapped off a few shots. It was way too dark for handheld. The next two evenings I had the camera set up on the tripod, but they haven't returned.

This is the best I could do:

Credit: Tony

This is my updated list for the last several weeks:

131. Hooded Oriole
132. Red-necked Phalarope
133. Great Horned Owl
134. Yellow Warbler

Dee ee,

The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is great spot. I didn't make it there on my last visit south, but did get to Bolsa Chica. We were too late for the breeding Terns and Skimmers, but again saw a Reddish Egret. They seem to be resident there now.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Sep 12, 2012 - 12:22am PT
Tony, I'm going back soon for the Reddish Egret. They've moved out of the Harriet Wieder Park.

Here is my latest.

87. Cassinís Kingbird-T
88. White Faced Ibis-SDC
89. Western Sandpiper-SJWS
90. Red Necked Phalarope-SJWS
91. Sora-SJWS
92. Virginia Rail-SJWS
93. Bairdís Sandpiper-SJWS
94. Long Billed Dowitcher-SJWS
95. Warbling Vireo-SJWS

I got the Black Bellied Plover and Ruddy Turnstone on my but I drove down there.

Trad climber
Pt. Richmond, CA
Sep 19, 2012 - 11:57pm PT
Here is my updated list. Lots of migrants are passing through. I've posted some photos on the "Birds" thread.

135. Pacific-slope Flycatcher
136. MacGillivray's Warbler
137. Downy Woodpecker
138. Western Wood-Pewee
139. Nashville Warbler
140. Western Tanager
141. Orange-crowned Warbler
142. Savannah Sparrow

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Sep 19, 2012 - 11:59pm PT
I can add a Yellow Breasted Chat to our yard list. Not sure if he's upthread or not...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 20, 2012 - 12:15am PT
hey Timid...

the interpretative center is accessible west bound towards the San Mateo bridge, you take the last off ramp, find the center and park, then walk on out to the shore...

quite cool, Debbie and I were out there doing a recon for her botany class... the birds were unreal, many, many different types.. Alas, I'm not a birder, Debbie is a lot better but she had her head in the bushes this trip.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Sep 20, 2012 - 06:15pm PT

Iz that the one you KILT, Crimpie??????

(my sickness wouldn't allow me to resist). . .

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 16, 2012 - 06:02pm PT
It's been a while y'all! Here's number 112 on my Bike&Hike Big Year.

Pretty common, I know, but I've missed a lot of common migrants this fall, at least for now, e.g. Northern Shrike(saw one using a car), and I missed by a day some Snow Geese, another N. Shrike and a Wilson's Snipe all NOT seen on my commute into work. So when I stumbled across this just outside my office, I was way stoked. It was the only one with the Canada Geese.

Credit: Darwin

Credit: Darwin

Credit: Darwin

These were taken with my new Lumix zs15 pocket camera. I have to change the default in-camera image sharpening. Nice cheap camera, but I hate not having a view finder.

Trad climber
Pt. Richmond, CA
Oct 30, 2012 - 07:08pm PT
Only a few more species for me in the last month or so. The best bird so far is a Rock Wren that has been hanging around the riprap in a little cove nearby. It has been around for at least 5 days and perhaps will spend the winter here.

143. Black-throated Gray Warbler
144. White-throated Sparrow
145. Rock Wren

I'm posting a few photos on the "Birds" thread.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 30, 2012 - 07:13pm PT
Darwin, yer White-fronted seems to be rather slow to develope his 'white-front'
in addition to being just plain confused about his identity.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Oct 30, 2012 - 07:33pm PT
My update. I'm having a lot of fun and getting many bird/bike rides.

95. Long Billed Dowitcher-SJWS
96. Warbling Vireo-SJWS
97. Kestrel-PC 9/22/12
98. California Trasher-PC
99. Scrub Jay
100. House Wren-T
101. Huttonís Vireo-IP 10/3/12
102. Wht. Crowned Sparrow-IP
103. Green Heron-BC 10/5/12
104. Reddish Egret-BC
105. American Wigeon-BC
106. Northern Pintail-BC
107. Eared Grebe-BC
108. Sayís Phoebe-BC
109. Ruddy Turnstone-BC
110. Northern Shoveler-SJWS
111. Blue Winged Teal0SJWS
112. Northern Flicker-PC 10/15/12
113. Virginiaís Warbler-PC
114. Nutmeg Mannikin-PC
115. Western Meadowlark-PC
116. Downy Woodpecker-PC

Trad climber
Pt. Richmond, CA
Oct 30, 2012 - 11:02pm PT
dee ee,
As I expected, some SoCal birder would start accelerating as the winter approached.

Dr. F,
What do you mean? Were some species lumped?


Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 31, 2012 - 12:46am PT

Tony really did say (to me a least) that there would be a late southern surge. I've had a good couple days, though.
Wilson's Snipe and a Northern Shrike got me up to 115, but not 116.

It's not a great photo of the Shrike, but I'll try some more as the Shrike is sticking around for now.
Credit: Darwin

Reilly; More of the White Front'eds have shown up looking older and more White Fronted.

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