Ok, so I'm a few days late for the 100th I & The Bird, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go read it. Good job Nate!
So the World Series of Birding has come and gone. In a year of excitement and non-birding life craziness, the WSB didn't have the same sense of anticipation for me as it has in the past. Regardless, it was a phenomenal day at Sandy Hook filled with splendid birds and terrific company. I think I look forward to seeing the people more than the birds, honestly. Not to bore you with a long play-by-play, I'll list some of the highlights and lowlights of the day. You'll have to wait until the end to see our results. Also, I was a slacker as a photographer on Sat. so I have nothing to share.
- It was more or less a weather miracle. Forecasts were for rain in the morning and we never got a drop.
- The biggest highlight for me is an easy one: Two Mississippi Kites flew over our group at different times (maybe the same bird). This was a state bird for me.
- Both Glaucous and Iceland Gulls - For me, this has been the best year for white-winged gulls that I can recall in the last 10 years. I had never seen Glaucous at Sandy Hook and it made a long "death march" well worth it.
- A stunning Blackburnian Warbler (photo below) visited us during dinner right in front of the Sandy Hook Bird Observatory building. The funny thing is that a Blackburnian visited us during lunch several years back.
- The world's most abiding Clapper Rail gave everyone great looks during lunch.
- Two Bald Eagles were seen by the group, plus I had another one later in the day with a smaller group.
- Singing Chuck-will's-widows were a first for me at the Hook
- A Yellow-breasted Chat was seen by some of the group, but I missed it. I haven't seen one in a few years. I sat there for 15 minutes at the location where many people saw it and never saw it.
- A big wall of fog hung over the northern part of Sandy Hook early in the morning which may have hindered the bird activity.
- Not everyone heard about this, but a mystery flycatcher was seen by a reliable observer who was not part of our team. The best guess was a Streaked/Sulphur-bellied type. It was not seen again.
- SUNBURN! I was stupid and didn't put sunblock on. I was quite colorful when I got home.
Our total for the day was 134 species - a total I'd stack up against any other 7 mile by .5 mile stretch of land in the US.
(Thanks to Bob for the photo - I was a photo slacker on Sat.)