Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Another Year; Another Count - The Big Sit 2014

Bird Watcher's Digest offers the chance to be a participant in their annual BIG SIT in October.  I decided to participate once again as I had the time and the weather looked marvelous.  If you recall; last year's Big Sit was rainy and cold.  One does not get to match the weather with the chosen date.  From the BWD page, "Some people have called it a "tailgate party for birders." Find a good spot for bird watching—preferably one with good views of a variety of habitats and lots of birds. Next, create a real or imaginary circle 17 feet in diameter and sit inside the circle for 24 hours, counting all the bird species you see or hear. That's it. Find a spot, sit in it, have fun. Then submit your findings."

I arrived at Havenwoods around 8:00 AM.  The sun shone brightly in the low western sky with nary a cloud as the day unfolded.  A shroud of geothermal mist drifted over the pond as I first approached the wooden bench that faces south.  Mallards tipped their backsides into the air as they dug for plants and other delicious nuggets of nourishment on the shallow pond bottom.  American robins flitted back and forth from tree to tree.  Eastern bluebirds joined the robins but had nothing but angst for them as they squawked their disapproval of each other's proximity to the other.

One observation I made that day was of a "human nature" variety.  A group of people approached my circle

with three spunky young boys in the lead.  They rambunctiously ran ahead giggling and screaming as they passed me by and onto the bridge.  Another three people (a teenage girl and boy and one adult male) walked in their wake and also passed me by on their way to the other side of the bridge.  The adult shouted ahead to the youngest children to, "head left" and to one named Dominick; "you're the fastest...try to beat the others to the trail!"  All I could do was to lament the lost opportunity of that small group of humans to experience the smallest bit of "nature."  No one stopped to ask me what I was doing, looking at, etc.  The activity that they were engaged in (running through the forest) was one that could have taken place on any playground, parking lot, or shopping mall.  What have we become in this country?  Perhaps it is me?

Downy Woodpecker
Overall I didn't have long to sit; but the time I was able to devote was sheer quality birdwatching indeed; and who needs more that that?

Team Information: BirdMilwaukee
Captain: Joseph Devereaux
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (United States)

Team Checklist
  1. Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
  2. Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
  3. Canada Goose Branta canadensis
  4. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
  5. Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
  6. Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
  7. Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
  8. Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
  9. Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
  10. Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
  11. Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
  12. Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
  13. Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
  14. Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
  15. American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
  16. Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus
  17. Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis
  18. Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
  19. Veery Catharus fuscescens
  20. Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus
  21. American Robin Turdus migratorius
  22. Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
  23. European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
  24. Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
  25. Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
  26. Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
  27. Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum
  28. Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca
  29. Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
  30. Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii
  31. Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana
  32. White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
  33. White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
  34. Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
  35. Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
  36. American Goldfinch Spinus tristis
  37. House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Fox Sparrows