The Big Sit!™ 2001 – By the Numbers

Participating States/Countries: 31 (record!)

Total Circles: 116 (record! – 66 circles in 2000)

Reported Sitters!: 460+ (record!)

Total Species Observed: 609 (record! – 432 species in 2000)

New species added to TBS! list: 156

Species missed in 2001: 80

Species seen in only one circle: 197

Ten Highest Circle Counts

Format: Rank. TBS! Location, City, State/Country – “Team Name (if any)” – Circle Captain – # Species in TBS! 2001 (# Species  in TBS! 2000)

1. Dike near the Westplaat, Zuid-Holland, Rotterdam, Netherlands – “The Undutchables” – Ben Gaxiola – 107 species (101)

2. Elfin Forest, Los Osos, CA – Jim Royer & Co. – 106 (122)

3. Oostvaardersplassen, Flevoland, Netherlands – “Anser anser” – Ton Eggenhuizen – 102 (new)

4. Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, Mexico – David McCauley & Co. – 94 (new)

5. San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Irving, CA – “Sea and Sage Audubon” – Chris Obaditch & Co. – 90 (90)

6. Galveston Island, Galveston, TX – “Galveston Bird Club” – James Stevenson & Co. – 82 (missed ’00)

7. Backyard, Rio Hondo, TX – “Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society” – Kay Baughman & Co. – 82 (new)

8. Milford Point Observation Tower, Milford, CT – “Surf Scopers”- John Himmelman & Co. – 81 (91)

9. Quintana Neotropical Park, Quintana, TX – “Brazosport Birders” – Charles Brower & Co. – 79 (59)

10. Dike 20 miles east of Amsterdam, Flevoland, Netherlands – “Dutch Bridge Birders” – Ricardo van Dijk – 79 (new)

State/Country Totals

Format: State/Country – # 2001 species (# 2000 species)

Texas – 228 (91), California – 159 (172), Connecticut – 147 (139), Netherlands – 141 (127), Mexico – 115 (new), Michigan – 112 (105), South Africa – 88 (new), New Jersey – 84 (72), Oklahoma – 84 (29), Virginia – 83 (75), Florida
– 83 (68), Indiana – 78 (67), Oregon – 76 (0), Illinois – 74 (50), South Carolina – 72 (75), Maryland – 71 (57), Missouri – 61 (61), Arizona – 59 (84), England – 56 (54), Washington – 54 (61), Louisiana – 53 (0), Massachusetts – 52 (new), Ohio – 51 (59), Georgia – 50 (0), New York – 48 (30), Colorado – 31 (22), North Carolina – 28 (40), Idaho – 28 (new), Arkansas – 26 (44), New Mexico – 25 (25), Alabama – 20 (0)



The 9th Annual New Haven Bird Club Big Sit! has come and gone. To say that we are growing by leaps and bounds might be an understatement. Last year’s record of 66 circles was blown away by this year’s total of 116. Also last year’s record of 23 states/countries was surpassed by this year’s total of 31. We added two new states (Idaho and Massachusetts) and two new countries (Mexico and South Africa). This year’s species total surpassed last year’s by 177 (609 compared to 432)!!

Save this date!….OCTOBER 13, 2002.
That will be the next date for The Big Sit!

Lone Star Landslide

On September 21st, Richard Gibbons posted an email to the Texbirds listserv about The Big Sit!. Clay Taylor from Swarovski Optik picked up on the post and challenged Texans to take the Top State title from California. Well, they lived up to the challenge and then some. Whereas Texas hosted only three circles in 2000, this year the Lone Star State hosted 25! Not only were the numbers huge, but there was also some strategy behind it. Jim Stevenson got the Bolivar Birders (a newly formed group) ready for the competition by giving slide shows and making field trips out to their circle location. Even more selfless was the effort of Mark Adams. Mark abandoned his former spot along Lake Balmorhea and instead hiked into the Davis Mountains where he expected a shorter list. The idea was that this habitat was not likely to be covered by other Texan Sitters!, and thus he’d have some species not encountered elsewhere in the state. His strategy worked. Of the 29 species he counted on TBS!, 10 were not seen in any other Texas circle. In the end, the Texas crushed all the other states and countries, bettering the 2nd place state (California) by 69 species (228 to 159).

Location, location, location

The choice of where to place your circle is sometimes easy and sometimes hard. In the end, this is the biggest variable that a Sitter! has control over. A good area for a walk could be a poor area for a Sit! if there isn’t a vista showing a variety of habitats. Sitters! again used towers and scaffolds to get a bird’s-eye view from their circles. John Arvin tried to get permission to place their circle on top of the South Padre Island Convention Center, but was denied by those in charge. As John put it, “apparently they were afraid we would get so excited by our nation-sweeping victory that we might be overcome and fall off the roof.”

Sally Adam decided to Sit! next to a sewage treatment plant in Cape Town, South Africa. What seemed like a good  idea for birding, wasn’t such a good idea for smelling. Sally’s report started off as “THE BIG SH…, I mean, SIT!” At one point, Sally and her teammates wondered if they were suffering the after-effects of National Curry Week.

A number of circles competed with other people for their areas. The birds around Vicki Hatfield’s lake in Grove, Oklahoma were scared off by many bass boats. Fishing boats, water skiers, and hunters chased away birds in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Fisherman moved into Falcon Heights, Texas in enough numbers to force Dick Heller to give up Sitting! by 11am.

Shiver in My Bones Just Thinking About the Weather

Weather plays a big role in what Sitters! see. On October 14th poor weather stretched from the northeast down through the midwest. In Tawas, Michigan Mike Petrucha watched his scope blow over. The Surf Scopers of Milford, Connecticut described it “like we were sitting inside a giant sponge.”  NHBC Big Sit! founder John Himmelman made at least one trip to his car to defog his scope. Bill Thompson III and the Indigo Hill birding crew Sat! through “a scene from The Perfect Storm.” Poor weather also gripped parts of the northwest. Luckily, the rain in Everett, Washington stopped 5 minutes before Arthur Grimes was going to give up.

Of course, having circles “from sea to shining sea” you would expect that some areas had good weather. Roy Gerig noted that Oregon had been going through a long drought, so much so that many acres of wetlands had dried up to a
few puddles. Jennifer Rycenga may have had the best weather, but she paid for it. By the end of a beautiful sunny day in Palo Alto, California, she walked away with a sunburn.

New One for the List

Parking yourself in one spot for long periods of time does have some advantages. First, you end up in the location at times that you normally would not be there. This could translate into seeing species that don’t normally come around in “prime-time”. Second, being relatively immobile forces you concentrate more and focus on every little movement, chirp, and fieldmark. This helped me add two species to my backyard list – Swamp Sparrow and Eastern  Wood-pewee.

I certainly wasn’t the only one adding to a list. Sandy Berger had an Orange-crowned Warbler in her Arkansas backyard. At Calero Reservoir in San Jose, California, John Mariani added Common Raven to the park list. In Washtenaw County, Michigan, the Washtenaw Wingnuts had the first Common Tern seen there since 1949. The Under the Bridge Birding Gang of Port Orange, Florida added Great Horned Owl to the Dunlawton Bridge list. The “Ft. McHenry Wetlanders” (aka “The Star Spangled Birders”) added two new species to their park list – Sora and Eastern Meadowlark.

Lists of various circles have grown over the years. In Unionville, Indiana they had a stretch of 2 1/2 hours where 6 of 7 species were new to their circle list…Broad-winged Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Horned Lark, Brown Creeper, Forster’s Tern, and Common Tern. In the 6 years that they have Sat!, they have 100 species on their list. Not bad for a backyard in the middle of the continent. John Himmelman noted that their list at Milford Point, Connecticut is up to 131. Says John, “That’s more than a third of the birds in our state – that’s from one spot sat at the same time of year!” The folks with Tom Heatley at Metro Beach – South Marsh in Lake St. Clair, Michigan have seen 109 species since their first TBS! in 1996.

When it comes to annual totals at any one site, the comments of Peter Wilkinson of Bedfordshire, England sum it up….”Remarkably consistent in totals at this site, though the composition always changes slightly at the margins.”

What was THAT?!

There were a few oddballs and mysteries that caused Sitters! to scratch their heads. In Grove, Oklahoma Vicki Hatfield was stymied by a bird she initially thought was a hybrid Wood Duck x Mallard. Jennifer Rycenga had another hybrid in Palo Alto, California – Glaucous-winged Gull x Western Gull. John Arvin and company at South Padre Island in Texas saw two large goatsucker-like birds scream around the corner of the building they were next to. They tried to chase the birds to get confirmation on what they saw, but came up empty. They did manage to find a Barn Owl in their excursion, and were able to count it when it the bird flushed while someone back in the circle was able to see it. Another odd footnote about the South Padre Island circle….on a restroom run, they found body parts of a Virginia Rail, Seaside Sparrow, and Common Nighthawk along the edge of the building. They speculated that it was either the work of a Peregrine Falcon or other miscellaneous scavengers after the birds mortally wounded themselves by crashing into the large windows. Most interestingly, none of these three species were seen during the SPI Big Sit! In fact, Seaside Sparrow wasn’t seen in any of the 116 circles.

Long time, no see

We got to see a couple species on October 14th that we haven’t seen in a while. It has been 5 years (1996) since a Sooty Shearwater or a Hooded Oriole has appeared on a TBS! list. The last White-rumped Sandpiper seen on a Big Sit! was 8 years ago (1994). Finally, the biggest “Welcome Back” is reserved for Baird’s Sandpiper which hasn’t been seen on a Big Sit! since the original TBS! in 1993.

What’s On The Menu

As always, many circles enjoyed feasts normally seen at football tail-gating parties rather than birding hotspots. The menus items were as diverse as the habitats. The Twitch Wiffers in Ukiah, California grilled venison hamburgers, sausages, and peppers. Mark Adams feasted on burritos in Jeff Davis County, Texas. Chicken soup and apple crisp were on the menu for the Ovenbirds at the Pfeiffer Nature Center in Portville, New York.

Some distant places enjoyed the same items. For instance, beef jerky was on the menu at the Indigo Hill Birding Tower in Whipple, Ohio and in the picnic fare of The Bald Eagles in Milford, Connecticut. Chili could be sampled at the IHBT and Lexington, Oklahoma with the Edge of the Earther’s along with potato salad and chocolate chip  cookies. In the words of Cyndie Browning, “The chili lights your fire while the potato salad cools it off!”

The birds did their fair share of eating too. An Osprey munched on a good-sized golden carp at the Celery Farm Natural Area in Allendale, New Jersey. Richard McCormick observed a Cooper’s Hawk taking an American Goldfinch in Oxford, Connecticut.

The Final Word

As always, if you find anything that is wrong, please let me know. This is a monumental project for one person to undertake and your patience with my limitations is greatly appreciated. Countless hours go into making this event
happen between email, US mail, phone calls, and, of course, slaving at the keyboard. This project is now behind me, and now I get to rest for about eight weeks – that’s when the sap starts running in the sugar maples.  If you think I am exhausted now, wait until the end of March.

The Golden Bird

grackleAt the New Haven Bird Club’s December meeting, Common Grackle was randomly
drawn as The Golden Bird! for 2001. Since 34 circles had this species, a
second drawing was held to determine which circle would get to direct the
$500. It turned out to be Doug McGee’s circle in Sequoyah State Park,
Wagoner, Oklahoma
. A 2800 acre park, Sequoyah State Park is about 30
miles southeast of Tulsa on Fort Gibson Lake. It is comprised of an oak-hickory
forest on a peninsula on the lake. Doug donated the $500 to the Sequoyah
Park Partners
. Doug states that the Sequoyah Park Partners aid in
volunteering and fund-raising for the park’s animal rehabilitation program.

NHBC thanks Swarovski Optik for sponsoring The Golden Bird! Swarovski Optik can be found on the web at


An event like The Big Sit! couldn’t come together without the help of many people – and help comes in many forms.
Logistical – thanks to the many Sitters! who participated and the circle captains who sent in their results on time. Also a big THANKS! to captains who sent in their results electronically.  Doing so made the compilation much easier. Bird Watcher’s Digest put notices about the TBS! in their magazine and website which spread the word far and wide. Compilation – I am a mediocre birder at best, and have never traveled outside the US to go birding, so I was worried about handling the compilation of European and African species. I put out a call to the non-North American circles for help and they all came through. Peter Wilkinson helped clarify some of the common names from his circle in Bedfordshire, England. Ben Gaxiola and Sally Adam compiled the results from the Netherlands and South Africa before sending the information to me. Both were extremely helpful and patient with my numerous  emails and questions. Financial – Last, but certainly not least, I have to thank those organizations and individuals who support The Big Sit! financially. First, the New Haven Bird Club provides the continued funding for TBS!. Second, an organization who participates in TBS! made an anonymous (and generous) donation. Third, everyone who bought a TBS! 2001 t-shirt has kept the event in the black. Finally, Swarovski Optik has been a generous partner for the last three years by providing the $500 prize for The Golden Bird!

List of Circles and Participants


State/Country – # Circles in 2001 (# circles in 2000)

· Participants – TBS! location, City, State/Country – # 2001 species (# 2000 species)

Alabama – 1 Circle (0)

· June White & John White – backyard, Phil Campbell, AL – 20 (new)

Arkansas – 1 Circle (1)

· Sandy Berger – backyard, Ft. Smith, AR – 26 (new)

Arizona – 3 Circles (2)

· “Asterisks” – Herb Fibel, Pete Moulton, Ken Howe, & Cynthia Donald – Granite Reef Reservoir – Tonto NF, Mesa, AZ – 50 (46)

· Maureen Hickey – Catalina State Park, Tucson, AZ – 13 (new)

· Valerie Smart – backyard, Tucson, AZ – 14 (new)

California – 7 Circles (6)

· “Sea & Sage Audubon #2” – Paul Klahr, Terry Hill, Bill Sauer, Lorene Strong, & Carolyn Raynesford – Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach, CA – 65 (69)

· “Sea & Sage Audubon #1” – Chris Obaditch, Colin Campbell, Dick Purvis, Margaret Smith & Mike Smith – San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Irving, CA – 90 (90)

· Jim Royer, Corrine Ardoin, Dan Ardoin, Bill Bouton, Michael Craig, Peggy Craig, Tom Edell, Don Maruska, Liz Maruska, John McDonald, Michael McGee, Regina Orr, John Perkins, Dave Roark, Dylan Royer, Steve Schubert, Greg Smith, Mike Stiles, & Howard York – Elfin Forest, Los Osos, CA – 106 (122)

· Jennifer Rycenga, Sue E. Houchins, & Anders Tengholm – Palo Alto Wetlands, Palo Alto, CA – 51 (new)

· John Mariani & Jolene Lange – Calero Reservoir, San Jose, CA – 60 (new)

· Fran Alvernaz – backyard, San Rafael, CA – 57 (45)

· “Twitch Whiffers” – Gerorge Chaniot, Janet Chaniot, Chuck Vaughn, Barbara Vaughn, Vishnu, & Matthew Matthiessen – Lake Mendocino, Ukiah, CA – 75 (81)

Colorado – 2 Circles (2)

· Susan Soloyanis – backyard, Cascade, CO – 27 (17)

· Kathleen Van Orsdel & Donald Van Orsdel – Springs Ranch Golf Course, Colorado Springs, CO – 11 (15)

Connecticut – 17 Circles (14)

· Richard Chyinski & Sharon Sanders – Grassy Hill Rd., East Lyme, CT – 23 (22)

· Larry Bausher – East Rock Park, Hamden, CT – 19 (new)

· Andy Brand – backyard, Hamden, CT – 34 (51)

· Claudia Ahrens & Bill Ahrens – Lake Hammonasset, Killingworth, CT – 27 (17)

· Elizabeth Himmelman – backyard, Killingworth, CT – 13 (missed ’00)

· David Tripp Jr., Fran Zygmont, Patrick Comins, Angela Dimmitt, Jamie Meyers, Elliot Ashe, & Dave Rosgen – White Memorial Foundation – Sutton’s Bridge, Litchfield, CT – 64 (66)

· Jerry Connolly, Clay Taylor, Debbie Taylor, John Maynard, & John Gaskell – Hammonasset State Park, Madison, CT – 78 (missed ’00)

· “The Bald Eagles” – Stacy Hanks, Bill Hanks, John Castiglioni, Candace Chapman, & Charlotte Weston – Nell’s Island, Milford, CT – 50 (50)

· “Housatonic River Rats” – Nita Hamilton – Caswell Cove, Milford, CT – 23 (missed ’00)

· “Surf Scopers” – John Himmelman, Pat Dugan, Frank Gallo, & John Gallo – Milford Point – Observation platform, Milford, CT – 81 (91)

· Nancy Rosenbaum, Bill Banks, Dan Barvir, Steve Mayo, Arne Rosengren, Dori Sosensky, & Chris Loscalzo – LPP Hawkwatch site, New Haven, CT – 42 (80)

· Richard McCormick – backyard, Oxford, CT – 33 (30)

· John Triana – backyard, Prospect, CT – 20 (17)

· “Hartford Audubon Society” – Betty Kleiner, Paul Cianfaglione, Paul Desjardins, Ken Elkins, Carl Ekroth, Len Kendall, Gil Kleiner, Stephanie Lovell, Patsy Mason, Alberta Mirer, Rob Mirer, & Roger Preston – Station 43, South Windsor, CT – 69 (61)

· Robert Dixon – backyard, Sterling, CT – 46 (40)

· “The Yardbirds” – Marty Moore & Randy Suhl – backyard, Wallingford, CT – 53 (50)

· Amy Peck & Susan Annatone – backyard, West Haven, CT – 39 (36)

England – 1 Circle (1)

· Peter Wilkinson & Matthew Best – East Hyde, Bedfordshire, England – 56 (54)

Florida – 8 Circles (8)

· “Smoke Ducks” – Rita Grant, Bob Grant, Max Grant, & Jezebel Grant – backyard, Brooksville, FL – 35 (37)

· Margaret Braisted & Pete Braisted – Little Knockemdown Key, Key West, FL – 21 (new)

· Fran Ford & William Ford – backyard, Key West, FL – 8 (4)

· Mark Hedden – Boca Chica, Key West, FL – 14 (new)

· Robert McLean, Sonya Ubico, & Jeffrey Peterla – Indigenous Park, Key West, FL – 11 (new)

· Mark Whiteside & Lila Whiteside – Boot Key, Key West, FL – 18 (5)

· “The Under the Bridge Birding Gang” – Ray Scory, Dave Hartgrove, & Kevin Doxstater – Dunlawton Bridge, Port Orange, FL – 36 (new)

· “Team Xantus” – Jacqueline Holstein – Backyard, St. Augustine, FL – 24 (13)

Georgia – 2 Circles (0)

· Patrick Brisse – E. L. Huie Facility, Clayton Co., GA – 43 (new)

· Joe Hamlet & Barbara Hamlet – backyard, Savannah, GA – 21 (new)

Idaho – 1 Circle (new)

· “Coeur d’Alene Audubon Society” – Shirley Sturts, Kris Buchler, Jane Callen, Corinne Cameron, Del Cameron, Elaine Codding, Ken Eppler, Lisa Hardy, Herb Severtson, Jan Severtson, Lynn Sheridan, Phil Waring, & Judy  Waring – Coeur d’Alene Lake, Mica Bay, ID – 28 (new)

Illinois – 2 Circles (2)

· Lilly Crane, Rhonda Monroe, & Mike Baltz – Evergreen Park, Carbondale, IL – 40 (17)

· Richard Biss – backyard, Lake Villa, IL – 56 (45)

Indiana – 2 Circles (1)

· Bill Buskirk – Whitewater State Park, Liberty, IN – 55 (new)

· “Sitting Duck Deck Sitters” – Jim Hengeveld, Susan Hengeveld, Lee Sterrenberg, Jim Brown, Steve Dunbar, Dan Leach, Sue Arnold, Chuck Falvey, Bob Kissel, Jean Furlong, Tom Zeller, & Dick Elder – backyard, Unionville, IN – 69 (67)

Louisiana – 1 Circle (0)

· “Bird Study Group, Shreveport Society for Nature Study, Inc.” – Jerry Bertrand, Mac Hardy, Shirley Huss, Jim Ingold, Nancy Menasco, Agnes Prisock, Jean Trahan, Jeff Trahan – Red River Education and Research Park, Shreveport, LA – 53 (new)

Massachusetts – 3 Circles (new)

· Betsy Thomas – backyard, Newburyport, MA – 26 (new)

· “Hoffmann Bird Club” – Noreen Mole, Tom Bagley, Chris Blagdon, Tom Collins, Bill Gutermuth, Lucy Ketchum, Ed Neumuth, Gail Platz, Norma Purdy, Ginny Ramsey, Kai Reed, Roger Reed, Lynne Roberson, Joan Robinson, Scott Robinson, & David St. James – Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary, Pittsfield, MA – 41 (new)

· “Bittern Enders” – Seth Kellogg, Tom Swochak, John Weeks, & Janice Zepko – Blueberry Hill, West Granville, MA – 10 (new)

Maryland – 3 Circles (2)

· “Fort McHenry Wetlanders” – Jim Peters, Keith Costley, Wendy Taparanskas, Karen Lippy, Dot Gustafson, & Gail Frantz – Fort McHenry Park, Baltimore, MD – 55 (new)

· “Howard County Bird Club” – Kurt Schwarz et. al – Centennial Park, Howard Co., MD – 49 (55)

· Jean Tierney, Bob Fletcher, & Willy Tierney – backyard, Newburg, MD – 11 (18)

Mexico – 2 Circles (new)

· “Los De Abajo” – Richard Gibbons, Anna Jorgenson, John Hoogerheide, Russ Nelson, & Tom Shearer – Tamaulipas,  Alta Cima, Mexico – 32 (new)

· David McCauley & Rafael Aguilera – Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, Mexico – 94 (new)

Michigan – 5 Circles (4)

· Tom Heatley, Joanna Pease, Dale Manor, Barb Baldinger, Jim Fowler, Ruth Schmidt, Foster Chamberlin, Ellen Chamberlin, & Chris Chamberlin – Metro Beach – South Marsh, Lake St. Clair, MI – 55 (50)

· Alan Ryff, Barbara Baldinger, Frank Dennis, Marilyn Dennis, & Dale Manor – Metro Beach – North Marsh, Lake St. Clair, MI – 59 (55)

· Adam Byrne, Scott Terry, & John McDaniel – Whitefish Point, Paradise, MI – 33 (37)

· Mike Petrucha – Tawas State Park, Tawas, MI – 33 (new)

· “Washtenaw Wingnuts” – Don Chalfant, Jacco Gelderloos, Hein Prinsen, & Roger Wykes – Independence Lake, Washtenaw Co., MI – 46 (54)

Missouri – 3 Circles (1)

· Judi Ditch – Shaw Nature Reserve, Gray Summit, MO – 13 (new)

· Nicholas March, Gale March, Kim March, Rachel March, John Tate, & Jenny Webb – backyard, Macon, MO – 37 (new)

· Doris Fitchett, Steve Kinder, Terry McNeeley, Gene Bennettm, Charley Windels, Larry Lade, Ann Downing, & Robert Downing – Swan Lake NWR, Mendon, MO – 46 (61)

North Carolina – 1 Circle (1)

· “Blue Ridge Birders” – Jim Keighton – frontyard, Sparta, NC – 28 (40)

Netherlands – 4 Circles (2)

· “Anser anser” – Ton Eggenhuizen – Oostvaardersplassen, Flevoland, Netherlands – 102 (new)

· “Dutch Bridge Birders” – Ricardo van Dijk & Ellen de Bruin – dike 20 miles E of Amsterdam, Flevoland, Netherlands  – 79 (new)

· “Dutch Dike Sitters” – Marijn Prins, Hans van Oosterhout, & Hanneke Sevink – Corversbos, Hilversum, Noord-Holland, Netherlands – 65 (76)

· “The Undutchables” – Ben Gaxiola – Dike near the Westplaat, Zuid-Holland, Rotterdam, Netherlands – 107 (101)

New Jersey – 3 Circles (2)

· “The Celery Stalkers” – Stiles Thomas, Carol Flanagan, Hugh Carola, Fred Ditmars, Rob Fanning, George Flanagan, Mark Kantrowitz, Kerul Kassel, Ivan Kossak, Jennifer Kossak, Joe Lafferty, David Leeman, Mike Limatola, Maria Marino, Charlie Mayhood, Kurt Muenz, Sean Onditch, Jim Schlick, & Jody Stroker – Celery Farm Natural Area, Allendale, NJ – 61 (40)

· Fred Tetlow – Culver Causeway, Culver Lake, NJ – 58 (63)

· John Reed & Susan Simovich – Picatinny Peak, Picatinny, NJ – 33 (new)

New Mexico – 1 Circle (2)

· Patricia Russell – backyard, Santa Teresa, NM – 25 (24)

New York – 2 Circles (1)

· “Ovenbirds” – Sharon Genaux & Angela Broughton – Pfeiffer Nature Center, Portville, NY – 17 (new)

· “Hudson River Audubon of Westchester” – Michael Bochnik, Ellen O’Connell, Joe O’Connell, Bill Van Wart, Tom Utch, Saul Scheinbach, & Judi Veder – Lenior Nature Center, Yonkers, NY – 45 (new)

Ohio – 2 Circles (2)

· Pat Dean, Jack Dean, & Jeanette Dean – backyard, Prospect, OH – 20 (28)

· Bill Thompson III, Julie Zickefoose, Phoebe Thompson, Liam Thompson, Lucine Wright, Ava Bradley, Jeff Payne, Retta Payne, Matthew Payne, Christopher Payne, Laura Rudie, Dave Rudie, & Jake Rudie – Indigo Hill Birding Tower, Whipple, OH – 44 (55)

Oklahoma – 4 Circles (1)

· Vicki Hatfield – backyard, Grove, OK – 25 (new)

· David Arbour, Mike Dillon, Berlin Heck, Marty Kamp, & Dan Reinking – Red Slough, Idabel, OK – 69 (new)

· “Edge of the Earther’s” – Cyndie Browning, Phil Floyd, & Sue Ann Floyd – frontyard, Lexington, OK – 24 (29)

· Doug McGee, Laura Kennedy, Rebecca Smythe, MaryLou Johnson, Don Varner, & Joyce Varner – Sequoyah State Park, Wagoner, OK – 35 (new)

Oregon – 2 Circles (0)

· Roy Gerig, Laurie Ashworth, Carol Karlen, & Bill Tice – Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Dallas, OR – 52 (new)

· Rebecca Cheek, Carol Cole, Carol DeLancey, Darrel Faxon, Wayne Hoffman, John MacKown, Linda MacKown, Keith Matteson, Walt Nelson, & Chuck Philo – frontyard, South Beach, OR – 40 (new)

South Carolina – 2 Circles (2)

· “Columbia Audubon Society” – Robin Carter, Caroline Eastman, Parkin Hunter, Heidi Hoerman, & Lloyd Moon – Congaree Bluff HP, Calhoun County, SC – 38 (48)

· “Waccamaw Audubon Society” – Tonya Spires – Huntington Beach State Park, Conway, SC – 51 (?)

South Africa – 2 Circles (new)

· “Tygerberg Bird Club” – Sally Adam, Mariana Delport, Pam Eloff, Trevor Hardaker, Kirsten Louw, Rassie Pretorius, & Jurie Fourie – Strandfontein Sewage Works, Cape Town, South Africa – 58 (new)

· Ian Mileham – Yotclub B&B, Little Karoo, South Africa – 56 (new)

Texas – 25 Circles (3)

· Gary Waggerman – backyard, Austin, TX – 7 (new)

· “Travis Audubon Society” – Stu Wilson, Shelia Hargis, Roxie Rochat, Tess Sherman, Jeffrey Hanson, Rich Kaskan, Jeff Munday, Cynde Bays, Al Gamache, Peg Wallace, Kathleen McCormack, Bill Edwards, Daphne Hamilton, Catfish Kelly, & Mikael Behrens – Hornsby Bend BioSolids Management Facility, Austin, TX – 53 (new)

· Bob Rasa – backyard, Buffalo Springs Lake, TX – 16 (new)

· “Tallgrass Prairie Audubon Society” – Mary Curry, Claire Curry, Lisa Meador, Jess Meador, Judy Grace, & Rosie (dog) – Lyndon B. Johnson National Grasslands, Decatur, TX – 32 (new)

· Dick Heller & Harold Crandall – El Rio RV Park, Falcon Heights, TX – 30 (new)

· “Galveston Bird Club” – James Stevenson, Jeff Goodland, Connie Goodland, Mariah Lee, Maureen Myers, & Jaeger (dog) – Galveston Island, Galveston, TX – 82 (missed ’00)

· “Bolivar Birders” – James Stevenson, Jim Concedine, Lark Kaskie, Alice Hurlbert, Marion Neff, & Susan Bush – Bolivar flats, Galveston Co., TX – 47 (new)

· Bill Holmes – backyard, Garland, TX – 20 (new)

· “Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society” – Christina Mild, Cortney Mild, Mark Conway, Robert Deputy, Joann Deputy, Debi Warner, Mark Warner, Don Ocker, Betty Ocker, Nila Wipf, Diann Ballesteros, Pat Wade, & Kitty Wade – backyard, Harlingen, TX – 52 (new)

· Margret Simmons & Bob Simmons – backyard, Houston, TX – 15 (new)

· Mark Adams, Kelly Bryan, & Rex Barrick – Davis Mountains Preserve, Jeff Davis County, TX – 29 (new)

· Lydia Middendorf & Nate McVaugh – frontyard, Johnson City, TX – 9 (new)

· Jane Kittleman – backyard, McAllen, TX – 10 (new)

· Jane Heller – backyard, Mission, TX – 7 (new)

· Jesse Fagan, Jack Burnell, Kay Burnell, Ruth Heino, Dave Wallace, Carol Wells, & Fran (last name?) – Nacogdoches Sewage Ponds, Nacogdoches, TX – 35 (new)

· “Mainland Bird Club” – Chris Merkford, Joyce Buckle, Jennifer Reidy, Tracy Keltonic, & Kinjo Yonemato – Brazos Bend State Park, Needville, TX – 51 (new)

· Ronald Jussilla – Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park, Palmview, TX – 6 (new)

· Petra Hockey & Ladd Hockey – backyard, Port O’Connor, TX – 77 (new)

· “Brazosport Birders” – Charles Brower, Olivia Brower, Tom Collins, Deana Francis, Ian Hartzler, Missy Herns, Heather Herns, Kayla Herns, Phil Huxford, Warren Pruess, Jim Renfro, Tom Taroni, Don Verser, Ron Weeks, & Ken West – Quintana Neotropical Park, Quintana, TX – 79 (59)

· “Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society” – Kay Baughman, Mark Conway, Diann Ballesteros, & Mr. and Mrs. Richard Deputy – backyard, Rio Hondo, TX – 82 (new)

· Chuck Davis – backyard, Rollover Pass – Bolivar Peninsula, TX – 32 (new)

· John Arvin, George Colley, Scarlet Colley, & Barbara Kennett – South Padre Island Convention Center, South Padre Island, TX – 78 (new)

· “Buff-bellies” – Martin Hagne, Connie Stone, Carrie Cate, & Luise Schultz – Valley Nature Center, Waslaco, TX – 34 (new)

· Anne Shelton – backyard, Webster, TX – 7 (new)

· Harold Burgess – backyard, Weslaco, TX – 16 (51)

Virginia – 2 Circles (1)

· David Clark – backyard, Norfolk, VA – 49 (new)

· Brian Taber, Calvin Brennan, Bob Rineer, Bob Ake, Bob Anderson, Thuy Tran, Joyce Neff, Andy Teeling, & Hal Wirenga – Kiptopeke State Park, Williamsburg, VA – 73 (75)

Washington – 2 Circles (4)

· “Rain Tree Crow” – Arthur Grimes, Meg Grimes, & Dorian Grimes – Spencer Island, Everett, WA – 39 (36)

· Dennis Rockwell, Sandra Haun, Desiree Benton, Bill LaFramboise, & Nancy LaFramboise – Rattlesnake Mt., Kennewick, WA – 21 (37)

Species List for The Big Sit! 2001

Bold species names note those that are new to TBS! list. Species names without any state or country codes have been seen on previous TBS!’s, but not seen in 2001.

States are noted by their postal abbreviations. Countries are noted as such: N=Netherlands, E=England, M=Mexico, and SA=South Africa.

The primary reference for common names and taxonomy is the AOU’s Check-list of North American Birds, 7th Edition. Sibley and Monroe’s list was used for birds not appearing on the AOU check-list. These two lists disagree to some degree, therefore some of the European and African species may not be in the correct order. Any advice on how to handle this is appreciated.

Red-throated Loon (CT, MI, VA)

Arctic Loon

Pacific Loon (OR)

Common Loon (CA, CT, ID, MI, OR)

Little Grebe (E, N, SA)

Least Grebe (M)

Pied-billed Grebe (AZ, CA, CT, ID, IL, IN, MD, MI, MO, NJ, OK, TX)

Great Crested Grebe (N, SA)

Horned Grebe (CA, MI)

Black-necked Grebe (SA)

Red-necked Grebe (ID, MI)

Eared Grebe (CA)

Western Grebe (CA, ID, OR)

Clark’s Grebe (CA)

Sooty Shearwater (OR)

Black-vented Shearwater

Northern Gannet

Great White Pelican (SA)

American White Pelican (CA, LA, MO, OK, TX)

Brown Pelican (CA, FL, OR, SC, TX, VA)

Long-tailed Cormorant (SA)

Brandt’s Cormorant (CA, OR)

Neotropic Cormorant (M, TX)

Double-crested Cormorant (AL, AR, AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OK, OR, SC, TX, VA)

Great Cormorant (CT, E, N, SA, VA)

Cape Cormorant (SA)

Pelagic Cormorant (CA, OR)

European Shag

Anhinga (OK, TX)

Magnificent Frigatebird (FL)

American Bittern (CA, CT, MI, NJ, TX)

Little Bittern (SA)

Least Bittern (MO, TX)

Great Bittern (N)

Hamerkop (SA)

Great Blue Heron (AL, AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, M, MI, MO, NJ, OK, OR, SC, TX, VA, WA)

Great Egret (AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, LA, M, MI, MO, N, NJ, OK, OR, SC, TX, WA)

Black-headed Heron (SA)

Little Egret

Snowy Egret (CA, CT, FL, GA, LA, M, SC, TX)

Little Blue Heron (CT, FL, GA, LA, M, SC, TX)

Tricolored Heron (FL, LA, M, SC, TX)

Bare-throated Tiger-heron (M)

Gray Heron (E, N, SA)

Reddish Egret (FL, TX)

Purple Heron (SA)

Cattle Egret (AL, FL, LA, M, SA, TX)

Green Heron (IN, M, MI, TX)

Black-crowned Night-Heron (AL, CA, CT, FL, IN, MA, MD, M, MI, NJ, OK, SC, SA, TX)

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (CT, FL, MD, M, SC, TX)

White Ibis (FL, LA, SC, TX)

Glossy Ibis (SA)

White-faced Ibis (CA, TX)

Hadada Ibis (SA)

Sacred Ibis (SA)

Roseate Spoonbill (TX)

Wood Stork (SC, TX)

Black Vulture (FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, M, NC, NJ, OK, SC, TX, VA)

Turkey Vulture (AL, AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, M, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, SC, TX, VA)

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (M)

Greater Flamingo (FL, SA)

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (M, TX)

Fulvous Whistling-Duck

Bean Goose (N)

Greater White-fronted Goose (CA, N, OK, TX)

Greylag Goose (N)

Emperor Goose

Snow Goose (IL, MO, OR, VA)

Canada Goose (CA, CT, E, GA, ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, VA, WA)

Brant (CT, N, NY)

Barnacle Goose (N)

Egyptian Goose (N, SA)

South African Shelduck (SA)

Common Shelduck (N)

Mute Swan (CT, E, MI, N, NJ)

Tundra Swan

Wood Duck (CA, CT, IL, IN, LA, MA, MI, MO, NJ, OK, SC, TX)

Gadwall (AZ, CA, CT, GA, IL, IN, MD, MI, MO, N, NJ, OK, TX)

Eurasian Wigeon (CA, N)

American Wigeon (AZ, CA, CT, ID, IL, IN, MI, NJ, OK, TX)

Cape Teal (SA)

African Black Duck (SA)

American Black Duck (CT, IL, IN, MA, MI, NJ)

Mallard (AZ, CA, CT, E, GA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, N, NJ, OK, OR, TX, VA, WA)

Mottled Duck (TX)

Yellow-billed Duck (SA)

Blue-winged Teal (CA, CT, GA, IL, IN, LA, M, MI, MO, OK, TX)

Cinnamon Teal (CA)

Cape Shoveler (SA)

Northern Shoveler (CA, GA, IN, MI, MO, N, OK, OR, TX)

Red-billed Duck (SA)

Northern Pintail (CA, CT, IL, IN, MI, MO, N, OK, OR, TX)

Garganey (N)

Common Teal (N)

Green-winged Teal (AZ, CA, CT, GA, IL, IN, MI, MO, NJ, OK, OR, TX, WA)

Southern Pochard (SA)

Canvasback (CA)

Redhead (MI)

Common Pochard (N)

Ring-necked Duck (AZ, CA, IN, MI, OK)

Ferruginous Pochard (N)

Tufted Duck (N)

Greater Scaup (CA, CT, MI)

Lesser Scaup (CA, MI, TX)

Common Eider (N)

Harlequin Duck

Surf Scoter (CA, CT, MI, OR, VA)

White-winged Scoter (CT, MI, OR)

Black Scoter (CT)

Long-tailed Duck (MI)

Bufflehead (CA)

Common Goldeneye (MI)

Hooded Merganser (CA. MI)

Common Merganser (CA, N)

Red-breasted Merganser (CA, CT, MI, N)

Ruddy Duck (AZ, CA, CT, MI, NJ, TX)

Maccoa Duck (SA)

Osprey (AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IN, LA, MI, NJ, OR, SC, TX, VA)

European Honey-buzzard

Black-winged Kite (SA)

White-tailed Kite (CA, OR, TX)

Snail Kite (M)

Mississippi Kite

Red Kite

African Fish-eagle (SA)

Bald Eagle (CA, FL, IN, MI, MO, NY, OR, SC, VA)

Black-collared Hawk (M)

Eurasian Marsh-harrier (N)

African Marsh-harrier (SA)

Northern Harrier (AZ, CA, CT, FL, IL, IN, LA, MA, MO, N, NJ, OK, OR, TX, VA, WA)

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (E, N)

Sharp-shinned Hawk (AR, AZ, CA, CT, FL, IL, IN, MA, MD, M, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, SC, TX, VA, WA)

Cooper’s Hawk (AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, SC, TX, VA, WA)

Northern Goshawk (MI, N)

Gray Hawk (M)

Common Black-Hawk (M)

Harris’s Hawk (TX)

Great Black-hawk (M)

Roadside Hawk (M)

Red-shouldered Hawk (CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, NJ, NY, OH, OK, SC, TX)

Broad-winged Hawk (FL, IN, MA, NY, TX)

Short-tailed Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk (TX)

White-tailed Hawk (TX)

Red-tailed Hawk (AZ, CA, CT, GA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, M, MO, NC, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, SC, TX, VA, WA)

Common Buzzard (E, N)

Ferruginous Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk (MO, OR, WA)

Golden Eagle (CA, TX, WA)

Crested Caracara (M, TX)

Laughing Falcon (M)

Eurasian Kestrel (E, N)

American Kestrel (CA, CT, FL, IL, LA, MD, M, MO, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, TX, VA)

Merlin (CA, CT, FL, ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, N, NJ, OR, SC, TX, VA)

Eurasian Hobby (N)

Aplomado Falcon (M)

Peregrine Falcon (CA, CT, FL, IN, M, N, NJ, OR, TX, VA)

Prairie Falcon (CA, WA)

Plain Chachalaca (M, TX)

Chukar (WA)

Red-legged Partridge (E)

Cape Francolin (SA)

Gray Partridge (N)

Ring-necked Pheasant (E, N, OR)

Ruffed Grouse (CT)

Sharp-tailed Grouse (MI)

Wild Turkey (CA, CT, MO, NC, NJ, OH)

Helmeted Guineafowl (SA)

Scaled Quail (CO)

California Quail (CA)

Gambel’s Quail (AZ)

Northern Bobwhite (IL, MO)

Black Rail (CA)

Clapper Rail (CA, CT, SC, TX, VA)

King Rail (TX)

Virginia Rail (CA, CT)

Water Rail (N)

Sora (CA, CT, MD, MO, TX)

Purple Swamphen (SA)

Common Moorhen (AZ, CA, E, N, SA, TX)

Red-knobbed Coot (SA)

American Coot (AZ, CA, CT, ID, IL, IN, M, MO, OK, OR, TX, WA)

Eurasian Coot (E, N)

Limpkin (M)

Sandhill Crane (FL, IL, MI, TX, WA)

Common Crane

Northern Lapwing (E, N)

Blacksmith Lapwing (SA)

Black-bellied Plover (CA, CT, FL, N, SC, TX)

European Golden-plover (E, N)

American Golden-plover (CT)

Pacific Golden-plover

Snowy Plover (CA)

Wilson’s Plover

Common Ringed Plover (N)

Semipalmated Plover (CA, CT, GA, MI, SC, TX)

Piping Plover (TX)

Killdeer (AZ, CA, CO, CT, GA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NM, OH, OK, OR, TX, VA, WA)

Three-banded Plover (SA)

American Oystercatcher (CT, FL, SC, TX)

Black Oystercatcher

Eurasian Oystercatcher (N)

Spotted Thick-knee (SA)

Black-winged Stilt (SA)

Black-necked Stilt (CA, M, TX)

Pied Avocet (N)

American Avocet (CA, IN, TX)

Northern Jacana (M)

Common Greenshank (N)

Greater Yellowlegs (CA, CT, M, MI, MO, NJ, OK, OR, SC, TX)

Lesser Yellowlegs (CT, GA, M, MI, SC, TX)

Common Redshank (N)

Spotted Redshank (N)

Wood Sandpiper (N)

Green Sandpiper (N)

Solitary Sandpiper (NJ, TX)

Willet (CA, FL, SC, TX)

Wandering Tattler

Common Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper (CA, TX)

Whimbrel (CA, OR)

Eurasian Curlew (N)

Long-billed Curlew (CA, TX)

Black-tailed Godwit

Bar-tailed Godwit (N)

Marbled Godwit (CA, TX)

Ruddy Turnstone (CT, FL, MI, N, TX)

Black Turnstone


Red Knot (CA, CT, N)

Sanderling (CA, CT, MI, N, OR, TX, VA)

Semipalmated Sandpiper (MI)

Western Sandpiper (CA, SC, TX)

Little Stint (N)

Temminick’s Stint (N)

Least Sandpiper (CA, CT, GA, MI, OR, TX)

White-rumped Sandpiper (CT, NJ)

Baird’s Sandpiper (GA, TX)

Pectoral Sandpiper (CA, CT, ID, NJ, TX, VA)

Dunlin (CA, CT, N, TX)

Curlew Sandpiper (N)

Stilt Sandpiper (TX)

Ruff (N)

Short-billed Dowitcher (CA, SC, TX)

Long-billed Dowitcher (CA, ID, M, OR, TX, WA)

Dowitcher sp. (CT)

Jack Snipe (N)

Common Snipe (CA, CT, E, GA, MI, MO, N, NJ, OK, TX, WA)

Eurasian Woodcock (N)

American Woodcock (CT)

Wilson’s Phalarope

Red-necked Phalarope

Pomarine Jaeger

Parasitic Jaeger (CA)

Jaeger sp. (SC)

Laughing Gull (CA, CT, FL, MD, M, SC, TX, VA)

Franklin’s Gull (TX)

Little Gull (N)

Black-headed Gull (E, N)

Bonaparte’s Gull (CT, IN, MI, MO, WA)

Heermann’s Gull (CA, OR)

Mew Gull (E, N, OR, WA)

Ring-billed Gull (CA, CT, FL, ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OK, SC, TX, VA)

California Gull (CA, OR)

Herring Gull (CA, CT, FL, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, N, NJ, NY, SC, TX, VA)

Thayer’s Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull (E, N, SC)

Gray-headed Gull (SA)

King Gull (SA)

Western Gull (CA, OR)

Glaucous-winged Gull (OR, WA)

Great Black-backed Gull (CT, MA, MD, MI, N, NJ, VA)

Kelp Gull (SA)

Black-legged Kittiwake

Gull-billed Tern (TX)

Caspian Tern (CA, FL, MI, SC, TX, VA)

Royal Tern (CA, FL, SC, TX, VA)

Elegant Tern (CA)

Great Crested-tern (SA)

Sandwich Tern (N, SA, TX)

Common Tern (IN, MI, TX)

Forster’s Tern (CA, FL, IN, MD, MI, SC, TX, VA)

Least Tern

Black Tern

Black Skimmer (TX)

Common Murre (OR)


Rock Dove (AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, E, FL, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, N, NJ, NY, OH, SA, TX, VA)

Speckled Pigeon (SA)

Stock Pigeon (E, N)

Common Wood-pigeon (E, N)

White-crowned Pigeon (FL)

Red-billed Pigeon (M)

Laughing Dove (SA)

Ring-necked Dove (SA)

Red-eyed Dove (SA)

Band-tailed Pigeon (CA)

Eurasian Collared-Dove (E, FL, N, TX)

Spotted Dove

White-winged Dove (NM, TX)

Mourning Dove (AL, AR, AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, SC, TX, VA)

Inca Dove (AZ, M, NM, TX)

Common Ground-Dove (TX)

Ruddy Ground-Dove (M)

White-tipped Dove (TX)

Monk Parakeet (CT)

Green Parakeet (TX)

Olive-throated Parakeet (M)

Red-crowned Parrot (TX)

White-backed Mousebird (SA)

Red-faced Mousebird (SA)

Dideric Cuckoo (SA)

Black-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo (MO)

Squirrel Cuckoo (M)

Greater Roadrunner (AZ)

Groove-billed Ani (M, TX)

Barn Owl (CT, FL, TX)

Western Screech-Owl (AZ, CA, TX)

Eastern Screech-Owl (AL, MI, OH, OK, SC, TX)

Great Horned Owl (AZ, CA, CT, FL, IL, IN, LA, MO, OH, OK, SC, TX)

Northern Pygmy-Owl (ID)

Burrowing Owl

Tawny Owl (N)

Barred Owl (CT, FL, IN, MO, OH, OK, SC)

Short-eared Owl

Little Owl (E)

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Lesser Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk (LA, NJ, OK, TX)

Antillean Nighthawk

Common Pauraque (M, TX)

Whip-poor-will (TX)

Chimney Swift (AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, MI, NJ, OH, OK, SC, TX, VA)

Vaux’s Swift

Little Swift (SA)

White-throated Swift (AZ, TX)

White-rumped Swift (SA)

Green-breasted Mango (TX)

Broad-billed Hummingbird (TX)

Buff-bellied Hummingbird (M, TX)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (M, TX)

Black-chinned Hummingbird (NM, TX)

Anna’s Hummingbird (AZ, CA)

Broad-tailed Hummingbird (NM, TX)

Rufous Hummingbird (TX)

Allen’s Hummingbird

Common Kingfisher (E)

Half-collared Kingfisher (SA)

Brown-hooded Kingfisher (SA)

Giant Kingfisher (SA)

Ringed Kingfisher (M, TX)

Belted Kingfisher (AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, ID, IL IN, LA, MA, MD, M, MI, MO, NJ, OK, SC, TX, VA, WA)

Pied Kingfisher (SA)

Green Kingfisher (TX)

Red-headed Woodpecker (IL, IN, LA, MO, OK, SC, TX)

Acorn Woodpecker (CA)

Gila Woodpecker (AZ)

Golden-fronted Woodpecker (M, TX)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (AR, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, OK, SC, TX, VA)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (CT, MD, NC, OH, SC, TX, VA)

Red-naped Sapsucker (AZ)

Red-breasted Sapsucker (CA)

Cardinal Woodpecker (SA)

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker (E, N)

Ladder-backed Woodpecker (AZ, M, TX)

Nuttall’s Woodpecker (CA)

Downy Woodpecker (AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, NJ, OH, OK, OR, SC, TX, VA)

Hairy Woodpecker (CO, CT, ID, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, NJ, OH)

Northern Flicker (AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, GA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, SC, TX, VA,  WA)

Pileated Woodpecker (FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MO, NJ, OH, OK, SC, TX, WA)

Black Woodpecker

Eurasian Green Woodpecker (E, N)

Rufous-breasted Spinetail (M)

Ivory-billed Woodcreeper (M)

Barred Antshrike (M)

Slate-headed Tody-flycatcher (M)

Common Tody-flycatcher (M)

African Paradise-flycatcher (SA)

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Greater Pewee (M)

Western Wood-Pewee

Eastern Wood-Pewee (CT, SC, VA)

Tropical Pewee (M)

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (TX)

Acadian Flycatcher (TX)

Least Flycatcher (M, TX)

Hammond’s Flycatcher

Gray Flycatcher

Dusky Flycatcher

Pacific-slope Flycatcher

Black Phoebe (AZ, CA)

Eastern Phoebe (CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, SC, TX)

Say’s Phoebe (CA)

Vermilion Flycatcher (AZ, M, TX)

Dusky-capped Flycatcher (M)

Great Crested Flycatcher (M, TX)

Myiarchus sp. (CT)

Brown-crested Flycatcher (M)

Great Kiskadee (M, TX)

Social Flycatcher (M)

Tropical Kingbird (M)

Couch’s Kingbird (M, TX)

Cassin’s Kingbird (CA)

Western Kingbird (CO, TX)

Eastern Kingbird (CT, TX)

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (LA, M, OK, TX)

Fork-tailed Flycatcher (M)

Rose-throated Becard (M)

Loggerhead Shrike (CA, LA, OK, TX)

Northern Shrike

Common Fiscal (SA)

White-eyed Vireo (FL, M, SC, TX)

Yellow-throated Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo (CT, NY, TX)

Hutton’s Vireo (CA, OR, TX)

Warbling Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo (MI)

Red-eyed Vireo (FL)

Black-whiskered Vireo

Eurasian Jay (E, N)

Gray Jay

Steller’s Jay (CA, CO, OR, TX, WA)

Blue Jay (AL, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, SC, TX, VA)

Green Jay (M, TX)

Brown Jay (M)

Western Scrub-Jay (CA, CO, OR, TX)

Mexican Jay

Pinyon Jay

Black-billed Magpie (CO, E, ID, N)

Yellow-billed Magpie (CA)

Eurasian Jackdaw (E, N)

American Crow (AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, SC, TX, VA, WA)

Rook (E, N)

Northwestern Crow

Fish Crow (CT, FL, GA, MD, OK, SC)

Carrion Crow (E, N)

Pied Crow (SA)

Chihuahuan Raven (TX)

Common Raven (AZ, CA, ID, MA, M, MI, NC, NJ, OR, TX, WA)

White-necked Raven (SA)

Tinkling Cisticola (SA)

Karoo Prinia (SA)

Pale White-eye (SA)

African Bush-warbler (SA)

African Reed-warbler (SA)

Lesser Swamp-warbler (SA)

Northern Chiffchaff (N)

Bearded Parrotbill (N)

Blackcap (N)

Wood Lark (N)

Sky Lark (E, N)

Horned Lark (CT, IL, IN, MI, N, TX, WA)

Tree Swallow (AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OK, SC, TX, VA, WA)

Mangrove Swallow (M)

Violet-green Swallow (AZ, CA)

Northern Rough-winged Swallow (IL, LA, M, MI, OK, TX, VA)

Plain Martin (SA)

Rock Martin (SA)

Bank Swallow (CA, TX)

Cliff Swallow (CA, IL, OK, TX)

Cave Swallow (TX)

Barn Swallow (AZ, CA, E, IL, IN, MO, N, NM, OK, TX, VA)

White-throated Swallow (SA)

Pearl-breasted Swallow (SA)

Greater Striped-swallow (SA)

Swallow sp. (AL)

Marsh Tit (N)

Willow Tit (N)

Carolina Chickadee (AR, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, NC, OH, OK, SC, TX, VA)

Black-capped Chickadee (CO, CT, ID, IL, MA, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, OR, WA)

Mountain Chickadee (CO, TX)

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (CA, OR)

Coal Tit (N)

Crested Tit

Great Tit (E, N)

Blue Tit (E, N)

Bridled Titmouse

Oak Titmouse (CA)

Tufted Titmouse (AL, AR, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, M, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, SC, TX)

Long-tailed Tit (E, N)

Verdin (AZ, NM)

Bushtit (CA, OR, TX)

Eurasian Nuthatch (N)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (AR, CO, CT, ID, IL, IN, MA, MI, NY, OK, VA, WA)

White-breasted Nuthatch (CA, CO, CT, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, TX)

Pygmy Nuthatch (CO)

Brown-headed Nuthatch (VA)

Brown Creeper (CT, IN, MI, VA)

Short-toed Tree-creeper (N)

Cactus Wren (AZ, NM)

Rock Wren

Band-backed Wren (M)

Canyon Wren (WA)

Spot-breasted Wren (M)

Carolina Wren (AL, AR, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, SC, TX, VA)

Bewick’s Wren (AZ, CA, OR, TX)

House Wren (AR, CT, FL, M, NC, TX, VA)

Winter Wren (CT, E, N, OR, WA)

Sedge Wren

Marsh Wren (CA, CT, IL, MD, MI, TX, WA)

American Dipper

Firecrest (N)

Golden-crowned Kinglet (AR, CA, CT, ID, MD, MI, NJ, OH, OR, SC, VA, WA)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (AR, AZ, CA, CT, FL, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, TX, VA, WA)

Goldcrest (E, N)

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (AZ, CA, FL, M, TX)

California Gnatcatcher

European Robin (E, N)

Northern Wheatear (N)

Familiar Chat (SA)

Cape Robin-chat (SA)

Black Redstart (N)

Whinchat (N)

Stonechat (N)

Eastern Bluebird (CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, TX)

Western Bluebird (CA, OK)

Brown-backed Solitaire (M)

Townsend’s Solitaire (TX)

Swainson’s Thrush (FL, NC, SC)

Hermit Thrush (CA, CT, MD, MI, TX, WA)

Wood Thrush (TX)

Olive Thrush (SA)

Ring Ouzel (N)

Eurasian Blackbird (E, N)

Fieldfare (E, N)

Redwing (E, N)

Song Thrush (E, N)

Mistle Thrush (E, N)

Clay-colored Robin (M)

American Robin (AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, GA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, VA, WA)

Varied Thrush (OR, WA)

Wrentit (CA)

Gray Catbird (AL, CT, FL, GA, MA, MD, M, MI, NJ, NY, TX, VA)

Northern Mockingbird (AR, AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, LA, MA, MD, NJ, NM, NY, SC, TX, VA)

Blue Mockingbird

Brown Thrasher (CT, FL, GA, LA, MA, TX, VA)

Long-billed Thrasher (M, TX)

Curve-billed Thrasher (AZ, NM, TX)

California Thrasher (CA)

Red-winged Starling (SA)

European Starling (AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, E, GA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, N, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, SC, SA, TX, VA, WA)

Yellow Wagtail (N)

Gray Wagtail (E, N)

White Wagtail (E, N)

Cape Wagtail (SA)

Red-throated Pipit

Tree Pipit (N)

Richard’s Pipit (N)

Meadow Pipit (E, N)

Rock Pipit (N)

Water Pipit (N)

American Pipit (CA, CT, FL, IN, MI, NJ, OK, OR, TX)

Bohemian Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing (CA, CT, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, OR, VA, WA)

Phainopepla (NM)

Golden-winged Warbler

Tennessee Warbler (AL, IL, TX)

Orange-crowned Warbler (AR, CA, NM, TX)

Nashville Warbler (CT, M, OK, TX)

Northern Parula (M, OK, VA)

Tropical Parula (M, TX)

Yellow Warbler (M, TX)

Magnolia Warbler (CT, GA, M)

Cape May Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler (FL, VA)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (AZ, CA, CT, FL, IL, IN, MA, MD, M, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, TX, VA, WA)

Black-throated Gray Warbler (AZ)

Black-throated Green Warbler (CT, TX)

Townsend’s Warbler (WA)

Yellow-throated Warbler (TX)

Pine Warbler (CT, FL, OK, VA)

Prairie Warbler (FL)

Palm Warbler (CT, FL, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, TX, VA)

Bay-breasted Warbler (IN)

Blackpoll Warbler (CT)

Black-and-white Warbler (FL, M)

American Redstart (FL, M, NJ, TX, VA)

Ovenbird (FL, TX)

Northern Waterthrush (FL, M)

Common Yellowthroat (AZ, CA, CT, IL, LA, MD, M, OK, TX, VA)

Gray-crowned Yellowthroat (M)

Hooded Warbler (M, SC)

Wilson’s Warbler (M, TX)

Canada Warbler (TX)

Painted Redstart

Yellow-breasted Chat (M)

Hepatic Tanager

Summer Tanager (SC)

Blue-gray Tanager (M)

Scarlet Tanager

Western Tanager

Tanager sp. (CT)

White-collared Seedeater (M)

Olive Sparrow (TX)

Green-tailed Towhee

Spotted Towhee (CA, CO, NM, OR, TX, WA)

Eastern Towhee (CA, CT, FL, GA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OH, VA)

Canyon Towhee (AZ)

California Towhee (CA)

Abert’s Towhee (AZ)

Rufous-crowned Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow (CT)

Chipping Sparrow (AZ, CO, CT, IN, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, TX, VA)

Clay-colored Sparrow (CO, TX)

Brewer’s Sparrow (TX)

Field Sparrow (CT, MD, OH, OK)

Vesper Sparrow (CT)

Lark Sparrow (TX)

Black-throated Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow (CA, CT, MD, MI, NJ, OK, OR, TX)

Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow (CT)

Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow (CT)

Seaside Sparrow

Fox Sparrow (CA, CT, MA, MI, OR, WA)

Song Sparrow (CA, CT, GA, ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, VA, WA)

Lincoln’s Sparrow (CT, OH, TX, WA)

Swamp Sparrow (CT, IL, MA, MD, MI, MO, NJ, OH, OK)

White-throated Sparrow (CT, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OR, SC, VA)

Harris’s Sparrow (OK)

White-crowned Sparrow (AZ, CA, CO, CT, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NM, OR, WA)

Golden-crowned Sparrow (CA, WA)

Dark-eyed Junco (CA, CO, CT, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, OR, TX, VA, WA)

Yellow-eyed Junco

Yellowhammer (E, N)

Lapland Longspur (CT, MI, N)

Little Bunting (N)

Reed Bunting (N)

Snow Bunting

Grayish Saltator (M)

Northern Cardinal (AL, AR, AZ, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, SC, TX, VA)

Pyrrhuloxia (AZ, NM)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (CT, MD, SC, TX, VA)

Black-headed Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak (TX)

Lazuli Bunting

Indigo Bunting (FL, LA, TX, VA)

Varied Bunting (M)

Painted Bunting (FL, M, TX)

Dickcissel (OK, TX)

Bobolink (CT, VA)

Red-winged Blackbird (AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, M, MI, MO, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, SC, TX, VA, WA)

Tricolored Blackbird

Eastern Meadowlark (CT, GA, MD, M, OK, TX)

Western Meadowlark (AZ, CA, CO, OR)

Yellow-headed Blackbird (NM)

Rusty Blackbird (CT, IL, IN, MI, NJ)

Melodious Blackbird (M)

Brewer’s Blackbird (CA, MI, MO, OK, OR)

Common Grackle (AR, CT, FL, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, OK, SC, TX, VA)

Boat-tailed Grackle (FL, SC, TX)

Great-tailed Grackle (AZ, CA, M, NM, TX)

Bronzed Cowbird (TX)

Brown-headed Cowbird (CT, IL, IN, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, OK, TX, VA)

Orchard Oriole (M)

Hooded Oriole (M, TX)

Bullock’s Oriole (M)

Altamira Oriole (M, TX)

Audubon’s Oriole (M, TX)

Baltimore Oriole (TX, VA)

Scott’s Oriole (NM)

Common Chaffinch (E, N)

Brambling (N)

European Serin (N)

Cape Canary (SA)

Purple Finch (CT, MA, NJ, WA)

Cassin’s Finch (CO)

House Finch (AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, GA, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, TX, VA, WA)

Red Crossbill (N)

White-winged Crossbill (MI)

Common Redpoll (N)

Twite (N)

Eurasian Linnet (E, N)

European Greenfinch (E, N)

Eurasian Siskin (E, N)

Pine Siskin (CO, CT, IL, NJ, OR, TX, WA)

Lesser Goldfinch (AZ, CA, CO, TX)

Lawrence’s Goldfinch (CA)

American Goldfinch (AR, CA, CT, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, VA, WA)

European Goldfinch (E, N)

Eurasian Bullfinch (N)

Evening Grosbeak (MA, MI)

Hawfinch (N)

House Sparrow (AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, N, NM, NY, OH, OK, TX, VA)

Mossie (SA)

Cape Sparrow (SA)

Eurasian Tree Sparrow (N)

Hedge Accentor (E, N)

Cape Weaver (SA)

Southern Masked-weaver (SA)

Red-billed Quelea (SA)

Red Bishop (SA)

Common Waxbill (SA)

Captains Notes

This is an unedited version of every note I received
(electronically) from circle captains.

Claudia Ahrens – Killingworth, Connecticut

Bill & I had a good day a bit misty early on we got out at 9 AM & sat until about 2. went back around 5:30 to see if we would get anything new, which was when we got the woodcock. It’s a beautiful location to sit for a few hours on an autumn day. We sat at the north end of the Lake Hammonasset basin on a high point that would be an island when filled.

Bill Thompson III – Whipple, Ohio

We had beautiful weather before and after the Sit. During the Sit it was like a scene from The Perfect Storm, which no doubt prevented us from seeing lots of our expected Sit species (for example: red-headed woodpecker, any warbler, any vireo, any hawk migration, any neat flyovers). But in between deluges we ventured to the uppermost level of the Indigo Hill Birding Tower (IHBT) to see what we could see and we did turn up a few nice species (swamp sparrow, sapsucker, rock dove–surprisingly hard to see in the boondocks). Many expected Sitters did not show up, but the Payne family from Pennsylvania added greatly to the day’s list and enjoyment. They did not live up to their family name at all, even in the close quarters of the all-weather deck of the IHBT. Sitters in the IHBT feasted on lots of junk food, including a new addition to this year’s Sit menu, beef jerky. Then we had chili and a couple of frosty-cold brews. A barred owl at about 9:30 pm rounded out the day’s list for the last remaining Sitter, its lonely circle captain.

Side note: While taking daughter Phoebe to the kindergarten school bus the next morning at the end or our driveway I saw 6 species expected on Sit day but not found. It was somewhat aggravating.

Michael Bochnik – Yonkers, New York

We hoped to do better as far as the birds (45 species) But it was great fun. We’ll definitely do it again next year!……..Saul (Scheinbach) brought a new “Big Chair” that was very appropriate for the “Big Sit”… fact, I believe it was a recliner!

Cyndie Browning – Lexington, Oklahoma

Phil Floyd and I held our 2nd annual Big Sit! on the porch of the house where he and wife Sue Ann live, on Edge of the Earth Road in Lexington. Phil started the day without me when a Barred Owl sounded off before I got there, but I was there for our “grand finale,” a lone Common Nighthawk flying over the yard about 5:00 p.m. And in between, Phil, Sue Ann, and I sat companionably on the porch and watched the few birds who came to the feeders, talked about birds, books, movies, sex, families, birds, and books…… and for lunch, we dined on my potato salad and Sue Ann’s homemade chili, topped off by chocolate chip cookies. (The chili lights your fire while the potato salad cools it off!) We didn’t see very many birds, but all-in-all I think you’ll agree that we’ve found the secret for a great sit: good friends and great food!!!!!

Carol Flanagan – Allendale, New Jersey

For the seventh consecutive year, we have tried in the pre-dawn darkness for the Eastern Screech Owl. It still eludes us. Our team captain asks, “Why do we keep trying?” And answers “Because we know it is there!” An obliging Osprey landed in a tree alongside the lake at 9 p.m. the evening before the Big Sit!, and stayed until 8 a.m. the next day. We observed it being harassed by American Crows and Blue Jays. One Blue Jay actually bit the Osprey. The Osprey took flight and obliged us with an excellent show as he dove for his breakfast of a good-sized golden carp. A Sharp-shinned Hawk was seen harassing another Osprey later in the day. A Great Blue Heron also dined on carp. However the carp looked like it weighed 1½ pounds, and the heron, as he swallowed the fish, looked like a pelican with a big pouch.

Mammals observed included two White-tailed Deer running down the path behind the platform where we were sitting. Chipmunks and Eastern Gray Squirrels were also present.

George Chaniot – Lake Mendocino, California

The Lake Mendocino Big Sit proceeded yesterday with clear skies and fine fall weather prevailing as usual. It was a bit windy before dawn, which made owling a bit difficult, but didn’t interfere with the view of the crescent moon in Leo or of Venus rising.

The birding was rather good in the morning. We had 48 species before sunrise, and at 9:00 we were well ahead of the last two years. However, after 10:00 it became difficult to add new species, and, despite adding eight species to the cumulative list, we finished the day with only 75 species.

The late afternoon was consumed with grilling of venison hamburgers, sausages, and peppers and the consumption of other fine comestibles.

Charles Brower – Quintana, Texas

The Brazosport Birders again had a good time at the Big Sit. As you know our circle is located at Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary in Quintana, Texas. A migrant trap located near the Brazos Harbor jetties, just south
of Freeport, Texas. The weather was sunny and clear with a northwest breeze.
A front passed through the day before and cleared out all the clouds and mosquitoes. It also cleared out a lot of the birds in the park, who took advantage of the wind to jump off for points south. Luckily we picked up some new arrivals to take their place. We again set up a scaffold to get above the cover. Start time was daylight and we removed the scaffold at 5:00PM.

Chris Obaditch – Irving, CA

Attached is a file of the birds seen at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine CA on Sunday October 14, 2001. Joining me on our team were Colin Campbell, Dick Purvis and Margaret and Mike Smith. We saw a total of 90  species, the same number as last year, though 12 were different. However, I think the birds were harder to find this year. Migration, at least for the waterfowl and shorebirds, seems delayed this year by the continuing warm weather and the numbers of each species are way down. Our ponds would normally be filled with ducks by now but they are not.

The day started for us at 6:10 when it was still dark and also very foggy. Visibility was down to 50 yards at times. It was close to 10:00 before the fog completely cleared and the day then got hot and sunny.

The most unexpected bird was probably the Bank Swallow. They are occasional visitors out here but normally hard to find in the hundreds of other swallows but on Sunday we probably saw no more than a dozen swallows in total, mainly Barns. There were no swifts at all. Where they all went with so many midges at SJWS I don’t know.

However our most spectacular bird was American White Pelican, or rather at least 250 of them, which stayed either in or over the pond closest to us all day long. We packed it in around 6:45 when it got too dark. The only birds we might have added after then would have been a Sora which are always around but were not to be seen or heard on Sunday, or a Barn Owl.

In the unlikely event that we actually win something, Sea and Sage Audubon should get our prize. Check out our great website

Looking forward to hearing how everyone else did. Texas is obviously gunning for California. We had a great time as always and are looking forward to next year.

Betty Kleiner – South Windsor, Connecticut

Here is the Station 43 Big Sit! list. Although the weather wasn’t the best,
even though it didn’t rain, I think the list might have been bigger had the sun come out. But, it is much better than last year, and I contribute that to having the count at least a week earlier. Hope it is like that next year.

David Tripp Jr. – Litchfield, Connecticut

The weather killed us this year. It was terrible out there. Only 53 species by 1:00pm !! We are actually thinking of a road trip to Brigantine next year…….Very, very slow. Our worst start in the five years. The clouds, fog and drizzle never broke as the forecasters predicted. Very low numbers of common birds as well. Nothing was flying about. Looks like a ping pong match year to year now with Station 43. Great competition.

Chuck Davis – La Bahia, Texas

A strong frontal system passed through yesterday. Today skies were clear all day with temperatures starting in the mid 60s and ending in the mid 70s. The day began with winds out of the W and WNW at 9 to 12 kph, shifting to the N by shortly after noon, and then shifting to the E after dark at 12 to 16 kph.

Robert Dixon – Sterling, Connecticut

When I started THE BIG SIT! in 1995 I had a long term goal of 50 species in my yard circle. Might have gotten there today if the sun would have popped out and kicked up a few of the local raptors. But 46 species is my best SIT yet and I added four new species. Thanks for putting on such a fun event! Lookin’ forward to 2002!

Dick Heller – Falcon Heights, Texas

Unfortunately, the “star” of the count, the Brown Jay, didn’t show up! We had a severe drop in temperature, from 75 to 50 degrees at night, and high winds the previous day. But considering everything, we had a good day! The view of the Rio Grande was pretty good. Fishermen began moving into the area at 10:30 a.m., and we gave up at 11. We had arrived at 6:30.

Don Chalfant – Washtenaw County, Michigan

Sighting of Common Tern was first in Washtenaw County since 1949.

Jim Royer – Los Osos, California

We did great until the fog started rolling in at about noon. We found no new species after 12:30 PM. due to the pea soup fog. Our counters still showed up for their shifts until 7:00 PM – in the fog. We have decided that the name of this event should be changed to the Big Stand! as we don’t get to do any sitting while we count – we are standing at scopes! Highlights included a Black Rail calling before light, Peregrine Falcons chasing each other and a visiting Prairie Falcon as well as the flocks of thousands of shorebirds, a single Pectoral Sandpiper in the mass of shorebirds, a single male Eurasian Wigeon in with the Americans, and Lawrence’s Goldfinches flying over our observation point several times. We missed a lot of common birds and might have challenged our last year’s total (122) but for the fog.

Jennifer Rycenga – Palo Alto, California

We located ourselves at the end of the boardwalk in back of the visitor’s center. For future Big SIT! reference, this observation deck (while regrettably rectangular in shape) is 15 feet long and 12 feet wide, so it easily fits in the 17 foot diameter space. The habitat is a tidal salt marsh, on the west shore of the San Francisco Bay. There are numerous tall power structures nearby which attract birds of prey, and other, lower structures which usually attract flycatchers, wrens and sparrows. Nearby mudflats (while not visible directly from the Big SIT! location) host shorebirds and gulls aplenty, many of which can be identified when they take flight, even at a distance.

While the very high temperatures and uncooperative tides made this day less species-full than it might have been (i.e. we surrendered early, with sunburns to prove how long we had SAT!), there were some exceptionally fine sightings. Primary among these was a Laughing Gull in basic plumage, either a second-winter or adult bird, which I saw twice (both times flying north along the Bay coastline; presumably it circled back around to the gull flock at the Duck Pond and vicinity). Other highlights included a female Merlin (seen by all), and heard Clapper Rail and Sora. There was also one hybrid, which seemed to be a Glaucous-winged x. Western Gull, which is not included in the list below

A new birder, Anders Tengholm, came upon our location, and joined us for about an hour-and-a-half, and contributed a number of important sightings with his excellent eyes and Zeiss binoculars. We did this sit without a scope, which cost us a few species. As a trio, we converted two new people to birding, a couple named Vanessa and Val, who were captivated by the diving Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, and everything else we could name. It was, in short, a fun day, both for birds and for human contact. Highly recommended activity…but next time I’ll find a shadier location.

Judi Ditch – Gray Summit, Missouri

As Murphy’s Law would have it, the one and only out-of-town, must-attend family wedding was Saturday, October 13, 2001. After the business of getting back into town, family members sent off to their own homes, and the remaining family members resting from too much revelry, I packed off to Shaw’s and spent a wonderful afternoon. Next year, hopefully, there will be nothing to keep me from spending the whole day…..

John Himmelman – Milford, Connecticut

From about 6 AM to 1 PM, it felt like we were sitting inside a giant sponge. The fog permeated everything and I had to defog the inside lens of my scope with the car heater. That first tiny patch of blue sky at about 2:30 PM did wonders for our spirit. Despite the oppressive weather, we tallied the second highest total in our 9 years! An interesting side note (to the Surf Scopers, at least) is that our total bird numbers from this one site is now at 131. That’s more than a third of the birds in our state – that’s from one spot sat at the same time of the year!

Jim Hengeveld – Unionville, Indiana

On Saturday evening, Lee Sterrenberg came over in anticipation of starting our Big Sit! at midnight, listening for nocturnal migrants. Lee was “camped out” in his van in our driveway and did not even bother to get up at midnight–it was pouring. It continued to rain steadily until ~9:30 a.m. and we were slammed by downpours periodically throughout the day.

MALLARDS were the only species audible at midnight. A BARRED OWL called spontaneously at 4:11 but, despite much trying, we could not coax E. Screech-or Great Horned Owls into calling. As daylight approached, we had added only a few species, and by sunrise, ~6:55 (despite no sun), we were at only 20 species, a first year HERRING GULL (only our second ever Big Sit! record) appearing right at 6:55. A GREAT-HORNED OWL called spontaneously at 6:59 for #23.

TREE and BARN SWALLOWS, “easy” species as the result of the relatively early date, were added at 7:26 and 7:31 am, respectively–#31 and #33. A lone OSPREY (a first time Big Sit! bird for us) at 8:15 (#36) and an adult BALD  EAGLE at 8:21 (#37) became our first raptors in a good raptor day. The first of 25 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS (#41) was spotted at 8:54 and the first of several groups of AM. PIPITS (#42) came over at 8:59. The first of many (~200) CHIMNEY SWIFTS (#44), another benefit of the early date, came over at 9:22.

An adult RED-HEADED WOODPECKER (#49) finally appeared over the north shore at 10:10, and the bird of the day, an adult female AMERICAN AVOCET, flew in at 10:15, our 50th species. Water levels were very high (KILLDEER was our only other shorebird), and the avocet landed only briefly before circling and leaving the area.

The next 10 species were dominated by raptors: TURKEY VULTURE was #51 at 10:28, RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was #54 at 11:00, the first of six!! MERLINS came by at 11:11 for #56, RED-TAILED HAWK was #57 at 11:15, COOPER’S HAWK was #58 at 11:20, a late BROAD-WINGED HAWK (our first for the count) was #59 at 11:32, and our first-ever PEREGRINE FALCON became #60 at 12:15. An EASTERN PHOEBE (our second ever), interrupted the raptor parade at 10:42 to become #53.

Our first-ever HORNED LARKS (#61) flew over the north ridge at 12:30 and our first-ever BROWN CREEPER (#62) played hide-and-seek in an oak in our yard at 1:50. Numbers 63 and 64 were also first-time birds–4 FORSTER’S TERNS and a COMMON TERN that flew in briefly following an intense 2 o’clock rainstorm.

The remaining new birds were ones coming in to roost for the evening: BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS that joined the hundreds of Redwings and Eur. Starlings roosting in the lotus at the east end of the lake, and several waterfowl species. Three RING-NECKED DUCKS, 4 NO. PINTAIL, an AM. BLACK DUCK, and a NO. SHOVELER rounded out the species list, giving us 69 for the day.

We added 8 new species to our 6-year cumulative list total, bringing our cumulative total to an even 100. Our total for the day was 69 species, two more than our previous high (last year) of 67.

Jim Stevenson – Galveston, Texas

The GOS (Galveston Ornithological Society) decided to get excited about the Big Sit this year, and tried forming three teams. The Mainland Bird Club was to take the tower at Brazos Bend State Park; the Galveston Bird Club took the sky deck above my house with me, and our newly-formed Bolivar Birders took the tower at Bolivar flats. All toll, we combined for a whopping (yet unofficial) 120 species (!). The frontal system was primarily responsible for all the birds.

Chris Merkford gets kudos for helping the small group at BBSP – we couldn’t have really functioned without him.

We began at my house at 8am, and had 50 species by 9am! I had to leave around noon to go get Bolivar’s list, and help them with any shorebird problems. I returned and worked the final three hours, shattering our previous record with 81 species here (it was 71, I think). Best birds were an ani, 3 Peregrines, 3 Lark Sparrows, one Clay-colored Sparrow, and a late Acadian Flycatcher that appeared right at dusk. No Hesperornithes, but we looked.

Several neat things happened here that I might mention:

1) A Peregrine came by early and a harrier not only ran it off, but STAYED WITH IT for several hundred yards! It’s easy to underestimate how well those guys can fly.

2) We had several flocks of “dozens” of scissor-tails. That’s a LOT for here.

3) Interesting how few hawks we get on the island. They apparently migrate SW across the mainland, mostly.

4) We witnessed a tremendous migration of other birds heading SW toward Freeport (South Texas, Mexico, etc.) all day. These circum-gulf migrants were really making tracks today, with the north winds.

5) Several passing harriers hunted my patch of woods in a way I’ve seen before. They make several passes, trying to scare birds out (like doves), and looking for weak ones, perhaps. Sure gave me good photo ops.

Special appreciation to our new Bolivar Birders. I have been grooming them for this day for weeks, with slide shows and field trips to the flats, and their field card was virtually flawless (they accidentally marked WT “Hawk” instead of “Kite.”) I am very proud of them! While there, I saw virtually every species they had recorded.

Susan Simovich – Picatinny, New Jersey

Being at the peak does have some distinct advantages. On our right as we face north is Picatinny Lake and Lake Denmark both of which provide good view of water birds. On the left and to our south are forested and open areas
where we see birds such as the swifts and rock doves, a breeding pair of pileateds and our breeding pair of ravens. The jays, crows and icitrids have really started to flock as well. Facing north from the catwalk is a space of green with a helicopter landing area (how many other hawkwatches do you know that when you go up you have to check for landing apaches or cobras?), where we get many of the smaller birds.

John Mariani – San Jose, California

Among the day’s highlights were 3 Golden Eagles simultaneously soaring over the reservoir (!), great views of a perched Prairie Falcon, a distant Eurasian Wigeon, a trio of locally rare White-fronted Geese, a pair of Common Ravens (apparently a first park record), and a flock of about 60 Yellow-billed Magpies coming to a communal roost at sunset. In total we recorded 60 species.

Nancy Rosenbaum – New Haven, Connecticut

It was an awful day, didn’t even get a bluejay until I was there for an hour! Lots of tree swallow down low. There was also an Alzheimers walk which added to the excitement. We went for quality not quantity, I guess. People thought the barn owl and kingbird were good birds!

John Arvin – South Padre Island, Texas

Barbara Kennett, George and Scarlet Colley, and I, plus a number of very welcome drop-by friends, staged a “Big Sit” at the Convention Center on Sunday, 14 Oct. (the day of the national competition). The site offers a variety of habitats (planted native vegetation to provide cover for migrants, marsh grading from fresh to salt, bayshore flats, rear-dune meadows, and lots of open sky [and sun]). However, finding a 17 ft. diameter circle (proscribed by the rules) from which to have a good view of all these habitats proved only partially successful. An ideal location would have been the southwest corner of the roof of the Convention Center building itself, but our requests to operate there were denied because of liability issues (apparently they were afraid we would get so excited by our nation-sweeping victory that we might be overcome and fall off the roof). Therefore, we set up on a low dune between the marsh and the woodlot (total area of the latter less than 1/4th acre).

Sunday was definitely NOT a day for landbird migrants on the lower coast of Texas. As there are few resident landbirds on the Island (Great-tailed Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Inca Doves, and House Sparrows), if there are few migrants, your list is largely limited to gulls, terns, and shorebirds. We actually missed the latter two resident landbirds.

My hope was to see at least 75 species (barely achieved). I knew that if conditions of weather and tide came together in just the right combination we might exceed that number by 50 additional species. Alas, such was not to be. However, two very interesting things occurred during the day that elevated our effort from a goofy joust at windmills to a small flash of insight and an unexplained mystery. First the insight; from pre-dawn through the  morning winds were very light NW and N and landbird migrants were virtually zero. The night before had been ideal for southward migration whether trans- or circum-Gulf and clearly birds had taken advantage of it. At 11:30 a.m. the wind abruptly switched to the E and increased to 15-20 mph. Almost immediately a variety of landbird migrants dropped into our tiny patch of cover. These included six warbler species (Orange-crowned, Wilson’s, [Myrtle] Yellow-rumped, Nashville, American Redstart, and Common Yellowthroat), plus Indigo Bunting, Blue and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet); not a block-buster of a list but better than zero. I presume that these birds were migrating out over the water on favorable (= N) winds and when the winds switched to east, followed them down-wind to make landfall on the Island.

Now to the mystery. At some point during the mid-afternoon two large swift-like or smallish goatsucker-like birds with narrow, pointed wings (but with no whitish bars across the primaries), blasted around the corner of the  Convention Center building. One immediately disappeared into the dense double crown of two adjacent Sabal Palms and the other into the “warbler rest stop” plantings (courtesy of Will and Jill Carter). The rules allow one to leave the count circle to verify the identity of a bird seen from the circle, so Scarlet and I circled around the palms. Scarlet spotted a well-hidden roosting Barn Owl in the palms but we could see no “swift/goatsucker-like bird” nor did one fly out. The owl was uncountable since we had no knowledge of its presence before investigating the palms for the “mystery” birds. Honestly, we tried not to flush it (really!) but flush it did, allowing Barbara and George, who had remained in the circle, to count it, but we never found a trace of the much more interesting-looking swifts/goatsuckers”.

A footnote to the whole effort; the butterflies were incredible in numbers and variety. Also of interest, on a restroom run I found some (bird) body parts along the building edge. These included two severed heads of Virginia Rail and Seaside Sparrow, part of the body of the former, and a wing of Common Nighthawk. All were relatively fresh. The neatly snipped heads suggested the work of Peregrine Falcons (common on the Island and 2 counted for the day). However, it might have been the work of scavengers on birds that had flown into the large plate glass windows of the center. We recorded none of the three species on the “Big Sit”.

Lilly Crane – Carbondale, Illinois

Seeing 3 pileated woodpeckers on the same tree. Also spotted a Great Blue Heron at daybreak on a log at the water’s edge. For next two hours he sat on the log as it slowly floated toward the center of the reservoir.

Margret Simmons – Houston, Texas

It was really difficult to just count birds while I was inside circle. I heard and saw birds throughout the day, but couldn’t count them unless I could run & get inside circle and still see or hear them. I was also surprised at how few birds I could observe & hear — this is a terrible time of year for us.

Arthur Grimes – Everett, Washington

Well the weather this week has been Rain, Wind and MORE RAIN. As I drove to the sit site it was still pouring. I sat in my truck awhile and said that if it doesn’t stop (or slow down) in 15 minutes, I’m going home! Well 10 minutes later and 20 minutes before dawn, the rain STOPPED. Amazing!! The rest of the day was very cloudy and the birds were a hiding but I DIDN’T GET WET! and had a lot of FUN! again.

Mark Adams – Jeff Davis County, Texas

In mid-October, at such relatively high elevations, I had no illusions about having a large day list. Rather, I chose this site for its likely ability to add species to the composite Texas list, i.e., I was trying to record some species that other Texas Big Sit teams were unlikely to see or hear.

Kelly Bryan, Rex Barrick and I had a total of 29 species during our Big Sit. I started in the pre-dawn and stayed on-site until 03 pm. No Pygmy Nuthatches came wandering by (I have seen them at Bridge Gap on a couple occasions) and we never saw a Townsend’s Warbler, but we had many of the species I had hoped to find, such as White-throated Swift, Steller’s Jay, Golden Eagle, Western Screech Owl, Mountain Chickadee, Hermit Thrush, Pine Siskin, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Townsend’s Solitaire and Hutton’s Vireo. Our entire list is below.

Sunday was pleasant: sunny, cool and with little wind, a distinct change from my last two Big Sits at Lake Balmorhea, both of which had rain, cold and wind. And after hiking 11 miles up and down the Chisos Mountains the previous weekend, I enjoyed just staying in one spot all day, shooting the breeze with Kelly and Rex, enjoying the views of the Davis Mountains, soaking up some rays, eating a burrito or two (thank you, Kelly!), seeing some birds (and butterflies). And, who knows, maybe we can get lucky and win the $500 for the Friends of the Davis Mountains Preserve.

Mary Curry – Decatur, Texas

Some highlights included watching a Belted Kingfisher repeatedly hover and plunge (with spectacular splashes) into Rucker’s Pond, 4 Common Snipes at the edge of the pond, and our ‘first of the season’ Spotted Towhee.

Rebecca Cheek – South Beach, Oregon

We all really enjoyed this event. It was a brunch and social occasion as well as a birding event; a great chance to swap birding stories, get identification tips from the pros in the group, practice scoping for sea birds and waterfowl, and see several infrequent visitors to the feeders.

Pat Dean – Prospect, Ohio

There is a new 73 acre wildlife field about 100 feet from the circle, but there is a ditch and row of trees, so the birds are not visible from the circle. Since the wildlife field was just planted in the spring, we decided to remain in our yard and not go to the field.

The weather was nasty: The temperature was in the low 50’s at dawn, then the temperature dropped by noon. It was rainy, cloudy, and breezy, most of the day. When the owls were listed, it was at 11:32 pm and 11:51 pm. The rain had stopped.

We really enjoy doing the Big Sit. Monday morning, a flock of bluebirds came through the yard. We saw many more species of birds Monday than we did the day of the Big Sit. The weather is so important to the count. It seems every day but the day of the Big Sit we have geese fly over, 3 kinds of woodpeckers, more of a variety of sparrows. So, we just enjoy viewing what we have. Also, I never realized how many blue jays flew over. There was at least a hundred
or the same few flew in a circle all day because most of them came from the east.

Patrick Brisse – Clayton County, Georgia

Small big day, I could only do 5 hours this year. Hopefully will have more hours available next year. Landbirds were poor due to bad weather for 1/2 the time and also because of a Cooper’s and a Red-shouldered Hawk were working the tree line behind me for over 3 hours.

Other birds in the next ponds not showing for me: Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Greater Yellowlegs, Palm Warbler and American Coot.

Peter Wilkinson – Bedfordshire, England

Nearly 07.30 hrs and Matthew Best and I make our way across the field to the spot where we have been for four International Big Sits now. This time, as well as being dark, there is a thick mist and finding the spot from which we can get reasonable views over the mill pond without losing our views back to the farmyard suddenly becomes more tricky (NB a good reason for buying that GPS about which I have been dithering!).

Eventually we decide on the circle’s centre and set out our chairs, telescopes, umbrellas and provisions. We can’t see very much, though, and for the first hour or so are almost totally dependent on hearing our birds. Indeed of the first 27 species for the Sit, we only saw three of them! At least, although it was misty, it was calm and it certainly wasn’t cold. After around 2 hours the mist started to clear and we discovered we had reached exactly the right spot, though unfortunately the mill pond was unusually bereft of birds, perhaps the result of the engineering work that had been taking place around the bridge for several weeks before and several normally reliable species for the site never in fact appeared during the day.

Our experience in previous years has usually been of a rush of species early on and then a dribble for the rest of the Sit. This year it was different: a much smaller early rush followed by a steady trickle meant that by just over three and a half hours into the Sit we had only reached 42 species and beating our previous best of 56 species was looking distinctly unlikely.

At this point, however, we had arranged to take a time-out from the Sit. A friend who lives not far away had chosen that day for vital maintenance work to one of her aviaries and its normal occupants needed to be caught up and temporarily boxed while the work was being done. It isn’t every day you get to catch up Bald Eagles! Fortunately, they were well behaved and an hour later we are back in the circle and what was more the mist had at last completely gone.

The next hour was exceptionally good for the time of day and we started to believe that we might get close to our previous best after all. Then it slowed down again but by seven hours since our arrival (only six hours of Sitting,
of course), we had equaled our previous worst. Then it slowed down even further but two more species finally brought us level with our previous best (56 species) – remarkably consistent in totals this site, though the  omposition always changes slightly at the margins. Finally, at almost 16.00 hrs, after seven and a half hours of Sitting, and despite valiant efforts to turn a juvenile large gull into something we haven’t seen before, we called it a day and went to look at the Bald Eagles who were happily settling back into their newly repaired aviary, none the worse for their earlier experience.

Petra Hockey – Port O’Connor, Texas

The circle was of the prescribed diameter but included three levels: ground, balcony, roof. Several times I spotted a distant migrating flock from the roof (angled and no place for a scope), then had to rush down to the balcony level to check it out with my scope.

Richard McCormick – Oxford, Connecticut

The interesting one was the Coopers hawk that took an American Goldfinch off the feeder perch as I was looking at the feeder. It landed in a close tree and ripped it to shreds. Such is nature!

Roy Gerig – Dallas, Oregon

We have been in the worst drought in history for more than a year, and the 200 plus acres of visible wetlands have dried up to a few small puddles, or there would have been more waterbirds and shorebirds.

Sally Adam – Cape Town, South Africa

THE BIG SH.., I mean, SIT!……….Let me state at the outset: Strandfontein Sewage Works is not the most agreeable spot for a Big Sit! We expected the wind, but the smell was wicked; so nose-searingly malodorous was the stench that one wag noted that we might be suffering the after-effects of National Curry Week. In fact it was more of a decaying algae smell, reminding me of many nauseating hours spent on Hartbeespoort Dam aboard RV Detritus when the Microcystis plague was at its scummy worst.

Many thanks to Saturday’s first shift observers (Mariana Delport, Trevor Hardaker, Kirsten Louw, Jurie Fourie and Rassie Pretorius). These rotters had already ticked 51 species by the time Pam Eloff and I arrived to relieve them at 17:00, and we wondered if they’d left us anything to do at all. We settled in with a couple of bottles of wine and  enjoyed the sight of endless numbers of gulls and swift terns flying in from the seaside. Hundreds of Hartlaub’s gulls settled in the fresh (ha ha) water, obviously wishing to wash the salt out of their feathers before bedtime. At around 19:00 we got our first tick (blackheaded heron) and a little later, sleepy black-crowned night-herons started to appear. A spotted dikkop calling from near the buildings was our last tick of the day. We were counting the blacksmith plovers in the road on our way out (25) when we had a momentary thrill at seeing 5 Kittlitz plovers. Alas, we couldn’t count this species as we hadn’t seen them from our circle (it being too dark). They never did appear in daylight!

On Sunday we had resolved to start a new list and this kept us busy for the first (chilly) hour. An attempt to erect the gazebo as a windbreak almost resulted in a tandem kite-surf across the big pan, so was hastily abandoned. Provender was plentiful, the Chief Victualler having run amok in the Woollies Foodhall on Saturday morning, and we kept our  spirits up with frequent varied snacks. Actually, we were too full for elevenses, having partaken of sixses, sevenses, eightses and so on?

After three hours a car appeared, followed by several more – we were delighted at the thought of company, but these were the Cape Bird Clubbers doing their monthly count. Still, it was good to have a chat and to compare notes. Dick Barnes deserves an honourable mention for happily confirming our sighting of a huge flock of Cape cormorants swirling above Muizenberg (around 2000, reckoned Dick).

Pam, who would describe herself as a non-birder, nonetheless has that irritating ability to pick out different birds without even resorting to binoculars, and she spotted all four of the day’s firsts. By 10:00 we were amusing  ourselves by taking silly self-timer photos and celebrating new birds with wild hoots, toyi toyi-ing, drum rolls and rubber-lipped trumpet solos. We also decided that we could not possibly last until 14:00, and packed up at 12:00, having picked up 51 species for the morning and a total of 58 for the Sit!.

Yes, we would do it again, but NO it won’t be at Strandfontein!!!

Sandy Berger – Fort Smith, Arkansas

26 species in a backyard in the middle of Ft. Smith in 3 hours isn’t too bad is it. I had some nice surprises and got one very good yard bird. An Orange-crowned Warbler. Since we’re in the bend of the river we get water birds like the cormorants. Really enjoyed the count. Maybe I can get more Arkansans to participate next year.

Sally Struts – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Waterfowl count low due to hunting season being open and we had 1-2 hunters  in the bay all day – plus 1 water skier and 1 fishing boat.

Sharon Genaux – Portville, New York

We probably had one of the most comfortable spots for the Big Sit! The visitor center for the Pfeiffer Nature Center is a 60 year old two story log cabin which was built in about 1939 from large standing chestnut trees which had been killed by the blight. The cabin has large picture windows in the back so when the rain got heavy, we could go inside and still keep watch for birds. We also had a kitchen available so although the weather was lousy, we had good company, chicken soup, and apple crisp to keep us content. Angela has just moved back to this area from Colorado and has been birding for only three years so even though our bird list was short, she got two life birds (Eastern Towhee and Blue-headed Vireo).

Stacy Hanks – Milford, Connecticut

Weather was 60’s, breezy and overcast. The circle was sat for 11 hrs with 50 species being seen. We also pass the day dining on beef jerky, banana bread, beans, hot dogs, brownies and mulled cider. We had a GREAT day!

Stu Wilson – Austin, Texas

Hornsby Bend is a vast site (1,200 acres) with diverse habitat including sludge lagoons, wooded areas, grassy fields, and riparian sections. The trick is locating the circle strategically. We selected a site at a corner of one of the ponds that was good for water-loving and soaring birds but the lack of a close look at the wooded areas and fields put us at a  disadvantage with respect to songbirds/passerines. Our relatively modest (for Hornsby) species tally of 53 is reflective of the confines of a stationary circle at this large, diverse site, i.e., the monthly bird count at Hornsby took place the previous day and tallied over 90 species with less than half the observers!

Amy Peck – West Haven, Connecticut

Although our number won’t be very competitive (39), it was a good Sit!, with 2 new backyard birds, and 1 year bird. And it was great to have the creature comforts of home just a step away….

Terry Hill – Huntington Beach, California

We saw a total of 65 species, which was down from our total of last year, but better than we expected. As indicated by Chris Obaditch in his report, migration does seem delayed and the numbers of birds are down at Bolsa Chica. In the week leading up to the Big Sit, there were very few ducks (or swimming birds of any kind) present in the Inner Bolsa near the boardwalk. We also feel that the earlier date of the Big Sit this year was another factor and feel we would do better with a later date, at the very least a week later even.

We started at 6:40 a.m., with very foggy conditions and very poor visibility. The fog finally cleared about 9:30 a.m., and we had a sunny and warm day with very little wind in the afternoon. Usually, the wind comes up about noon; and it can be very cold and windy at Bolsa Chica in the afternoon. The 14th was comfortable (no jackets required) all afternoon. We finished about 5:30 p.m.

Many people passed by our circle that day and were all interested in what we were doing and seeing. Many had heard of the Big Sit. We talked with birders from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, England, and San Diego County, to name just a few places. Talking to people is one of the more enjoyable aspects of our location.

In addition to the 250 American White Pelicans seen at San Joaquin by Chris, we saw about 54 White Pelicans at Bolsa Chica, which were also present the whole day.

Our most unexpected bird was probably the Cassin’s Kingbird, which flew over us calling. Unexpected because this particular spot is not the “usual” habitat for this bird.

Although we certainly don’t have one of the higher counts, we had a great time and look forward to next year.

Tonya Spires – Conway, South Carolina

We had a great time. The wind probably cost us some of the woodland species. There were nine of us who spelled each other. Waccamaw Audubon Society has dedicated birders. We appreciated an excuse to get together, bird, and visit without rushing and separating.

Kathleen Van Orsdel – Colorado Springs, Colorado

What a wonderful weekend. The weather was great (all the nasty stuff started last night after we were finished). Unfortunately, none of the others who were planning on being there showed up and it ended up being just me again this year. Oh, well, I had fun.

My report follows: First sounds I heard when I started were the howlings of a cat off in the distance, the kind a cat makes when it’s alarmed. Started to write down my first bird of the day – a “catbird”, but changed my mind! Checklist: Total 11 – wish it were more, but maybe next year.

Vicki Hatfield – Grove, Oklahoma

Certainly everyone else had many more birds than I did Sunday during the Big Sit. Since I was unable to travel to Lexington, OK to sit with Cyndie Browning and Phil Floyds’ group I held my own at the last minute. I just did it alone from my front deck and had 24 species. I feel the low numbers were due to the troublesome winds coming out of the north and then northwest and bass boats pushing the birds into hiding most of the day.

However I had two birds which were exceptionally interesting. After dark I heard a bone chilling scream, then two short phrases…..fah-you-aw! fah-you-aw! Of course it was a barred owl and he had just caught some live prey. I used to have barred owls attend my feeder area in Tulsa, catching Hispid cotton rats which burrowed under the feeders,  munching on the fallen seed. Duets and choruses of those owls occurred nightly and even in an incomplete call, the voice is unmistakable. I just never had heard prey scream like that…unless you count the rabbit my dad caught in  the garage door. The combination scream and then owl comment was new to me.

The other bird was with the mallards. It was with a male mallard the early part of the day, joining small groups, intermittently as they plied the shore for tidbits in the water, heads all stretched out in the usual underwater fashion. But this mallard was a bit smaller in size. Until I looked at it with the telescope, I just thought it was a female mallard with the male, position in the water, dabbling for food was the same as all the other females in the area. Then I spotted the red skin above the small beak, red eye, partial bridle on neck, white throat and iridescent wing. Then the bright blue speculum (in full sun), long dark tail with no curly terminus, yellowish legs and gray feet (very short leg and small feet. On each side of the beak was a small white streak….all these markers felt like it was a Wood Duck, yet it was incomplete about the face and body, larger than a Mallard and it was acting like a Mallard, dabbling along just like all the others. Its’ breast had round light colored spots all over the cinnamon color.

I think it was a Wood Duck-X-Mallard. Since it acted more like a Mallard, perhaps its’ mother was a Mallard (Mallard females raise and teach their young without the male) and that is where it learned to act like a Mallard. That would have made the father an aggressive Wood Duck, willing to dunk the larger Mallard female to have his way with her. That must have been some brouhaha!…. If my take on this bird is true. And of course I will never know.

Does anyone else have any ideas on this bird? As I understand it, immature male Wood Ducks look like the female….but would he not have his mature plumage by this time? Also given the five inches difference in size between W.Ducks and Mall…..this bird was smaller than Mall., but not THAT much smaller. I would appreciate some comment about the possibility of it being a hybrid or was it immature Wood Duck loving to act like Mallards? It is bugging me.

List includes Bass Boats all over the lake, booming and zooming every feathered being off into the ozone.  At 615pm lake was almost clear of birds except for great rafts of thousands of mixed gulls at the entire East end of the
main channel, too distant to I.D…..and two long lines of single file cormorants just outside the gull rafts.(cormorants seem to do that single file business and they jump over one another to get to another place in line).

It was a great thing to do on a Sunday afternoon…and perhaps I can initiate a larger Sit next year with my Audubon colleagues.


BIG SIT! Results

Results from 2005 to the present may be found at: Bird Watcher's Digest The BigSit 2002 cartoon 1999-2002 Results may be found at:
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002

Our BIG SIT! Partners