Saturday, April 3, 2010

April WSB Blues

I have always found the month of April to be tough on me from a World Series of Birding perspective.  There are signs of Spring everywhere and newly arriving birds almost daily, but there's almost nothing I can do to prepare for the event  this early.  It's probably for this reason that we often discuss changes to our route at this time,  mostly because we have little else to do.  In actuality any major route changes would be done only if we found a concentration of "tough" birds somewhere that we needed to include or we're missing some important birds along our established route.  Both of these scenarios wouldn't happen until the week or two before the event, so we're mostly just killing time. This is probably why most of us go away on birding vacations in April.

Here are several helpful things we CAN do in April:

1) Touch base with members of other teams that we will be scouting with.  This helps establish a good relationship   with other teams and encourages the sharing of information.

2) Work out scouting logistics and plan on what each of our team members will cover.   It's a big state and we need to be able to cover it efficiently.

3) Take care of paperwork.  Anita does most of this though, but we need to get it all taken care of so we can compete as an official Level-1 teamwith a sponser.

4) Poke fun at your teammates (and ex-teammates) via email.  What are friends for?  We don't get to bird together very much and it helps us bond as a team.  It's also fun to do.

5) Actually scout!  Accipiters and several other raptors/owls start nesting early and it's much easier to find their nests before the trees leaf out.

6) Check out some of the spots we often include in our route to check on conditions.  This year a lot of places will be flooded and some places that aren't usually wet can be holding good birds.  An example would be the West Cape May impoundments that have had a Black-neckedStilt recently.  That spot has been dried up for years, but may be good this year.

7) Get out and bird!!!  Every year we have to practice our birding skills and hone our skills since we get rusty over the  winter.  Even if we can't use the birds we find it pays off later when you're sharp as a tack on game day...  This is the fun part.



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