Tuesday, May 4, 2010

When One Isn't Nearly Enough!

One thing I've learned from scouting the South for the World Series of Birding for many years is that you can't rely on just one spot for a species. In fact, you need as many possible locations for certain species that you can find! Some birds like Purple Sandpiper (pictured above in Spring breeding plumage) can be tough because the rock jetties may have fisherman on them or the tide may be high and the spots are limited. Other birds like the southern breeding land birds we need to get in the south can be really tough because we're trying for them at the absolute worst time (afternoon). We try to get as many species in the North as we can because it's way easier in the early morning than the afternoon, but certain species are only found in the South. Prothonotory, Kentucky, and Yellow-throated Warbler, Blue Grosbeak and Summer Tanager are a few of the species we NEED to get down South. We compensate for the likelihood they won't be calling by finding a lot of breeding territories along our route and hitting them all until we get a calling bird (or actually see one). I have had as many as 14 Prothonotory Warbler spots along the route in some years and we have had to try as many as 9 spots before we get the bird. We try to find birds like Kentucky warbler that are very vocal at all times of the day, usually unpaired males.


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