Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Bloggerhead Kingbirds - We're back, baby!

If you've been stopping by this blog for a while, you might remember that last year, I assembled a team of bloggers to participate in Massachusetts Audubon's Annual Superbowl of Birding. (And for those of you who weren't following, you can check out what happened here). The Superbowl of Birding is an annual competition, similar to NJ's World Series of Birding, but with a few important differences. The main difference is that it takes place in New England in the heart of winter - this ain't no sissy competition. I should note that it is only a 12 hour competition, starting at 5am and going until 5pm - but that doesn't take the sting out of peering through a spotting scope against icy ocean winds, trying to make out an alcid a mile or so out. (I do make it sound so appealing, don't I?) Why, you might ask, would they even bother to hold a competition at this time of the year? Well, to be truthful, winter in New England has some fantastic birding opportunities - everything from owls (including Snowy which tops a lot of birder's lists, and surprises like last year's Northern Hawk Owl) to winter finches, to great looks at sea ducks, to gulls - yes, gulls. The last few years we've had lots of great gulls - last year we hosted not one, but TWO Ivory Gulls, the year before that we had Slaty-backed, we usually have a few Black-headed Gulls, as well as Iceland, Glaucous, Lesser Black-Backed, and even a Thayer's or two. I think that we can easily compete with Niagara Falls for a larophile's heart. (And let's not forget the famous Ross's Gull that showed up in Newburyport in the winter of '74 - and I, for one, think we are due for another visit.)

But the point of this post is not to extol the virtues of birding New England in the winter. No, I am blogging today to introduce you to this year's Bloggerhead Kingbird's team. The team has certainly felt the loss of a few of last year's members - namely Patrick and Quintus, who couldn't be with us this year (don't worry guys, we'll make plenty of fun of you even without you there) but that opened the door to invite a few new members. Joining us this year for the first time are:
John from DC Birding Blog
Andrew, the Birding Dude
Mike from the Feather and the Flower
Returning for another round of punishment... I mean mind-numbingly fantastic competitive birding:
Corey of 10000 Birds fame
Nate of the Drinking Bird AND the Nature Blog Network
(and, little ole' me)

Excluding myself, that's a pretty stunning line-up, isn't it? I am truly honored to be birding with these guys - the talent pool is something fierce.

And before I go too much further, I'd also like to give some props to Amy and Arthur at Birdorable, who did an amazing job designing our team logo and made things like t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and other great swag available to us:

Get over there and check them out - I am thoroughly convinced that with all the great designs they have come up with you will find something there that you have to have!)

So, I expect that this will be the first of several posts that you will see regarding the competition. Be sure to keep up with other team members to get their takes on things, and especially so on the day of the competition - we are bloggers after all, and I am sure there will be posts, as well as twitter and facebook updates throughout the day!

Oh yeah... and wish us luck.