Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bloggerhead Kingbird - wrap up post

This post has been a long time coming, after all, everybody went home last Sunday. If you've been following along, you've likely read all about the weekend from Corey, Nate, John,Andrew, and Mike (that is, if you haven't been too overwhelmed by posts from 6 team members about the same weekend.)  Each one of these great bloggers has put their own spin on the weekend, each writing in their own distinctive style, and reading their posts has been a great way to remember the weekend - and hopefully to give you all a sense of what fun we all had.
But, as all good things must come to an end, alas, so did our competitive birding and bird-blogger weekend.  Sunday morning we got up early again to head out and try for some of the species we missed and for better looks at some of the species we just "ticked" and moved on.  Also, (as some of the posts show) there was precious little time for photography on competition day.  We decided to head back up to Cape Ann, as that would give us the most opportunity to try for a few lifers for the team and good photo ops.  (As Corey would say "Har-le-quin, HAR-le-quin, HAR-LE-quin, HAR-LE-QUIN!" - or something like that.) I somehow intuited that he wanted to get a few photos of the dapper little sea ducks that seem to constantly get dashed upon the rocky coast, only to pop-up like corks again a few feet from where they had seemed to meet certain doom.  Dovekie was another bird that were hoping for better looks at - we had got the requisite 4 people on one during the competition, but not those for whom it would be a lifer, and certainly not satisfying looks for any.

We started at the Jodrey Fish Pier in Gloucester, where photo opportunities for Red-breasted Mergansers and Common Eider were excellent, then continued on to Eastern Point, and Niles Pond in hopes of seeing some of the cool gulls that had been spotted in the area lately (Thayer's, Slatey-backed, etc).  No luck with the gulls, so we continued on to Atlantic Avenue and then Good Harbor Beach in hopes of finally spotting the drake King Eider that seems to hang around this area in the winter, but it once again escaped our intense scanning, and there remains an open box next to this species on the Bloggerhead Kingbird checklist. (Sometimes he's there, and sometimes he just on the other side of Salt Island -which can really be frustrating to visiting birders hoping for this cool looking Eider)

We continued on to Rockport, with several fingers frozen into crossed position for luck (They would manage to thaw in a few hours) in hopes of Dovekie, but the calmer seas today seemed to send the alcids well beyond the reach of our scopes.  The Harlequins and Purple Sandpipers were pretty cooperative though - and I even pulled out my camera for a bit to get some pics of a sizable flock of these 'rockpipers' that spend their winters with us along the coast:

As morning was approaching afternoon, and everyone needed to start thinking about their plans for getting home at a reasonable hour to get some rest before returning to the work-a-day world on Monday, we headed back up to Newburyport so that they team could cash-in their winnings. As the recipients of the Essex-County-Excels award, we each received a gift certificate to Bird Watcher's Supply and Gift or the nature shop at the Mass Audubon at Joppa Flats center. Since this is a local store and not a chain, if they wanted to enjoy their winnings soon, they'd have to do it now. I think everybody was pretty happy with the turnout of the weekend. We saw some good birds, dipped on some (just another reason to come back), and - if I may speak for everyone - had a great time doing it.

I was planning on doing this, but since John has already done all the hard work, be sure to check out his link round-up post, which summarizes all of the team-members' posts AND links a few blog posts from others that participated this year too!

Now it's time to start thinking and planning for next year!