BGBY – Let Battle Commence!

1 01 2009
Digi-binning - easier at feeders

Digibinning - easier at feeders!

So I started my Big Green Big Year, or BGBY as it shall henceforth be known, less than bright and early today. First bird of the year was a somewhat prosaic Dark-eyed Junco (digibinned above). My dad thought the name sounded cool – the bird itself is probably a bit of a letdown considering the rather flamboyant name.

I then took a quick break after amassing a sad 9 species in the yard to go meet good birding friends Penny Solum, Joe Bear, AJ Hand and respective families for some brunch. Post brunch we went for some ‘dirty brown’ birding 😉 but I quickly called it a day with frostbitten toes after the 1st stop at Stratford – leaving the rest of the boys to complete their days birding. In the 20-30 mins at Long Beach though I managed to see a couple of ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, a 1st cycle GLAUCOUS GULL and a similarly aged ICELAND GULL.

Already home by early afternoon I decided to renew by BGBY by going on a short walk down to the local pond which will be my waterbird mainstay for the year. It was frozen solid but I did manage to collect a few nice birds along the route including a highlight of 2 BLACK VULTURES before I even left the yard and then a lingering Great Blue – which we missed off of the Wilton Xmas Bird Count the other week! Best sighting of the day though were two super cute Red Squirrels which were hanging out near the back of the school – it was there that I discovered how tough digibinning (taking pictures through your binoculars) is without the aid of a feeder to draw in your subject matter – especially with shaky cold hands.

I have already discovered what I love about the BGBY, and that is that it a) makes you start to get inventive about where you might find birds and b) that it brings a whole new level of unexpectedness into your birding world. That’s the same thing I love about the Christmas Bird Count – it makes you start to think of where you might find birds in places that you might never look at any other part of the year. Going off the beaten track like this can produce the most unexpected gems and rarities and if it wasn’t for that little nudge to try something different those birds might never be discovered. OK it’s not like I have ever found anything super rare that way, but at the same time who would have expected to find a Yellow-breasted Chat at a feeder behind the 7th Day Adventist Church in Wilton like we did last year on the Christmas count. Those little out of the ordinary finds though to me are as exciting as chasing a rare bird that is staked out  somewhere across the state.

23 BGBY Species in all for the day – more tomorrow I hope. I think I will knock together a Google Map for my BGBY just to see where I get stuff over the year.

BGBY List:

Great Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Coopers Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadee, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, American Crow, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, House Finch, White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, European Starling

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