2016 Big Year Tours Update!

The very first 2016 Big Year Tour is finished! The trip report for Southern California is done and is online at

bigyearblog.com

See the Photo Album for photos and the Species Totals tab for a complete checklist.

Now back to work for me. Getting ready to head to Florida in a few days. Look for me at Space Coast in Titusville at the Wildside Nature Tours booth.

And consider joining me on one of my Big Year Tours at bigyeartours.com

Or take a break from North America and go with me to Peru for a riverboat cruise on the Amazon River with Wildside Nature Tours this March! There are still openings!

 

January 2016 is Close!

The New Year is close! Are you ready! Here are some things happening in my world:

Big Year Tours Logo - Owl

I’ll be taking a group to Southern California for Wildside Nature Tours January 3-9 for my inaugural Big Year Tour. Later in the month I’ll be speaking at Tuscawilla Park in Ocala, Florida for Marion Audubon Society and Pioneer Garden Club of Ocala on January 19.

I will speak at Orange Audubon Society’s monthly meeting on January 21.

The famous Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival will occur in Titusville, FL January 20-25. You can look for me there, too.

But wait. I’m not done yet. I’ll be leading a group in Florida for Wildside Nature Tours January 24-30 for my second Big Year Tour.

It will be a busy, but incredibly fun month!

Join Me On An Amazon Riverboat Cruise In March 2016!

Trying to figure out what to do in 2016? If you aren’t coming along with me on one of my 11 Big Year Tours (more info at bigyeartours.com), then why not join me to see one of the natural wonders of the world–the Amazon River! I will be going with Wildside Nature Tours March 12-20, 2016. Besides me, this boat has photographer/birder Kevin Loughlin, South American birding guru, Edison Buenaño, author/birder Scott Weidensaul, naturalist Amy Weidensaul, and local naturalists. Tour information can be found here.

Riverboat on the Amazon River. Photo by Kevin Loughlin / Wildside Nature Tours

Riverboat on the Amazon River. Photo by Kevin Loughlin / Wildside Nature Tours

Our lodging will be one of the best looking riverboats on the Amazon. We’ll have comfortable rooms, a dining area, and smaller boats that will make side trips. We’ll be exploring one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems including the wildlife-rich Pacaya-Samaria National Reserve. This will be a trip of a lifetime!

Here is a trip list of birds (as submitted to eBird) for Wildside’s Amazon Riverboat Cruise in 2015 with Kenn & Kimberly Kaufman.

2015 Amazon Riverboat Cruise with Kenn & Kimberly Kaufman – sightings reported to eBird

An Interview with Greg Miller about his 2016 Big Year

Following is an interview between Greg Miller Birding (GMB) and Greg Miller (GM). Recorded on 11/2/2015 in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Greg Miller planning on doing a Big Year in 2016. photo by Greg Miller

Greg Miller planning on doing a Big Year in 2016. photo by Greg Miller

[GMB] In 1998 you did a Big Year in North America and racked up 715 species. It was a crazy year and your story was part of the book written by Mark Obmascik that came out in 2004 and was later made into a Hollywood movie starring Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson. And Jack Black played your character. The movie was released in fall of 2011. Rumor has it that you are doing another Big Year in 2016. Is this true?
[GM] Guilty. Yes, it is true. I am doing another Big Year in 2016. Continue reading

Greg’s Warbler Hotspots for Spring

Following is a list of some good spring warbler migration hotspots. I collected data from eBird for all years and March, April, and May for spring months. Data retrieved as of March 2 & 3, 2015. Average warbler species per checklist is an average count of warbler species for each checklist submitted to eBird. Common warbler species is defined as warbler species that appear on 40% or more of the checklists submitted to eBird. When to go is the week having the highest average warbler species count. Click on the hotspot location name to view the hotspot in Google maps.

GREG’S WARBLER HOTSPOTS FOR SPRING

1. Magee Marsh Wildlife Area (Lucas Co.)
Lucas, US-OH
Average warbler species per checklist: 15.4
Common warbler species: 22
When to go: May 8-14

2. Point Pelee NP (general location)
Essex, CA-ON
Average warbler species per checklist: 13.9
Common warbler species: 19
When to go: May 8-14

3. Kennesaw Mountain Nat. Battlefield Park
Cobb, US-GA
Average warbler species per checklist: 13.5
Common warbler species: 16
When to go: April 22-30

4. Tawas Point SP
Iosco, US-MI
Average warbler species per checklist: 12.9
Common warbler species: 17
When to go: May 8-14

5. Central Park
New York, US-NY
Average warbler species per checklist: 12.3
Common warbler species: 15
When to go: May 8-14

6. Montrose Point, Lincoln Park, Chicago
Cook, US-IL
Average warbler species per checklist: 11.7
Common warbler species: 13
When to go: May 15-21

7. Dry Tortugas NP–Garden Key/Fort Jefferson
Monroe, US-FL
Average warbler species per checklist: 11.0
Common warbler species: 14
When to go: April 22-30

8. Mt. Auburn Cemetery
Middlesex, US-MA
Average warbler species per checklist: 10.8
Common warbler species: 13
When to go: May 8-14

9. South Padre Island (LTC 034)
Cameron, US-TX
Average warbler species per checklist: 10.0
Common warbler species: 11
When to go: May 1-7

10. High Island (UTC 051)
Galveston, US-TX
Average warbler species per checklist: 9.6
Common warbler species: 12
When to go: May 1-7

11. Cape Island (Cape May Co. south of the Cape May canal)
Cape May, US-NJ
Average warbler species per checklist: 9.5
Common warbler species: 10
When to go: May 8-14

12. Dauphin Island
Mobile, US-AL
Average warbler species per checklist: 7.9
Common warbler species: 7
When to go: May 1-7

Upcoming Stuff as of Feb 5 2015

Greetings from Florida! It’s raining this morning and I’ve got a day between guiding and festivals.  It’s also windy here in Ormond Beach, FL with highs in the 60s. Tomorrow is the beginning of the Birds of a Feather Fest in nearby Palm Coast, FL. I have a difficult time keeping up with all my upcoming stuff, and I imagine it’s even harder for you (unless you are one of the 11 die-hard Greg Miller fans who watch every calendar change on this website <grin>).

Upcoming Festivals in 2015:

Feb 6-8 – Birds of a Feather Fest in Palm Coast, FL
http://www.palmcoastgov.com/events/birding-fest

This is the inaugural year for this festival and I am privileged to be a keynote speaker for it.

Feb 13-15 – Sax-Zim Bog Birding Festival in Meadowlands, MN
http://sax-zimbog.com/birding-festival/

I can’t wait to go back to THE BOG. Yes, it is take-your-breath-away cold. But the owls will make it all worthwhile.  Two of my favorites are here–the Great Gray Owl and the Northern Hawk Owl.  Throw in some boreal possibilities like Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Spruce Grouse, Gray Jay, and Pine Grosbeak and now it doesn’t seem so cold. Well. Yes, it does still feel cold, but at least you are going to be one happy camper with these birds.
Continue reading

November 2014 Rio Grande Valley Trip Report

Green Jay shucking seeds - Sabal Palm Sanctuary - Brownsville TX - 2014-11-17

Green Jay shucking seeds – Sabal Palm Sanctuary – Brownsville TX – 2014-11-17 photo by Greg Miller

I led a trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas November 16-23 for Wildside Nature Tours.  We had a very chilly start but ended up with a nice list of birds.  Here’s my trip report.  If you are stuck inside on a cold evening, this will probably warm you up a little.  Texas birds are pretty magical.  I bet you’ll sleep better.

Texas – Lower Rio Grande Valley with Greg Miller – Nov 16-23 2014 (corrected)

I am here in Florida this weekend.  I will meet Kevin Loughlin in a day or two to set up the booth for Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival here in Titusville, Florida January 21-26, 2015.

2014 Ecuador Trip Report

Sword-billed Hummingbird hovering - Guango EC - 2014-08-14

Thee Creature of Extreme Awesomeness“, Sword-billed Hummingbird hovering – Guango EC – 2014-08-14 photo by Greg Miller

Nothing like a little shooting at the local mall to keep me indoors long enough to complete a trip report on the most phenomenal birding adventure I have ever experienced.  Ecuador.  It is a fantastic place full of thousands of orchids, fresh fruit all year (no seasons), deliciously strong, dark coffee, 16,000-foot mountains with cloud forests in the West, the Amazon Basin rainforests in the East, many wonderful people, and bird diversity like nowhere else in the Western Hemisphere (and arguably, the World).

Northern Ecuador – Andes & Amazon – Aug 2014

 

eBird Ranked List of North American Birds

A couple weeks ago I posted the Top 100 Most Reported Species in eBird in North America.  It was data from all years 1900-2012 as of 2/22/2013.  I actually summed up the total of all positive checklists for every species in North America reported to eBird (restricted to only species listed on the American Birding Association’s Checklist of Birds of the ABA Area). Today I am making a file available that lists all 932 ABA species reported to eBird during that time period.  This is a CSV file (comma separated values) so you can download it and put it into most spreadsheets.  Even if you do not have a spreadsheet, you can still view the file as a text file.

North American Species Ranked By Positive Checklists 1900-2012

More about this to come. I gotta to pack to head to Florida.  See you all at Space Coast!

Top 100 Most Reported Species in eBird in North America

Have you ever wondered what birds were most commonly reported to eBird?  I have collected data from eBird for the years 1900-2012 (all months/weeks) as of 2/2/2013. Data has been rolled up by State/Province for the Lower 48 States, all of Canada, and Alaska (but not Hawaii).

Yes. I know 2015 is almost here and this is data through 2012. But I’ve done all this in my “spare” time. I will update it when I get a chance. For now, I find this stuff still very fascinating.  Oh, one other thing.  This is still 2012 taxonomy, too.

The number of positive checklists (those checklists submitted indicating a positive sighting–either 1 or more birds) has been summed for each species out of nearly 6 million checklists.  Want to know the species with the most positive checklists?  The birds that are most commonly reported in all of North America?  Here you go! Continue reading