2014 April Road Trip

Some Upcoming Events

High Plains Snow Goose Festival Feb 20, 2014 Lamar, CO
Beckham Bird Club Annual Dinner Mar 11, 2014 Louisville, KY
Big O Birding Festival Mar 13, 2014 LaBelle, FL
Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival Mar 20-23, 2014 Spring Hill, FL
Road Trip from Ohio to Arizona
watch for updates on my Facebook page!
Apr 11-23, 2014 OH to AZ
Verde Valley Birding and Wildlife Festival Apr 24-27, 2014 Cottonwood, AZ
Biggest Week in American Birding May 6-15, 2014 Oregon, OH
Acadia Birding Festival May 29-Jun 1, 2014 Bar Harbor, ME
Ecuador: Northern Andes and Amazon with Greg Miller
trip is a “go”! only a few spots remain
Aug 8-23, 2014 Quito, Ecuador
2014 April Road Trip

2014 April Road Trip

Yep.  I am hitting the road again.  Another 5,000 miles and lots of birds!  I will be making some updates here, but hope to update Facebook & Twitter daily.  I hope you will be able to follow me vicariously.  And, for those of you in my path, maybe you can bird with me.  Much of this itinerary is in flux–quite optional.  I’m hoping to have some fun seeing and photographing birds along the way.  I just got a PhoneSkope adapter for my iPhone and Swarovski telescope.  This will be a good test and you all will be my Quality Assurance team to rate the pictures.  And I will be eBirding along the way, too.

Tonight I am doing laundry and packing.  I will be leaving tomorrow morning.  Here is my tentative itinerary:

Fri Apr 11 - Sugarcreek OH to Bowling Green KY (420 miles)
Sat Apr 12 - Bowling Green KY to Little Rock AR (411 miles)
Sun Apr 13 - Little Rock AR to Keller TX (351 miles)
Mon Apr 14 - Keller TX to Beaumont TX (314 miles)
Tue Apr 15 - Birding at High Island TX (86 miles r/t)
Wed Apr 16 - Beaumont TX to Corpus Christi TX (291 miles)
Thu Apr 17 - Birding in Corpus Christi TX
Fri Apr 18 - Birding in Corpus Christi TX
Sat Apr 19 - Corpus Christi TX to Fort Stockton TX (457 miles)
Sun Apr 20 - Fort Stockton TX to Tucson AZ (556 miles)
Mon Apr 21 - Birding in SE AZ
Tue Apr 22 - Birding in SE AZ
Wed Apr 23 - Tucson AZ to Cottonwood AZ (219 miles)
Thu Apr 24 - Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood AZ
Fri Apr 25 - Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood AZ
Sat Apr 26 - Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood AZ
Sun Apr 27 - Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood AZ
Mon Apr 28 - Cottonwood AZ to Albuquerque NM (387 miles)
Tue Apr 29 - Birding in Albuquerque NM
Wed Apr 30 - Albuquerque NM to Oklahoma City OK (541 miles)
Thu May  1 - Oklahoma City OK to Rolla MO (394 miles)
Fri May  2 - Rolla MO to Lexington KY (441 miles)
Sat May  3 - Birding NE KY
Sun May  4 - Lexington KY to Sugarcreek OH (291 miles)
Mon May  5 - Sugarcreek OH to Oak Harbor OH (125 miles)
Tue May  6-15 - Biggest Week in American Birding

North American Birding Macro Trends – November

Macro trends?  What??!!?  Haha.  I will get to that in a moment.  It’s been a month since I last posted here.  Sorry.  In that month I drove from Colorado to Virginia for the Eastern Shore Birding Festival.  I had a great time in Cape Charles, VA.  I drove home to Ohio and worked for a week and then headed back south to North Carolina’s Outer Banks for the Wings Over Water Festival.  It was a terrific week packed full of fun events and lots of birding.  I worked last week and my schedule finally caught up with me.  I was down a couple days with a cold.  Ok.  I still have a cold but I’m functional…sort of.  When I finish this week I will drive to Massachusetts for Athol Bird and Nature Club meeting and some New England winter birds.

Have I forgotten about Panama in January?  No.  I have not.  In fact, there are still several openings available.  You should consider coming along with me (and Wildside Nature Tours) to the Tropics during January!  More information can be found here: Panama Canal Zone and Pipeline Road Birding with Greg Miller, January 18-25, 2014.

North America Macro Trends - Nov 1-7 - eBird - 1900-2012 as of 2013-02-22

North America Macro Trends – Nov 1-7 – eBird – 1900-2012 as of 2013-02-22

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2014 Panama Target Birds 31-40

Greetings from Nebraska!  I’m en route to Brighton, CO for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory’s BBQ with the Birds on October 5, 2013.  I just had a great weekend at Pt. Pelee with the Ontario Field Ornithologists.  More on that in another blog.

Previously I posted 2014 Target Birds 1-10 & 11-20 & 21-30. Today we will look at 31-40. These represent the most commonly reported birds in Panama in late January in eBird. I am using what eBird refers to as Frequency of Checklists. This is a number that uses the total number of checklists that have a particular species checked divided by the total number of checklists submitted. It is the percent of checklists that have reported this species. eBird data was accessed on 8/26/2013 to retrieve this list. Late January? Yes. This is to coincide with Wildside Nature Tours trip Panama Canal Zone and Pipeline Road Birding with Greg Miller, January 18-25. Ready for those target birds? Here we go:

Most Frequently Reported Birds in Panama for late January #31-40

31. Streaked Flycatcher
32. Red-legged Honeycreeper
33. Cocoa Woodcreeper
34. House Wren
35. Gray-headed Chachalaca
36. Wattled Jacana
37. Western Slaty-Antshrike
38. Blue Dacnis
39. Gartered Trogon
40. Little Blue Heron

2013 Impatient Birders Guide to North America – Species Top 10s

Do you have a nemesis bird (or two)?  Did you ever wish for a list of species with “Best Bets” for location & timing?  Well.  Here it is–the long-awaited Species breakdown for the Impatient Birder.  The Top 10 Best Bets for over 900 species are listed in 6 PDF documents–they are split into 50-page segments.  These documents are free for download. (but they are fairly large)

Purple Swamphen. STA-5 in South Florida. Big O Birding Festival. March 2013.

Purple Swamphen. STA-5 in South Florida. Big O Birding Festival. March 2013. Photo by Greg Miller

Impatient Birders Guide to North America -  Species Top 10s -  part 1

Impatient Birders Guide to North America – Species Top 10s – part 2

Impatient Birders Guide to North America – Species Top 10s – part 3

Impatient Birders Guide to North America – Species Top 10s – part 4

Impatient Birders Guide to North America – Species Top 10s – part 5

Impatient Birders Guide to North America – Species Top 10s – part 6 Continue reading

2014 Panama Target Birds 21-30

Previously I posted 2014 Target Birds 1-10 & 11-20.  Today we will look at 21-30.  These represent the most commonly reported birds in Panama in late January in eBird.  I am using what eBird refers to as Frequency of Checklists.  This is a number that uses the total number of checklists that have a particular species checked divided by the total number of checklists submitted.  It is the percent of checklists that have reported this species.  eBird data was accessed on 8/26/2013 to retrieve this list.  Late January? Yes.  This is to coincide with Wildside Nature Tours trip Panama Canal Zone and Pipeline Road Birding with Greg Miller, January 18-25.  Ready for those target birds?  Here we go:

Most Frequently Reported Birds in Panama for late January #21-30

21. Pale-vented Pigeon
22. Orange-chinned Parakeet
23. Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
24. Yellow-headed Caracara
25. Scarlet-rumped Cacique
26. Southern Rough-winged Swallow
27. Tropical Mockingbird
28. White-shouldered Tanager
29. Yellow Warbler
30. White-necked Jacobin

2014 Panama Target Birds 11-20

I hope you enjoyed the Top 10 Most Frequently Reported Birds in Panama in late January that I posted last week.  Again, I am using eBird data for the entire country of Panama, the last 2 weeks for all years.  There is not a ton of data, but it is way better than nothing!  I am using data I collected July 13, 2013 (last month).  And all of this is preparation for my trip to Panama January 18-25 with Wildside Nature Tours.  You can sign up for the trip and come birding in Central America with me at this link: Panama Canal Zone and Pipeline Road Birding with Greg Miller

As I said before, some of Panama’s most common birds are birds that you will recognize from North America.  Like this one:

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican in flight – South Texas Coast – Dec 2012. Photo by Greg Miller

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Ohio Birds 10-year Report 2003-2012

Uh-oh.  A little bit–ok, A LOT–of eBird geeky stuff lies ahead…
I spent the last few days wrangling some eBird data for the state of Ohio.  I processed year list data for 10 individual years, 2003 through 2012.  What comes next is me…tinkering with data I downloaded from http://ebird.org on 6/26/2013.  eBird is a Citizen Science online project containing over 100 million bird sightings worldwide.  And it is growing every day.  eBird allows ordinary birders to enter their bird sightings online and stores them in a database.  I downloaded data from this database into spreadsheets to create the final report available as a free download below in .PDF format.

A total of 32,307 checklists were submitted to eBird for the state of Ohio in the 5 years 2003 through 2007 representing 339 species.  For 2008 through 2012, 97,837 checklists were submitted to eBird for the state of Ohio and a total of 357 species were recorded.  The combined total number of species for the 10-year period 2003-2012 was 368 species of birds.

Of the 368 species, 274 species were recorded in each of the 10 years between 2003-2012.  In fact 28 species were reported in every week for the entire 10-year period.
Of the 368 species reported, 241 showed an increase in % of checklists.  In other words, about two thirds of these species were reported on a higher proportion of checklists in the second 5-year period than in the first 5-year period.  Some of this may be attributed to the large increase in the number of checklists between the periods.  But 127 species showed a decrease despite three times the number of checklists in 2008-2012.

The 10-year Difficulty Code is a number derived using the logarithm of the percent of checklists for a species for the entire 10-year period.  So a Code 1 species is up to 10 times more common than a Code 2 bird.  Likewise, a Code 2 bird is up to 10 times more common than a Code 3 bird.  That same Code 3 bird is up to 100 times less common than a Code 1 bird.  And when “common” is used, it isn’t true abundance.  First, frequency of checklists is only the percent of checklists on which a species is checked as seen.  Also, this represents what is submitted to eBird.  Not everyone uses eBird so the data that exists there is but a sample of reality.  Still, over 100,000 checklists represents a body of data that is quite superior to “I am pretty sure there are a lot less  Canvasbacks in Ohio.  I don’t see as many as I used to.”

I just finished this report and have not had much time to review it yet.  But, I was so excited about it that I decided to make it available for others to look at it.  I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Columns:

Tax Seq: Taxonomical Sequence
2003-2007 Rank: 5-yr ranking for 2003 through 2007
2008-2012 Rank: 5-yr ranking for 2008 through 2012
Chg in Rank: Change in ranking positions from 2003-2007 to 2008-2012
10-yr Diff Code: Difficulty Code for 2003-2012 as reported in eBird % of checklists submitted; 1 is most common; 2 is up to 10x less common than 1; 3 is up to 10x less common than 2, and so on
Species Name: Species Name
2003-2007 % of Checklists: total number of checklists for a species submitted to eBird during 2003-2007 divided by the grand total number of checklists submitted
2008-2012 % of Checklists: total number of checklists for a species submitted to eBird during 2003-2007 divided by the grand total number of checklists submitted
Actual Change: the difference between the two 5-yr % of checklists
% Change: the rate of change as a percentage from the first 5-yr period to the second 5-yr period
2003-2007 Weeks Reported: number of weeks a species was reported in eBird 2003-2007
2008-2012 Weeks Reported: number of weeks a species was reported in eBird 2008-2012
2003-2012 Years Reported: number of years a species was reported in eBird 2003-2012

And without further adieu, here is the report:  Ohio Birds 10-year Report 2003-2012

A Birder’s Guide To The Biggest Week

Kirtland's Warbler. Biggest Week 2012. Photo by Greg Miller

Northwest Ohio in May is…for the birds. No really. It is a very birdy place. It has been my favorite place to visit on the North American continent in May for more than 30 years. And I cannot wait to go back there again this May. It is home to one of the most amazing displays of bird migration. There are many migration hot spots in the East. Your home state probably has a few good areas. And maybe you have ticked all 37 species of eastern wood warblers that occur here in Northwest Ohio, seen all the thrushes, tanagers, buntings, and orioles (and many, many more species). So why visit Biggest Week? Aren't there huge crowds of people? Isn't it hard to find lodging and places to eat? Can't I see all those birds somewhere else? Even if you have all these birds, you should visit this area of Northwest Ohio at least once in your life and experience it for yourself. Yes. There are huge crowds. But with a little planning and patience, your experience should still be unforgettable–even if you don't enjoy big crowds. For lodging and food you should also plan ahead or you will find yourself 30 minutes (or more) away from the comforts and conveniences “civilization”.

Scarlet Tanager. Biggest Week 2012. Photo by Greg Miller

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Getting Ready for the 2013 Big O Birding Festival

Packing up this morning (3/11/2013) for an early morning departure for Ft. Myers, FL.  I will be a keynote speaker, classroom presenter, and field guide for the 2013 Big “O” Birding Festival on the southwest shores of Lake Okeechobee in Florida.  Florida?  Again?  Oooooh, yeaaaah!!!  Gonna see some kites (and many other cool birds) like these guys:

Swallow-tailed Kite in flight - near Lake Okeechobee FL - 2012-04-22 IMG_3348

Swallow-tailed Kite in flight – near Lake Okeechobee FL – 2012-04-22 photo by Greg Miller

Snail Kite adult male hunting- near Lake Okeechobee FL - 2012-04-22 IMG_3500

Snail Kite adult male hunting- near Lake Okeechobee FL – 2012-04-22 photo by Greg Miller

 

2013 Brooks Bird Club Winter Meeting

What a nice weekend in North Bend State Park near Cairo, WV!  I got a chance to bird with this friendly group Saturday, March 9, 2013.  I spoke to them Saturday evening and then we watched the movie, The Big Year.  This morning (Sunday) I got a chance to visit local feeders there to see a real treat, Evening Grosbeaks!

Evening Grosbeaks with a female in flight - Cairo WV - 2013-03-10 IMG_8398

Evening Grosbeaks with a female in flight – Cairo WV – 2013-03-10 photo by Greg Miller

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