These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and… Wait. That's some 1960's movie. But Biggest Week in American Birding is almost here. And really these little gems called warblers decorate the trees and fill the air with song. In short, they make me happy. Here are a few birds I got photos of in 2013. Enjoy! Continue reading

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

Biggest Week in American Birding Warbler Cheat Sheet

This data is taken from eBird, a Citizen Science project to collect birders’ checklist data from around the world for use by researchers and scientists.  Data in this chart was accessed on 3/18/2014 from ebird.org.  The data is for all of the month of May [only] and is for all years (1900-2013).  The cheat sheet is for Northwest Ohio including the counties of Erie, Ottawa, and Lucas.  Even though this chart covers the whole month of May, it can still be used as a guideline for Biggest Week this year which occurs from May 6-15, 2014.  Check out the main festival site here: http://www.biggestweekinamericanbirding.com/.

The first column is taxonomical sequence.  The second column is a difficulty rank based on the highest number of individual birds per checklist for a specific species for May in the Biggest Week area.  The lower the difficulty number, the easier the bird is to see (more birds per checklist).  Likewise, the higher the difficulty number, the harder that species is to see.  The third column is the week in May in which that species peaks–reaches its maximum value for birds per checklist. Column 4 is the species common name.  Column 5 is the actual maximum value of birds per checklist that a species achieves in May in the 3-county area.  Column 6 is like column 3 but is specific to actual day (as opposed to week of the month).  The last column is the average number of checklists submitted during May in the 3-county area to see 1 (one) individual bird.  This is calculated by taking the reciprocal of the peak value of abundance (birds per checklist).  For example, Ovenbird reaches a peak of 0.480 birds per checklist.  So 1 divided by 0.480 equals 2.0833 [checklists to see 1 bird].  But since a fraction remains I add 1 to it to get to 3 checklists to see 1 bird.  Got it?  Good.

Tax Difficulty Week Species

Highest # birds/chklst

Peak Abundance Day

Avg # Chklsts to see 1

1

20

2

Ovenbird

0.480

13-May

3

2

30

1

Worm-eating Warbler

0.098

5-May

11

3

35

2

Louisiana Waterthrush

0.057

13-May

18

4

23

2

Northern Waterthrush

0.373

13-May

3

5

25

1

Blue-winged Warbler

0.189

1-May

6

6

26

2

Golden-winged Warbler

0.156

10-May

7

7

15

2

Black-and-white Warbler

0.785

13-May

2

8

19

3

Prothonotary Warbler

0.500

21-May

2

9

17

3

Tennessee Warbler

0.643

19-May

2

10

31

1

Orange-crowned Warbler

0.083

1-May

12

11

9

1

Nashville Warbler

1.251

2-May

1

12

32

4

Connecticut Warbler

0.075

22-May

14

13

22

3

Mourning Warbler

0.395

19-May

3

14

33

1

Kentucky Warbler

0.067

2-May

15

15

6

3

Common Yellowthroat

1.787

19-May

1

16

24

1

Hooded Warbler

0.203

4-May

5

17

4

4

American Redstart

3.538

23-May

1

18

36

2

Kirtland’s Warbler

0.041

14-May

25

19

21

2

Cape May Warbler

0.469

12-May

3

20

27

1

Cerulean Warbler

0.125

4-May

8

21

18

3

Northern Parula

0.614

15-May

2

22

5

3

Magnolia Warbler

3.096

19-May

1

23

11

2

Bay-breasted Warbler

1.002

14-May

1

24

16

2

Blackburnian Warbler

0.723

13-May

2

25

2

3

Yellow Warbler

4.654

20-May

1

26

8

3

Chestnut-sided Warbler

1.450

19-May

1

27

10

4

Blackpoll Warbler

1.239

23-May

1

28

14

3

Black-throated Blue Warbler

0.940

18-May

2

29

3

1

Palm Warbler

4.177

1-May

1

30

28

1

Pine Warbler

0.110

1-May

10

31

1

1

Yellow-rumped Warbler

15.177

1-May

1

32

37

2

Yellow-throated Warbler

0.020

10-May

50

33

34

1

Prairie Warbler

0.059

2-May

17

34

7

1

Black-throated Green Warbler

1.563

1-May

1

35

12

4

Canada Warbler

0.970

22-May

1

36

13

4

Wilson’s Warbler

0.970

22-May

1

37

29

4

Yellow-breasted Chat

0.105

31-May

10

 

2013 Biggest Week in American Birding – part 4

Throngs of birders came to Northwest Ohio to catch a glimpse of the magical spectacle of birds on their epic journey from as far away as South America on their way to their breeding grounds in Canada. Birders here are on the famed boardwalk at Magee Marsh near Oak Harbor, Ohio.

The last day of Biggest Week was chilly with winds out if the North–not prime migration conditions. But, the cold wind kept the insect-eating warblers low and conditions for photography were excellent. This Cape May Warbler looks like it could have used an extra layer of clothing. Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Whirlwind Schedule

Aaack!  I’m not keeping up with this very well.  Sorry for the long delay in posting.  My recent trips to Chicago for Birding America and the Big Year events in Grand Island, Nebraska went really well!  These trips were super enjoyable to me.  I only hope everyone else had as much of a good time as I did.

Now I’m trying to cram in my regular day job work as a computer consultant (haha, did you expect something different?) before I run away and do more birding/speaking/guiding again.

Did someone say running off?  Yes.  Yes, they did.  Where will I be in late April and May?  Oooh.  Good question.  How about this?

April 24-27 – Florida Keys & Dry Tortugas with Wes Biggs and Florida Nature Tours (check out the $200 discount posted on Wes Biggs facebook page!)

May 4-6 – Southern Ohio for Flora-Quest (botany, butterflies, and birds) with Cheryl Harner

May 7-13 – NW Ohio for Biggest Week in American Birding with Kenn & Kim Kaufman

May 17-21 – Farmington, Utah for the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival

I am totally thrilled and so looking forward to being a part of all of this!!!

Gotta run off now to my day job (which I don’t hate like the movie, The Big Year, says).

Get Ready for Warbler Mayhem

It’s gonna start soon.  It happens every year.  Spring!  Warblers will be everywhere again decorating the trees like Christmas ornaments and filling the area with a cacophony of glorious song!  I can’t wait.  It’s my favorite time of year!  Ohio is home to an extraordinary warbler experience.  Some of the best opportunities to be amazed by the event we call migration can be found right here in Ohio.

People from around the world will come to visit Ohio.  The best time to come?  May.  If you only have a short time to visit, why not base your visit around the events of Biggest Week in American Birding?  Yes, there will be lots of people.  And for good reason–they are here for the birds.  My favorite family of birds, the wood warblers, will be here in full force.  How many species of warblers can you see?  Well, technically 36 species occur regularly in Northwest Ohio at places including Magee Marsh, Crane Creek, Ottawa NWR, Maumee Bay State Park, and Oak Openings.  I usually count a good week as about 28 species of warblers.  Some of the southern species are harder to find here.  But, this year I am leading a road trip to Southern Ohio in Scioto and Adams Counties.  We’ll have a chance to see 9 species of warblers that are easier to find on their nesting grounds in the forests near the Ohio River than as rare over-shots in Northwestern Ohio.  Some of you may come away with nearly all the wood warblers found in Eastern North America.

I’ve included some charts here on my website of relative distribution for 37 species of warblers.  Check out the tab under Ohio Warblers in Spring.

Time to learn some songs, brush up on plumages, and read up on warbler habits.  Warbler Mayhem will soon be upon us!