Thursday, May 01, 2008

Birdathon 2008

Saturday the 26th was the annual Sea and Sage Audubon Birdathon or Big Day. This is a day where teams compete to see the highest number of species in a 24 hour period. Wouldn't you know it, this year it fell on one of the hottest days to date. My team, composing Mark Singer, Tom Benson, Vic Leipzig, and myself, sweated our way through a brutally bird-less day. We had a rough time picking up reasonably expectable birds, and as a result, had a much lower species count this year than our number for the previous year.
The biggest miss we had was the rails at Upper Newport Bay. To our amazement and frustration, after three tries, we struck out on clapper and Virginia rail. I hope that doesn't indicate a decline in the species, as I cannot recall a time when I haven't heard a rail there when I expressly tried for them. Yikes.
Despite the heat and low numbers, it was as always, a great experience. There were some cool highlights, like wonderful views of a greater roadrunner, and the lesser nighthawks buzzing by our heads calling as dusk fell. For probably the first time in two years, I spent an entire day birding without once bringing out my camera, so I have to apologize for a text-only post. 
Well, all I can say is that I'll be looking forward to better numbers next year =)

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