Saturday, August 28, 2010

My 100th Milwaukee walking BIGBY species

I started my second walking BIGBY of the year on August 3 after moving to Milwaukee from southern Indiana. My 2010 Indiana BIGBY list ended with 152 species.

Yesterday I recorded my 100th Milwaukee BIGBY species. Palm Warbler.

I've summarized my sightings in the following blog posts:

Bernie Sloan
Milwaukee, WI

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Hey folks,

Things have obviously slowed down on the BIGBY front for everyone with the end of migration/heat of summer. I'm writing from Dayton, OH, where I'll be spending the next couple of years. My current living situation isn't looking terribly friendly BIGBY-wise, especially after living along Lake Michigan for the last two years; my apartment complex is surrounded by a couple of busy highways and interstates that could make biking a bit of a risky proposition. Still plenty of time to explore though.

I figured now was as good a time as any to write up my BIGBY highlights as my BIGBY run, at least for the purposes of this friendly 'competition', officially ended on June 1. All in all, I had an absolute blast with it. I gave things a half-hearted run last year, and even in a shorter time frame managed to tack on about 25 additional species. I'm definitely thinking of "what ifs" for the 2010 season... with some luck in the fall, 200 might have been a possibility!!! I can get wordy, so I'll try to condense my year as much as possible.

My main mode of transport was my bicycle. I pedaled roughly 250 miles, with my longest trips being a couple of adventures to Schlitz Audubon, and a March trek to Havenwoods SF. Interestingly, I had zero birds at Schlitz that I didn't pick up elsewhere, and my only Havenwoods bird was an American Kestrel. Still, I really enjoyed exploring these two spots, and had I not visited, then most likely a Spectacled Eider would have been loafing off of the shore at Schlitz on every day I decided to stay in. My 'miles walked' were all accumulated when I would spot new year bird while running. Similarly, my "other" miles are the result of a Merlin I saw near the UEC over the Milwaukee River while cross-country skiing at the start of the competition.

With my mornings almost always free, I was able to get out and bird quite a bit this year. While I didn't manage to spot anything terribly rare, and my lifer Whimbrel never did appear on my CGI adventures, I lucked into a couple of personal highlights along the way:
  • Snowy Owl- I've never had one 'sneak up' on me unexpectedly, until one tried landing atop a lightpost in front of me at Lakeshore State Park. Easily one of the most personally memorable birding experiences I've had.
  • Gulls- A stretch of warm weather in March provided a great chance to study gulls on the quickly receding ice at McKinley Marina in relatively comfortable conditions... I doubled my BIBGY gull number from last season, including several at very close range.
  • Prothonotary Warbler- A new WI bird for me, and easily the coldest weather I've ever seen one of these in, surprising me in Locust Ravine in late April, right after I had seen my first Palm Warbler of the year.
  • American Bittern- Shocked to see this bird multiple times over two days in Locust Ravine, with a chance to study this bird like I've never had, even if it was in the wrong habitat.
  • Spring migration at Lake Park- I was lucky enough to be able to bird Lake Park all but one day between April 27th and May 10th, and pretty regularly after May 17th. It was pretty neat to watch the progression of migration walking the exact same trails every day; I'll never forget the struggles of April 29th (no more than 3 or 4 YR and Palm Warblers), then arriving on the morning of the 30th and immediately hearing a Black-throated Blue, which would be joined by 10 additional warbler species.
Good luck to everyone the rest of the way!!! I've been following the listserv as much as I can over the summer... I definitely am upset about missing Dickcissel and Mew Gull at Lakeshore!! Would have been great and potentially rather easy adds to the tally!!! Can't wait to see how everyone finishes out!


*Quick edit, as I was a bit confused... while I started writing this two weeks ago, I'm just now getting around to finishing/posting... so really date of 8/15 is more accurate*

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wow, blog entries have seemed to hibernate with the summer. Of course, i'ts been way way way too long since I've added any species. But with fall migration I sense the activity is going to pick up again. Gotta go grease the bicycle chain and check the air in the tires.....