Tuesday, November 29, 2011


What a great bigby, albeit a very windy one. I walked down to the Art Museum to see if I could catch the King Eider. Thanks to Chuck Hegner, I found the Eider, a first year male. . Quite amazing to see him ( the Eider, not Chuck) steaming toward me like a troop ship,quite broad in the beam. We watched in amazement to see the Eider swallow a clump of Qahog mussels, shell and all. After watching for a while, I walked to Lakeshore State Park to see if I could catch some snow buntings. I was alerted by the noisy mobbing of crows and found a Snowy Owl on the rocks adjacent to the piers in the first lagoon. The rest of the park was quiet and battened down due to the strong winds. When I turned north to return home, I was amazed at the strength of the wind and had great fun fighting it until I got to the bike path. On the bike path I saw an immature Cooper's Hawk with a black band on its left leg, and an aluminum band on the right.

On another note, I would be much closer to Tim if I had not been so kind to tell him in exquisite detail where to find the birds. It really rankled that he got back to the computer to record the two before I did.

R. Squier

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My 2011 Wisconsin BIGBY count (so far)

FINALLY got around to entering my species list on the Wisconsin Green Birding Challenge spreadsheet!!

My current species count is 180 BIGBY species in 2011. That would put me in fourth place among the folks who have added their counts to the spreadsheet. I figure it might be worth mentioning that I'm doing a WALKING BIGBY (i.e., no bicycles, kayaks, canoes, etc....just my own two feet).

It's been a slow summer though. My last new 2011 BIGBY species two months ago (Yellow-billed Cuckoo on June 21).

Bernie Sloan

Monday, April 25, 2011


Okay, so here's the thing. I know I saw and heard a Wood Thrush, but it's too early. I have been known to turn any bird, (really any bird), into a bird I want. I also "saw" a meadowlark flying away from me. Broad white outer tail feathers. Again, not enough time to study it. So, I am going to begin posting the "might've, could be's" here." I took off the Wood Thrush from the Bigby count, so I am tied with Tim. Drat. (I'm not even mentioning the Sedge Wren.)

Monday, April 4, 2011


Us madisonians don't get a lot of gullin' in, but Maggie and I were able to tandem bike to Lake Waubesa tonight and scored a nice look at a foraging Lesser Black-backed GUll! Cha-ching!

Andy Paulios
McFarland, WI

Friday, March 11, 2011

Madison - Milwaukee, put the heat on?

so these new upstarts from Madtown seem to think that they can get more birds than those of us in Brewtown. They talked about wagers. Thoughts?

Oh - and Robin just helped me find 3 new BGBY birds outside her house CAWR, COME and SOSP. What's with all this cooperation? Something in the drinking water? (Thanks ROSQ!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Newbie to BIGBY

Hello all -

My name is Daniel Schneider and this being my rookie BIGBY season, I thought I would introduce myself. I work for UW-Madison doing grassland bird research. I will be basing my BIGBY from my house on the eastside of Madison which fortunately, is within striking distance of many of Dane county's hot spots.

I took up cycling last year and have been a lister for years so I thought I would combine the two and go Green. Combine that with my guilt for all those winter time airplane rides to warm, tropical birding destinations and there's no way I could resist when Andy P. mentioned the group sometime last year.

Glad to be aboard!



After seeing Chuck's post regarding his sightings at Estrabrook, I decided to set out first for that park. There were quite a few Buffleheads, Mallards on the river, and finally, one lone Hooded Merganser. There were also female Common Goldeneyes (about 7), but no males (why?). I spent a long time watching and studying the birds (and took field notes a la Richard Crossley's suggestion) and then continued on through the park. Right before the dog park, I noticed two RWBB in the brush. They were perfectly still. So still that I looked around to see if any predator (besides me) was nearby. The birds had a brown mottling at the nape, and the epaulet only showed yellow. I wondered if they were immature males and hunkered down to avoid any confrontations. I continued on to the Shorewood Nature Preserve where there were 11 crows in a raucous party around a tall fir. Stomping through the snow, I finally got my glasses on the fir and saw a GHOW sitting amidst the branches. The crows finally flew away, but the GHOW never twitched a feather. The ice is quite far out at the preserve, but you can see rafts and rafts of Bufflehead and Scaup at Atwater. Still looking for a Brown Creeper, I continued on to Downer Woods, but all was quiet. Two Peregrines sat on the Engineering building at UWM, and two RWBB called along Lake Drive. Species total for the day was 20.
Just now I looked out at my feeder to see a White-crowned Sparrow.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Peregrine v GHOW

Great excitement today. I heard a Peregrine while I was inside my house entering data for the GBBC.
I ran outside to see the Peregrine diving and diving, circling with constant calling. Six crows entered the fray and they finally flushed out a GHOW. Not bad!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Double Digits!

After all of last year's fun, I am sad to report that my total does not reflect a lack of update, but actually is the current total of my BIGBY for the year (and, unfortunately my mileage total is pretty accurate as well!). I was pumped to add two more birds today, with a flyover Ring-billed Gull (I didn't think I'd miss having dozens of them outside my window like I did in Milwaukee, but I certainly do!), as well as a Cooper's Hawk drifting above my apartment, bringing me to 11 species. Going through some serious BIGBY withdrawl this year, pumped to see how well you guys are doing, even with the dumpings of snow you all picked up two weeks ago!

Take care,

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Always something new

This morning, during the snow showers, I set out to find a Brown Creeper and a Peregrine Falcon. I failed at both. However, I did see something very unusual. After walking through UEC, UWM, and Downer Woods, I was wandering through the Shorewood Nature Preserve looking vainly for some ducks. The snow was falling so thickly at this point that I could barely see the lake beyond the ice. I did spot something moving at the very tip of a branch of a thin, 15 or so foot tree. Putting my glasses on it, I realized it was a deer mouse bravely going out to the very end of the thin branches to get the seed pods. I watched it for a while feeling quite peaceful with the snow falling all around us. Suddenly, to my horror, it slipped and plunged 15 feet to the ground below.
I raced to the spot, thinking about Mouse first aid, only to see it climb up onto the fluffy snow surface, shake its head in some amazement and then shoot under a nearby log.

The only new Bigby was a Blue Jay perched at the end of my property. So one new Bigby for 6.9 miles of walking! I also think I inadvertently gave a lot of you a Blue Jay when I tried to enter the sighting on my iPad. The Google document doesn't really cooperate on an iPad so apologies to all who just gained a bird. (I don't think I gave it to Tim, which is all that matters).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why I need a scope

Maria and I went duck watching yesterday, but only Dolores and Gil braved the elements (it actually was lovely out). None of us had a scope. Although there were the usual huge rafts of ducks, we did not see any of the tantalizing new bigbys (i.e. Long-tailed, Red Head, etc.). I am sure they were out there, but .... We did see a pair of Eastern Bluebirds a couple of times. Very bizarre to have Eastern Bluebirds on my January list before I got a Herring Gull. Tim, despite his promises of glory, remained snuggled in his warm house. Wimps!! I am still looking for the elusive Brown Creeper!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Excited for the new year

On January 4th, as I was getting my bike oiled up for work, my wife asked me why I was biking. I said three reasons: 1) to save the world, 2) to save my health, and 3) to BGBY, but not necessarily in that order.

Off to a good start, but then the same aforementioned wife advised me not to bike to work with below-zero windchills recently. I saw a Sharpy that day. If I lose to Owen Boyle by one bird and I don't have a Sharpy, that might be a deal breaker.....

Love green birding!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lovely Riparian Habitat

At 11;00 pm, yesterday, while reading the Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean (which is a fun examination of the history of the periodic table; a sentiment I never thought I'd write), I heard the trill of a Screech Owl! I love living along the river. Now, I am still hunting down the Brown Creeper and the Herring Gull (oddly enough).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Old Eyes

Just when I, according to Owen, receive major cred by guiding the WSO to my Carolina Wren, I totally lose it by erroneously posting a Bohemian Waxwing! Aagh. Tim, who is currently pedaling furiously through the Menomonee Valley, alerted me to the error. Obviously, it was a (actually there were ten or so) Cedar Waxwing in Estabrook Park, not Bohemian. I also saw the Carolina Wren in my yard again today, and was quite surprised to see it go to my feeder and take a seed away.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hermit Thrush

Today is my first day back home after travelling for the holidays and I was happy to see that the Hermit Thrush that was hanging around the backyard before Christmas is still here.  The feeders are full and the water in the heated bird bath is fresh.  While the locals find their way back to the yard, it's time for my first Bigby walk of the year down to the Milwaukee River Greenway.  Maybe I'll even swing by Robin's for her Carolina Wren.  And so it begins!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Carolina Wren

Felled by a cold, I stayed in yesterday. I probably got the cold from birding on Sunday in the bitter winds. I lucked out yesterday, however, when I got up from the couch to put more wood on the fire, and noticed that MY Carolina Wren was back. Easiest bigby ever. Quite exciting. Now, what can I give this cold little guy?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Green Big Day - New Year!

Hey Folks,

I birded mostly from the warm confines of my living room today. However; at 3:30 PM I decided to brave the cold - mostly because I've been reading books on Everest..and it seemed appropriate. As luck would have it the third bird I saw at Lower Mud Lake was an imm. Sharp-shinned Hawk. A bird that I somehow missed last year??

Happy GBIBGYing.....

Andy P.


The clocks have rolled over to a new year and our Green Birding lists have rolled back to ZERO.  Here's to another great year of Green Birding!!