Wednesday, May 9, 2012

First post of many

Hey Folks,
My name is Alex Stark and I am from Prairie du Chien. Like many of you, I am also doing a BIGBY this year! Thanks to Jesse Ellis, I just found out about this blog. I'm still trying to figure out how I can use this site to compare and also share my BIGBY list with all you and your lists. Any help that you guys can offer is really appreciated!

On the birding side of things I just scored my BIGBY Forster's Tern. However I am really looking forward to the next two weeks....

Alex Stark

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It was a big morning out there today! Zillions of birds across the Madison area, probably because of good migration conditions and an early-morning T-storm. Picked up most of my warblers for the year for BIGBY, and a number of expected passerines.

I have a question - I saw a Brewster's Warbler, and that species is on the BIGBY list, so I checked it off. Is this legit? Was this "unit" counted last year?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nine Springs Parade

I also made it out to Nine Springs today. On the way I picked up Warbling Vireo and Yellow Warblers. Got nice looks at the phalarope and the caspians. The ride back into the wind generated enough calories burned to enjoy a cold Bedlam IPA from Ale Asylum. Andy P.
Uff da! That's what they say, right, when you ride 15 miles? I live near Hilldale Mall on the west side of Madison. Prior to this, all of my BIGBYing barring a lone excursion to the Arboretum (an extra mile or two), has been on rides to the Picnic Point/University Bay area, but I knew I needed a few Larids to fill out my list, and I wasn't going to get them on Mendota. So, Nine Springs, via Lake Monona, and it paid off! On Monona I had a flyover Caspian Tern, a new BIGBY bird, and at Nine Springs, I finally added non-Killdeer and Woodcock shorebirds to my list - seven species in all, including a stunning female Wilson's Phalarope. There were also two Caspian Terns here, but the other coup for my BIGBY list was the lone Bonaparte's Gull. I had missed this species early and it's one that is not a "gimme" anywhere near me. On the way in we ran into Kim Kreitinger, who was also adding to her Bigby list... she pointed out that she had recently passed me in the standings. Unfortunately, Kim, the snipe put me up to 118, one more than you have listed! Of course, it's late April so all this will be moot tomorrow, but here's hoping we can pass Andy P before he tops his list off again...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sometimes, the birds make it easy

Since moving out of WI almost two years ago, my BIGBY efforts have been heavily impaired. I don't have the free time I did before, and instead of living within walking distance of Lake Michigan and multiple migrant traps, along with an easy bike ride to great shorebirding, I'm trapped in the middle of suburban sprawl.

That being said, there still have been a few good birds around, and a few of them making it easy; last Thursday, while playing Bags at a BBQ in my apartment complex, a (likely migrating) Peregrine Falcon winged low overhead.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Paulios surges in front!

A quick trip to Lower Mud Lake last night netted me a number of new species for the year. With Daniel's Costa Rica excursions keeping him from his BIGBY, I've now surged into the lead! The only real question now is who will end up in second place?

Andy P.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Another BIGBY dream story

Hello Everyone!

I'm Max Witynski, like Jesse a new member of this group from Madison.  I must admit that BIGBYing is particularly easy for me because I'm a high school student (at Madison West) with no car!  I tried a BIGBY last year for the first time in Dane County and had a lot of fun, ending up with 153 species.  My highlights included Stilt Sandpiper, Kentucky Warbler and Caspian Tern.  This year is off to a bit of a slow start, but I'm looking forward to being a member of this group and keeping up with others as the year progresses!

Last night I had my first dream involving BIGBYing.  I was on my bike down along University Bay in Madison (which looked slightly different than it does usually) when I spotted a Eurasian Cuckoo in one of the bushes!  I then looked out onto Lake Mendota and saw a solitary Tundra Swan and two coots.  After a bit of scanning I noticed a small fishing boat, and flying over it were two Arctic Terns!  Three other birders then approached.  I asked them what they were doing and they answered in one voice that they were also doing a BIGBY, I told them to keep an eye out for Arctic Terns and then continued down the trail on my bike!

I hope this dream is a foreshadowing of Arctic Terns on Lake Mendota!  If not, Black Terns would be a nice enough find for me!

Good luck to everyone, I hope to meet some of you in the field over the course of the year!

Max Witynski  (Madison, Dane)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

An intro and January challenge

Hey all-

Jesse Ellis here, one of your new additions this year. I'm a Madison birder. I love birding, but have been busy enough lately that driving a long way for birds has been impossible; yet, I love listing on some levels because it keeps me going out when I might otherwise do nothing "productive". Patch listing and BIGBY seemed the ideal way to go.

However, I'm not sure I'll be in Madison the entire year! So, to keep things interesting for myself, I set a challenge of seeing 50 species in January following BIGBY guidelines. This proved to be the January to do it, because with the open water and warm temps early this month, I've already hit 50 (51, to be precise). And that's with quite a few species still outstanding, like owls and a few more winter finches to be expected... So, is anyone up for a run to 60? We've still got a week.

Highlights so far have been: Mute Swans and Glaucous Gull on U Bay, a White-throated Sparrow at my feeders, lots of ducks, a MERLIN! over campus (my first for urban Madison, and one of my few for Wisconsin at all), and Carolina Wren in Shorewood Hills.

I'm looking forward to this environmentally friendly version of my favorite activity! See you all around!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dream Bigby

January 18, 2012
Since engaging in the interesting occupation of Bigbying, I must confess to be a touch obsessed with the entire activity. This interest has also invaded my dreams so I suggested to Owen that a new category be made called "Dream Bigbys." In the spirit of this category, I offer the dream below: (note, I had to go to the field guide to see that there was indeed a species called Ancient Murrelet and, in fact, my bird resembled it).

Last night's dream:

I was bigbying down to the lake shore, and I found a large banding weighting tube washed up on the shore. Inside was an Ancient Murrelet, banded, as well as a reprint of an ornithological article about the bird (this was wrapped around the bird).

I took the bird out of the tube and saw that it was still breathing, barely (therefore, it could be be counted as a bigby!). Of course, as a true friend, I called Tim so he could bike down and count it too, and save the bird.

We took it to a classroom so Tim could revive it with cat food he brought. When we took the bird out of the tube, there was also a fluffy white chick and mother and chick were doing fine. Tim ate the cat food instead because he was hungry, and then told me I couldn't count the bird as my bike had turned into a car

Robin Squier

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Congrats to Daniel!

Big congrats to Daniel for his great BIBGY in 2011! I'll summarize my own efforts in 2011 as mostly many good birds in Madison that I didn't even get due to general cowardice! However; that will surely change in 2012!

Great to see Milwaukee birders still signing up for this after losing so badly to the Madison birders in 2011.....

Andy Paulios
McFarland, WI

Friday, January 6, 2012

WGBC 2011 comes to a close

I'd like to congratulate the winners of the Green Birding Challenge for 2011.

The official winners and tallies...

Daniel Schneider with a monstrous 240 birds, breaking Scott Baughman's epic record of 234 from 2010. (And ironically, from what I heard, Scott humbly helped Daniel find the birds that broke his record)  Bernie Sloan came in second with 207 birds, followed by Andy Paulios and Kim Kreitinger (tied with 197) and Kay Kavanaugh (179). Scott Baughmann, undoubtedly recuperating from 2010 still managed 175 birds!

The 2012 challenge is already under way with several birders reaching 30 species within the first few days of the year.