The end of May also brings the end of migration to much of North America. The birds are arriving on their breeding grounds, and many young birders (myself included) are finally catching up on their sleep. Fortunately, this month held some excellent birding, and made for interesting blog posts!
ABA Young Birder of the Year Chloe Walker at Chloe’s Birding Blog had an incredible pelagic trip off Cape Hatteras, where she spotted rarities most birders only dream of – European Storm-Petrel, Bermuda Petrel, and more.
We got up bright and early on the 21st of May, 2014. My brother, Dad, and I were just about to board the Stormy Petrel II for a day of pelagic birding with “Seabirding” off Hatteras, North Carolina. You could already tell it was going to be a rough ride – the waves were choppy and the wind was strong.
Migration brought the usual suspects to the Midwest, along with a few unexpected surprises. Nathan Goldberg, writing for Nemesis Bird, had the chance to see one of these rare visitors in his home state of Illinois.
Arriving at around 5:20, we could see people were looking at something through the trees, so we hurried over. Turned out we had missed it by only about a minute, but the bird was in the area! I also heard muttering from my friend Aaron Gyllenhaal (one of the finders of the Elaenia in Chicago back in 2012) that a Connecticut Warbler had also been heard singing. I wandered to look for the Connecticut while everyone looked for the flycatcher, but soon heard shouting that the flycatcher was flying down the river!
May is also Big Day season, and Ian Davies of Birding Across the World set out to break the Massachusetts state record which stood at 193 species.
On May 24, 2014, a group of four crazed birders set off for an attempt at the Massachusetts big day record, and succeeded, ending the day with a total of 195. Our intrepid team consisted of Luke Seitz, Peter Trimble, Vern Laux, and myself. Starting in the Berkshires and ending on the Cape via Plum Island, our plan was dubbed “MAdness” by Jacob Drucker – a fitting name I think! We drove slightly over 600 miles, with our primary goal of getting 200.
The new and oft-discussed second edition of The Sibley Guide to Birds gets a thorough review from Charlotte Wasylik at her blog, Prairie Birder.
I received a review copy of the new second edition of The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley (Knopf, March 2014) a few weeks ago and have been eagerly reading and looking through it ever since. I’m very happy with the new additions and the guide’s overall appearance.