Thursday, May 26, 2011

Online birding

Fickle weather is one reliable aspect of a Midwest spring migration. Since March, we've seen cold, heat, cold again, heat again and now cold once more. My birding this spring has been inconsistent, too, in terms of number of species and the number of days I've spent in the field. One constant has been my enjoyment of eBird, the real-time online checklist program. EBird makes it easy to keep track of birds, and ensures that sightings are added to the scientific record. Birders can compare their sightings with other birders in their community and sort their lists by hotspot and species. So I know I've seen 91 total species this year while submitting 13 lists. I'm tied for 50th in Cook County with 77 species.

Among the highlights this spring: three singing blue-winged warblers at Indiana Dunes' Heron Rookery Trail (above). No Swainson's thrush and nary a vireo all spring, but nice sightings of orchard oriole, tennessee warbler and black-throated blue warbler. And two more species for the yard list: least flycatcher and american goldfinch. And in a non-avian note, I saw a white-tailed deer at Montrose this week, a first for me there.

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