The 21st World Series of Birding was held this past May
15th. This was my seventh year competing and fifth
as a team captain. This was the first year the Lehigh
Valley Audubon “Overdue
Ospreys” had a corporate sponsor. This made us
the Wild Birds Unlimited/LVAS “Overdue Ospreys,” thanks
to four stores in NJ (Paramus, Randolph, Scotch Plains, and
Red Bank) who picked up the tab. The event was highlighted
by a record number of youth teams (12) and over 50 level
Being a Red Sox fan I am all too familiar
with disappointing World Series to say the least! I
can accept loss as a fan as it’s not really in my control.
1967, 1975, and 1986 come to mind. Birding’s World Series is in my
and we hoped to top our prior years’ 181 species and maybe even reach 200!
Like many Red Sox coaches past, I’m still trying to figure out what went
The Great Swamp has been anything but
great in past years but this year we planned on a few goodies
and we would
run to Liberty State Park without losing much time.
We started strong with American Bittern, Cuckoos, Woodcock and all seemed to
be going well. Then a 20-minute loss due to our friends at Harding Twp.
Police department wondering what the heck we were doing. Next, a 30-minute
helping a new team try and get their van unstuck. Then the “traffic
as there seemed to be 15 teams following Nikon and Cornell around. This
to set the tone for the next 22 hours!
Through the night we did get some good
birds. Barn Owl and Brants at Liberty,
5 Heron Species,
Skimmers, and hard to get waterfowl at Kearny Marsh along with some owls at select
spots as we trekked north to Sussex County. Pre-dawn is where it got ugly.
knew migration was winding down but didn’t think Sussex County could ever
be so quiet until June! No Grouse, no Y.B. Sapsucker, no this, and definitely
no that! This set the tone till we pulled out of Clinton Reservoir a few
hours later, officially ending a dismal first 10 hours with around 120 species
the trek south.
For some crazy reason I thought we could
make up the losses up north by more stops in the south, starting
with a bold
move to hit both Tuckerton AND Brigantine.
Both turned out to be major time traps that did prove birdworthy but
even so, we were now running behind schedule. Belleplain was kind of quiet.
Beach was not much help and Beaver Swamp only helped for a couple Neo’s.
Then the weather hurt us again. After near 90F heat all day we got to south
Cape May and we were met there with high on shore winds and serious fog! We
out some Scoters, Gannets and Terns but visibility was awful to say the least.
The rest of the night we spent time getting what we had the best chances for.
Mainly Nightjars and Rails. We worked up till 11: 30 at Jakes Landing,
which was all too crowded earlier with up to 35 cars! We made it to the
by midnight and in some ways were glad to hear we weren’t the only ones
hurt by almost-summer-like conditions and lack of migrants. Even so, we
disappointed with our 162 species and 15th place finish.
We did of course have fun throughout
the event. We bonded
as a young team and my teammates learned about logistics
and all that goes into being a “big
day” captain. Nikon won again with a stunning 219 followed by Cornell
with 209. Only two other teams squeaked out 200 and I commend those teams
on such a tough year. We did raise money for three area groups plus the
Lehigh Valley Audubon Society, which is what the mission is all about. Being
a Red Sox
fan I have said, “Wait till next year” many times!
Being a WSB captain, I am also saying “WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR!” One
last note, Alan Peterson, are you free 5/14/05?
Over Dutchess, August
For more information about the World Series of Birding
and this year's results, visit the
New Jersey Audubon Society website.