This year's World Series of Birding had a record 98 teams
competing and I am happy to say the "Overdue Ospreys"
did everything except live up to our name! This was
our breakout year by far. 191 species were checked off
one of the most prestigious one day checklists in North American
birding. That's 10 more then any "Big Day"
checklist in our short (four year) history as a team. Our
team consists of myself, Mark Boyd, Adam Sabitine and Jake
Mohlmann and we had one of those days where we could do little
Adam and Jake, West Virginia U. and Penn State U. respectively,
have been submersed in birding as they both have been working
with some of the most esteemed leaders of the birding community
doing research, including nocturnal flight work and breeding
research....a huge help. They were so prepared it was
impressive to witness! On a side note, Adam has been
on a roll since....maybe you heard about the European Storm-Petrels
in North Carolina? It was he and two other fellows that
discovered them recently. So with the young ears and
eyes of those two coupled with the scouting and preparation
of the rest of the team, we kicked some tail feathers if ya
know what I mean!
I scouted the north section for a total of 9 days prior
to the event and Jake scouted Cape May 3 days prior. Mark
and Adam helped when they were available as well. Unlike
many other teams, we scouted by ourselves without the distractions
of competitive help....in the North anyway. Quite frankly
we are kind of known as the "Rock n Rollers" of
the Birding world....not always conducive to hanging out with
the stereotypical elite of birding. We respect and like
them and they like us, don’t get me wrong, we just are
a little different in our approach I guess you could say!
We started at Great Swamp NWR and the swamp gods smiled
on us! Least Bittern, Sora, Nighthawk and Woodcock were
on the list by 12:14a.m! Then American Bittern (we had
9 total), Virginia Rail, King Rail, Barred Owl and a few others.
15 Birds total by 12:48a.m. It was truly magical!
This set the tone for the rest of the day. Even so,
Kearny was a bust as we couldn't get in to our normal spots
but DeKorte (the Meadowlands) held some of the goodies we
needed under the urban glow of metro Jersey. I would
love to continue with a "play by play" account but
you will have to look for that on our RTWBC website near summer's
end. It's just too much info for this article!
I will note we left the North with 132 birds. We of
course missed some things we really could have used. Barn
Owl, Goshawk, Sharpie and a few passerines come to mind. We
arrived 20 minutes late at Brigantine NWR (1st stop in
the South) but we made it up by getting through "Brig"
in 1 hour and 8 minutes! As we weaved through our southern
route, there were times we could do no wrong. We even
took the time to go out of the way to "Bivalve" (aka
Mt. Stinkmore) for the 3 ducks we knew were there and needed,
as ducks were every team's nemesis this year....including
our team. This proved a great move as we also picked
up the Cliff Swallow we lost up north.
To sum it up highlight-wise, we had 29 Warblers, 23 species
of shorebirds, all the nightjars, swallows, vireos (except
Philly) and woodpeckers possible! We were proud of our
accomplishments. We lived up to our "rock n roll"
reputation by celebrating until daybreak Sunday. We
went to the brunch heads high (and hurting) knowing we were
a top ten team on the most competitive year yet! Next
year we WILL be in the 200 club! Oh yeah, did I mention
the Red Sox won the World Series last year? Anything
is possible! Nikon won again, of course, but my buddy
Frank Gallo and his team upset mighty Cornell for the non-resident
award! Well done, Frank!
Thanks to all the folks who pledged our team to raise money
for Friends of Stissing Landmarks or Hudson Valley Raptor
Center. Also, a special thanks to my friends John Burr
and Andy Patten, of Wild Birds Unlimited Scotch Plains and
Randolph, NJ respectively, for covering the SUV rental and
hotel rooms for the team. If anyone still needs to send
in their pledges here are the addresses:
Wildcare Inc., Hudson Valley Raptor Center
148 South Rd., Standfordville, NY 12581
Friends of Stissing Landmarks
P.O. Box 37, Pine Plains, NY 12567
Over Dutchess, June
For more information about the World Series
of Birding and this year's results, visit the
New Jersey Audubon Society website.