A (mostly) friendly competition between 2 avid birdwatchers that are also friends/co-workers. Who can observe more bird species in Idaho in 2009? Will they still be friends at year's end? ;-)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Golden-crowned Sparrow!-#300

This Thursday up at the Bird Observatory, we had the fun of catching and banding a juvie Golden-crowned Sparrow! It was the first I'd ever seen in the hand, and a first for the station this season, so both Jay and I and the rest of the crew really enjoyed getting to see it...but at the same time we both wished that we'd seen it before it was caught, since we aren't "counting" the net-only birds towards our year list.
So, this morning when Jay called up the road to me as I was finishing the net run "hey Heidi, do you have your binoculars?" I was sure there was something good in the bushes he was looking at! By the time I dropped off my Nuthatch cargo and headed down the road, it was too late. The tail-less (maybe a near-death experience with a Sharp-shinned Hawk?) and un-banded Golden-crowned Sparrow he'd seen was gone! Our friends Jean and Poo who follow our little competition (along with some other wood river valley birders who were visiting for the weekend) gave me a hard time, knowing that Jay was now one more bird ahead of me for the year. It was only made worse when Jean returned from a net run with another Golden-crowned Sparrow (this one had a tail) in the bag, and said she'd seen two others! agh! It was an explosion of Golden-crowned's at IBO, and I hadn't seen any!! (If Jay were writing this post, I'm sure he'd add that it was at this point during the day that I got a little 'flustered'....though I maintain that I kept perfect composure the entire time ;) even if I did skip out on the next few net runs looking for it! heehee)
Anyway, long story short, I spent the rest of the day searching through flocks of white-crowned's (even finding one tail-less bird that turned out to be an adult white-crown and NOT the tailless GC that Jay'd seen).
After lunch, Jay and I headed for a loop around the net lanes in hopes of still turning up a bird. After an hour or more, and after lots of bush-whacking behind a flock, Jay caught a glimpse of a tailless dude! we hunted him down, and in the stream of white-crowns hopping through the bushes, I finally saw him! the Golden-crowned! YAY!!!!
this was an extra-cool lifer for me as it was LIFER #300!!! (it's amazing to think that it was only March when I saw #200: a Harris' Sparrow)
It was hi-fives all around on hawkwatch when the rest of the birders heard we'd finally accomplished our mission :)

In other news, our birding/year-list has picked up a bit in the last couple weeks and recent new species for 2009 have included Broad-winged Hawk, Anna's Hummingbird, Sanderling, and Sabine's Gulls!

all for now,

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