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Saturday, June 06, 2015

Backyard Big Year Update--May 2015

Least Flycatcher--the only Empid seen in my yard this spring--though a Willow Flycatcher was picked up by my OldBird21c microphone one night.
Usually by the end of May I've seen well over 200 species for the year in my county, and driven almost 10,000 miles looking for birds.  This year I've only birded outside my yard a few times, so my mileage is way down.  And I've found 138 species for the year in my yard.  Not bad considering my overall yard list previous to starting this Backyard Big Year was only 156 species.  But I've still got a long ways to go to reach my Backyard Big Year goals.

I spent a lot of time in my yard in May, trying to get the migrants as they go through.  But it was a slow spring across most of New Jersey, and birds were few and far between.  One indicator of how bad it was--I only saw one Yellow-rumped Warbler in the yard all spring!  This is normally the most common migrant warbler, and a few even winter in the county.

Fortunately, I'm doing a bionic big year, so I can include birds recorded by my OldBird21c microphone at night while I sleep.  It's bitter-sweet to get new birds this way, since they don't count on my personal eBird checklist, but I report them on my NFC station eBird checklist and they count towards the overall Backyard Big Year total.  So far my NFC additions include such hard to get local birds as American Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, and Dickcissel (the only ones reported in the county so far this year).  It takes a couple hours or more to review an overnight recording, and there are many calls that I can't ID.  So I've still got a lot of work to do, and hopefully even more goodies tucked away in those recordings.  So stay tuned.

More May 2015 summary including photos at the Backyard Big Year Blog.
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