Saturday, May 8, 2010

First Week of May - 24 new BIGBY Species!!

(What's a BIGBY? See:

May is a great month for birding on the Indiana University cross country (XC) course! Seems like you see interesting birds left and right, like they’re crawling out of the woodwork.

I thought I’d had a decent month in April, with 108 total species recorded for the month (see: for my April summary). But I’ve already topped that in the first seven days of May, with 110 species recorded for the week! I think I’ll throw all caution to the winds and declare May as a Big Green Big Month, with a goal of 150 total species recorded during the month (probably not likely, but it gives me something to shoot for).

And I thought I did really well in April with 40 new BIGBY species for the month. But in the first week of May I’ve already tallied 24 new BIGBY birds! (See list at bottom of this posting).

With the addition of these 24 new species, my BIGBY count now stands at 146 species within walking distance of home for 2010. That leaves me a little behind last year’s pace, when I ended up with 153 BIGBY species by the end of the first week of May 2009.

Here are some highlights from the week:

* Cattle Egret – Without a doubt THE highlight of the month, if not the year. The egret put in an appearance as an IU mowing crew was mowing the golf course driving range. According to BNA Online, these birds are sometimes attracted to “fields where fire, tractors, or cutting/mowing machinery are used.” This was also a new BIGBY life bird for me!
* Bobolink - Only the third time I’ve seen Bobolinks on the XC course in five years.
* Vesper Sparrow - Only the third Vesper Sparrow on the XC course in three years.
* Dickcissel - Fewer than ten sightings over five years.
* Blue Grosbeak - Fewer than ten sightings over five years.
* 21 warbler species for the week.
* Eight sparrow species for the week.
* Five vireo species.

Finally, here are the two dozen new BIGBY birds recorded during the first week of May:

Green Heron – BIGBY species #123 for 2010 (first recorded on 5/3)
Blue Grosbeak #124 (5/3)
Orchard Oriole #125 (5/3)
Summer Tanager #126 (5/3)
Veery #127 (5/3)
Tennessee Warbler #128 (5/3)
Acadian Flycatcher #129 (5/3)
Gray-cheeked Thrush #130 (5/3)
Swainson’s Thrush #131 (5/3)
Cattle Egret #132 (5/4)
Canada Warbler #133 (5/6)
Philadelphia Vireo #134 (5/6)
Eastern Wood-pewee #135 (5/6)
Least Flycatcher #136 (5/6)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo #137 (5/6)
Chestnut-sided Warbler #138 (5/6)
Dickcissel #139 (5/7)
Vesper Sparrow #140 (5/7)
Bobolink #141 (5/7)
Purple Martin #142 (5/7)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird #143 (5/7)
American Redstart #144 (5/7)
Cape May Warbler #145 (5/7)
Yellow-breasted Chat #146 (5/7)

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