Cape Cod October Big Day

Team BirdNation spent a majority of October Big Day in Provincetown, Massachusetts. We visited 3 Provincetown locations: Race Point Beach, Herring Cove Beach, and MacMillan Pier. In the evening we went to Skaket Beach in Orleans. Overall we observed 20 different species and over 2,000 individual birds.

Race Point Beach, Provincetown, MA (14 species, 1068 individuals)

  • Large flocks of White-winged Scoters
  • 5 Gull species: Bonaparte’s, Laughing, Great Black-backed, Ring-billed, and Herring
  • Other bird species: Double-crested Cormorants, Common Eiders, Northern Gannets, Sanderlings, Rock Pigeons, Tree Swallows, European Starlings, a Common Loon
  • 2 Harbor Seals
Male and Female White-winged Scoters (Image by BirdNation)
A variety of gulls: Black-backed, Bonaparte’s Laughing, and Herring (Image by BirdNation)
Northern Gannets (Image by BirdNation)

Herring Cove Beach, Provincetown, MA (9 species, 212 individuals)

  • Rafts of Common Eiders and White-winged Scoters
  • Large flocks of Double-crested Cormorants and mixed Gulls
White-winged Scoters (Image by BirdNation)

MacMillan Pier, Provincetown, MA (3 species, 48 individuals)

We didn’t do much birding at MacMillan Pier because we were on our way to lunch but we did see some Common Eiders, Herring Gulls, and Rock Pigeons. The Pier is a cool little area of town and has great views of Provincetown Harbor. You can also see the Pilgrim Monument in the center of town, a tower that commemorates when the Pilgrims landed the Mayflower in Provincetown in 1620.

Skaket Beach, Orleans, MA (10 species, 701 individuals)

We went to Skaket Beach around sunset. I didn’t have the camera while we were there, but we saw hundreds of Common Eiders and White-winged Scoters flying over the bay.

We had an amazing day birding in Provincetown and Orleans. Did you go birding on October Big Day? If you did tell us about it in the comments.

To read about our October Big Day trip in Cape May last year click here.

Time for October Big Day!

October 19, 2019 is the 2nd annual October Big Day. October Big Day was created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The goal of the event is to count as many birds as possible in one day. The data contributed by citizen scientists around the world is used to track bird migration. Last year, 6,331 species were counted in one day!

There are a number a ways that you can participate in October Big Day. You can count birds in your backyard, go to a favorite birding hotspot, or even participate in a Big Sit event where you spend the day birding in one location. Whichever way you choose to participate, Big Day is not only fun but a great way to help ornithologists study migration trends. Here’s how to participate:

  • Choose a birding location (or multiple locations)
  • Observe/hear as many birds as you can.
  • Record your findings on eBird. The easiest way to do this in the field is using the mobile app, but you can enter data through the website on ebird.org. If you don’t have an eBird account signing up is free and easy.
  • Enjoy watching the birds!

Last year, Team BirdNation participated in the first October Big Day at Cape May, New Jersey . This year, we are spending the day in Cape Cod, Massachusetts; primarily at Race Point Beach.

Are you participating in October Big Day? Tell us where you plan on birding in the comments!

’19 GBBC Count: Day 4

Today was the final day of the Great Backyard Bird Count. I went back to Haddon Lake Park; this time with my mom and sister. Haddon Lake Park is a GBBC tradition, so I’m glad I was able to go there twice this weekend.

Haddon Lake Park, Mt. Ephraim/Audubon, NJ (9 species, 245 individual birds)

  • 90 Canada Geese
  • 50 Mallard
  • 32 Ring-billed Gulls
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 American Crow
  • 4 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 40 European Starling
  • 2 Song Sparrow
  • 25 Red-winged Blackbird

We had the opportunity to watch a Mallard pair demonstrating a courtship display.

We observed an interesting looking Mallard. It seems like it can be a possible hybrid. Mallard mixed with Green-winged Teal or American Wigeon? The world may never know…it was interesting nonetheless. (Let me know who you think it is…)

We had an amazing Great Backyard Bird Count weekend! We saw 19 more species than 2018 as well as about 700 more individual birds. Here are the official Team BirdNation numbers for 2019:

  • 6 birding locations
  • 1 life list bird: Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 52 different species
  • 1,505 individual birds (estimate)

Did you participate in this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count? Tell me your favorite birding moment from the weekend in the comments!

To see learn what we saw on Days 3 and 4 of the 2018 GBBC (including a rare life list bird!), click here.

’19 GBBC Day 3: To the Shore

Dave and I made our way out to the Jersey Shore today for the Great Backyard Bird Count. We went birding at two locations: Barnegat Lighthouse State Park on LBI and Cloverdale Farm Park in Barnegat. We added a new bird to our life list: the Red-breasted Nuthatch. I went to Cloverdale last week with my mom and sister to look for the Red-breasted Nuthatch, but we didn’t find it (however, we did see Pine Siskins, a lifer for us!)

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, Barnegat Light, NJ (20 species, 461 individual birds)

  • 42 Brant
  • 3 Greater Scaup (1 male, 2 females)
  • 3 Common Eiders
  • 15 Harlequin Ducks (mostly male)
  • 30 Black Scoters
  • 45 Long-tailed Ducks
  • 10 Bufflehead
  • 13 Red-breasted Mergansers
  • 3 Ruddy Turnstones
  • 1 Sanderling
  • 85 Dunlin
  • 25 Ring-billed Gulls
  • 136 Herring Gulls
  • 26 Great Black-backed Gulls
  • 1 Red-throated Loon
  • 14 Common Loons
  • 6 Double-crested Cormorants
  • 1 Merlin
  • 1 Northern Mockingbird
  • 1 Savannah Sparrow

Bonus find: 6 Seals!

Cloverdale Farm County Park, Barnegat, NJ (16 species,45 individual birds)

  • 2 Mallards (male/female)
  • 1 Bufflehead
  • 1 Belted Kingfisher
  • 3 Carolina Chickadee
  • 3 Tufted Titmouse
  • 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • 4 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 5 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 Northern Mockingbird
  • 1 House Finch
  • 1 American Goldfinch
  • 16 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 2 White-throated Sparrows
  • 1 Pine Warbler
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Image by David Horowitz)

It’s always a pleasure visiting the Jersey Shore. Tomorrow is the last day of the 2019 GBBC. Stay tuned!

’19 Great Backyard Bird Count: Day 2

Day 2 of the Great Backyard Bird Count was twice as nice because we went birding at 2 locations!

It was 45 degrees with a cold breeze; much more seasonal than yesterday’s warm weather. Our first stop was Haddon Lake Park in Audubon, NJ, followed by Palmyra Cove in Palmyra, NJ. We saw 32 species today, adding 8 new species to the total GBBC so far.

At Haddon Lake, Dave spotted some banded Mallards. I was able to get some pictures of the bands and reported them at reportband.gov. This website is run by USGS (United States Geological Survey) and the link leads to Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Laboratory. We were able to learn around where the Mallard was banded, by who, and its age.

USGS Banding Information (Image by BirdNation)

Haddon Lake Park, Audubon, NJ (10 species, 188 individual birds)

  • 80 Canada Geese
  • 45 Mallards
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 35 Ring-billed Gulls
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Belted Kingfisher
  • 10 American Crows
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 2 European Starlings
  • 12 Red-winged Blackbirds

Palmyra Cove Nature Park, Palmyra, NJ (22 species, 302 individual birds)

  • 10 Canada Geese
  • 9 Mallards
  • 17 American Black Ducks
  • 15 Green-winged Teal
  • 17 Bufflehead
  • 2 Common Merganser
  • 5 Mourning Doves
  • 147 Ring-billed Gulls
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 1 Belted Kingfisher
  • 2 Downy Woodpeckers
  • 1 Northern Flicker
  • 5 American Crows
  • 4 Carolina Chickadees
  • 2 Brown Creepers
  • 5 Carolina Wrens
  • 14 American Robins
  • 1 Northern Mockingbird
  • 17 Dark-eyed Juncos
  • 25 White-throated Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal

Tomorrow we are heading out to the Jersey Shore to see who we can find.

Check out what we saw last year on day 2 of the 2018 GBBC here.

What did you see on the 2nd day of the Great Backyard Bird Count? Tell us in the comments.

’19 Great Backyard Bird Count: Day 1

Today is the first day of the Great Backyard Bird Count!

We had a lovely day today in New Jersey. The temperature was around 60 degrees with a slight breeze. It was the perfect weather to kick off this year’s count. Dave and I spent our first day of the Great Backyard Bird Count at Amico Island in Delanco, NJ. We’ve been to Amico Island countless times over the years, but today we took a new trail that brought us along the water’s edge. It’s always fun discovering “new” trails at familiar parks.

Amico Island (23 species, 264 individual birds)

  • 20 Canada Geese
  • 9 Mallards
  • 3 Green-winged Teals
  • 2 Hooded Mergansers (male/female pair)
  • 19 Common Mergansers
  • 2 Mourning Doves
  • 120 Ring-billed Gulls
  • 8 Herring Gulls
  • 9 Great Black-backed Gulls
  • 10 Great Blue Herons
  • 5 Downy Woodpeckers
  • 1 Hairy Woodpecker
  • 3 Carolina Chickadees
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 4 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 3 Carolina Wrens
  • 8 American Robins
  • 1 Northern Mockingbird
  • 2 European Starlings
  • 4 Dark-eyed Juncos
  • 15 White-throated Sparrows
  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 4 Northern Carindals

This year’s bird count is already off to a get start! Tomorrow we are heading over to Palmyra Cove.

Did you participate in the first day of the Great Backyard Bird Count? Tell me about it in the comments.

Amico Island 2-15-19 (Image by BirdNation)

Time to Count!

Hi friends! It’s one of the best times of the year…the Great Backyard Bird Count. It’s time to get ready to count some birds.

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) occurs every February for four days. This year the count is this weekend, February 15-18. Created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the GBBC was the first online citizen-science project to collect bird data in real time. In 2018, over 6,4000 bird species were recorded in over 100 countries in just four days!

It’s fun and easy to participate:

  • Create an eBird account if you don’t already have one. It’s free and only takes a minute to set up.
  • Go outside for at least 15 minutes and count as many birds as you can identify. You can count anywhere as long as you want.
  • Submit your results on eBird.com. Or use the mobile app to submit your data in real time.

That’s it! By participating, you are helping scientists obtain data to help them track trends in bird populations before spring migration starts.

Team BirdNation participates in the Great Backyard Bird Count every year, and 2019 is no exception. We’ll be bringing you updates on the birds we find throughout the weekend. Hope you can join in the fun!

To find out more info, check out the Great Backyard Bird Count website, gbbc.birdcount.org.