AWBB All Years

16TH ANNUAL ALL WOMEN’S BIRDING BUST  2016

The Chattahoochee Chats 

Priscilla Marshall
Flora Clark
Patricia Lassiter
Glenda Merrill

We gathered at our rendezvous point later than planned due to a forgotten pair of bins.  No problem we just birded while waiting.  Got 3 and on our way.  We started at Oxbow Meadows gate to South Application Field and found an unexpected Loggerhead Shrike.  Headed for an area where we thought maybe we would find a shorebird but only Blue- winged Teal, Wood ducks, and a Bittern but not enough to decide if a Least or American so by a vote we decided an American.  On to the SA Field, where we had lots of Blue Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings also Chats, and Common Yellowthroats.  We then headed to Oxbow Center for a break and return gate key. We saw the Eastern Phoebe on the fence near her nest.  We then went to Ft Benning’s Boat Ramp Road where we hope to find several species that I had scouted out the previous week.  The birds were taking their siesta and we missed several but did find Yellow-throated Warbler and Swainson’s.  We decided since this was not as productive as hoped, we would head to King’s Pond also on Ft. Benning.  Had nice looks at the Bald Eagle while we were eating our lunch.  Got to keep up our strength!  Here we picked up Prairie, Bachman’s Sparrow, Orchard Orioles, Red-cockaded Woodpecker and a surprise while watching another fly-over of eagle, 6 White Ibis flew over. We also added Eastern Wood –Pewee. Our next stop, downtown to our infamous Cave Swallow Stakeout, Cliff, and Barn Swallow. On the way we found Eurasian Collared- Doves,  American Robins, and House Sparrows. Our next stop is to check Cooper Creek Park to see if there might be something we could add.  Got House Finches, and at last our Great Egret and a Solitary Sandpiper. Leaving the Park the icing on the cake was a Barred Owl fledgling by the side of the road on a snag!

We ended up with 75 species, 1 new lifer for one of the team and we all had a ball!  Looking forward to next year.

List of Species:

Canada Goose

Wood Duck,  Mallard, Blue-winged Teal

Pied-billed Grebe

Double-cr cormorant

American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret

White Ibis

Black & Turkey Vulture,

Osprey, Bald Eagle,Red-shouldered Hawk

Killdeer

Solitary Sandpiper

Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove

Barred Owl

Chimney Swift

Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-ckd Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Eastern Wood-Pewee , Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird

Loggerhead Shrike

White –eyed Vireo &Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American & Fish Crow

No. Rough-winged Cliff, Barn and CAVE Swallow

Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse

Brown-headed Nuthatch

Carolina Wren

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Eastern Bluebird, American Robin

Grey Catbird, Northern Mocking Bird, Brown Thrasher

European Starling

Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped, Yellow-throated, Pine, Praire, Palm, Prothonotary, Swainson’s , Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat

Summer, Scarlet Tanager

Eastern Towhee

Northern Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting,

Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadow Lark, Common Grackle,

Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole

House Finch, Am. Goldfinch, House Sparrow

 

 

 

 

Owl Drink to That

Melanie Furr, Dottie Head, Mary Nevil, and I will be completing a 24-hour Big Day Challenge on April 28-29 as part of Atlanta Audubon’s Big Day. Starting in Big Canoe at 7pm on April 28. We’ll then be welcoming sunrise at Brasstown Bald and then hit some additional north GA hotspots before making our way to Phinizy Swamp by way of Athens and then possibly Charlie Elliott

Tired and dirty, but our Big Day birding adventures were lots of fun, and we ended the day with 100 species. A few highlights: Eastern Screech Owl, Chuck-will’s-widow, Mississippi Kites, Bobolinks, and Painted Buntings. Thanks again to my friends who made a contribution–means a lot to me.

 

The Augusta BirdMasters

Richmond and Burke Counties

Lois Stacey
Anne Basilicato
Ruth Mead
Judy Gregory
Willie Malpassg

Way back in 2000 (I think) Georgann Schmalz came up with the idea to have a friendly competition that would get women out in the field doing a ‘big day’.  The idea is simple;  grab a few lady friends and go look for birds.  We follow the ABA big day rules so everyone is playing the same.

I found out about the AWBB right after I started birding and thought it was a great idea so in 2004 the BirdMasters took to the road for the first time.  The members of the team have changed over the years as members leave or come in (or have conflicts).  The goal initially was to prove that we could get 100 species in 1 day (we birded about 12 hours then, 15 or so now) without leaving Augusta.  In fact, we birded an area only about 5 sq miles; Phinizy swamp NP, Lover’s Lane and Merry and roads in between.  The first few years were learning but we finally did it!!  In 2006 we had 102 species!!  We have broken 100 species almost every year since.

In 2012 (I think) we added a trip to Yuchi WMA in Burke county to our route and now we manage to get over 115 species nearly every year.

We have great fun and the last two years we have tied it in with the Augusta-Aiken Birdathon so it’s for a good cause.

6am on April 30, 2016 5 adventurous women met at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park to begin the all day adventure known as the Georgia All Women’s Birding Bust.  And the day started out amazing!  While we were packing the car the Barred Owl, who sometimes doesn’t cooperate, called for all to hear.  As the sun started to come up the fog settled in.  We walked down the boardwalk and then around the parking area a bit listening to the dawn chorus.  As we turned to walk back to the car to start out into the swamp two Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, the first seen in Augusta this year, flew through campus and right in front of us.  We didn’t see them again!  Timing is everything in birding!

We drove out into the wetlands where we thought we had several birds staked out to see if they stayed where they were.  As we drove around the first curve a big, beautiful King Rail was walking around the road in front of us twitching his tail for all he was worth.  He was on the road for several seconds before he realized he had an audience and headed into the grass.  Driving a little further we had some Wood Ducks fly out and then near the corner we had a lovely Wood Thrush singing, not a common sound at Phinizy.  The Spotted Sandpiper was right where he was supposed to be so onward we went.  Bobolinks were all over the park and we saw large flocks in several places.  A few American Coots were around as were a number of Pied-billed Grebe families.  At the Equalization Pond we had most of our egrets; Great, Snowy and Cattle as well as the Glossy Ibis after a little bit of searching.  The Blue-winged Teal that were there a few days ago however were long gone and were not seen all day. In addition, while some of us heard one distant Least Bittern, none of those who have been singing near the front of the park muttered a single sound!  Guess they got the girl already.

From Phinizy we drove Lock and Dam Road looking along the fence for grassland birds.  Eastern Meadowlarks are calling quite a bit right now and we even had some on the fence around the gravel pit.  Further along the fence we had several sparrows, mostly Savannah.  But just as I started eating a handful of Judy’s special Birding Bust Trail Mix a Grasshopper Sparrow landed on the top of the fence for great looks.  A few seconds later another landed lower and they took off together.  We drove down the fence, through the boat ramp parking area and the nearby park and picked up a few birds along the way.

On our way to Lover’s Lane we drove through the local industrial area and a nearby subdivision to pick up birds like American Robin and Blue Jay and got our only Red-headed Woodpecker of the day!  Considering where we spent the afternoon that’s unusual.  This was where we also started seeing lots of Hawks.  We saw a LOT of Red-tailed Hawks over the course of the day and several Red-shouldered Hawks and Ospreys.  The Mississippi Kites have also arrived and we saw them everywhere.

A quick run through fast food parking lots and known pigeon areas for the common introduced species and off to Burke County with a current count of 84 species.  Along Highway 23 we stopped to check out a farm pond for shorebirds, nearly the only ones we saw all day.  We picked up both Yellowlegs, Solitary, Least and another Spotted.  On to Yuchi!  We got the Eurasian Collared-Dove near where it was last week and then started looking for the Ground-doves.  We never did find them but we had House Finches, hard for us to get for some reason, at a tractor shed.  We had several Loggerhead Shrikes during the day including the Brigham Landing Road birds.

At Yuchi we drove down Brigham Landing Road to the landing.  Along the way we had most of the usual Pine habitat birds including Summer Tanager and Ovenbird.  At the boat ramp the Swainson’s Warbler and Louisiana Waterthrush were uncooperative and we got neither species for the day.  We did hear the Kentucky Warbler (two for the day) and many Red-eyed Vireos.  We couldn’t make any of them into Yellow-throated Vireos though and we dipped on that species as well.  Late in the day, around 5pm or so, we finally got our one and only Pileated Woodpecker for the day.  Along the road Ruth saw a Gray Catbird skulking through the brush and that was the only one of them we had for the day as well.

We drove up River Road picking up a few species along the way and got Bachman’s Sparrow, Eastern Wood-pewee and some of us heard a Field Sparrow.  As sunset neared we drove to our Chuck-will’s-Widow spot without having Common Nighthawks call in their normal spot.  We saw and waited for the Chucks and picked up Bobwhite.  As darkness arrived we got the Chucks and headed home but Anne remembered that we had gotten Nighthawks near International Paper last year so we made a quick stop there and sure enough, bird number 109, Common Nighthawk!

It was a long day but the weather was beautiful and not hot with a nice breeze so we weren’t all wilting too badly.  We missed a number of birds that should have been easy and saw almost no migrants at all.  Migration seems to be very slow around here this year.  But we had fun, had some great experiences and saw some good birds.  And we’ll be back out there next year.

If you are inclined, pick a few friends, pick some birding places and take part in the AWBB yourself.  No pressure, just fun!

Our bird list (7 birds were not seen/heard by all)

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Canada Goose

Wood Duck

Mallard

Northern Bobwhite

Wild Turkey

Pied-billed Grebe

Double-crested Cormorant

Anhinga

Least Bittern

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Little Blue Heron

Cattle Egret

Green Heron

Glossy Ibis

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Osprey

Mississippi Kite

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

King Rail

Common Gallinule

American Coot

Killdeer

Spotted Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Least Sandpiper

Ring-billed Gull

Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Mourning Dove

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Barred Owl

Common Nighthawk

Chuck-will’s-widow

Chimney Swift

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Acadian Flycatcher

Eastern Phoebe

Great Crested Flycatcher

Eastern Kingbird

Loggerhead Shrike

White-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Fish Crow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Purple Martin

Tree Swallow

Barn Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

Brown-headed Nuthatch

House Wren

Carolina Wren

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Eastern Bluebird

Wood Thrush

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Brown Thrasher

Northern Mockingbird

European Starling

Cedar Waxwing

Ovenbird

Black-and-white Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Kentucky Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Hooded Warbler

American Redstart

Northern Parula

Yellow Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Pine Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Yellow-breasted Chat

Bachman’s Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Eastern Towhee

Summer Tanager

Northern Cardinal

Blue Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting

Painted Bunting

Bobolink

Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Meadowlark

Common Grackle

Brown-headed Cowbird

Orchard Oriole

House Finch

House Sparrow

The Metro Bird Brains

Joy Carter
Marian Gordin
Mary Kimberly
Jan Thibadeau

We combined our annual participation in the All Women’s Birding Bust with Atlanta Audubon’s Big Day Challenge. We chose to participate in the 6-hour challenge and to focus on DeKalb County. We began our day (Friday, April 29, 2016) at 6:35 AM in the Leafmore neighborhood (near Toco

Hill) when we saw a Great Horned Owl (owlet). Also seen or heard were:

Great Horned Owl

Chimney Swift

Blue Jay

American Crow

White-breasted Nuthatch

Brown-headed Nuthatch

Carolina Wren

American Robin

Black-and-white Warbler

Chipping Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Eastern Towhee

Northern Cardinal

Brown-headed Cowbird

Species count: 14

From there, we moved to Henderson Park, arriving at 7:13 am, where we *added*:

Canada Goose

Mallard

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Great-crested Flycatcher

Red-eyed Vireo

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

Eastern Bluebird

Wood Thrush

Gray Catbird

Cedar Waxwing

Northern Parula

Blackpoll Warbler

Palm Warbler (Western)

Pine Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)

Black-throated Green Warbler

Indigo Bunting

American Goldfinch

We also saw another thrush species, but could not get adequate views to determine whether or not it was a Swainson’s, which was our hunch. Also at this site was a domestic Muscovy Duck, which isn’t on the “Checklist of Birds of Atlanta”, so we didn’t count it.

Species Count: 38

From there, we headed to Murphey Candler Park, arriving at 10:29 am, where we added:

Great Blue Heron

Red-shoulderd Hawk

Killdeer

Spotted Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Pileated Woodpecker

Eastern Phoebe

Barn Swallow

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Northern Mockingbird

Common Yellowthroat

Red-winged Blackbird

We saw European Starlings along the way. Joy saw a Red-headed Woodpecker, but the rest of us missed it.

Species Count: 51

With time was getting short we moved on to the Mercer Wetlands, arriving at 11:32 am, and added 3 more:

White-eyed Vireo

Fish Crow

Brown Thrasher

Along the way, we heard a House Sparrow and heard or saw House Finches. Species Count: 56

Time was running out, so we started making quick stops and searching the skies along the way. A quick stop at the Sam’s Club Pond, arriving at high noon, yielded:

Rock Pigeon

Common Grackle

Mary saw a Turkey Vulture; alas, missed by the others.

Species Count: 58

We decided to look for a powerline cut. Surely we could find more raptors and a Mourning Dove! As we sat in traffic at I-85 and Clairmont Rd., we saw:

Black Vulture

Red-tailed Hawk

Species Count: 60

Our final, desperate stop was the powerline cut on LaVista Road!), north of the Leafmore neighborhood, at 12:25 (with 10 minutes left for our 6 hours). s we got out of the car, a raptor approached. Tail too long and narrow for a  RTHA. But, it wasn’t a RSHA or Cooper’s either. As it flew over, it was clear that it was an Osprey! A new one for my Leafmore list! Finally, we looked the other way and saw a lone Mourning Dove sitting on the powerline as if to say, “What about me?” Our response: “Where have you been all day?!”

Final species count: 62 shared birds plus 2 unshared birds.

Our previous AWBB record was 54 species (also for DeKalb County), so we beat that by 6 species and we birded for a shorter period of time. This is the earliest in migration season that we have participated (usually our day is about a week later), so maybe that was a factor. All-in-all, a fun day was had by all!

Bird on!

 

 

Team Talk Birdy to Me

Aija Konrad
Iris Schumacher
Shannon Fair
Bartow County

We started our “Bartow Big Day” around 5:30AM at Pine Log WMA and picked up 57 species, including Whips, Chucks, Barred & Eastern-screech Owls, Summer & Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted & Blue Grosbeaks, all 4 expected vireo species, plus 16 warbler species.

We then headed to Old River Road and Cooper’s Furnace to check for migrants, and activity was fairly slow there compared to previous years, but we still managed to up our warbler count to 21 species.  We then made our way over to Etowah Indian Mounds and Sam Smith Park where we added Orchard Orioles, Horned Larks & Eastern Meadowlarks.

From there, we swung by Lucas & Kincannon Roads to see if our favorite Scissor-tailed Flycatchers were there, and we saw one with nesting material in a field of buttercups.  We then made several passes by Brandon Farm & Taff Road ponds to see what shorebirds and waterfowl we could add.  Highlights included Pectoral, Least & Solitary Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Bobolinks, plus a cute bathing Grasshopper Sparrow (video here: https://flic.kr/p/FRdw7g), Wood Ducks, a lone female Redhead & an American Kestrel.  We also added a Yellow Warbler that made our final warbler count 22 species for the day!

In the late afternoon, we made the trek to Drummond Swamp & Cliff Nelson Road pond (FYI, full of water right now) and had Least, Spotted & Solitary Sandpipers, Eastern Wood-Pewees, plus the usual Bartow Co. suspects out there.  As the sun started to set, we circled back to Old River Road & Cooper’s Furnace to see if we could add more raptors and passerines, but thunderstorms were a-brewing and we had to call it a day…a great big day!

Team Talk Birdy to Me ended our 2nd AWBB with 115 total species in just one county – Bartow!

Just a side note:

This is my 3rd Big Day in the past two weeks, including 2 GA Big Days — all for good causes of course, to support AAS ATL Bird Fest & to promote women in birding — but I think I need to rest for a while…

Oh, who am I kidding???  It’s still spring migration, folks…sleep is for wusses!!!  I’m sure I’ll see y’all out there in the field soon;)

 

Athens Yellowthroats

April 30, 2016

Clarke and Oconee counties, maybe some of Greene, Morgan, Oglethorpe, and Madison

Mary Case
Carolina Lane
Eugenia Thompson

It was a pleasure to host the Athens All Women’s Birding Bust team (with a bonus Krista Gridley) for a short while this morning. Mary and Eugenia were two of the founding members of Oconee Rivers Audubon Society and still organize our Christmas Bird Count to this day. Mary turned 90 last year and had already walked around Lake Herrick and the Botanical Garden before stopping at my place. Happily, a Black-throated Green Warbler dropped down to the pond to greet them the instant they arrived, and they were able to add a few more species to their day count. I hope these ladies, and all the other AWBB teams birding around the state, inspire future generations of women to get into birds and birding!

Geese Witherspoonbills

Renee Carleton
Gena Flanigen
Penny Haygood
Ann Stewart

NW Georgia including SW Bartow, Floyd, Catoosa, Chatooga, and maybe Carters Lake

We didn’t get rained on but decided to end it because of the thunder close by.

We did 7am – 7pm primarily on Berry College property and surrounding areas in Rome.  Several life birds for Gena and Penny, who are primarily photographers, and a lifer Prothonotary Warbler for me. We got some late migrants including one Gray-cheeked Thrush, American Coots, and a Redhead.  Everyone was thrilled by the big flock of 20 – 30 Bobolink and a Great Horned Owl and its 2 juvenile offspring. There really isn’t a story behind the team name, Gena just wanted something catchy and came up with that, although since we spent some time at Oak Hill where part of “Sweet Home Alabama” with Reese Witherspoon was filmed, I guess it ties in.

 

NE GA Birders (45)

Parks along the upper Chattahoochee beginning in White County

Mary Ellen Myers
Barbara Giebelhaus
Frances Bulluck
Robin Peterson

Our AWBB was on Friday, April 15. It was fairly unremarkable in terms of numbers, but we did see a couple of good birds.  Windy, cool and the four of us are aging and losing some sight and hearing ability.  In fact, we changed our rules requiring only two of us to confirm a heard or seen bird, although that really wasn’t necessary.  It did lift the spirits of the more competitive among us.  All day from 8 until 5 we saw 43 species, then later two more personal sightings upped the count to 45.  Of course, the next morning Barbara and I added two more, but really it was very slow on migrating birds, especially warblers.  They just weren’t singing.  Both Robin and Frances have excellent ears and know their  warblers.  Not even any vireos!    So here is our list in the order we saw them, beginning at Frances’ home where her feeders always give us a big start, then several at Cove Lake Drive where we saw the Tree Swallows and Blue Grosbeak:

Downy Woodpecker

Blue Jay

Towhee

White-throated Sparrow

House finch

White Breasted nuthatch

Cardinal

Red-bellied Woodpecker

God Finch

Titmouse

Brown Thrasher

Blue bird

Crow

Robin

Mocking Bird

Chickadee

Song Sparrow

Mourning Dove

Common Grackle

Starling

Tree Swallow

Rough-winged Swallow

Turkey Vulture

Black Vulture

Red-winged Black Bird

Blue Grosbeak

Chipping Sparrow

Barn Swallow

Great Blue Heron

Carolina Wren

White-crowned Sparrow

Red-headed Woodpecker

House Sparrow

Eastern Meadowlark

Red-tailed Hawk

Eastern Kingbird

Dark-eyed Junco

Canada Goose

Rock Pigeon

Mallard

Green Heron

Broad-wing Hawk

Common Yellowthroat

Catbird

Wild Turkey 

 

The Half Thrashers

North Georgia Mountains including Bartow County April 30

Theresa Hartz
Georgann Schmalz

Once again, the Thrashers were without two of our team members as those ladies had more important commitments.   Hard to believe.  So Theresa and I planned a fun day in the north Georgia mountains, the Piedmont and Bartow County. Our usual habit of starting in Dawson Forest at 4:45 am always pays off with both Chuck-will’s-widows and Whip-poor-wills.  Lots of them.  And then the not-so-mad dash up to Sosebee Cove which produces nearly as many species along the way as in the cove itself.  But our AWBB just isn’t right without our stop at Sosebee Cove since it’s hard to beat its glory of abundant wildflowers and the birds singing loudly in the morning chorus.

Tearing ourselves away from the Cove, we retraced our steps to Dawson Forest picking up some of the more typical birds there including Blue-winged Warbler. Not needing to race down to the Georgia coast, we then casually drove over to the Cartersville area (Bartow County).  Cooper’s Furnace was a new spot for us and we had Bay-breasted Warblers both heard and seen.  More warblers, tanagers, thrushes, hawks, etc.  We having a great time.

From Cooper’s Furnace, our quest for more took us to the usual Cartersville hotspots; Sam Smith Park, Taff, Brandon Farm and Lucas Roads and finally the Euharlee Swamp. We ended our day down on Monument Road and a friend’s  house for the final Pine Siskins and Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  Total for the day was 121 species, all shared.

 

The Women with Altitude

Union and Fannin Counties

Ann Stewart
Betty Belanger
Anne Mursch

The Women of Altitude birded April 27 in Union and Fannin Counties for the AWBB and ended the day with a total of 73 birds, one of which was shared.

We started at Betty’s house and found Eastern Phoebes, Great Crested Flycatcher, Chickadees, Rose-breasted White-breasted Nuthatches , Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Ovenbirds, Chestnut-sided Warblers.

After birding my property we went to Lake Winfield Scott where there were a Solitary Sandpiper, Several warblers — Black and White Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler and  a Parula  Warbler.  Sosbee Cove didn’t produce the birds we used to find but there was a Black-throated Blue and a Scarlet Tanager.

We birded Brasstown Bald and a Raven checked us out while we had lunch. Juncos were around as well as Chimney Swifts and a Ruffed Grouse. We were able to find Purple Martins in Blue Ridge and a Collared Dove was in Back of Tom Striker’s store.  Tamen Park produced a pair of Orchard Orioles, a Chat, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Common Yellowthroat, and Killdeer.

It was getting late but we stopped at Deep Hole and heard a Louisiana Waterthrush.

The bird we regretted not seeing was the Yellow Warbler at Ingles that was there the evening before.  We are now planning our next AWBB.

Birds seen or heard: Canada Goose

Ruffed Grouse

Wild Turkey

Common Loon

Great Blue Heron

Turkey Vulture

Solitary Sandpiper

Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collard Dove

Mourning Dove

Chimney Swift

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker

Eastern Phoebe

Great Crested Flycatcher

White-eyed Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Common Raven

Purple Martin

Tree Swallow

Rough-winged Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Barn Swallow

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

White-breasted Nuthatch

Carolina Wren

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Eastern Bluebird

Wood Thrush

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Northern Mockingbird

Brown Thrasher

European Starling

Ovenbird

Worm-eating Warbler

Louisiana Waterthrush

Black-and-white Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Hooded Warbler

Northern Parula

Blackburnian Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Palm Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-breasted Chat

Eastern Towhee

Chipping Sparrow

Song Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Scarlet Tanager

Northern Cardinal

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting

Red-winged Blackbird

Common Grackle

Brown-headed Cowbird

Orchard Oriole

House Finch

Pine Siskin

American Goldfinch

House Sparrow

 

PAST YEARS OF THE AWBB

1ST ANNUAL ALL WOMEN’S BIRDING BUST

Georgia`s first All Women’s Big Day was held on Saturday, 5 May 2001.  Last fall Lisa Hurt, Theresa Hartz, EJ Williams and I were perusing the Big Day reports  submitted by various birders in our state. Being fairly observant, we noticed that nearly  all these Big Days were done by teams of men.  Not that there`s anything wrong with that,  but very few women appeared to be involved in intense birding events.

So we thought of organizing an all female Big Day for the spring of  2001. We dubbed it the First Annual All Women’s Birding Bust.  We graciously put up with all the jokes about having AA, A, B, and C divisions and whether we would be walking  three or four abreast, etc. We firmly refused the offers of three men who  wanted to dress in drag and join us. All the male birders in the state were advised that, indeed, there would be a hormone check on anyone who appeared with hair on their upper lip and a deep voice. Since some of us are no longer spring chickens, we decided that you had  to have both characteristics in order to be suspicious.

The Thrashers: Lisa Hurt, Theresa Hartz, Georgann Schmalz and EJ Williams

The weather for the day turned out beautiful. That was my husband`s responsibility since he is a meteorologist. Our plan was to begin in the north Georgia mountains and race through the state, ending up on the coastal barrier islands. However,  we were quickly advised by our male birding buddies that it would take all day to do  that and we would never be able to get out of the car.

So we revised our plan and began at dawn at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield, 30 miles north of Atlanta. Only one other team was planning to bird the entire state and we were quite chagrined to see them coming down the mountain as we headed up it in the early morning hours. They had funny “we`re ahead of you” grins on their faces as they ran past us. I hoped that they would get shin-splints to slow them down.  Not that we were competitive or anything.

Off the mountain, we raced 250 miles for the coast. Of course, we  didn’t speed since we were adhering to ABA rules of Big Days, but, darn, that other team  (which will be referred to as The Rascals) were 45 minutes ahead of us. We stopped for the nesting Baltimore Orioles (they didn`t), but passed up the nesting Scissor-tailed  Flycatchers (they got them). We retraced our miles on the interstate one time to make sure our glimpse of a soaring kite wasn`t a Swallow-tailed which we had seen them there three days before.   All 12 kites we saw along the interstate were Mississippi Kites.  Which was a  great bird, but we needed a Swallow-tailed to beat The Rascals.

We finished on the coast after hitting many of the best birding hotspots in Georgia. The Rascals birded different coastal spots than us, but ended up with pretty much the same species. We ended up with 126 species to their 122.  Whew, too close; not that we were competitive or anything.

The other teams did other parts of the state. All in all, we birded as much as we wanted to and where we wanted to. A combined total of 168 species was seen during the day. I would say that the most difficult part of the Big Day for us was not stopping to admire the birds. We lost time gaping at the 200 Bobolinks in the field. We had to wait 10 minutes for Theresa`s Grasshopper Sparrow to show itself–a life bird.  (She doesn`t list heard-only birds).

Lisa put her foot down, literally, and refused to budge until she actually laid her eyes up on a secretive singing Painted Bunting. It was hard. I quickly became the ogre, chanting “keep moving, keep moving”.  In truth, I had very little authority over this group of women, but I did have the car keys. So we kept moving. I have  no idea if the other teams looked as comical as we did, dashing here and there, leaping out of the car, leaping back into the car, shouting “I got it,  did you?” or “What do you mean, you didn`t hear it?”

But we had a blast and are planning the strategy for next year`s event.   The Second Annual All Women’s Birding Bust will be on 20 April 2002. We moved it to April to get more better birds. Not that we are compet….never mind.

The teams are listed below with their targeted birding spots for the  AWBB. Anyone birding Georgia would be advised to visit every one of these spots.  Just not in one day, however.

TEAM Leslie Curran, Jackie Heyda, Karen Osborne, Pat Sully, (aka The Rascals.)  Total of 122 species from Kennesaw  to E.L.
Huie, Piedmont NWR, Beaverdam WMA, Altamaha WMA,
Savannah Airport, Sanannah Ogeechee Canal, St. Simons
Island, Jekyll Island.

TEAM Sue Grigalunas. Total of 26 species at a soccer field in Gwinnett County.

TEAM Dot Freeman, Anne Mursch and Barbara Brigham.
Total of 78 species from Towns and Union Counties.

TEAM Barbara Edwards, Jane Frazier, Mary Wilcox.
Total of 29 species from Kennesaw Mountain.

TEAM Karen Theodorou, Michelle Sheppard, and Deb Zaremba.
Total of 102 species from Pine Log WMA, Kennesaw
Mtn, DeKalb Reservoir, Suwannee, Dyar`s Pasture,
E.L. Huie, Lake Blalock.

TEAM Melanie Hatley, Crystal Jackson, Bonnie Jackson,
Alice Keyes, Susan Kidd, Dorothy McDaniel, Lisa Patrick
and Grace Trimble. Total species not submitted. Birded Amicalola Falls State Park.

 

SECOND ANNUAL ALL WOMEN’S BIRDING BUST
20 April 2002
 

From all reports, everyone who participated in Georgia`s Second Annual All Women’s Birding Bust had a great time.  Some of us were a little more exhausted than others, racing down to the coast from the North Georgia mountains.   Others had a less strenuous but still thoroughly enjoy able and successful day birding in more local areas.

There were a total of 28 participants and a combined 189 species seen or heard throughout the state.  Participating teams are listed below with their birding sites.  The winning total was 160 species closely followed by 144 and 134.  A combined list of all species appears at the end of the participants` list below.

But the real success of the AWBB is not the total number of species or miles traveled, but instead the satisfaction of sharing our birding passion with each other and everyone we encountered along the way.  Some of the comments I received were:

“My teammate Mary has never been birding before…she is more the backyard enthusiast but she had a blast!  She is still talking about seeing her first Scarlet and Summer tanagers!” said Julia Elliott

Wendy West remarked, “Seeing all those AWBB teams at Kennesaw on Sat. (four teams in all) made me think of one of my favorite reality TV shows– “the Amazing Race.”

“It was a wonderful experience and I hope just the beginning of Gaggle`s (team name) participation.  I really enjoyed myself and felt I had made a giant step in birding identification,” wrote Carol Vanderschaaf.

Kathleen Krzastek  “Thank you so much for organizing it. And please forward on thanks to who ever is responsible for the T-shirts.”  (Artist Deb Zaremba and Karen Theodorou organizer.)

AWBB participants for 2002

Theresa Hartz, Lisa Hurt, Georgann Schmalz, EJ Williams  Dawson Forest, Kennesaw, E.L. Huie, Macon area, I-16, Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island. Total 160 Species

Karen Theodorou, Deb Zaremba, Traci Brown, Michelle Sheppard  Pine Log WMA, Kennesaw, E.L. Huie, I-16, Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island  Total 144 species

Jackie Heyda, Leslie Curran, Jane Shero  The Greenway, Kennesaw Mountain, Macon area,  I-16, Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island Total 134 species

Dot Freeman, Anne Mursch, Betty Belanger Union, Towns and Fannin countiesincluding Suches to Lake Wingfield Scot, Blairville, Ivy Log Gap Rd, YoungHarris, Lake Chatuge Rec Area, (Chattahoochee Nat`l Forest), Meek`s Parkin Blairsville, Lake Blue Ridge Marina, Brasstown Bald. Total 87 species.

Kathleen Krzastek, Parrie Pinyon, Annette Burdges, Diane Schellack Lisa Peavy.   Cochran Shoals, Chattahoochee River, Kennesaw Mountain, Newman`s Wetland Center, E.L.Huie, Shamrock Lake, Piedmont Wildlife Refuge Total 82 species.

Wendy West Kennesaw Mtn. Sweetwater Creek State Park, E.L. Huie, BlalockLake, Newman Wetlands, Kennesaw Mountain, Pine Log WMA, South Peachtree Creek  Nature Preserve, and Emory Lullwater. Total 69 species.

Julia Elliott, Mary Mellom Atlanta area  Total 57 species

Ginny Wood, Marie Lasalle  Pine Log WMA, Cartersville and Sod farms Total 28 species plus many warblers, wrens, and swallows.

Carol Vanderschaaf, Toni Whistler  Atlanta Area

Marian Gordon, Molly Mitchell  Cohutta Wilderness

Total species list for 20 April 2002

Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Anhinga
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Wood Stork
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Ross’s Goose
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Gadwall
Mallard
Mottled Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Osprey
Mississippi Kite
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Wild Turkey
Clapper Rail
Virginia Rail
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Wilson’s Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Piping Plover
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
Lesser Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Willet
Spotted Sandpiper
Whimbrel
Ruddy Turnstone
Red Knot
Sanderling
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Short-billed Dowitcher
Common Snipe
Laughing Gull
Bonaparte’s Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Royal Tern
Forster’s Tern
Least Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Dove
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Eastern Screech-Owl
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Common Nighthawk
Chuck-will’s-widow
Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Gray Kingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Swainson’s Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Prothonotary Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
Swainson’s Warbler
Ovenbird
Louisiana Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Painted Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Bobolink
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Pine Siskin
House Sparrow

THIRD ANNUAL ALL WOMEN’S BIRDING BUST
19 April 2003

The  2003 AWBB  was held on 19 April 2003.  Five teams of 15 people participated in this great birding event; two teams making it from north Georgia to the coast.  The day started  out foggy around the Atlanta area, putting a  damper on some of the bird activity, but that didn`t slow down any of  the birders eager to see as many birds as possible in a 24 hour  period.

We abide by all the ABA rules for Big Day.  The purpose of the AWBB is to get more women out into the field to learn about birds and to bird  at their own pace.  While it is not a competitive event,   that`s part of the fun for some of us. The total count for the day was 155 species.

2003 TEAMS and STORIES

The  Gaggles
Gail Todd, Robin Day, Brigette McNew and Carol Vanderschaaf. (46  Species)

“We birded two sites, Kennesaw and Huie/Newman Wetlands Center. We all  really enjoyed ourselves. The Bust is a place for us to improve our  birding  skills and get out and have some fun. Gaggle didn`t field a competitive  team this year as the competitive folks were all out of town. Maybe the  laid-back team was a little too laid-back! Wait til next year.   Thanks  for putting it all together.”

The Mockingbirds
Ginny Wood and Marie LaSalle  (47 Species)
Grand Bay, and Jekyll Island.

“Last weekend my friend Marie and I participated (sort of) in the Third Annual Women`s Birding Bust (skip the puns, please, we`ve probably  heard  them all already).

We set out on Friday after work for Valdosta, figuring to be `in place` for an early start Saturday morning (the Big Day runs midnight to midnight, for you non-birders).

First thing Saturday, we were off to Grand Bay, where we heard a Barred Owl and a Whip-poor-will on the way in. We found a gazillion vultures (Turkey and Black*), a Prothonotary Warbler* singing high in a tree  over the boardwalk, Wood Ducks, and a White Ibis*. We heard but never  saw Sandhill Cranes. All this was at or near the boardwalk, including the observation tower at the end.

We were off to a grand start and very pleased with ourselves.  Unfortunately, after spending at least two hours looking at the rest of Grand Bay we had added nothing of significance.

So off to Waycross and the coast. We had planned to bird a couple of areas around the edges of  the Okefenokee but decided we`d had good swamp birds already and needed to  move  on to the coast. On the way back to Valdosta to pick up the highway, Marie  screams “A duck! I see a duck! What is that?? Stop the car!” Which of course I did. We did a U-turn, went back to this little farm pond, while Marie was explaining that she thought she saw a very small duck, “like a grebe.”  Right.  On a farm pond that couldn`t have been more than a foot deep? We were over excitable that morning, obviously. But back we went, pulled off onto the tiny shoulder on the wrong side of the road, shut off the car and got out. We see only Canada Geese, including one on a nest. It seems Marie had glimpsed the rear  end of one feeding. So, we hopped back in the truck, and — oh, no! – it  won`t start! The steering wheel is locked. The ignition is locked.  Nothing  moves.

The last time it did this I had to have it towed, and the whole ignition thingy pulled and replaced. This would be tricky anyway, since we are nosed nearly into a ditch and it`s locked in gear. We are out in the middle of nowhere. We do not personally know any good tow-truck drivers in Valdosta. I have wireless internet access on my cell phone and could look one up but I have no signal. AT&T, I`m discovering, has very poor coverage outside the metro area. Mechanics in general will be closed anyway.

Resourceful feminists, we pull out the manual. Marie reads and I try things. We think about  it. We pace, we curse, Marie reads some more and I try some more things. I would kick the truck but it would probably hurt. We finally decide to dial 911. (Maybe we`ll get a woman cop.) The dispatcher does not seem to understand where we are. Marie`s cell phone quits in the middle of the call. AARRGGHH!! We curse some more, and pace some more, and look at the manual again, but it still says that if none of the things we tried help, then “your vehicle needs service.” We knew that already.

And here, like the cavalry, comes a funeral, complete with two State Patrol guys front and rear. We wave, trying not to look disrespectful while still communicating that we were not just being social either.  The cop at the end seems to get it.

We wait again. We watch dogs chase Cattle Egrets* in a distant pasture.  We pace the itsy bitsy shoulder. We curse some more. We envision having to leave the truck in Valdosta and wheedle and beg to get a husband to come get us. We were not feeling very feminist. I envision several hundred dollars in repair bills. We see our Big Day going up in smoke. We get an Eastern  Kingbird.

Here comes the cops back again, Yay! followed shortly by the County Mountie. They mill about a bit then agree to call a tow truck. The county mountie, just  for kicks, climbs into my truck, et voila`, it cranks. I have never been so embarrassed in my entire life. But ok, at least we can still  bird. We`re off for the coast, with directions from the county mountie,  who by the way looks exactly the Vince Mackey character in The Shield.  They are all laughing. We are not.

We grab lunch, during which we bag a European Starling, gas up, and  we`re off. As far as Waycross all goes well. (You can hear this coming, can`t you?). At Waycross, we are supposed to pick up State Highway 182 according to the Sheriff`s Deputy, and the signs agree with him, but the map clearly says  we want 184. We debate, hurriedly, and decide for the map.

Sometime later, it becomes apparent that something is wrong. Very wrong. We pass through Dublin, which Marie cannot locate on the map. We cross a major river, which Marie cannot find on the map. By Ludowici she is holding her head in her hands. I figure this is not a good sign  and pull over. We look at the map in Giff`s book and see – I swear I am  not making this up –  the map is wrong, the publishers having neatly reversed the little sign  symbols  on the only two highways on the whole thing that we needed. Because Ludowici  is north  of Waycross, not East, now we have gone way the heck out of our way. We are  no closer to the coast than we were when we left Valdosta, and we are  well  north of our next stop, Jekyll Island.

We find I-95 and drop back down, and arriving at Jekyll Island at six o`clock in the evening, having wasted the entire afternoon on (or off) the  road, with barely two hours of daylight left. We were near tears and snappish with each other.

But Jekyll is good to us. We see great birds, including my first Green  Heron*. And then it is dark. We finish with 47 birds. Hardly competitive, but a heckuva lot better than we did last year. (Don`t  ask, because I am not telling.)

Two exits and at least six hotel lobbies later, we finally find a place with a room. After a bad meal, we decide we`d like to try to finish our planned route the next day, and we crash.

Sunday, it was up and onto St. Simon`s, with which I promptly fell in love, and then we set out for home. On the way, we hit Harris Neck NWR, which has a rookery which must be seen to be believed. ”

(* indicates new bird for me–Ginny Wood)

Sapelo  Sunshine Sisters
Doris Cohrs, Renee Valle-Hay, Linda  Daniels  (69 Species)

Doris Cohrs (so-called leader), Renee Valle-Hay, and  Linda Daniels  scoured the land, sea, and air from 0815 until 1515.  We birded from the  Meridian dock to  Sapelo Island (south end only) then back to Meridian  dock.   We
were quite proud of our measly species count.  It takes so little  to  keep some of us happy!  We tried our darnedest to scrounge up the  Chachalacas,  to no avail.  Our shore bird species were limited because we didn`t get to the beach until almost noon and the tide was WAY out and we had only an hour to walk on the beach. (Had to move on to search for the elusive CHAC!)

The Birding Pals
Kathy Miller, Wendy West, JoAnn Miller (90 Species)

“Our team of Kathy Miller, JoAnn Miller and I had a great time doing  the `bust` on Saturday! I think that we ran across your team`s path three times during  the day.   We all were too tired Saturday night to even think of going out  to dinner, so we did not phone you as we had said we would when we spoke with you and your team at Kennesaw. Kathy Miller was quoting from you often  during the day saying “we need more, better birds.” I think that became our  motto for the trip. I have attached a file of our bird list. We got 90 birds, with 4  unshared birds.

We started and Pine Log WMA, which turned out to be a good choice due  to   the lack of activity at KMT. We were disappointed, though, that  we did not get   any owls there, or for the whole day. We also could not get a  great blue heron to   appear anywhere no matter how hard we tried. We did pretty well  in the “big birds that are easy to see and don`t move around alot”  category with 8 species of herons and egrets.

Unfortunately, we did not go to SPCNP to get the bittern, and we could  not find the spoonbill at the Jekyll Ampitheatre. None of our team were sandpiper  specialists, so whenever we encountered a group of sandpipers we would take the  strategy of  “find the biggest, most unusual looking one in the bunch, look at it carefully, look it up in the bird book, make sure we all identify it,  then move on.”

We were in the process of doing that when your team arrived at the visitor`s center at Jekyll. We came up with a Willet there. We were speculating that your team was able to pick off all those sandpipers rather quickly and correctly. As we were pulling out of the parking lot, JoAnn said, “Well, what if Georgann`s team says they didn`t find a  Willett here?” We all had a good laugh at ourselves on that one!

There were a few other moments of laughter at ourselves throughout the  day…. that`s part of what made it so much fun. Joann and I both got a good  many life birds for the trip, so that was extra special. We picked up loggerhead shrike  and upland sandpiper at a sod farm along the way, which were both in the  `more, better birds` category for us. Seeing all those herons roosting at a  pond at Harris Neck was also a big thrill for our team.

We ended the day at the south end of Jekyll Island, sprinting out over  the soccer field in the fading light to get to the beach access. Kathy spotted a nighthawk  flying over the soccer field. When we got to the beach, we realized we had  gotten there a bit too late to get to the far south end where the largest  numbers of birds might be. So, we walked along, feeling like time was running  out before we could reach our team goal of at least 90 (we had a stretch  goal of 100). Joann spotted some sanderlings skittering around near the  water. We could not identify the larger birds flying over the water–too far  out for us to see.

We gave up getting to the tip of the south end and found a path to get us back off the beach and back to the road. The path ended  upon a boardwalk bordered by scrub on both sides. With the light  approaching darkness and whip-poor-wills staring to sing, Kathy Miller heard a  mewing catbird in the scrub. The bird mewed twice more, so it was a shared  bird, and ended up being our 90th bird. We tried for the barred owl on the  radio tower but could not get him to sing for us. So, we called it a day at8:35pm and went to the hotel tired but generally pleased with the day  and the birds we got!”

The  Thrashers
Theresa Hartz, Lisa Hurt, Georgann Schmalz  (132 Species)

Our team, “The Thrashers”, began the day at 5:30 am on Saturday 19 April  at the South Peachtree Creek Nature Preserve to “get” a Barred  Owl that is nesting there and an American Bittern that skulks in the pond. We did not see the bittern, but had Screech-owls and the Barred. Somewhat successful, we ran to the car and headed north.

Our next stop was Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield. We noticed, to our   dismay, that while heading up I-75, we could not see the tops of the taller buildings due to fog. Being married to a meteorologist, I know about fog and that meant the top of Kennesaw Mtn. would also be socked in with poor visibility. So we did not get the good warbler species up there that we had hoped for. But we ran off the mountain approximately one hour ahead of last year`s time schedule. Things looked good even without those ten species of birds on our list. We`ll get them somewhere else, we said.

Somewhere else never happened. And in our attempt to increase our numbers,   we visited a few more spots around Macon than last year`s AWBB.  By the time  we left for the coast on I-16, we were one and a half hours behind schedule!

Our best bird in Macon was the Baltimore Oriole at Central City Park. We rolled down the windows, slowed to a mere 25 mph, heard the bird singing and dashed out of there. Now, that`s dedication to a Big Day!  We also stopped quickly at Lake Juliette and saw seven Common Loons and a Bald Eagle (an unshared bird).

We arrived at the south beach of Jekyll Island at 7:30 pm. The tide was perfect–low and coming in. We knew we would catch our shorebirds there, so putting   on our rubber boots, we stomped out to the beach.

Nothing. Nothing but gulls. And it was getting dark. We knew we had messed up. We had hardly any time to check two more beaches that were also empty of shorebirds.  In a panic, we scurried as fast as possible to St. Simon’s Island.   We were looking into the setting sun by this time as we frantically drove.   Fifteen minutes later, we were standing at Gould’s Inlet on St.  Simon’s listening to the waves pound the rocks on the shore.  We certainly could not see the waves because it was dark!

So ended our third AWBB.  We saw or heard 132 species.  The weather didn’t cooperate in the morning and the sun failed us at the end.  But wait until next year. Not that this is competitive or anything!

Total List of Birds by all teams for 19 April 2003 AWBB

 

15th ANNUAL ALL WOMEN’S BIRDING BUST MAY 2

AWBB 2015

Babe-breasted Warblers

This is a quick summary of the Babe-breasted Warbler’s *All Women’s Birding Bust*, May 1, 2015. We kept the area to Glynn County and Altamaha WMA. We birded with the tides in mind and hit the areas at good times. We spent the most of our time in the Paulk’s Pasture area. Since I explored a lot of Old Town Brunswick last year, I suggested a few spot there which turned out to be productive without having to race around looking for them.

It was a perfect day. The temperature was in the 70’s. The sky was blue.

The weather was a big part of us not getting too tired plus the birds were being so cooperative. Cheryl Kanes drove. Nita Wynn kept our list. Lynda Wiggins and Becky Valentine kept us on our toes. I was just happy to be out with this fine group of birders. We had 145 species. There were so many highlights.

Becky’s highlight: Swarms of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds feeding, Bobolinks waving in the grasses and the 13 different species of warblers.

Lynda Wiggins’ highlights: I loved the birdy day and all of us being back together with our highest count to date!!!

Nita Wynn’s highlights: Highlights for me we’re all the hummers, the bobolinks and having you with us again.

Cheryl Kanes’ highlights: I loved the Bobolinks, the Yellow Warbler and dinner at Mudcats!

Me? My highlights were White Pelicans, Roseate Spoonbills, Painted Buntings clouds of Indigo Buntings at the Jekyll Campground and one Wilson’s Plover that came out to see me and get counted.

Thanks Georgann for coming up with this idea. It is always fair weather when good fellows get together.

Nita Wynn

Cheryl Kanes

Lydia Thompson

Lynda Wiggins

Becky Valentine

 

The BirdMasters

What a day! The BirdMasters piled 6 women in a car for 14 1/2 hours and it turned out to be something wonderful!  The BirdMasters; Judy Gregory , Ruth Mead, Anne Basilicato, Anne Waters, Willie Malpass and myself started the day at Phinizy at 6am to a pair of Barred Owls calling back and forth and ended it in Burke County with a Chuck-will’s-widow making his regularly scheduled appearance.  In between we saw heavy rain, sun and lots of good birds.  Birding in the rain can be a great thing and this was no exception.  A good storm front can put down migrating birds and as the rain was stopping we had a flock of at least 40 small birds, most of which were badly backlit or we only saw when they came streaming out of the trees!  We did see a few nice migrants among them though including Blackpoll and Cape May Warblers.  The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and Least Bittern cooperated, however all of our White-crowned Sparrows seem to be gone now.  As a consolation prize there were some very good birds  at Phinizy (Chestnut-sided Warbler and Horned Grebe), the airport fence (Grasshopper Sparrow) and at the Expressway Pond at Merry (breeding plumage Common Loon and Red-breasted Merganser). After lunch, with 99 birds we headed for Yuchi in Burke County where the Swainson’s Warbler cooperated and the regular denizens showed off.

We got all of the expected Swallows including one Bank Swallow, all of the pigeons/doves when we found that the Eurasian Collared-Doves are moving into the settlement on River Road and the Common Ground-Doves sounded off and lots of other good birds. Our biggest miss was Fish Crow of all things!

We ended the day with 118 species which equals what we found last year.

We’re looking forward to next year and another adventure!

 

NE GA Birders

Mary Ellen Myers

Barbara Giebelhaus

Frances Bulluck

Robin Peterson

The NE GA Birders scheduled an early AWBB to see if we might see more water fowl and early migrants. Partly because of a persistent rain all morning, and windy cool weather after noon, we saw fewer birds than in the past. We did not see more waterfowl and only 4 warblers. However, had good looks at Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and a seldom seen Red-headed Woodpecker. Attached is our list.

We covered parts of Habersham and Stephens Counties over to the South Carolina line. We have scheduled another morning to try to see more migrating bids, on May 1.

SHARED BIRDS (Seen or heard by all four)

American Goldfinch

White-throated Sparrow

Brown Thrasher

House Finch

Tufted Titmouse

Pine Siskin

Common Grackle

Northern Cardinal

Mourning dove

Northern Mockingbird

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Blue Jay

Song Sparrow

Eastern Towhee

Gray Catbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

American Robin

American Crow

Chipping Sparrow h

Downy Woodpecker

Tree Swallow

Red-winged Blackbird

House Sparrow

Canada Goose

Carolina Wren h

Rough-winged Swallow

American Coot

Red-headed Woodpecker

Wood Duck

Barn Swallow

Hooded Warbler h

Red-eyed Vireo h

White-eyed Vireo h

Turkey Vulture

Black Vulture

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler h

Blue-gray Gnatcher

Great Blue Heron

Fish Crow h

Belted Kingfisher

Carolina Chickadee

Northern Parula h

Pileated Woodpecker h

Pied-billed Grebe

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Meadowlark h

Total: 48 plus two of the unshared birds below.

Cedar Waxwing (seen by three)

White-breasted Nuthatch (seen by one)

Wood Thrush (seen or heard? by one)

Eastern Phoebe (heard by two)

European Starling (seen by two)

Team “Talk Birdy to Me”, a.k.a. Shannon Fair & Aija Konrad, started the 2015 birding bust in Bartow county this past Saturday.  We didn’t know where the day would take us, and packed an overnight bag just in case, but by noon we had 120 species ONLY in BARTOW! After lunch, we decided to head a little further south, but heavy Atlanta traffic kept us north, and we only picked up 1 additional species at Kennesaw.  Therefore, we decided to head back to Bartow and added a SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER, a WILSON’S SNIPE, and a NORTHERN HARRIER. Highlights of the day included:  – WHIPS, CHUCKS and a KENTUCKY WARBLER at Pine Log WMA  – CERULEAN, BLACKBURNIAN, CAPE MAY, and BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS, plus both ORCHARD and BALTIMORE ORIOLES along Old River Road and Cooper’s Furnace  – BOBOLINKS, DICKCISSELS, and one SORA on Taff Road! We ended the day with 124 species, 123 just in Bartow County!  I think had we stayed in Bartow, we could have ended the day with many more species!  Something to think about for next year…

The Lone Thrasher

Georgann Schmalz

I was unable to join Theresa and Yvonne for the 2015 All Women’s Birding Bust by being on LSSI for a workshop followed by moving my 97 year old mom from St Petersburg up to Cumming,   I didn’t want to miss the Bust altogether, so I decided to count my Bust birds on April 25 on my way to the coast.

This Lone Thrasher started in Dawsonville catching a few birds like persistent Pine Siskins and American Goldfinches at my feeder, hurrying through Atlanta on to Rum Creek and the M.A.R.S.H Project.  Good birds were there including a Northern Waterthrush, Hooded Warblers, Baltimore Oriole, American Redstarts, and Northern Parulas.

From there, I drove back to I 75 via Holly Grove Road, a sure place for Bachman’s Sparrows, Prairie Warblers , Yellow-breasted Chats and Eastern Wood Pewees.

Returning to I 75 and then I 16, I stopped at Bond Swamp for Mississippi Kites, Prothonotary and Swainson’s Warblers and  Riverside WMA for lots of Blue Grosbeaks but no Ground Doves.

My final stop was the Altamaha WMA for Glossy Ibis, Mottled Ducks, two Purple Gallinules and at least 400 Bobolinks.   But alas,  I had no time for shorebirds.

I ended my day with 106 species. Not bad, but the AWBB is meant for women birding companions and I missed my other Thrashers.  Looking forward to Bust 2016.

 

 

The Half Thrashers

Theresa Hartz and Yvonne Bombardier

While we acutely missed our fellow teammates, Yvonne and I had a great time with our AWBB yesterday. We started a little later than usual with a 5:30 visit to Dawson Forest for the Whips and Chucks.  We dipped on owls so headed up to Sosebe Cove.  Got all the usual birds and even got a Canada….taking a moment so Yvonne could actually get a glimpse of the bird!  Then as we left, a Barred Owl called…hooray!

We stopped at the reservoir in Dahlonega and picked up a few species, including Orchard Oriole and Spotted Sandpiper.   Then on to Yvonne’s house for a much needed bathroom break and a quick peek at her Screechie…who stubbornly only afforded us a top of the head look.

Then back to DF for the usual birds and a happy surprise with a Blue-winged Warbler!!  We spent entirely too much time trying for a Blue Grosbeak before finally getting one…only to get about a dozen in Bartow Co.

Then on to Bartow…unfortunately dipped on the Scissor-tailed but got a big surprise with a Northern Harrier!  Got a few shorebirds and one very lonely Bobolink.

Finally, heading home we took a peek at Fields Landing on Lake Alatoona picking up Osprey and DCCA.

Then we stopped at the swamp on 108 near Waleska and picked up a Green Heron and Yellow-throated Vireo!

We never got a Fish Crow or a YBCU….

But our final talley was 117 and we were very proud and happy and tired!!

Looking forward to next year when the team will be back together!!

 

Women with Altitude

This past Saturday, May 2, 2015 the team of “Women with Altitude” took part in the annual AWBB.

The Women with Altitude consisting of Ann Stewart, Anne Mursch and Betty Belanger spent Saturday birding Union and Fannin counties.  We started out at my house at 7:30 made a loop and ended back at my house at 8:30 that night.  We saw a total of 76 birds with two unshared.

We saw 11 warblers starting out with a Palm Warbler on my road and found a Blackburnian Warbler, Parula Warbler and Chestnut-sided at Lake Winfield Scott and other warblers were  scattered along our route.  Many Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were singing.  Some surprises were an Osprey flying over a meadow in Suches, a White –throated Sparrow at Tamen Park in Fannin County and a Blue- winged Teal at the Fannin county Recreation Park.  We got back just in time to see the Ruby-throated Humming birds at my neighbor’s feeders. .

We are now planning our next year’s AWBB.

The team composed of Betty Belanger, Anne Mursche and Ann Stewart -our fourth member Dot Freeman was looking down on us from heaven – guiding our way.

We birded the Suches, Blairsville, Blue Ridge areas on a beautiful spring day. Our total of the day was 76. this total is off some compared to our past years but what we didn’t see or list we made up in fun and hours of talking and remembering Dot!

We had 13 species of warblers and the highlight was the WILLOW FLYCATCHER at Ingles in Blairsville. We didn’t think we would get this one. If you go looking for it – as you come into the Ingles parking lot and cross the bridge and creek – the bank property is on the left side. The flycatcher was right here at the bridge and creek in the bank property next to creek.

We had a wonderful day ending with a delicious dinner prepared by Betty’s husband Roger – lasagna, homemade bread, salad by Anne Mursch and lemon merigue pie by Ann Stewart!!!oh yea – a little WINE!!!

Can’t wait til next year!!!

We are now planning our next year’s AWBB.

Clarke’s Nutcrackers

What a blast!! We had gorgeous weather all weekend and got some great birds–115 species total while birding from Jekyll Island to Black Top Mountain. Alison Huff, Stephanie Cleveland, Leila Dasher and Katy Manley saw 115 species.

The Athens Yellowthroats (Mary Case, Page Luttrell, and Eugenia Thompson) would like to welcome a new Athens team – the Clarke’s Nutcrackers. We are so glad to have an additional team in Athens, especially since they are young and energetic!

We had a lovely day on Saturday, May 2, with absolutely perfect weather and lots of bird activity. Our total was 77 birds, including 14 species of warbler, in our small area — parts of Clarke, Oglethorpe, and Oconee counties.

On her way to my house (our meeting place), Mary saw a Wild Turkey walking along the road so that was an unexpected beginning. And Page heard a Chuck-will’s Widow at her place in Madison County before she left home, and that was her ‘one bird’.

At my house we picked up the expected ‘neighborhood birds’ and Scarlet Tanager and Barn Swallow. The usual Louisiana Waterthrush in the back of the yard was silent, but I heard him late in the afternoon for my ‘one bird’.

Moving on to the South Milledge fields, we got an unexpected House Wren, a surprise Double-crested Cormorant feeding in the pond, and Orchard Oriole, Common Yellowthroat, and Yellow-breasted Chat, all of which I had heard there earlier in the week.

At State Botanical Garden we heard an Acadian Flycatcher as we drove in, had a pair of Wood Ducks fly over, and heard Parula, Worm-eating, and Blue-winged Warblers, as well as a Gray Catbird as we walked down the power line cut. More warblers sang for us as we neared the river: Cape May, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Blue, American Redstart, Blackpoll, and Kentucky.

We had run into Richard Hall while birding these two places and he invited us to swing by his house in Five Points so that was our next stop. And it was profitable: White-throated Sparrow, Pine Siskin, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak all dropped by the feeder and stream while we were there.

Next was Lake Herrick where we got Belted Kingfisher, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Killdeer, Solitary Sandpiper, Green Heron, Pine Warbler, Brown-headed Nuthatch. (We missed Yell0w Warbler which we were hoping would be in the willows.)

At Lake Herrick we got two interesting non-bird sightings/hearings: Two Northern Water Snakes, one much bigger than the other, were on a willow growing over the water, and nearby two Bull Frogs serenaded us briefly.

We then drove to Lake Oglethorpe via the landfill where we saw both vultures flying around. At Lake Oglethorpe we missed the sought-after Missi55ippi Kite that was seen there both before and after our visit. We did pick up Fish Crow and Blue Grosbeak.

We headed to Oconee County looking for grassland birds. Grasshopper Sparrows and Eastern Meadowlarks were singing but B0b0links and Dickci55els had not arrived yet. We visited three other spots, one of them three times, before finding a lone Eurasian Collared-Dove feeding under a truck at a seed business.

We were surprised that we saw NO Great-blue Herons and Purple Martins. Nor did we hear the Black-and-white Warbler that’s often in my yard.

Next year will be our tenth year of doing the AWBB – we plan to celebrate with a DOUBLE-dip ice cream cone during our afternoon break!

Many, many thanks to Georgann for starting this wonderful rite of spring!

Swamp Woman

Sheila Willis; 5/31; Waycross & edges (WARE); 31 SPECIES; 1:30 p.m—7:40 p.m.; temp. 70—89 degrees F; wind 3—17 mph; cloudy to partly cloudy

Note: Sunnyside Dr. overlook is at overflow area of Satilla R.; early afternoon feeder watching during heat.

CANADA GOOSE: 100 (~91 seen feeding in grass at edge of lake at Baptist Village; 9 near small pond out Central Ave. Ext.)

GREAT BLUE HERON: 1 Baptist Village

GREEN HERON: 2 (w. Carswell Ave; Baptist Village)

TURKEY VULTURE: 3

RED-SHOULDERED HAWK: 3 (2 seen circling & calling near old Hebard Cypress Mill area; 1 heard Sunnyside Dr. overlook)

KILLDEER: 1 heard, Sunnyside Dr. overlook

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE: 1, downtown Waycross

MOURNING DOVE: 9

YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO: 1 heard, Sunnyside Dr. overlook

CHIMNEY SWIFT: 10, mostly downtown Waycross

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER: 3

DOWNY WOODPECKER: 1

GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER: 2

LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE: 5 (2 at opp. n/s ends of Oakland Cem.; downtown Waycross near train depo; behind Wal-Mart on US#1; Knight Ave. at Whittaker Golf Carts)

PURPLE MARTIN: 1 female, Knight Ave.

BLUE JAY: 2

AMERICAN CROW: 1

FISH CROW: 1

TUFTED TITMOUSE: 1

CAROLINA WREN: 2

EASTERN BLUEBIRD: 2

BROWN THRASHER: 2

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD: 35

EUROPEAN STARLING: 36

EASTERN TOWHEE: 1

NORTHERN CARDINAL: 6

INDIGO BUNTING: 1, male, Sunnyside Dr. overlook

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD: 6 (Knight Ave., 5 Sunnyside Dr. overlook)

COMMON GRACKLE: 24 (w/ 1 at Carswell Ave. railroad going into tree as if w/ food)

BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD: 6 Carswell Ave. (3 males w/ cows in small pasture; 2 males & 1 female w/ horses in powerline pasture cut)

HOUSE SPARROW: 4