Sunday, February 6, 2011

Big January 2011

Below is the Connecticut Big January 2011 report courtesy of Frank Mantlik.


In recent years, many of the most active CT birders start the New Year by participating in a friendly birding competition called the Big January. It’s a way to get afield after the hustle and bustle of the Holidays, and to start one’s new Year List. The internet and “smart” phones definitely aid in the effort. This year I received by the deadline the lists of twelve participants.

This year two participants (Meredith Sampson and yours truly) concentrated their efforts in their home towns, in an effort to be more environmentally-conscious and to save some gasoline costs ($3.40/gal). Both did remarkably well. One perennial participant, Mardi Dickinson, elected not to submit her list due to other commitments and time constraints. Bill Banks was unable to send his list due to a family emergency.

It was definitely a very challenging month to wander afield, given the many winter snow storms, bitter cold temperatures, and short day length. Nevertheless, a cumulative 154 species were reported by the group, including a state first Common Murre! Many other rarities and uncommon species were tallied (see the individual lists). There were good varieties of waterfowl, hawks, owls, gulls, and sparrows, though the latter required much searching, given the deep snow cover. Species not detected at all included Northern Goshawk, Brown Thrasher, any warbler other that Yellow-rumped, and Eastern Meadowlark.

And now for the participants and their lists. Congratulations to all, especially to Bill Asteriades, who tallied a remarkable total. And thanks to Bill and to Sarah Faulkner for sharing their photos.

1. Bill Asteriades 144

2. Tina Green 141

3. Sara Zagorski 131

4. Denise Jernigan 120

5. Kris Johnson 118

6. Greg Hanisek 115

7. John Marshall 114

8. Frank Mantlik 113 (101 in Stratford)

9. Carl Ekroth 109

10. Bill Banks 100

11. Ray Belding 99

12. Meredith Sampson 96 (Greenwich only)

State first Common Murre! Photo courtesy Sarah Faulkner

Rufous Hummingbird - photo courtesy Frank Mantlik

Yellow-headed Blackbird - photo courtesy Bill Asteriades

Our old friend the banded Barnacle Goose - photo courtesy Frank Mantlik

Two female King Eiders - photo courtesy Frank Mantlik

American Woodcock - photo courtesy Bill Asteriades

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