Monday, November 26, 2007

Human Powered Birding 11/24/07

Beginning 11/24 I made a new list, in my ebird account, which is "Gardner Human Powered". Pam Hunt, of Concord, NH has been birding this way for several years now and there is also a human powered (HP) catagory in the New Hampshire annual birdathon. These human powered lists are quite impressive. For example, Pam Hunt's best single year list for the city of Concord, NH is 182 species! During last year's New Hampshire birdathon, my team tallied 120 species during the day-long birdathon in Monadnock region of New Hamshire, not bad, but Richard Frencette's HP team tallied 117 (or maybe 118 I can't recall) species by walking, bicycling and kayaking in the greater Peterborough, NH area.

Pam passed along a few reasonable rules for HP birding:
1) The list is based on your primary residence. In other words, you can't drive to Plum Island, rent a beach house, and proceed to bike around the refuge to pad your list. If you move within the year, the list is transferable, which would be quite the coup if you moved to the coast! (my house is for sale so this could be an issue)

2) If you use conveyance other than your feet, said conveyance (bike or boat) must be moved without a car. This means that you can't drop a boat off at a lake using a motor vehicle, walk there from home, and count birds found using the boat. However, if the boat was already there (a friend's house, rental facility, etc.) you could bird from it without any guilt.

While I'm not going to throw away the car keys or do a cross country bike trek, I will do more birding on foot or via peddle not far from home. Oddly enough I do bird close to home often, but its amzing how easy it is to rack up 40 or 50 miles birding locally.

During saturday's walk, about 4 or 5 miles, I saw another Northern Shrike (near Mount Wachusett Community College) was my 5th in two weeks:
-Templeton 11/10 in flight not aged
-Royalston 11/10 an adult
-Ayer 11/12 adult
-Westminster 11/18 grayish imm.
-Gardner 11/24 a brownish imm.

Its be an excellent autumn for Northern Shrikes!!

Imm. Northern Shrike near Mount Wachusett Community College

Here is a complete list from the walk:

Canada Goose 14
American Black Duck 6
Mallard 65
Mallard X Black Hybrid 2
Common Goldeneye 1
Hooded Merganser 12
Common Merganser 1
Common Loon 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Ring-billed Gull 1
Rock Pigeon 15
Mourning Dove 5
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Shrike 1 Juv. brown type
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 3
Black-capped Chickadee 20
Tufted Titmouse 6
White-breasted Nuthatch 6
Golden-crowned Kinglet 7
American Robin 13
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 150
American Tree Sparrow 3
Dark-eyed Junco 12
Northern Cardinal 3
Pine Grosbeak 1 calling from near the court house near MWCC
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 5
House Sparrow 30


Peregrine's Bird Blog said...

Noticed my site is getting a few referrals from your site. Thanks

I lived on the Vineyard from 84-89 so would be a fanof the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

My abiding memory bird wise was the sanderling on South Beach and the Ospreys.

Tom Pirro said...

The vineyard is a great place, I haven't been that way since the Red-footed Falcon a few years ago. How do find out where 'referrals" come from?

Peregrine's Bird Blog said...

I use sitemeter

Anonymous said...

I'm all for HPB. While I haven't given up driving totally, I'm always looking for ways to drive less and walk more. HPB list is an interesting idea.

Tom Pirro said...

I certainly can't credit for it, but I am going to keep an HP list going forward. Should be fun, if my house sells then I'll start from a new location, but from my current address I would predict an year list of 140-160 species. My all time high list for Gardner, Ma. is 173 twice in 1997 and 1998. But, on a bike I could cover a few other key areas just outside of town.