We came, we sat, we birded, we laughed, we ate doughnuts, it rained.
That pretty much sums up the experience enjoyed by a hardy team of birders who ventured to Gilsland Farm this past Saturday for the 11th annual Big Sit bird count. The goal was to identify as many birds as possible without leaving a 17-foot diameter circle on the North Meadow. Dozens of other teams around the world were also counting from their own circles over the weekend.
The day started beautifully. Six birders arrived at 6am and greeted an incredible sunrise. The birds came fast and furious — highlighted by dozens of sparrows eating seed on the paths. Big White-crowned Sparrows dominated, with about 8 individuals present all day, and Swamp, Savannah, Song, White-throated, Dark-eyed Juncos, and even a few rare Nelson’s Sparrows making appearances in the morning.
A late Tennessee Warbler was a major highlight, and a life bird for some of the participants. We had Bald Eagles and Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Bonaparte’s Gulls and about forty other species by 9am…when it started raining. And kept raining. It rained all the rest of the day until we decided to pack things up around 2:30, our final tally at 53 species.
Despite the chill, everyone had a great time. We were delighted to have been joined by Marc and Eliana, two Miami birders traveling across the country in a VW bus and chronicling their adventures in Birding By Bus. Marc and Eliana were excellent birders and kept us all energized with coffee and conversation. Here’s a video they filmed of us in the rain (I’m shimmying to stay warm):
So, a great, wet time was had by all, and we look forward to improving on our species count next fall! Click here for a full species list, and email [email protected] if you’d like the eBird checklist shared with you.