Wow, time flies when you’re having fun. I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I last gave an update about my Phone Skope Big Year (First Update, Second Update). Anyway, it’s been about six months and I finally hit 100 species for the year. Remember, my goal is to Phone Skope 200 species.
February was filled with gulls, waterfowl, and shorebirds. I spent a decent amount of time picking through gulls at the Cecil County Landfill and the Peninsula Compost Company where Iceland Gulls were plentiful and Glaucous Gulls were regular. I dipped on Pink-footed Geese, but digiscoped an adult Black-headed Gull in Maryland. I river watched along the Susquehanna in Port Deposit, Maryland with White-winged Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, and Red-necked Grebes as highlights. I picked up Yellow-headed Blackbird for the year and for a state bird in New Castle County. As I was writing my research proposal, I did a fair amount of digibinning out my office window nailing the Northern Mockingbird that regularly sings atop an American Holly. My buddy, Alan, and I found a Barnacle Goose in Delaware – only the second state record if accepted.
March started out similar to February with a lot of river watching – I finally found my lifer Little Gull and added a few more waterfowl species to my list! I spent even more time in the office than I did in February, but I did build a nice University of Delaware patch list, which allowed me to add numerous common species to my big year list – Carolina Chickadee, Mourning Dove, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Common Grackle. In addition, Nate, Alan, and I broke the March Big Day record for Delaware!
At the beginning of April, I spent a few days at the Birding Optics & Gear Expo in Columbus, Ohio with Phone Skope. I tested out the Phone Skope Adapter on several spotting scopes including the Leica APO-Televid 77. Geese were migrating north and I was able to track down a continuing Greater White-fronted Goose in New Castle. I snagged Northern Flicker and Chipping Sparrow in my yard back in western Pennsylvania. At the end of the month, my free time was nonexistent, but I managed to get out for Pledge to Fledge weekend and picked up a few migrants for my big year list including Blue-headed Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Louisiana Waterthrush.
After presenting my research proposal at the end of April, I was able to get out and enjoy migration a bit more. May brought loads of migrants into the region – Scarlet Tanagers were singing, Great Crested Flycatchers seemed to be present in every spot I looked, and warblers were plentiful! I had trouble digiscoping migrants because they were in the thick of White Clay Creek State Park. Matt Sarver, Matt Boone, and I conducted the annual migration count in New Castle County and birded the under birded areas pretty heavily. I picked up Prairie Warbler, Bobolink, and a handful of other big year bird during the count. On May 18th, Alan Kneidel, Taj Schottland, Sam Robert, and I conducted two-thirds of a big day (a post on that soon) in Delaware and tallied about 145 species without touching New Castle County. I left Delaware after the semester ended and swung by Mount Holly Springs to twitch my lifer Purple Gallinule. I rounded out the month birding around DuBois and picked up Cedar Waxwing and Baltimore Oriole for my big year list.
That covers February through May. I’m heading to Aruba in just over a week (more on that later) and will post an update for June when I return from my trip. I would also like to thank Ben Lizdas and Eagle Optics for lending me a Vortex Razor HD 20-60×85 for my Phone Skope Big Year! Thanks, guys! Lastly, if you’re thinking about getting a Phone Skope setup, be sure to use the discount code in the ad on this page for 10% off.