Towards the end of 2013 I started thinking about how I could do a Big Year. I really enjoy digiscoping, so why not a Phone Skope Big Year? I am trying to digiscope as many species as possible with my iPhone 5 and Phone Skope Adapter using a variety of optics. My goal is to digiscope 200 species for the year and will be keeping a tally in a public Google spreadsheet and posting all of the photos in this Flickr set.
I started my Big Year on January 2nd in State College while looking for the “continuing” Rufous Hummingbird. Although I dipped on the Rufous, which was seen the morning, I had the pleasure of digiscoping other birds in the brushy habitat next to the feeders like this White-throated Sparrow.
I picked up Rock Pigeon on the drive to Delaware, didn’t have a full day of birding until January 3rd when I did a New Castle County “Big Day.” I worked the northern part of the county picking up year birds left and right. I hit a few of the hotspots, then a few of the lesser birded spots as well. This American Robin posed nicely along the edge of Hoope’s Reservoir.
I worked east to the Delaware River, then back to the western part of the county. Lums Pond State Park proved to be the most productive spot of the day. I picked up my year Fox Sparrow and also nailed this typical behavior of Carolina Wrens for my 7th digiscoped species of the year.
The next morning, Taj Schottland and I drove south for the Rehoboth CBC. We started shortly after seven and ended around five in the afternoon. We tallied 76 species with the biggest surprise being an immature Red-headed Woodpecker at the end of the day.
The next day, Taj, Alan Kneidel, and I participated in the Cape Henlopen CBC. As a team, we observed 104 species including seven species of owl! Highlights included Snowy Owl, Nelson’s Sparrow, Sedge Wren, Purple Sandpiper, Baltimore Oriole, Marsh Wren, and Ross’s Goose!
On January 7th, Alan and I picked up a Long-tailed Duck on the Newark Reservoir. It’s been a decent year for sea ducks in the county. In addition to the Long-tailed, we also had two White-winged Scoter sightings – one on the river and one on the reservoir.
The next few days were excellent for gulls in Wilmington. Alan, Taj, and I (see the theme here?) checked the gull hotspots along the river and were able to pick up Iceland, Lesser Black-backed, and Glaucous Gull. The Glaucous Gull is the most recent addition to my 2014 Phone Skope Big Year.
Although my time for birding is rather limited at the moment, I’m hoping to pick up at least 20 more species before the end of January. Check back for weekly updates!