Photo Finish for Birdathon 2015
It was a tight race this year, with the three highest-scoring teams each finishing within one species of the next. Birding in the North Country, the Jeffersonlian Sweepers came in with the highest overall count at 145. Archaeopteryx, just one bird behind that, took the Region 5 first place honors, while We See Gulls had to settle for second place with 143 species. Joe Brin and Kevin McGann took third at 136, and The Uncommon Mergs did very well finishing only two points out of third place. These scores were below the 2013 all-time high count of 158. The birding conditions were fairly good, with an overnight flight on the previous Thursday, followed by light winds. A solid cloud cover helped keep things going in the afternoon, but also kept raptors grounded for much of the day. Those who got to the Ontario lake shore late in the morning were disappointed to find a heavy fog rolling in from the north.
Birders in the northern counties again had some interesting finds, notably, the first Henslow’s Sparrow reported in years, Red Crossbill, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and an array of ducks. But, the Best Bird of the Day was taken by the Mad Cowbirds with a well described, first ever, Blue Grosbeak. Finishing the honors, the Most Birds/Least Miles award was again won by Dave Nash with a high 97 birds and no miles driven.
Overall, 199 species were reported by the 66 participants on 27 teams. There were 17 singles, found by one team only, and 6 doubles.
Next year, the competition for Most Species will include Jefferson and Lewis Counties, requiring the competitive teams to rethink their strategies.
Ken and Rose Burdick