April 26, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Big Spring Day, 2008

Just in time for this year's Big Spring Day, I finally signed up for the eBird system yesterday. It is a joint project of the Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, enabling birders all across the country to submit their sightings so that experts can compile a much broader range of data on avian distribution. Today's report includes two first-of-season sightings, a Red-eyed Vireo and a Common Yellowthroat (M):

Location: Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad trail
Observation date: 4/26/08
Notes: Very warm, sunny, and humid.
Number of species: 29

I missed out on the Big Spring Day last year, but participated in 2006.

Sweet Briar afternoon

My first eBird report was based on a brief walk to the pond after I left the office late on Friday afternoon:

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Location: Sweet Briar College boat pond
Observation date: 4/25/08
Number of species: 16

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

* The Virginia Rail call from from a bunch of thick, tall clumps of grass next to the pond. It sounded just like a can of spray paint being shaken, and it took a minute for me to figure out what it probably was. It would have been my first-ever sighting of that species, but the bird became silent as I approached. Maybe I'll get another chance. Not included in the eBird report: a few very loud Carolina Wrens. In future tabulations using eBird, I will probably list only non-abundant birds, as has been my standard practice.

Here's a thought: When you put "Virginia" and "rail" together, most people would think of the Virginia Railway Express, the commuter train system in Northern Virginia.

Owl Web cam

For a peek at a Great Horned Owl nest with two hatchlings, see ucar.edu; hat tip to Connie.