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Lake Mendocino Big Sit! 2002

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  • chaniot@pacific.net
    Yesterday (Oct 13) was Big Sit! day nationwide, and Vishnu, Matthew Matthiessen, Chuck Vaughn, and I participated for the fourth year. The game is to see how
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 14, 2002
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      Yesterday (Oct 13) was Big Sit! day nationwide, and Vishnu, Matthew
      Matthiessen, Chuck Vaughn, and I participated for the fourth year. The game
      is to see how many species you can spot in one day from a fixed circle 17
      feet in diameter. Our circle is on the south side of the Mesa Day-use Area
      at Lake Mendocino with a broad view of the lake, surrounding ridges, nearby
      oaks, and conifer plantings.
      The morning started off at 05:20 with a stunning view of Orion and
      Canis Major over the lake, and, this year, the moons of Jupiter served to
      warm up the spotting scope. There was a bit of a chilling north wind before
      light, but a Great Horned Owl and a Western Screech-Owl tuned up nicely,
      and the Screech-Owl even came into the nearest tree. Each year we have a
      subcontest going to see how many species we can record before sunup. This
      year we thought we were doing badly since we only had 43 (record 48). But
      the day unfolded nicely. Reveille sounded at 7:00 as there was a camporee
      with 973 Pathfinders taking place right next to our site. Despite fears,
      the camporee did not interfere with birdfinding. The low lake level, now
      about 38 feet below full, probably improved the birding some by providing a
      lot of muddy edges for waterbirds. Through the day the scoping conditions
      were very good with still air and very little heat distortion. We kept
      finding new species during each hour of the day. Ten species were new for
      the event (marked with an asterisk below), but we missed six species which
      we have seen every year previous (Common Loon, Double-crested Cormorant,
      Dunlin, Band-tailed Pigeon, Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch). At
      sundown we had tallied 86 species - exactly twice the sunrise number. This
      is a new record for us; the previous being 81. Have we moved the bar too
      high ever to surpass again, or does this circle have the potential for a
      90-species day? Our cumulative total is now 108 species. As usual The Big
      Sit = A Fine Fall Day of birding, comraderie, and comestibles, but I went
      home with a serious case of scope-eye. I note that the Big Sit to Big Day
      ratio for this fall is 86/149 ~ 58%, not too bad - and a lot less driving.

      George Chaniot
      Potter Valley, MEN, CA

      Pied-billed Grebe
      Horned Grebe
      Eared Grebe
      Western Grebe
      Clark's Grebe
      Great Blue Heron
      Great Egret
      Black-crowned Night Heron
      Turkey Vulture
      Canada Goose
      *Wood Duck
      Green-winged Teal
      Mallard
      Northern Pintail
      Cinnamon Teal
      Northern Shoveller
      American Wigeon
      Greater Scaup
      Lesser Scaup
      Bufflehead
      Hooded Merganser
      Common Merganser
      Ruddy Duck
      Osprey
      White-tailed Kite
      Bald Eagle
      *Cooper's Hawk
      Red-shouldered Hawk
      Red-tailed Hawk
      Golden Eagle
      American Kestrel
      Peregrine Falcon
      *Prairie Falcon
      Wild Turkey
      American Coot
      *Black-bellied Plover
      Killdeer
      Greater Yellowlegs
      Spotted Sandpiper
      Least Sandpiper
      Long-billed Dowitcher
      Bonaparte's Gull
      California Gull
      Mourning Dove
      Western Screech-Owl
      Great Horned Owl
      Anna's Hummingbird
      Belted Kingfisher
      Acorn Woodpecker
      Nuttall's Woodpecker
      Downy Woodpecker
      Northern Flicker
      Pileated Woodpecker
      Black Phoebe
      Hutton's Vireo
      Western Scrub-Jay
      American Crow
      Common Raven
      *Tree Swallow
      Oak Titmouse
      Bushtit
      White-breasted Nuthatch
      *Rock Wren
      Bewick's Wren
      Golden-crowned Kinglet
      Ruby-crowned Kinglet
      Western Bluebird
      American Robin
      American Pipit
      European Starling
      Cedar Waxwing
      *Orange-crowned Warbler
      Yellow Warbler
      Yellow-rumped Warbler
      *Black-throated Gray Warbler
      *Townsend's Warbler
      Spotted Towhee
      California Towhee
      Savannah Sparrow
      Golden-crowned Sparrow
      White-crowned Sparrow
      Red-winged Blackbird
      *Western Meadowlark
      Brewer's Blackbird
      House Finch
      Lesser Goldfinch
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