We are excited to announce the return of October Big Day, on Saturday, October 9th. Big Day is an unofficial "holiday" (similar to Earth Day) encouraging birding around the world. Birding statistics are collected and published by eBird and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on their websites. Some people try to hit as many birding hotspots as they can in a day (as our staff member Parker Flickinger did last year), while other people just enjoy the simple pleasure of watching the birds in their neighborhood. Click the photo above to learn more about October Big Day, or click the button below to see the Big Day statistics collected in real time!
In honor of this holiday, we are hosting our own local October Big Day celebration, including several walks on Big Day, and 2 instructional webinars on some tools to improve your birding abilities. As always, these events are free and open to everyone, you just have to register through our website. The details for our current October Big Day events are listed below and more bird walks are being added every day, so check back in with our website calendar and social media pages.
We also encourage you to go out birding yourselves on Big Day. If you keep birding checklists on your walk, you can share them with our Lahontan Audubon eBird account. If you want to learn more about how to maintain birding lists on eBird, check out our eBird webinar on October 7th (details below). If you do not want an eBird account, but want to contribute to Big Day, you can email us your bird checklist via our Contact Us tab, and we will add it to our daily tally.
Last October Big Day, our community observed 50 species. Click below to see last year's Big Day records. Let's see if we can break our record this year!
October Big Day 2021 events
Click on an event's button to see more information and register.
Leader: Jeff Bleam
Date: Friday, 9/24/2021
Field Trip Report: Fall was in the air and I had to put on a second layer, which was the first time since spring. Jays can always be found here at Oxbow NSA, which is along the Truckee River in Reno. We walked to the pond and heard the kikik, kikik call of the VIRGINIA RAIL and the call was a first for me. On the pond there were MALLARDS and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS. Along the trails we found only 2 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, BEWICK'S WRENS, many ROBINS, FLICKERS, and of course the STELLER'S and CA SCRUB JAYS. On the river we found COMMON MERGANSERS, an immature BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON and we heard a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK. It was a little late for migrants and a little early for our wintering birds so the species count was only 25.
ebird cklst - https://ebird.org/checklist/S95136115
Oxbow Album - https://flic.kr/s/aHskQyBuNV
1st place: White-faced Ibis by Janet Busi
Click below to see honorable mentions:
eBird is a global birdwatching, citizen science project run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Using eBird involves taking a bird walk where you record a checklist including time, place, bird species and number of birds observed. You then submit this checklist to the Cornell Lab via the eBird website, giving the ornithologists data for bird population models. In addition to recording bird species for science, eBird keeps track of all bird species you observed in your life time (a life list). To start submitting your own checklists on eBird, you must first register for an free eBird account. To learn more about eBird or sigh up for an account, click here:
We have a chapter eBird account for Lahontan Audubon Society. Our field trip leaders often keep eBird checklists from our walks, and will be happy to share them with our participants. Lahontan Audubon Sociey members have also shared bird checklists on our chapter account. This gives you a record of the bird species we have observed in our neck of the woods. We also use our chapter account to connect with other eBird users from around the region, and participate in birding events, such as the Global Big Day. To view our chapter account, click below:
*You must already have an eBird account to view our account.
Leader: Jeff Bleam
Date: Friday, September 10
Field Trip Report: Caughlin Parkway and Steamboat Ditch, 9/10/2021, Leader - Jeff Bleam. No Smoke but chance of Rain. We were lucky that the T-Showers had passed through but there were times that I thought we would get wet. We meet at the ponds where we saw MALLARDS, YR WARBLERS, and LESSER GOLDFINCHES. It was very quiet for about a half hour then we hit a jackpot. First a DOWNY WOODPECKER, ORANGE-CROWNED, YELLOW, MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLERS, WARBLING VIREO, BLACK-CHINNED and RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS with a rare SOOTY FOX SPARROW. We ended the walk with 30 species.
ebird cklist - https://ebird.org/checklist/S94572152
Photo Album - https://flic.kr/s/aHskxGnUWt
Leader: Jeff Bleam
Date: Friday, September 3rd
Field Trip Report: We got lucky again with the smoke which was less than AQI 100 but not the normal <20. We started the walk by going through the arboretum. One of the first birds were HOUSE FINCH, MT CHICKADEE, and CROW. We didn't find any Warblers but we found MALLARDS, PIED-BILLED GREBES, BARN SWALLOWS, and 2 COOPER'S HAWKS around the pond. We headed toward the Nature Trail where we found an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and while we tried to get a better look we found a GREAT HORNED OWL. In the Cattail area we heard a VIRGINIA RAIL and 4 more OC Warblers, and a brief look at a DUSKY FLYCATCHER. On the way back we found another GH Owl, ANNA'S, BLACK-CHINNED, and a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS. We ended the walk with 36 species and a disappointing Warbler count of 2 species.
Our Bird of the Month for September is the Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas). Yellow-throats are wood warblers and easily recognized by their yellow feathers on their throats and males have a distinctive black and white mask. Unlike other warblers, yellowthroats nest in wetland areas. Yellowthroats are often identified by their "witch-eddy, witch-eddy, witch-eddy," call.
Ironically, this month Common Yellowthroats are a rare sighting, often seen at the wetlands in Oxbow nature study area and Rancho San Rafael Regional Park.
To learn more about Common Yellowthroats and to hear a recording of their "witch-eddy, witch-eddy" call, visit the Audubon Field Guide: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/common-yellowthroat