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2015 Superbowl of Birding Adventures with the “Twitchers in the Rye”


On January 25, one day after a snow storm, the “Twitchers in the Rye” took part in the 2015 Superbowl of Birding. The team included Becky Suomala, Pat Myers, Andrea Robbins, and myself, and in a significant departure from the other teams operating in New Hampshire, we restrict ourselves entirely to the town of Rye.

Our highlights this year were a Gray Catbird, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Winter Wren (all three are four-point birds). It was also nice to find the continuing female Harlequin Duck at Concord Point (although it took us two tries). The final total was 59 species and 109 points, and the team raised more than $2,000 in pledges for New Hampshire Bird Records and NH eBird (two projects of NH Audubon’s Conservation Department). Many thanks to our sponsors!

Twitchers in the Rye and the Superbowl of Birding – January 24th

The 2014 Twitchers in the Rye (Pat Myers, captain Pam Hunt, driver Becky Suomala, and rookie Peg Ackerson), January 25, 2014. Photo by Rick Dumont.

The “Twitchers in the Rye” will be in the Superbowl of Birding again this year and are accepting pledges to support NH eBird and New Hampshire Bird Records (both programs of NH Audubon’s Conservation Department).

For those who don’t know, the Superbowl involves looking for as many species as possible in 12 hours and is run by Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center. Teams compete in Essex County, MA and/or Rockingham County, NH on the last Saturday in January (the 24th). “Twitchers” decided to restrict their search area to just one town (hence the name!), even though there’s no category for that in the competition.

Help spur “Twitchers” on by pledging an amount per species or per point (different species get different numbers of points) – and support the collection of bird data for conservation at the same time. This is our seventh year and we’re still trying to beat our first year highs of 63 species and 112 points! When it’s below freezing and blowing a gale, pledges help keep us going – knowing each species or point will help build contributions for conservation!

If you’d like to pledge, please contact Becky Suomala at rsuomala@nhaudubon.org or 603-224-9909 x309 or pledge on-line here. For last year’s results check the New Hampshire Bird Records website.

New Hampshire Bird Records – New Issue – Winter 2013/2014 Published

Snowy Owl by Terri Fratus, 2/28/14, Rye, NH. Townsend’s Warbler by Deanne Fortnam, 12/12/13, Odiorne Pt. SP, Rye, NH. Spotted Towhee by David Lipsy, 2/1/14, Rye, NH.

Do you remember all the Snowy Owl sightings last winter? It was a historic irruption and one of the largest ever in the Northeast, according to Pam Hunt, the Winter Editor for New Hampshire Bird Records. She’s written about the invasion in the Winter 2013-14 issue and there are photo highlights from this Snowy Owl “Extravaganza” as well as an article on what the owls were eating.

You can also read about a winter boat trip to Jeffrey’s Ledge with Dovekies and other alcids in a free article on the web. Also in the Winter 2013-14 issue: bird highlights from the season including Spotted Towhee and Townsend’s Warbler, the Christmas Bird Count Summary and its history, where to bird in Nashua, NH in the winter, Field Notes including the rescue of a downed grebe, Adventures with the Twitchers in the Rye, and the regular Photo Quiz.

For subscription information click here or go directly to the online subscription page.

New Hampshire Bird Records – New Issue – Fall 2013 Published

Cover Photos: Calliope Hummingbird by Christine Sheridan, 10/28/13, S. Mammoth Rd., Manchester, NH. Rufous Hummingbird (smaller photo) by Kyle Wilmarth, 9/22/13, Durham, NH.

Read about Common Nighthawk migration in the Fall 2013 issue of New Hampshire Bird Records. This free article is now available on the web.

The fall issue is full of migration highlights, from the Raptor Migration Report to the highlights of the Fall 2013 bird reports – remember the first arrival of Snowy Owls even before winter officially started?

The issue also features an article on birding World End Pond and other Salem Hotspots by Kyle Wilmarth, a Spotlight on White-eyed Vireo by Steve Mirick, the results from the Concord November Challenges (which set a new record) by Pam Hunt, observations of insect-eating birds switching to berries, and the regular Field Notes, Photo Quiz, and Photo Gallery.

Thanks for your patience as we get caught up on publication.

For NH Bird Records subscription information click here or go directly to the on-line subscription page.

Summer 2013 Issue of New Hampshire Bird Records Published

Mississippi Kites at the nest in Newmarket, NH. Adult by Len Medlock, 7/28/13, chick in the nest by Iain MacLeod, 7/23/13.

The Summer 2013 issue of New Hampshire Bird Records is out at long last and features an article by Mark Suomala on birding in the White Mountains. The publication is available by subscription but we’re making this article available for free on the web. Click here to view the table of contents for the current issue.

The issue also features an excerpt from The Birds of New Hampshire by Allan Keith and Robert Fox – an important new resource on the status and distribution of bird species in the state. Their Sandhill Crane account provides an example of the sighting records that they have compiled from as far back as is known.

A New Look for New Hampshire Bird Records


The Spring 2013 issue of New Hampshire Bird Records has a new, larger format with more room for pictures and articles.

Subscribers have been thrilled with the new format and you can get a sneak peak on the web site.

Last spring was the year with the Memorial weekend snow storm in the North Country and you can see photos and read about the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that swarmed around Betsy Fraser’s feeders in the free article on the web.

Volunteer for Mountain Birdwatch

Battell Mountain Overlook, Vermont

Do you enjoy hiking, and would you like to use your birding skills to support conservation? Mountain Birdwatch is a long-term monitoring program for Bicknell’s Thrush and other high-elevation forest birds, and we seek volunteers to conduct a dawn survey in the White Mountains this June. Wake up to a Bicknell’s Thrush serenade, delight in frenetic Winter Wren song, and seek out the “rattlesnake” bird, the Blackpoll Warbler, as you collect important data. Volunteers survey a mountain route on a morning in June; these pre-dawn surveys start 45 minutes before sunrise and include up to 6 point counts along a montane trail. (To learn more about Mountain Birdwatch protocols, visit http://www.vtecostudies.org/MBW/prep.html.)

All confirmed volunteers are welcome to attend one of our three pre-season training workshops; this year’s workshops will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014 in St. Johnsbury, VT; Saturday, 17 May 2104 in Delmar, NY; and Saturday, 31 May 2014 in Falmouth, ME. For a complete list of dates and locations, visit http://www.vtecostudies.org/MBW/announcements.html.

NH Audubon’s Centennial Birdathon/Bloomathon May 17-18, 2014

Male Magnolia Warbler in a flowering willow – two iconic symbols of spring that might be seen during Birdathon/Bloomathon. Photo by Len Medlock.

As New Hampshire Audubon enters its second century, one thing is clear – conservation challenges require us all to be more mindful of decisions shaping the future of wildlife, natural places, and ultimately, ourselves. The 2014 Birdathon/Bloomathon promises to provide that opportunity. Fun, accessible and inclusive, this year’s fundraising event will entice members and all who are interested to form friendly but competitive teams to search for birds and blooms statewide. Looking back 100 years, birds were the gateway to the conservation movement that still guides our work in education, advocacy, wildlife research, and stewardship/conservation. We invite you to participate in or pledge your support for this great competition! For details, click here.

Read Your Palms

A spring “Yellow” Palm Warbler, taken by Len Medlock, 4/21/13.

Help Us Learn More About Palm Warbler Migration, by Hector Galbraith

Two sub-species of Palm Warbler are known to occur on migration in New England, the Yellow or Eastern Palm, and the Western or gray palm. In the spring most earlier Palm Warblers are Yellow, while Westerns seem to pass through the west of the region later and in smaller numbers.

Right now, for example, in the Connecticut River Valley in Western New Hampshire many Yellow have already passed through and there are now mixed parties of both sub-species. On the coast, most birds seem to be Yellow, and Westerns may be rare. In the fall, the situation seems to flip with Westerns being the normal coastal race and Yellows occurring further inland.

There is a lot that we do not yet understand about the migration of the sub-species of Palm Warbler through our region. This is partly because birders do not typically report the sub-species of birds that they find, calling them simply Palm Warblers. Nevertheless, separation of the sub-species is usually not too difficult; both Sibley and National Geographic guide have good illustrations.

So, a plea: please record your sub-species in eBird. The initial list of species that you see will not show the two sub-species. To find them, simply click the “add a species” option and type in Palm Warbler. You will then be offered the option of Palm Warbler with no sub-species, the Yellow (eastern) sub-species, or the Western sub-species and you can record your birds accordingly. Simple!

Introducing the eBird Location Explorer!


eBird’s new Location Explorer is designed to be a “dashboard” overview for a region, quickly summarizing the information birders find most useful at the regional level (e.g., country, state, or county). You can keep track of recent birding activity, such as what’s happening at your favorite locations, who’s been birding lately, and explore recent checklist submissions. You can help plan your birding trips by discovering the best places to find birds in a region. You can compare your stats with those of other eBirders in a region, and see how your county, state, or country ranks compared to others. We encourage you to explore the world using eBird’s new Location Explorer!