The 2016 Super Bowl of Birding with The Twitchers by Rebecca Suomala

Posted on February 1, 2016
2016-01-30-Twitchers

The 2016 Twitchers in the Rye (left to right): Peg Ackerson, Andrea Robbins, Becky Suomala, and Pat Myers.

The Twitchers in the Rye had a very fun day in the Super Bowl of Birding Saturday, January 30, 2016. This competition involved looking for as many bird species as possible between 5am and 5pm with each species having a point value (five point maximum). It is run by Massachusetts Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center and teams can compete in Essex County, MA and/or Rockingham County, NH. The Twitchers in the Rye traditionally stay in just the town of Rye, NH, and we also raise money for two NH Audubon programs – New Hampshire Bird Records and NH eBird.

We had a total of 59 species (our average over the last eight years) and 95 points (average 98). We had no major misses (at least for our Rye territory) and a few surprises. Four species were new for the Twitchers, one of which was a five-pointer: Turkey Vulture (five pt.), Bonaparte’s Gull and Yellow-rumped Warbler at Odiorne Pt. State Park, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet, which was a staked out bird at a feeder on West Road. The team decided we did all right despite our team captain being away in Florida.

As usual, the morning was busy adding new species at every turn but we had to work hard in the afternoon to scrounge up any new species. That’s when pledges really helped to keep us going. The weather this year was nice enough that we weren’t struggling to keep warm.

Here are a few more of the highlights:

Two Mute Swans were missing in the morning but appeared at Eel Pond in the late afternoon. A Greater Scaup, never a given for us, was a great find by Andrea. We missed Red-throated Loon last year but had several this year. Two Bald Eagles were spotted circling overhead by Peg.

Becky spotted two Razorbills flying by and we all saw them! A Great Horned Owl calling at Parson’s Road marsh is never a guarantee. One Common Grackle flying over the Wentworth by the Sea golf course is a species we’ve only had one other year.

Thanks to everyone who sponsored us. It’s not too late to make a donation and support the Team! Donate on-line (click the Donate button), or send a check to NH Audubon, attn. Twitchers, 84 Silk Farm Rd., Concord, NH 03301.

Questions? – contact Becky Suomala at rsuomala@nhaudubon.org or 603-224-9909 x309.

There will be a full write-up of all our adventures soon. Look for it on the New Hampshire Bird Records website.