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The Twitchers in the 2024 Superbowl of Birding

The Twitchers in the 2024 Superbowl of Birding

(by Rebecca Suomala)

The Twitchers out of the Rye had a wonderful time in the Superbowl of Birding on January 27, 2024. We competed for the Townie Award, looking for as many species as possible in Hampton, NH between 5:00 am and 5:00 pm. The weather was fairly mild for January with cloudy skies and just a light wind.

Each bird species is assigned a point value between one and five, and the first team to call in a five-point species receives a bonus three points. This year the Twitchers had two-pointers! The first was a Palm Warbler that we shared with the Harris Center Kestrels (led by Phil Brown) so we each got the bonus points. The second was Chipping Sparrow which was a surprise find but the species had already been called in so we missed those bonus points.

The Palm Warbler was a new species for the Twitchers as was a Field Sparrow, both of which were scouted birds that actually turned up on the day of competition. We had six species that were new for the Twitchers in the town of Hampton: Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Common Merganser, Great Cormorant, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Owls were most uncooperative despite some excellent hooting by the team between 5:00 and 6:30 am. We had no owls, anywhere, any time. Our only alcids were two Razorbills that were only seen by two team members so we couldn’t count them. The same thing happened with a Winter Wren. Sigh.

As usual, there were birds we had during scouting that were not to be found. That included Gray Catbird, Hermit Thrush, Wild Turkey, Brown Creeper, and Peregrine Falcon. The most frustrating miss was probably the Harlequin Ducks that other teams had, but that story is in the full summary.

The 2024 Twitchers out of the Rye, (left to right) Susan Wrisley, Kathryn Frieden, Becky Suomala (captain), and Jenna Rosen.

So much of the fun is being out birding together. This year, we also had a terrific support team who not only poured through eBird for reports of rarities beforehand, but also provided us with dinner and a place to stay in Hampton the night before, and a picnic lunch with hot soup, hot drinks, and homemade cookies at Bicentennial Park. We were totally spoiled and it was great!

Our final tally was 62 species and 108 points. We lost the Townie Award to a team from Ipswich, Massachusetts who tallied 66 species. I think this was the first time a team from Massachusetts competed for the Townie Award and the very first time there were three teams competing for the award! Look what the Twitchers started!

Thank you to everyone who made this an even more meaningful event by supporting the team with a donation. It’s not too late to contribute. All donations go to support New Hampshire Bird Records and NH eBird.