The Big Sit! 2007 Statistics

These statistics reflect information submitted by reporting circles. As teams continue to report their Big Sit! results, the statistics on this page will change to reflect up-to-the-minute information.

Team Information: Shiawassee NWR Blue Geese

Captain: Steve Kahl
Location: Shiawassee NWR, Michigan (United States)

Team Checklist

  1. Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
  2. Great Egret Ardea alba
  3. Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
  4. Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
  5. Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
  6. Canada Goose Branta canadensis
  7. Mute Swan Cygnus olor
  8. Trumpeter Swan Cygnus buccinator
  9. Wood Duck Aix sponsa
  10. Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
  11. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
  12. Northern Pintail Anas acuta
  13. American Wigeon Anas americana
  14. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
  15. Gadwall Anas strepera
  16. American Black Duck Anas rubripes
  17. Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
  18. Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
  19. Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus
  20. Common Merganser Mergus merganser
  21. Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
  22. Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  23. Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
  24. Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
  25. Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
  26. Sandhill Crane Antigone canadensis
  27. Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
  28. Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
  29. Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
  30. Wilson's Snipe Gallinago delicata
  31. Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
  32. Herring Gull Larus argentatus
  33. Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
  34. Eastern Screech-Owl Megascops asio
  35. Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
  36. Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
  37. Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
  38. Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
  39. Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
  40. Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
  41. American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
  42. Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris
  43. Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
  44. Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
  45. Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus
  46. Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor
  47. White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
  48. Brown Creeper Certhia americana
  49. Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis
  50. Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa
  51. Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
  52. American Robin Turdus migratorius
  53. European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
  54. American Pipit Anthus rubescens
  55. Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
  56. Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
  57. American Tree Sparrow Spizelloides arborea
  58. Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
  59. Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
  60. Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana
  61. White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
  62. Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
  63. Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea
  64. Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
  65. Rusty Blackbird Euphagus carolinus
  66. Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
  67. House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus
  68. American Goldfinch Spinus tristis

Team Notes

Participants: Steve Kahl, Steve Gasser, Jeff Sommer, Quinn Sommer, Bob Grefe, Larry Abraham, Carolyn Szaroletta, Tom Horbe

Weather: Temp: 34-64, Wind SW 0-5, AM Clear, PM Cloudy and drizzle

Location: Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, Grefe Tower

Time At Location: 24 hrs!!!

An article written for the Friends of Shiawassee NWR newslatter (Refuge Reporter) by Steve Kahl Shiawassee Refuge participated in its first year of The Big Sit! on October 14, 2007. Bird Watcher’s Digest organizes this global bird count described as "birding's most sedentary event." The object is to find as many bird species as possible during the calendar day from within a 17-foot diameter circle. I was joined throughout the day by refuge volunteers Steve Gasser, Jeff and Quinn Sommer, Bob Grefe, Larry Abraham, Carolyn Szaroletta, and Tom Horbe participated. I planned to spend the entire 24 hour period at the top of the refuge’s Grefe Tower participating in the count. We were shooting for 72 species because the highest Big Sit total in Michigan was 71. Breaking the record would further reinforce the refuge’s stature as one of the best places for birds in the state. We at least hoped to give the Metro Munchers, Washtenaw Wingnuts, Erie Rockers, Chippewa Chirpers, and all the other Michigan teams some competition for state bragging rights. My diary of the memorable day is below. 12AM – The sky was full of stars as the day began. The temperature was a crisp 45° and there was no wind. I sat in the darkness at the top of the tower overlooking thousands of acres of marsh, open water, grassland, forest and cropland. Thousands of Canada geese were honking on our impoundments for the first bird of the day. Only 24 hours to go! 1AM – Six species thus far. I could make out the shapes of several great blue herons as I scanned across our pools. I interpreted the cackling of two ring-necked pheasants as an indication of some sort of roost site squabble. The din of the geese made it difficult to pick out the calls of other waterfowl, but I managed to hear mallards and gadwall. 4AM – Only two species added to the list in the last three hours! I could hear a small flock of northern shovelers close by discussing things. Fortunately, a cooperative pair of eastern screech-owls quickly responded to my whistles. Unfortunately, the weather was poor for songbird migration. I hoped that I would hear the nocturnal flight calls of species like Swainson’s and gray-cheeked thrush. However, the lack of cloud cover and light southwest winds yielded no migration overhead. Still, I soaked in the experience. A single coyote called nearby, which elicited a wild chorus from a pack in the distance. Throughout the night, I could hear three different pairs of great horned owls calling back and forth. A flock of about a dozen Canada geese flew in and landed in the pool in front of me. Where did they come from at this time of night? 7AM – No new species and the temperature had dropped to 34°. Frost began to appear on the tower, but as light started to appear in the sky, bird activity starting picking up. Sandhill cranes started calling – one of my favorite sounds. I heard a vocal group of American wigeon zip past but never saw them. As the sun rose I could see that three bald eagles were perched in trees nearby. Unbeknownst to me they were roosting less than 100 yards away while I stood on the tower. I would have five to ten bald eagles in sight the rest of the day. A flock of shorebirds flew in to a patch of mud near the tower, but veered away at the last second. They never called and I couldn’t see any field marks in the fog and dim light. I think they were pectoral sandpipers, but never got another chance at identifying them. Rats! 9AM – Forty-seven species on the list! I never tire of dawn near the marsh. Flock after flock of Canadas streamed past to feed in nearby fields. Ruby-crowned kinglets and yellow-rumped warblers foraged along the nearby forest edge. A very late sedge wren gave a ragged version of its song from out in the grassland. A few song sparrows picked at seeds and grit on the dike top, but no fancy sparrows in with them. 1PM – Sixty-five species on the list and 72 looks attainable. The sky is clear and the temperature reached 64°. A cooperative indigo bunting flew in and landed next to the tower; another species found beyond its typical departure date. Turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks began rising on thermals along the horizon. 5PM – Only three species added, including a distant Wilson’s snipe that zipped into my field of view as I scanned the marsh. A northern rough-winged swallow revealed itself among a large flock of tree swallows. The sky became overcast and a slow steady drizzle has started. A small flock of American pipits foraged on the mudflat near the tower. 8PM – No new species added. The rain has not yet stopped. Still dusk was beautiful. Six northern harriers came in to roost in the grasslands nearby. I was amazed at seeing thousands upon thousands of ducks leaving the refuge after sunset. It was barely light enough to see them at all. 12AM – The first Shiawassee Refuge Big Sit! is in the books! No new species added since 5PM and the grand total stands at 68. Not enough for a new record, but it is the third highest total found on a Michigan Big Sit! ever. Pretty respectable for the first year! The list of surprise misses for the count was long, including pied-billed grebe, American coot, Cooper's hawk, no falcons, belted kingfisher, northern flicker, and brown-headed cowbird. I heard dark-eyed juncos when I walked down to the restroom, but they never showed around the tower. Larry found a solitary sandpiper around the bend and Bob had turkeys along the road - both out of sight from the tower. There were six brown-headed cowbirds at the headquarters feeder the next morning and I saw a Cooper's hawk when I drove in to work. It was a great day and I am already planning for next year. However, I don't think I'll do 24 hours next year. Maybe 18?

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