The Big Sit! 2008 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: Aimophila Adventures

Captain: Rick Wright
Location: Oro Valley, Arizona (United States)

Team Checklist

  1. Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
  2. Gambel's Quail Callipepla gambelii
  3. Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia
  4. Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
  5. Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus
  6. Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
  7. Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
  8. Gila Woodpecker Melanerpes uropygialis
  9. Ladder-backed Woodpecker Picoides scalaris
  10. Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
  11. Gray Flycatcher Empidonax wrightii
  12. Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens
  13. Western Kingbird Tyrannus verticalis
  14. Common Raven Corvus corax
  15. Violet-green Swallow Tachycineta thalassina
  16. Verdin Auriparus flaviceps
  17. Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
  18. Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Polioptila melanura
  19. Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
  20. Crissal Thrasher Toxostoma crissale
  21. Curve-billed Thrasher Toxostoma curvirostre
  22. Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
  23. Black-throated Gray Warbler Setophaga nigrescens
  24. Green-tailed Towhee Pipilo chlorurus
  25. Canyon Towhee Melozone fusca
  26. Abert's Towhee Melozone aberti
  27. Rufous-winged Sparrow Peucaea carpalis
  28. Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina
  29. Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus
  30. Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata
  31. White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
  32. Pyrrhuloxia Cardinalis sinuatus
  33. Blue Grosbeak Passerina caerulea
  34. Varied Bunting Passerina versicolor
  35. Lazuli Bunting Passerina amoena
  36. House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus
  37. Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria
  38. White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatalis

Team Notes

Participants: Myrta Townsend, Sheryl Forte, John Harned, Betty and Ed Hughes, Kathi and Mac McIvor, Scott Schuette, Darlene Smyth, Michael Wienholt, Rick Wright

Weather: Clear. 33-75 degrees F; calm, windy midday.

Location: USA, Arizona, Pima County, Catalina State Park, second table beyond Picnic Area restrooms

Time At Location: 5:35 am - 5:55 pm

This was the first Big Sit in this circle since 2005, and it proved to be a fine day with fine company. As expected, Catalina State Park remained completely off-limits to any waterfowl of any kind, putting us in the running once again for highest count anywhere in the world without a Mallard. Unfortunately, and utterly uncharacteristically, Catalina was also nearly a raptor-free zone; our only falconiform bird of the day was a Cooper's Hawk eleven hours and ten minutes in to the day! After stormy winds and dark skies the day before, the day of the Big Sit produced virtually no visible migration. A few Violet-green Swallows and two Western Kingbirds were obviously headed south, but most of the other would-be transients seemed content to cycle through the area, apparently the same flocks of Audubon's and Black-throated Gray Warblers, Lazuli Buntings, and so on returning again and again. Emberizid sparrows were less diverse than hoped, though we were rarely without Rufous-winged Sparrows and Abert's Towhees throughout the day. Crissal Thrasher, another specialty of the park, called loudly a few times mid-morning. The most abundant bird of the day was Mourning Dove; among the day's surprises was a trio of Rock Pigeons in the early morning, a species very rarely seen in in the park's interior. The most unexpected species was Varied Bunting, a single female-plumaged bird; that species breeds in the park, but is rare by the time October comes around. One of the pleasures of spending a leisurely twelve hours in the autumn sunshine is getting to really watch some of the birds that made it onto our list, invariably an opportunity to observe a new behavior. Today's novum was provided by an Ash-throated Flycatcher that bludgeoned and eventually swallowed a two-inch lizard; it's not unusual in the autumn to find the larger tyrannids eating toads and lizards, but my cherished sense of the gentleness of ash-throats vanished today. Thanks to the good eyes and the generosity of the participants, we have been able to make a donation to Nature and Culture International ( in an amount equivalent to the purchase of one acre of tropical deciduous forest in southern Sonora, Mexico. Thanks to all for another fine day's birding--see you next year!

Catalina State Park is usually a fine spot for raptor-watching, but today we settled for empty skies--to our good-natured frustration and well-concealed envy, everyone dropping by the site had seen a Turkey Vulture, or a pair of Red-tailed Hawks, or an American Kestrel, or a gang of Harris's Hawks, or a Prairie Falcon just outside the park. Finally, when we'd been sitting big for nearly 12 hours, a juvenile Cooper's Hawk made a desultory pass at the Mourning Doves, giving us our only raptor, and our last new species, for the day.

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