The Big Sit! 2012 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: Heinz Refuge NWR

Captain: Debbie Beer
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (United States)

Team Checklist

  1. Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
  2. Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
  3. American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus
  4. Great Egret Ardea alba
  5. Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
  6. Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
  7. Snow Goose Chen caerulescens
  8. Canada Goose Branta canadensis
  9. Wood Duck Aix sponsa
  10. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
  11. American Black Duck Anas rubripes
  12. Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
  13. Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
  14. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
  15. Northern Pintail Anas acuta
  16. American Wigeon Anas americana
  17. Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
  18. Osprey Pandion haliaetus
  19. Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  20. Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
  21. Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus
  22. Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
  23. Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
  24. American Kestrel Falco sparverius
  25. Merlin Falco columbarius
  26. Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
  27. Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo
  28. Sora Porzana carolina
  29. American Coot Fulica americana
  30. Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
  31. Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
  32. Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
  33. Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
  34. Herring Gull Larus argentatus
  35. Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla
  36. Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia
  37. Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
  38. Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
  39. Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica
  40. Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
  41. Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
  42. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius
  43. Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
  44. Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
  45. Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
  46. Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
  47. American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
  48. Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
  49. Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
  50. Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis
  51. White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
  52. Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
  53. Winter Wren Troglodytes hiemalis
  54. Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa
  55. Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
  56. American Robin Turdus migratorius
  57. Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
  58. European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
  59. American Pipit Anthus rubescens
  60. Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
  61. Pine Warbler Setophaga pinus
  62. Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum
  63. Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
  64. Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
  65. Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus
  66. Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana
  67. Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
  68. White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
  69. Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
  70. Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
  71. Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
  72. Rusty Blackbird Euphagus carolinus
  73. Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
  74. Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater
  75. House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus
  76. Pine Siskin Spinus pinus
  77. American Goldfinch Spinus tristis

Team Notes

Participants: Debbie Beer, Adrian Binns, Todd Fellenbaum, + 120 friends and visitors

Weather: Partly cloudy, low-52, high-74, winds peaking 19mph mid-day

Location: John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Philadelphia PA, Observation Tower

Time At Location: Sunday, October 14, 2012 - 4:30 AM to 5:45 PM - 13+ hours

Deb Beer, Adrian Binns and Todd Fellenbaum led this year's BIG SIT at Heinz Refuge, the 4th one since 2007. We arrived at 4:30 AM to setup on the top deck of the Observation Tower in pre-dawn darkness. Well, not so dark, as lights from the nearby Airport and highway 95 reflected off low clouds, illuminating ample waterfowl activity in the south end of the expansive water impoundment. Our BIG SIT location overlooks the flagship 200-acre water impoundment, adjacent to freshwater marsh, tidal Darby Creek, and wooded wetlands. The diversity of refuge habitat hosts an impressive variety of avian species, and we hoped to top last year's list of 77 species. Canada Goose was first bird heard, along with Wood Duck, Northern Pintails, Mallards, and Great Blue Heron. Ruddy Ducks and Northern Shovelers were picked out by silhouette. Great Horned Owl began calling at 5:42, and continued for about 40 minutes, competing with a drone of urban noise including trucks, trains and planes (by mid-morning it was all unnoticed, replaced by nature's pleasant hum of life). As daylight began spreading around us, the birding ramped up, with new species added to our list every few minutes, by sight or sound: Swamp Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Common Yellowthroat, Belted Kingfisher, White-breasted Nuthatch, blackbirds, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, American Coot and American Wigeon. The lone Snow Goose that was hanging around with Canadas all summer was duly ticked - the first of 12 new species not found on any previous Big Sits at Heinz Refuge. Our 4-year cumulative Big Sit list now totals 107 species - an impressive number for the largest urban refuge in the country, in the 5th largest city! American Bittern was another new Big Sit species, heard 'whomping' early morning; this individual was seen and photographed by hundreds of people the day before, and we tuned our ears especially to hear it, hoping it had stayed the night. 10-year old Kit Conklin spotted a juvenile Sora walking right beneath our Observation Tower, to the delight of Big Sit visitors - a life look for many. Adrian scoped Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers across the impoundment, and Todd's keen ears heard a Winter Wren. A lone American Pipit flew over our heads giving his namesake call. The "Big Sittas" of Heinz Refuge were delighted to host American Birding Association (ABA) President and 'first lady' Jeff and Liz Gordon, who chose us to be their first stop on a whirlwind tour of Big Sits in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Liz spotted a perched Red-shouldered Hawk, the first of 10 raptors on our list. Bald Eagles never fail to impress, and we enjoyed about a dozen sightings of them soaring over the impoundment, flushing scores of nervous ducks. Kestrel, Merlin and Peregrine all made an appearance, along with one late migrating Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks. Land birds proved to be the greatest challenge, with 2 days of calm weather and southerly winds. Yellow-rumped Warblers were common, but we worked hard to add more passerines. A Palm Warbler was seen at 9am, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet was pished into view at 1:40pm, and Pine Warbler turned out to be our last bird of the Big Sit, seen with effort at 3:42 pm. We ended the day at 5:45 pm, tallying 77 bird species this year, cumulative list 107 species for all Big Sits at Heinz Refuge (2012, 2011, 2010, 2007). We enjoyed a wonderful BIG SIT with cool birds, great friends, and fun memories to last until next year's BIG SIT! Thanks to everyone who joined us with positive energy, keen eyes, and sugar treats to keep us alert.

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