The Big Sit! 2014 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: COAN San Blas

Captain: Mark Stackhouse
Location: San Blas, Other (Mexico)

Team Checklist

  1. Great Kiskadee
  2. Golden-cheeked Woodpecker
  3. Streak-backed Oriole
  4. Tropical Kingbird
  5. Happy Wren
  6. Scrub Euphonia
  7. Eurasian Collared Dove
  8. Dickcissel
  9. Sinaloa Crow
  10. Great Egret
  11. Neotropic Cormorant
  12. Yellow Warbler
  13. Cinnamon Hummingbird
  14. Black-necked Stilt
  15. Snowy Egret
  16. White Ibis
  17. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
  18. Little Blue Heron
  19. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
  20. Plumbeous Vireo
  21. Mangrove Swallow
  22. Belted Kingfisher
  23. Sinaloa Wren
  24. Spotted Sandpiper
  25. Common Black-Hawk
  26. Barn Swallow
  27. Thick-billed Kingbird
  28. Grayish Saltator
  29. Great-tailed Grackle
  30. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  31. Linneated Woodpecker
  32. Osprey
  33. Cattle Egret
  34. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  35. Anhinga
  36. Green Heron
  37. Great Blue Heron
  38. Yellow-winged Cacique
  39. Tricolored Heron
  40. Magnificent Frigatebird
  41. Gray-breasted Martin
  42. Brown Pelican
  43. Blue-footed Booby
  44. White-winged Dove
  45. American Kestrel
  46. Gila Woodpecker
  47. White-faced Ibis
  48. Mexican Parrotlet
  49. Bell's Vireo
  50. Heerman's Gull
  51. Whimbrel
  52. Willet
  53. American Oystercatcher
  54. Mourning Dove
  55. Rock Pigeon
  56. Red-billed Pigeon
  57. Black Tern
  58. Brown-crested Flycatcher
  59. Orchard Oriole
  60. White-collared Seedeater
  61. Wilson's Warbler
  62. Inca Dove
  63. Purplish-backed Jay
  64. Laughing Falcon
  65. Killdeer
  66. Laughing Gull
  67. Collared Forest-Falcon
  68. Rufous-bellied Chachalaca
  69. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  70. Brown Booby
  71. Turkey Vulture
  72. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  73. Roseate Spoonbill
  74. Bronzed Cowbird
  75. Grove-billed Ani
  76. Wood Stork
  77. Semipalmated Plover
  78. Green Kingfisher
  79. Caspian Tern
  80. Hooded Oriole
  81. Social Flycatcher
  82. Marbled Godwit
  83. Long-billed Curlew
  84. Black-bellied Plover
  85. Blue Grosbeak
  86. American Avocet
  87. Great Black-Hawk
  88. Black Vulture
  89. Vermilion Flycatcher
  90. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
  91. Squirrel Cuckoo
  92. Broad-billed Hummingbird
  93. House Sparrow
  94. Rufous-backed Robin
  95. Greater Yellowlegs
  96. Common Gallinule
  97. Gull-billed Tern
  98. Royal Tern
  99. Crested Caracara
  100. Black-vented Oriole
  101. Gray Hawk
  102. Willow Flycatcher
  103. Ruddy Ground-Dove
  104. Warbling Vireo
  105. Northern Beardless Tyrannulet
  106. Blue-winged Teal
  107. Reddish Egret
  108. Short-tailed Hawk
  109. Northern Shoveler
  110. Lesser Yellowlegs
  111. Masked Tityra
  112. American Redstart
  113. Red-winged Blackbird
  114. Black-throated Gray Warbler
  115. American Coot
  116. Western Kingbird
  117. Blue-black Grassquit
  118. Peregrine Falcon
  119. Stripe-headed Sparrow
  120. Northern Mockingbird
  121. Northern Jacana
  122. Ring-billed Gull
  123. Limpkin
  124. Lesser Nighthawk

Team Notes

Participants: Mark Stackhouse, Francisco Garcia, Angelline Castaño Canales

Weather: Warm, humid, light winds, partly cloudy to mostly sunny, afternoon thunderstorms and showers.

Location: Cerro de la Contaduria, San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico; at the statue of Jose Maria Mercado

Time At Location: 0655-1215, 1545-1850

For our third year doing a Big Sit, a small, but plucky band of COAN (Club de Observadores de Aves de Nayarit – Nayarit Bird Watchers Club) birders from San Blas and Tepic gathered at our now-traditional sitting spot at the statue of Jose Maria Mercado, local hero of the Mexican War of Independence, on the hill of La Contaduria (customs house) overlooking San Blas, and, more importantly, a good sweep of the surrounding countryside. We lost a few of our normally dedicated sitters due to the lingering effects of Saturday-night activities. Note to self: perhaps Saturday would be a better choice than Sunday for next year’s sit. As usual, our day started with a rush of activity, under near-perfect skies, with a few clouds keeping the tropical sun at bay for a short while, at least. Birds were rushing onto our list almost faster than I could write them down, as we reached the 50-species mark in the first 25 minutes, and at the end of our first hour had tallied a total of 86 species. Some of the early highlights were some migrating Dickcissels that flew over early, a very friendly Plumbeous Vireo that hung around the trees near us, and a large flock of Black Terns heading south along the beach. The “scope miracle” happened while I was scanning the ocean beyond the island at Playa del Rey, and noticed a bird that looked like a long-tailed Sinaloa Crow flying along above the treetops. As I focused on it, it tilted slightly into the morning sun, and the whole back of the previously black bird lit up with a brilliant purplish-blue – a Purplish-backed Jay! While common on the island, they rarely come out of the trees enough to be seen from our spot. The novice of our group, Angeline, contributed a couple of good birds, first when she asked, “What’s that orange bird with a black bib in that bush?” It was our only Hooded Oriole of the day, and a beautiful male. Later, she pointed out a Short-tailed Hawk soaring in front of the hill. Another oriole, Black-vented, was our 100th species just after 10:00 a.m., as the day slowed to the painstaking search of the surrounding countryside for new species, and the wait for serendipity to grant us some easy ones. The tropical sun chased all the morning clouds away, and beat down relentlessly upon us. We had occasional relief from a few rapidly growing cumulus clouds, and we pleaded for them to grow even more, ignoring the ominous threat to our day that they represented. By the time we decided to retreat for a mid-day siesta break, we had tallied 108 species, just one shy of our mid-point total last year, so on pace for a shot at equaling, or even breaking, the 122 species that we tallied last year, our best Big Sit so far, and good enough for first place among all Big Sits in 2013. But the afternoon time period is tough, and tedious work to try and add new species. It would take our best effort, and luck, to top last year. We weren’t the only things gathering in the afternoon as we returned to our sit. All those cumulus clouds had grown during our siesta, and now the thunder was rolling in every few seconds. Given that we were headed to the highest point around, we all harbored thoughts of the risk, and not just that our afternoon would get washed out by rain. Black humor irrupted, and we asked a friend that we passed on our way to the hill to come by and take a picture of the “little carbon cinders” for our Facebook pages. We needed another 14 species in the last few hours of the day to equal our total from last year. Would the weather hold long enough to allow us to add to our count? For a while after our return to the site, the storm held off to the east, offering no protection from the still-strong afternoon sun, but at least not chasing us away with rain. The changed light angle allowed better viewing into some areas that had suffered from poor light in the morning. Thus a trio of Northern Shovelers flying over a shrimp farm pond increased our waterfowl count by a third. Most of our waterfowl hadn’t yet arrived. In a similar fashion, a group of Lesser Yellowlegs gave a decent scope view. Then we had some help from a few songbirds, another group with which we were under performing, when a Masked Tityra flew into the tree behind us. Then some warblers responded to my imitation of a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, and we added American Redstart and Black-throated Gray Warbler. Activity also picked up in the fields and fencerows below us, as we added Red-winged Blackbird, Blue-black Grassquit, Northern Mockingbird, and Stripe-headed Sparrow. A Western Kingbird, an uncommon migrant, chased an unseen bug around a fence, flashing the white edges of its squared-off black tail. The Peregrine Falcon finally showed on its favorite perch on the communication tower. We had reached 120 species when it started to sprinkle, and thoughts of coming up just short of last year’s 122 species caused a minor panic and a redoubling of our efforts. We stayed at our post while the sprinkle rose and then faded. We finally spotted a Ring-billed Gull at the mouth of the estuary, after having searched all day for one. Then a group of Northern Jacanas had a noisy squabble on an unseen pond at the foot of the cliff below us. We had tied last year’s mark. But then the sky opened up, and a serious rain started, chasing us off of our perch and into the nearby museum building. Through the windows we watched the rain, and a rainbow, and waited. Presently the rain stopped, and we rushed back outside. But by now the sun was setting, so we had little time. A scan through the egret-filled dead trunks of a lagoon below us revealed a Limpkin sitting among them. Then, as we watched the sunset, and darkness gathered, the skies filled with Lesser Nighthawks, our final species for the day. We had just managed to better our previous year by two – a total of 124 species for the day. We could have stayed for night birds, and picked up a Pauraque and a couple of owls, but since the last bus for Tepic was leaving in a few minutes, we packed up quickly and headed down the hill, so that our friend from Tepic wouldn’t have to spend the night. We reached the bus just as it was about to pull out of the station. Thus ended an excellent Big Sit, and a best for our San Blas team. We’ll have to wait for the results of the other teams to see if that was enough to keep our first-place bragging rights for another year.

(See above)

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