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: Heinz Refuge NWR

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

Team Checklist

  1. Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
  2. Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
  3. Great Egret Ardea alba
  4. Snowy Egret Egretta thula
  5. Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
  6. Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
  7. Canada Goose Branta canadensis
  8. Mute Swan Cygnus olor
  9. Wood Duck Aix sponsa
  10. American Black Duck Anas rubripes
  11. Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
  12. Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
  13. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
  14. American Wigeon Anas americana
  15. Northern Pintail Anas acuta
  16. Gadwall Anas strepera
  17. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
  18. Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  19. Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
  20. Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus
  21. Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
  22. Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
  23. Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
  24. Merlin Falco columbarius
  25. Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
  26. Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo
  27. American Coot Fulica americana
  28. Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
  29. Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
  30. Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
  31. Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
  32. Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
  33. White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis
  34. Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus
  35. Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
  36. Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
  37. Herring Gull Larus argentatus
  38. Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla
  39. Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri
  40. Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia
  41. Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia
  42. Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
  43. Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
  44. Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor
  45. Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica
  46. Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
  47. Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
  48. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius
  49. Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
  50. Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
  51. Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
  52. Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
  53. Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus
  54. Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
  55. American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
  56. Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus
  57. Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
  58. Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
  59. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
  60. Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis
  61. Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor
  62. Brown Creeper Certhia americana
  63. Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
  64. Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris
  65. Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa
  66. Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
  67. American Robin Turdus migratorius
  68. Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
  69. Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
  70. European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
  71. American Pipit Anthus rubescens
  72. Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
  73. Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
  74. Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum
  75. Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
  76. Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus
  77. Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
  78. Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana
  79. Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
  80. White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
  81. Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
  82. Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea
  83. Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
  84. Rusty Blackbird Euphagus carolinus
  85. Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
  86. Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater
  87. House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus
  88. American Goldfinch Spinus tristis

Team Notes

Participants: Debbie Beer, Adrian Binns, Todd Fellenbaum, and 200+ friends and visitors

Weather: Mostly sunny, low-46, high-63, winds E 5-7 mph, (some early fog, clear and calm most of day).

Location: John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Philadelphia PA

Time At Location: 5:15 am - 6:45 pm

Total species: 88 Cumulative 5-year Big Sit list at Heinz Refuge: 113 Deb Beer, Adrian Binns and Todd Fellenbaum led the 2014 BIG SIT at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, October 12, the fifth one since 2007. We arrived at the Refuge’s iconic Observation Tower at 5:15 am to setup in pre-dawn darkness. The resident Great Horned Owl hooted her welcome for 10 minutes as we setup chairs, scopes and signs. The nearby Philadelphia International Airport and mega-highway 95 provided enough ambient light to illuminate waterfowl silhouettes in the south end of the water impoundment. We count birds by sight and sound, and duly ticked Canada Goose, Great Blue Heron, Mallard, and Wood Ducks by their distinctive honks and squawks. Our location atop the two-story Observation Tower is perfectly situated among diverse habitats. Heinz Refuge’s 200-acre water impoundment, freshwater water, tidal Darby Creek, and wooded wetlands host an impressive array of birds, and we had high hopes for topping our previous record of 77 species. The birding pace picked up rapidly as daylight emerged, with new species added to our list every few minutes, identified by sight or sound. We scanned about 100 Great Egrets flying in from their overnight roost, and successfully found the Snowy Egret that had been with them most of the season. We were happy to hear the resident Wild Turkeys gobbling faintly from across the impoundment; dozens live on the Refuge’s north end, but we don’t always get them on the Big Sit, when all birds must be seen or heard from our fixed location! Mute Swans were a regretful new addition to our 5-year Big Sit list, surprising many who thought they’d been a long fixture. Nearby trees held Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Eastern Towhee, Carolina Wren, a confiding Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and dozens of Yellow-rumped Warblers. Throughout the day, we were only able to add 2 more warblers: Palm Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. Friends and visitors arrived steadily after 6:30am, bringing enthusiastic energy and delicious sweet treats to share! More than 200 people participated in this Big Sit, all eager to engage in the experience and learn about the impressive diversity of birds that utilize Refuge resources. Many keen eyes and ears contributed to the fast-growing BIG SIT list. Gadwall, American Wigeon, Rusty Blackbird, American Pipit, Caspian and Forster’s Terns were added. Raptors were active early, with our first of several Peregrine Falcons flying over the impoundment at 7:09 am. Merlin was soon to follow, along with Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk and a wonderful Northern Harrier. Our first Bald Eagle was seen at 7:51 am, an adult gliding low over the water, flushing hundreds of Green-winged Teal in its path. Exposed mudflats supported an enticing assortment of shorebirds in the past 8 weeks; we were glad that the previous day’s rain didn’t change much. We enjoyed our best-ever, Big Sit shorebird show, scoping ~60 Lesser Yellowlegs, several Greater Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpipers, and a few Least Sandpipers. A lone White-rumped Sandpiper – scouted days prior – was found in the flock, and two dozen Stilt Sandpipers foraged in shallow waters, adding 2 more new species to our cumulative Big Sit list. The crowd cheered at 11:07 am when a Carolina Chickadee was heard nearby; this common species was #78 on our list, surpassing our previous record of 77! We soared in the next 7 hours, adding Brown Creeper, Red-eyed Vireo and Fish Crow to our Big Sit records. We were starting to pack up when flocks of blackbirds revealed a Common Grackle and Brown-headed Cowbird – we were never so happy to hear a cowbird! The last species of the day was Common Nighthawk, flying in at 6:19pm. The remaining group lingered a while longer, admiring the spectacular autumn sunset and reflecting on a wonderful day. The 2014 BIG SIT had exceeded all expectations, with more than 200 participants and a record number of 88 bird species. BIG thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy this exciting event, and share stories, sightings, treats and friendly kinship. We’re already looking forward to next year’s BIG SIT, and wondering how we can possibly top 88 species?!

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