Bar-tailed Godwit at Chinc – Twice!

During the month of August, I made the hour and a half drive to Chincoteague NWR, twice. The reason for both trips was to see the MEGA – Bar-tailed Godwit. The first trip took place on August 5th, where I met up with studs like Alex Lamoreaux and Tom Johnson as well as a dude doing a Big Year (you’ve all seen the movie, right?) and several other folks I’ve never met before.

Before I started the drive, Alex texted me that the bird was not refound, yet. I decided to make the drive anyway, just to meet up and bird with friends I only get to see every couple of months. When I rolled into the parking area at the Tom’s Cove Visitor’s Center, I saw Alex and proceeded to shoot the you know what for about fifteen minutes. I then suggested we walk across the road to look in Swan Cove as I saw several large shorebirds in the pool when I drove in. We walked over and started scanning through the birds – “Willet. Dowitcher. Marbled Godwit. Hey, wait, what is that dowitcher-type bird with a bicolored bill? Oh man, that’s it!” We jumped for joy as we drooled at the sight of this European rarity. OK, so maybe we didn’t drool, but I know Alex was close. We watched the bird for over an hour and got exceptional scope looks.

Bar-tailed Godwit (ssp. lapponica) - Virginia

‘European’ Bar-tailed Godwit at Chincoteague NWR, Virginia on 5 August 2013. Digiscoped with an iPhone 4S + Celestron Regal M2 80ED & Phone Skope Adapter. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

The second round ensued on August 24th. After a morning of bird surveys, Ben Zyla and I made the trek down to Chinc. Ben was looking to add the bird to his growing ABA year list. Again, we rolled up to the Tom’s Cove Visitor’s Center and started scanning Swan Cove. A few other birders were there and had already spent several hours searching for the bird. Discouraged and having no luck with the MEGA, Ben did what any sensible birder would do – look through flocks other than the flock of Marbled Godwits we stared at for what seemed like hours. Boom. He found it. The Bar-tailed Godwit was mixed in with a nice, tidy flock of Willets.

‘European’ Bar-tailed Godwit at Chincoteague NWR, Virginia on 24 August 2013. Digiscoped with an iPhone 4S + Celestron Regal M2 80ED & Phone Skope Adapter. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Epic. Ben was stoked, as were the the rest of the bird nerds present. We watched the bird for an hour or so. It took flight several times and flew over to Tom’s Cove, then came right back. Eventually it decided to chill with it’s own kind – Marbled Godwits, and that’s when we hit the road back to Milton.

Bar-tailed Godwit (ssp. lapponica) - Virginia

‘European’ Bar-tailed Godwit and Willet at Chincoteague NWR, Virginia on 24 August 2013. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Two for two. I consider that a success. Until next time, bird hard my friends.

Phone Skope Video Compilation!

Here’s a video compilation I made using iMovie for iOS. The video, Phone Skope Birding, is comprised of birds digiscoped with an iPhone 4S + Celestron Regal M2 80ED & Phone Skope Adapter.

Be sure to check out www.phoneskope.com for your smartphone digiscoping needs! Also, follow Phone Skope on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google +, and Instagram!

Tropical Kingbirds return to Ahakhav Tribal Preserve!

The Tropical Kingbirds were first found at Ahakhav Tribal Preserve (CRIT) in May 2011 and then returned to breed in 2012. My first visit to CRIT this year produced nothing of the sort. I was scheduled to return to CRIT this morning and as soon as I stepped out of the car, I heard the distinct call of the Tropical Kingbird. I had to wait a few hours before I could officially investigate, but I finally laid eyes on one individual.

Tropical Kingbird at Ahakhav Tribal Preserve, La Paz Co, AZ on 5 June 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

I didn’t have a chance to search for a nest, but I suspect there are two birds nesting in a “chosen” Fremont Cottonwood. I will continue my investigation next Wednesday and report my findings then.

Ahakhav Tribal Preserve, La Paz, US-AZ
Jun 5, 2013 7:03 AM – 8:47 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 mile(s)
Comments: Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.5.3
20 species

Gambel’s Quail  2
White-winged Dove  7
Mourning Dove  3
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  3
Vermilion Flycatcher  2
Ash-throated Flycatcher  1
Tropical Kingbird  1
Western Kingbird  4
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Cliff Swallow  3
Verdin  4
Northern Mockingbird  3
Lucy’s Warbler  3
Abert’s Towhee  4
Summer Tanager  1
Great-tailed Grackle  3
Brown-headed Cowbird  3
Bullock’s Oriole  1
House Finch  10

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S14342946

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Good birding,

Tim

Phone Skope – Spotting Scope Giveaway!

The good folks at Phone Skope and VIPOoptics.com are sponsoring a giveaway where you can win a Vortex Nomad Spotting Scope and a Phone Skope digiscoping setup! Click the photo below to enter!

The contest ends in a week, so sign up today!

Phone Skope – HTC One X Setup

Do you have the AT&T HTC One X and need a smartphone adapter? Check out this new setup from Phone Skope:

Check out all of the details here: http://www.phoneskope.com/products-page/android-phones/htc-one-x-c2/

Be sure to check out the Phone Skope Camera for Android devices from the Google Play Store. You can read my review of the app there as well.