Friday, October 15, 2010

The Big Sit 2010

I am that annoying person in a group of birders who is always wandering off. I see an especially plump clump of moss to take a closer look at, or a cloud in the shape of a skull and crossbones, and off I drift. So even in the unlikely event that I was ever good enough at identifying birds, I could never do The Big Sit, an entire day of identifying as many species as possible from within a circle 17 feet in diameter (5 metres). I could maybe do The Big 20 Minutes.

These guys, The Surf Scopers, are just incredible as far as I'm concerned. From 4.30 in the morning till about 8:00 at night they stood on this platform at Milford Point, looking out across Long Island Sound on one side and the Wheeler Salt Marsh on the other. They saw the sun come up and go down, and two low tides. And they saw an amazing 107 species of birds, breaking their previous record of 101.

The Surf Scopers: From left, Frank Mantlik, Frank Gallo, Tina Green, Patrick Dugan, Jim Dugan. Thanks to pledges by sponsors, their Big Sit efforts support the Connecticut Audubon Society's Coastal Center at Milford Point. 
I took this shot of them when I went down to visit them late in the day. Who else but birders equipped with fine optic devices would still be cheery after standing all day shoulder-to-shoulder like this on a tiny platform? Maybe Tibetan monks, but really, who else? Birding is so utterly addictive. When will the next bird appear? Where? What will it be? By the end, when the sun had gone down and the scopes had been packed away, I found it hard to walk away from the platform, imagining phantom owls calling in the darkness.


  1. Grin, that sums it up nicely.
    I am (no matter in what group) always the one that annoys by wandering off and doing the odd thing aside :)
    I think the longest I sat in one place to get one bird was half an hour. I just can't sit and wait that long :)

  2. Hah hah, we are like warblers, flitting from branch to branch, never sitting still!

  3. There was once (and maybe still is) a flickr group named 'Distracted by 'oh shiny').
    That's me, doesn't have to be shiny though.
    (Btw. I have a blog solely for nature too, not sure which link I left last time with my garbled brain the way it is,...)

  4. Love the pics on both of your blogs, Nicole!