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Massachusetts bound

January 28, 2011
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This morning I leave pleasant, comfortable North Carolina and head into the lion’s den of cold and snow that has socked in much of the eastern seaboard over the last couple weeks.  I do this willingly, though I occasionally wonder if that makes me a lunatic.  After all, this part of the country is filled to the brim with disaffected northerners looking to leave precisely that sort of weather behind.  And yet, here I am, flying into the belly of the beast.

The reason for this, of course, is birds.  It always is.  There is scarcely anything else in the world that can take a perfectly reasonable person and put them in situations that anyone else would run from screaming.  Like, say, participating in 12 hours of non-stop all-out birding in the bitter cold of Essex County, Massachusetts.  But that’s precisely what I’m doing in the Super Bowl of Birding this weekend.  And I can’t wait.

Just to reiterate, the Super Bowl of Birding is a competition not unlike the more famous World Series of Birding but with a coupe minor differences.  First, it’s 12 hours rather than 24 (to prevent frostbite and too long hours of birding in darkness) and second, as the total number of species possible is lower in winter – even in a winter birding hotspot like Essex County, Massachusetts  – each species is given a value, 1 through 5, based on rarity and the ultimate winner of the competition is the one who has the most points rather than the one that has the most birds.  It’s a convoluted system that forces some difficult decisions but it’s a whole lot of fun.

You probably already know my team, the (in)famous Bloggerhead Kingbirds, but just in case you don’t, it consists of captain and local Christopher of Picus Blog, Corey of 10,000 Birds, John at DC Birding Blog, Andrew the Birding dude, and Mike of Feather and Flowers.

Last year we won the Essex County Excels award for the most points within the boundaries of Essex County (the competition also includes Rockingham County, New Hampshire) and this year, with cold and snow likely making for a difficult competition, we’ve got our eyes on the top spot.

Being the social media mavens that we are, you should be able to follow along on our big day.  Last year, John and Andrew occasionally tweeted from the field on our progress.  They’ll likely do the same this year.  You can find them at @dendroica and @birdingdude.  I encourage you to follow them and keep up on our successes and failures.  Not least of which what I hope will be the attainment of my 500th ABA life Bird.   I’m hoping for King Eider, but I’d take Red Crossbill too.

Anyway, wish us luck.  It’s going to be an excellent weekend!

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One Comment
  1. January 28, 2011 10:25 am

    Best of luck in the competition and ticking #500.

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