For twelve consecutive hours, the North Branch Noddies scoured the coast of Essex County, MA, in search of all the birds that they could find in the Superbowl of Birding. This was our third year taking part in the competition and we tallied an impressive 66 species, more than we ever have before!
Fair weather and calm wind were a welcomed change form last year, and we were easily able to find Eastern Screech-Owl in two locations before dawn. At first light, we headed to Andrew's Point where birds were very active off the coast. Under good lighting and at close distances, we had great views of Red-throated Loon, Red-necked Grebe, Harlequin Ducks, and a group of a dozen Razorbill among others.
Before noon we had already found amazing birds such as the Barrow's Goldeneye at Loblolly Cove, the King Eider (pictured above) at Bass Rocks, and the Common Murre at Eastern Point. Every stop we made throughout the day seemed to add new species to our list. As the sun was setting, with less than 10 minutes left in the competition, a Short-eared Owl flew silently across the sky at Plum Island as our final bird.
After a fantastic day of birding, the Noddies were happy to learn that they won the Seeker's Award, which is given to the team that finds the most birds off of a special checklist of 30 species. The only species off the list that we didn't see were Northern Gannet, Iceland Gull, and Snowy Owl (which surprisingly wasn't found by any team). Learn more about Youth Birding events.
In this competition, birds are ranked by difficulty to find (1 point being easiest and 5 points being hardest). Our complete checklist is below:
* on the Seeker's Checklist
1 point (plain text)
2 points (bold)
3 POINTS (BOLD, CAPS)
4 POINTS (BOLD, CAPS, ITALICS)
5 POINTS (BOLD, CAPS, ITALICS, UNDERLINED)
American Black Duck
Great Black-backed Gull
American Tree Sparrow*