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2011 Super Bowl of Birding [Reintroductions]

January 25, 2011

A little over a year ago I received an unexpected invitation to visit eastern Massachusetts in late January. Christopher of Picus Blog was putting together a team of bird bloggers to meet, drink, and be merry, swap some stories, dish and/or snark on birds, birding, and the world in general (verbally, leaving no permanent record), and look at some birds. Competitively look at some birds, that is, as part of the 2010 running of the Super Bowl of Birding. The goal boils down to this: accumulate as many points as possible by finding as many birds as possible within a twelve hour period.

Purple Sandpiper flock

One of many target birds: Purple Sandpipers (2 points).

Exciting, to be sure, but more exciting was an invitation to return this year. It’s that second invite that says you’re good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like you. So I’m riding high on that wave, doubly so because I get to introduce another member the 2011 Bloggerhead Kingbirds, someone who (cliche alert!) needs no introduction, Nathan Swick.

Nate is clearly good enough, smart enough, and doggone it people like him many times over, but not only because this will be his third year back crashing the shores of Essex County, MA.  Look at it this way:  if you’re a long-time resident of the bird blogosphere, chances are good you already know Nate from his personal blog, The Drinking Bird.  If you’ve been around the nature-blog block a bit you’ll recognize him as a founding member of the Nature Blog Network (if he’s not technically a founding member, he might as well be: if possession is nine-tenths of the law, there must be an equivalent reward for duration).

If you’re new to this whole “blogging thing all the kids are into,” you’ve likely come across his more-recent offerings as a beat writer on 10,000 Birds or his work as a contributor to, and manager of the American Birding Association’s blog. If you’re not in those loops yet, well, how did you wind up here, at my humble-at-best blog?  Seriously, I’m dying to know.

The Drinking Bird, Nathan Swick

Taking a break from seawatching at Cape Ann, Nate takes a moment to let his intraocular fluid thaw.

Obviously, Nate has rapidly become a prominent voice in the birding community, and deservedly so, check out his work at any of the above links.  You’ll find updates on his current Big Year and recaps of birding trips, his involvement in broadening birding opportunities for North Carolina’s youth (including but not limited to his own toddler), discussions (and sometimes rants) on politics as it relates to conservation, reviews of everything from field guides to beer, and (cliche alert!) much, much more.  One example of his effectiveness:  last summer the ABA, as well as birders across the continent, took notice of his essays on the relevancy of that organization to the birding community, leading to an open and frank discussion that is shaping the ABA today.

I know I’m choir-preaching here, so suffice it to say you already know what my weekend will be like:  non-stop birding, non-stop blog reading (but without the reading part, we get to hear it in the blogger’s own voice!), and general debauchery*.

Be sure to visit Nate’s site, specifically his introduction of another member of the 2011 Bloggerhead Kingbirds.

*Debauchery optional, not available at all locations.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Nate permalink
    January 25, 2011 09:24

    Thanks for the too kind words. Man, my beard looked seriously ratty last year. I’m happy to say that’s not the case this year.

  2. January 25, 2011 10:42

    Nate really has a disgusted look on his face. A Harlequin Duck must have flashed him or something…

    I’m really looking forward to Saturday!

  3. Andrew Baksh permalink
    January 25, 2011 19:02

    I think Nate’s look is indeed one of “where the heck is that Black-headed Gull”? Looking forward to seeing you again Mike!

  4. Nate permalink
    January 25, 2011 20:06

    @Andrew – Nailed it.

  5. January 25, 2011 22:04

    Big Day competitions are not pretty, ratty beards or not. Looking forward to seeing you all this weekend!
    -Mike

  6. January 25, 2011 23:20

    Of all the bird images you could choose for this post, you picked my nemesis. And that Drinking Bird dude. Never heard of him.

    C’mon Bloggerhead Kingbirds! Though it’s a Pileated Woodpecker on the logo, I’ll raise my OFO scarf overhead while singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as you approach the last hour of the competition.

    Good luck to you all.

    • January 27, 2011 13:30

      Thanks for the well wishes, Bob! Hopefully you’ll find a Purple Sandpiper (one of the only “good” shots I took last year, at least of the ones I actually looked at — I’m a bit behind) somewhere this season. I’m admittedly most excited about gulls as there are not a lot to look at in my neighborhood, and I’m finger-crossing for Black-headed. Hopefully Pileated won’t be a nemesis for us on Saturday!
      -Mike

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