Saturday, September 29, 2012

50 days of rare: more official plan?

SO apparently this silly idea is actually pretty popular!

Some people who have expressed interest in joining up:

Ken Burrell -  ON

Josh Vandermeulen -  ON

Jim Pawlicki - ? - NY

Alan Wormington - ? - ON

Adam Timpf - - ON

David Bell - - ON

Tim Baerwald -   - MI

Skye Haas -  MI - UP .... Going to use that old blog for this??

Jen Brumfield -    OH

Alvan Buckley - -  ON

Greg Neise   ?   IL

Drew Weber   ?   NY

Ben Fritchman   ?    WI

Jacob Bruxer -  ?  ON

Did I miss anyone? Anyone else want to join?


Some notes: the initial goal was to get some regular bloggers in on the fun by posting where they were going birding, their "goals" on what to find, and post their eventual sightings (even the common stuff).. Why? Because your local listserv is NOT the place for daily bird sightings (at least, ontbirds isn't), but sometimes they're still fun to read...

Although now we have multiple people who want to play - but don't have blogs? I guess it isn't a requirement, but it sure would be fun to be able to follow along with where everyone is birding, and what they're seeing...

It isn't very hard to make one (and you can post on it for the next few weeks, then let it go dormant, right?) Check out if you're interested..


The goal: encourage birding and rarity hunting around our large inland bodies of water... Including all the Great Lakes and James Bay...

Winner: we'll pick a winner based on who finds the rarest bird... To answer some recent questions:

--- How do we pick the rarest? --- Hopefully someone just finds something epic and its obvious... If we have a problem beyond that, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!

--- who is winning so far?---  No one, because no one has really found anything crazy...

--- what happens if no one finds anything rare? --- then we all get chopped up and used as chum...

--- can we change the dates? --- A few people have pointed out that rarity season extends beyond November 14th, and have asked that we extend the date into December..

My personal take is to leave it at 50 days... Still fair since everyone has the same days... And then it isn't TOO long... Rarity season here in Ontario usually starts around August 23rd anyways, so the case could be made to extend it the other direction as well...

Another problem would be the goal of meeting at the Niagara River in November for a dinner and to (somewhat jokingly) crown the winner. The weekend of Nov 17/18th or 24/25 would be PRIME gull season when most of (originally, ON and NY) birders would already be going down there for birding...

--- what's the prize? --- prize originally was a mickey of booze from everyone else playing + bragging rights.. Although I'm not sure if this changes with so many people playing from farther flung places???

So what does everyone think? Would you rather change the dates? Or leave them? (we could always make changes next year, if this thing continues - which people have expressed interest in already).. .Any other comments/questions?? Who else wants to play??


To tidy this beauty up, here are some photos from the zodiac on Sep 27th!  (rather quick and poor edits, but very much blog worthy):

The name of the game - sub-adult PAJA (3rd alt?) getting a RBGU to cough up some food..

Better look at the same bird

Two (of 3) juv Lesser Black-backed Gulls that we tamed, and followed us around in the boat at close range 

1st juv Pomarine - stole some bread from a RBGU, ate it, then immediately coughed it back up as if it was totally disgusted... 

Sabine's found floating waay offshore feeding on a "junk line" 

This Juv Little Gull was directly associating with the above Sabines... Probably rarer in Hamilton than all the Jaegers and Sabines... Only in Hamilton can you see 2 Sabine's and 1 Little Gull before any Bonaparte's... 

2nd Juv Pomarine...  Right overhead... 

Worst photo of the day award goes to the juv Long-tailed Jaeger we had

~15 Common Terns was very high for Hamilton in late Sept, yet no Arctics.. I really thought we'd easily get ARTE from the zodiac when I first got it... None yet... 

Striking adult Parasitic with HUGE tail streamers

Another look at the full adult PAJA - almost no white on the underwing, cold toned plumage, probably a LTJA x PAJA hybrid right? 

Not a bad day! 


  1. Whoop - I think I may have forgotten Nathan Remgold of IL..?? Although I didn't hear from him directly... If anyone listed starts a blog (or has one I missed), I'll update it!

    1. Hi Brandon,

      I am "Nathan RemGold" but my real name is Nathan Goldberg. I am participating in this. Josh Engel and I found a Burrowing Owl today in Chicago at Montrose. My blog (which I have to update soon) is

      Let the games begin!

  2. You can count me in too, Brandon...I'll try to keep the blog a little more up to date...

  3. I think 50 days is a good duration!

    We didn't decide if rare sub-species will be considered... (e.g. a Harlan's RT Hawk)?

  4. Hey Brandon, I'd like to join too.

    1. Hey Guys, tried to address new concerns in the next blog post - let me know what you think !


  5. I would like to join as well.


  6. I love this idea, but count me out. This contest is awesome... I can think of so many spin-offs, most of them involving gambling away large sums of money. But personally, I kind of like the idea of having it for bloggers only and don't mind being left out as a result. The contest kind of loses its appeal if anyone and everyone throws their hat in. Not that I think that's happening now or necessarily going to happen later, but you want it to be for serious birders who are going to truly try for 50 days to find a "mega"... having a blog doesn't necessarily make you a serious birder, but at least if you do have one we can read it and judge for ourselves. Plus, nobody's going to know everyone in the contest, especially with a lot of out-of-province birders joining in now, but at least if they have a blog you can kind of follow along, get a feel for what they're trying, where they're birding, what they're finding, what they're dipping on, etc.

    Anyways, just my opinion. I should point out that if I do find a better bird than the current contest leader, I will be forced to taunt all of you mercilessly, and I would encourage all other non-contestants to do the same.

    1. Hey Jacob --- superb ideas, and I think many agree with your position! Tried to do a final "pull together" of these ideas on my recent blog post - hopefully the last one like it!


  7. Hi Brandon,
    I am interested in joining. Could a rarity I found before I joined count?

    Wesley Greentree
    Campbell River, BC

    1. Hey Wesley,

      For sure, take part in the 50 days of rare birding challenge, although for "official" winners, many expressed their interest in keeping it just for the Great Lakes region .. Hope that's cool with you! Added your blog to the "50 days of rare" blog idea as well!