Monday, May 15, 2006

World of Series of Birding: Sunday

At the Grand Hotel on Sunday, the doors opened at 9 a.m. for the scramble to find seats before the buffet opened. Zen Zugunruhe and I easily found a table that offered a great view of the banquet room and the awards podium. The social aspect of birding never fails to entertain me.

Zen Zugunruhe: Glen Davis, Matt Garvey, Dave Hedeen and Tait Johansson

The buffet once again offered a plethora of filling choices; the cherry blintzes get my vote for the best item. The awards presentations began about 10 a.m. with the three divisions in the Zeiss Youth Birding Competition.

The number of youth teams seems to increase every year, and that’s very encouraging… and necessary. The adults in the birding community need to make sure that the number of minors and young adults in this hobby/sport/lifestyle continues to grow. Today’s youth are tomorrow’s conservationists.

Conservation is a huge aspect in the World Series of Birding. This competition isn’t just about finding the most species within the entire Garden State or within a limited geographic area. It’s also about gathering pledges per species seen or heard and raising money to fund the teams’ chosen conservation projects. The birds become the ultimate winners in this listing game, a point made repeatedly during the awards brunch.

One of the things that I always enjoy at the brunch is seeing the complete list of team names. Some of the most clever names belong to the youth teams. Along with the U-Terns, the list included the Mighty Mighty Turnstones, the Punk Rock Doves and the Saw-What Owls.

I also enjoy seeing folks who’re associated with WildBird on the various teams. For instance, Matt Hafner competed on WildBird’s team in the Great Texas Birding Classic for a few years; this year, his World Series team—MOS Yellowthroats, sponsored by Maryland Ornithological Society—won the Cape May County competition. Go, Matt!

Mike Lanzone used to write for WildBird, and his PennsylvAvian Monitors—sponsored by Carnegie Museum of Natural History—won second place overall in this year’s World Series. Congrats, Mike!

The digiscoping teams included a plethora of WildBird associates. For instance, the Digi Trio (sponsored by Nikon) included Mike Freiberg and Cameron Cox; they both competed on the Nikon WildBirders in last month’s Great Texas Birding Classic. Jessie Barry, who writes the reviews in Book Nook for each issue of WildBird, completed the Digi Trio. On the Double Exxposures digiscoping team (sponsored by Leica) were Jeff Bouton, who writes the Adventures with Austin column in each issue, and Bill Schmoker, who contributes photographs.

One last proud mention: A few years ago, Chris Wood joined Zen Zugunruhe for the World Series. Now, he works for Cornell Lab of Ornithology on eBird with Brian Sullivan. This year, Chris competed with the Sapsuckers, sponsored by Cornell and Swarovski, and the Sapsuckers won first place overall with 229 species. Congrats to Chris and the other Sapsuckers!

At every awards brunch, Dave Hedeen contributes some humor, and this year was no exception. Although Dave didn’t have to talk at the awards podium (a friendly rival in the Cape May Island competition won first place by four species), he did say a few words during the traditional team roundup… something along the lines of “Last year, I asked some teams to bird south of the canal so that we’d have some competition. Well, now I’m asking you to bird north of the canal!”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great synopsis of the event Amy! :)

What a fantastic time we had digiscoping our way around South Jersey. The Double Exposure team will be back next year to take the title, but in the meantime some of our photos can be found on my flickr site.

I know Bill "Lightning Willie" Schmoker will be putting up many more on his website in the coming days

Awesome Blog!

Good Birding :)

May 16, 2006 12:38 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Thanks for the kind words, David! I'm looking forward to seeing y'all in action next year.

May 16, 2006 2:40 PM  
Blogger Left I on the News said...

David's picture of reeds in front of a setting sun is AWESOME!!!

May 25, 2006 3:58 PM  

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