Stanford Cardinal takes it (greenly)! — Stanford v. Berkeley birdathon

UPDATE: a little bit of popular press.  http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Not-the-Big-Game-but-contest-not-just-for-the-5399424.php  Though, for the record, plenty of the Stanford birders actually really like football and enjoy going to The Big Game.

Stanford takes the victory!  With a total of 76 species, our hale and hearty team of 10 edged out Berkeley’s team, who found 64 species.  If you haven’t heard about it before, here are the details on this competition.  And best of all, this was a green effort!  We met at a single location and then divided ourselves up to cover the campus on foot.

10 birders scoured Stanford's campus today (4/13/14) to find 76 species!

10 birders scoured Stanford’s campus today (4/13/14) to find 76 species!

After meeting and planning early this morning, the group split into three sub-teams: one for the Stanford dish trail, one for San Francisquito Creek, and one focusing on the main campus.  The dish team came up big, finding Western Kingbird, Ash-throated Flycatcher, as well as Grasshopper, Savannah, and Lark Sparrows.  The creek team found their own treasures, like Downy Woodpecker, Pygmy Nuthatch, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Yellow Warbler.

The fearless leaders checking for lurking sparrows in the weeds.

The fearless leaders checking for lurking sparrows in the weeds. (Photo by Karen DeMello)

I led the main campus group.  The biggest treat was my group, with Joan Zuckerman, Karen DeMello, and Jasen Liu all providing great spotting and even better company.  As we studied sparrows in front of Bing Concert Hall, a White-throated Sparrow popped out!  We weren’t expecting that.  We did expect (and did find) other birds like California Thrasher, Hooded Oriole, White-throated Swift, and California Gull, but that didn’t keep us from appreciating them just as much!

This bird was foraging in front of Bing Concert Hall.

This White-throated Sparrow was foraging in front of Bing Concert Hall. (Photo by Jasen Liu)

All the groups reveled in the springtime chorus, with the shrill mews of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers exploding from the oaks, the deep blue backs of Western Bluebirds glowing in the sun, and the stammering chatter of White-throated Swifts peppering down from overhead.  It was not a day I’ll soon forget.

A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at the Stanford dish trail.  (Photo by Jasen Liu)

A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at the Stanford dish trail. (Photo by Jasen Liu)

If this is at all inspiring, we’re still taking sponsorships for local SF Bay Area youth nature education and conservation.  Sponsor me or anyone else on the team from the pulldown tab at the SCVAS birdathon website.

Members: Rob Furrow, Carrie Ann (Caroline) Adams, Marion Krause, Marina Dimitrov, Ellyn Bush, Joan Zuckerman, Danny Karp, Karen DeMello, Mike Rogers, Jasen Liu.

 

Happy birding,

-Rob Furrow

 

 

5 thoughts on “Stanford Cardinal takes it (greenly)! — Stanford v. Berkeley birdathon

      1. Kaylee

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        1. Malinda

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  1. Erin Fitzgerald

    Beautifully written. I had no idea there were so many different birds living on Stanford’s campus. Your post is inspiring me plan a quiet day of listening and observing in my own neighborhood.

    Reply

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