Seatuck Long Island Birding Challenge
2023 Birding Challenge
Saturday, September 16, 2023
Join us for our 10th annual big day on Long Island!
Seatuck’s Birding Challenge is Long Island’s only island-wide birding competition. It helps promote bird watching, wildlife conservation and open space preservation across the region – and the event generates an important one-day snapshot of early fall bird populations across Long Island. The event is open to all levels of experience, from expert birders to complete novices. Fall migration provides large numbers of birds and a great diversity of species.
• The Birding Challenge is TEAM event!
– Teams must consist at least three members
– If you don’t have a team, you’re welcome to join the Seatuck team (we can use your help!)
– Clever team names are welcome!
• Teams can compete in one of the following three categories:
1. Island-wide – Teams can bird anywhere on Long Island (including Brooklyn and Queens)
2. Regional – Teams can bird anywhere in one of six geographic categories:
– All Long Island
– Nassau County
– Western Suffolk County (Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip & Smithtown)
– Eastern Suffolk County (East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island & Southampton)
3. Big Sit – Teams pick one location, stay inside a 17-foot diameter circle and see how many birds come their way!
• Special team categories!
– As in the past, we’ll have special categories/recognition for school and family teams
– No registration fee is required for school chaperones/coaches
• Checklists must be submitted by 5 p.m., either electronically or in person at the Suffolk County Environmental Center (Scully Estate), 550 South Bay Avenue, Islip
• The in-person compilation dinner is back!
– 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Scully Estate (550 S. Bay Ave, Islip); as in the past, it will include buffet dinner and beverages
– We will seek to provide an option for remote participation in the compilation (but not the dinner!).
– Registration – $20
– Registration + Compilation Dinner – $40 (10th Anniversary discount!)
Questions? Contact Seatuck at (631) 581-6908 or email@example.com
2022 Birding Challenge Summary:
The 9th Annual Seatuck LI Birding Challenge was conducted on 17 September this year, in very pleasant weather. Cool and cloudy to start in the morning, the day warmed up into the mid 70s under mostly sunny skies, with low humidity. With northeast winds early, followed by a warm, sunny afternoon, the day was not especially conducive for active migration, despite the perfect date, but many migrants were nonetheless detected, perhaps remaining after the good flights of the previous two days. Enthusiasm was high all the way to the five o’clock hour when the compilation and celebrations began at the lovely Scully Estate, in person for the first time since 2019. A special treat this year was Enrico’s presentation about the history of how this precious parcel of land came to be preserved, followed by a tour of the mansion.
Competing this year were seven teams with a total of 28 participants. Retaining the “COVID era” rules for limited-area coverage as part of the new norm, we had two Island-wide teams, single teams representing Queens, Nassau, and Western Suffolk County, and two teams in Eastern Suffolk. The overall total of 166 species was very close to our long-term average of 167. It included three new species, Long-tailed Duck, Bonaparte’s Gull, and Black-headed Gull, bringing the cumulative list to 247 species over the nine years.
Few if any real rarities were recorded, and the highlights recounted by the various teams mostly involved enjoyable experiences with species expected as to date and location, and with team-mates. Many participants noted the relative abundance of Cape May Warblers this fall, and the two teams that visited Jamaica Bay appreciated the excellent conditions at the East Pond this year.
Pteam Ptarmigeddon competed island-wide and took first place for the overall species total for a remarkable sixth time. Their total of 131 species included 7 “saves” (species not seen by any other team). The High Flyers had the second highest species total, 110 in Queens County, and contributed 4 saves. The Aphid Eaters, working Nassau County, had 99 species and 6 saves, and the Four Harbors Herons came in with 90 species in Nassau and Suffolk (so nominally island-wide), including two saves.
Captree Counters Imperiál came in with 108 species within the Western Suffolk category and retained the “Hunters’ Hoard” prize for most saves, 12 in all. The Savage Trackers and Erin G’s junior team birded Eastern Suffolk County; each contributed one save, and the Savage Trackers won the area prize with 42 species. At this stage in the evolution of the Challenge, it occurs to us that the collaborative dimension has been growing in importance, as regionally focused efforts complement each other and contribute toward the overall species total as a collective achievement each year, analogous to CBCs.
Thanks to Enrico Nardone, Peter Walsh, and the Seatuck team for organizing and hosting this enjoyable friendly competition. For more information on this important organization and information on this annual event, go to www.seatuck.org/birding-challenge.
We hope to see everyone back next year, and as always, we welcome new teams to join us!
Pat Lindsay and Shai Mitra
Bay Shore, NY